Resist The Authoritarians!

Over at Power Line, Paul Mirengoff asks a question that is redolent with parallels for anyone that lives in a Democrat-dominated area:   if a government is truly authoritarian, nobody wants to be pegged as a “Resister” – for example, to be placed on an “enemies list”.

If you’re on an enemies list in a genuinely authoritarian country – Franco’s Spain, Pinochet’s Chile, Argentina in the sixties and seventies – being an “enemy” meant midnight knocks on the door and cars snatching people off streets and goons hauling off classrooms full of college kids.

In the parts of the US that voted for Hillary and melted down when Trump won, “resistance” means a latte in the morning after pilates, before a vigorous session of screaming at people on Twitter.

Mirengoff looks at “authoritarian” (according to the current leftist whinging) Hungary:

The Washington Post reports that a pro-government newspaper in Hungary published an “enemies list.” Political opponents of prime minister Viktor Orban promptly expressed outrage at not being on the list.

One of them launched a petition demanding to be on the list. He invited others to join in that demand. Nearly 8,000 did.

This tells me that Orban’s government is not authoritarian. The Post eventually concedes as much. Deep into the story, it acknowledges that in Hungary “there is free expression, with opponents speaking out on television, newspapers, and on the streets.” Earlier this month, when the new, elected parliament was sworn in, thousands of opponents rallied against Orban just outside the building.

Trying to get Hungarians to stop expressing freely takes tanks, as the Soviets found.

Liberals in the media are exercised because nearly every newspaper and media outlet in Hungary supports Orban (occording to journalists who oppose Orban and who aren’t, as it happens either unemployed or in jail).  In other words, for  being the same as the American media, but on the right…

 

On Your Own

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Former Obama officials want European nations to expel US diplomats in retaliation for Trump backing out of the Iran nuclear bribe.  I hope they do.

I hope Trump responds by announcing that the wise policies put in place by President Truman to rebuild Europe after WW II have succeeded beyond all expectations.  European nations have demonstrated they are fully capable of managing their own affairs wherefore we intend to serve notice that we’re withdrawing from NATO.  American military commanders will be preparing a timetable for orderly withdrawal of troops and equipment with plans for redeployment along our southern border. We congratulate our European friends and former allies and wish them a bright and prosperous future.

Joe Doakes

There’s a part of me that hopes Trump drops that on the likes of Merkel.

Of course, it’s the likes of Estonia and Poland that’d end up suffering when the pusillanimous central European powers cave in in the face of Russia bullying.

I said when.  

 

Leverage

Donald Trump, 1999:

Donald Trump’s October 24, 1999 Meet the Pressinterview with Tim Russert is a historically illuminating flash forward to the most surprising, promising and history-altering opportunity since the Soviet Union collapsed: “denuclearizing” North Korea without the could-be belligerents waging a hideously destructive war that scars East Asia and seeds a global economic depression…In the interview, Russert says Trump once indicated if he were president he would attack North Korea preemptively in order to end its nuclear threat.

Despite Russert’s vapors and wailing, Trump’s grammatically-challenged beer and barbecue answer is a superb twofer. One: Trump answers Russert’s core question. Two: Trump accurately summarizes the American government’s spaghetti-spined responses to North Korea’s slow but insidious quest for nuclear weapons.

World, today:

On March 5, remarkable news broke: North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said he is willing to discuss denuclearizing his regime. He made no demand on South Korea and the U.S., other than that they meet to discuss the subject face to face. The South Korean delegation that met with him in Pyongyang indicated Kim said he understood South Korean and American joint military drills would continue. That was a major concession. For decades the Communist state’s propagandists have portrayed allied military exercises as preparations for an invasion of the North. In exchange for negotiations, the Kim regime would demand the allies suspend exercises. Not this time. Moreover, the dictatorship also agreed to halt its provocative nuclear weapons and missile tests while talks continue.

Why, it’s almost as if Winston Churchill was right all along; the only thing tyrants and bullies understand is strength.

Go figure.

I’m proudly on record as a Trump skeptic – but between Gorsuch, his cabinet, his deregulatory frenzy, and the unspooling, unprecedented changes in Saudi Arabia (and its various clients) and now the Korean Peninsula, I’m warming up to at least the foreign policy side of The Donald.

Guns Don’t Kill People. Policy Does

We know gun control isn’t about safety.

First, Britain – awash in the same sort of virtue-signaling panic that befalls Big Left regularly – banned guns after the Dunblane Massacre.

After a couple decades of increases, London’s murder rate passed up New York’s for the first time.

Ever.

If you read this blog, you already know what the Brits are “doing” about it.

Last week, TheBlaze reported the number of murders in London, a traditionally safe city, surpassed the number of murders in New York City in February and March for the first time in modern history. The murders were mostly carried out in stabbing attacks with knives.

Now, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is taking action — by implementing knife control.

What is Khan doing?
In response to the spike in crime, Khan deployed over 300 additional London police officers to the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods to stop and search anyone they suspect is carrying a knife. In the U.S., such policies are very controversial and possibly violate the Fourth Amendment, but in England, police are able to stop and search anyone they suspect is carrying a knife.

The results?  The same sort of security theater that happens every time government tries to treat not the disease, not even the symptoms, but the tools involved in the symptoms (and, in the UK’s case, the very act of defending yourself from the disease). It’s like treating flu by banning vomit.

And when I say “security theater”, I’m not speaking imprecisely at all:

So after decades of dictatorial posturing, perhaps the number of knives available to criminals will drop (as Britons gnaw on food they can’t cut, or start buying their awful British food pre-cut for them).  That‘ll solve crime right?

Nonsense.  Criminals will start taping nails onto long sticks, or carrying socks full of five pence pieces.  And when the UK government gans nails and coins, they’ll switch to pointed sticks.  And when pointed sticks are finally off the streets, it’ll be rocks and pavers and fists and feet.

Britian keeps this “mind”-set up, they’ll all be legless, armless, immobile consumption machines in a few centuries.

Except the criminals.

Forward To The Past

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

When I was in college, my PoliSci pro confidently assured me that land reforms in Rhodesia would lead to utopia.  13 years ago, Blacks living in Zimbabwe admitted it didn’t work out as planned, and were wishing they had White Men in charge again.

Today, Blacks in South Africa are dead-set on repeating their neighbor’s mistakes.

Whatever we do, America must NOT send any aid.  That would be imperialist aggression.  It would be interfering in their chosen culture.  Zimbabwean Blacks wanted out from under the White Man’s thumb, wanted to be independent and stand on their own.  They insisted they were ready to manage their own affairs, learn from their mistakes.  Who are we to judge the results?

Similarly, if South African Blacks want to take back their country and run it themselves – without any outside interference – then we ought to be fully supportive.  Go right ahead.  You’re on your own.

As for the White farmers who are losing their lands, well, I hear it’s nice in Australia.  Might want to move before the necklacing begins.

Joe Doakes

I’m tempted to say the same thing whenever I heard about “Democratically”-elected governments destroying their own nations – see Venezuela and Bolivia along with Zimbabwe and South Africa.

We warned you – but you did it anyway.  Fix it yourselves.  Still feel good, sticking it to the Yanqui?

Just To Be Clear

I do advocate tolerance.  Most notably and recently, I’ve mixed it up with activists in the MN GOP who’ve said there’s no room in the Republican party for people of the Muslim faith, because – this is a paraphrase cut so closely it might as well be a quote – the Koran tells Muslims to deceive the infidel, and all Muslims follow the Koran to the letter in exactly the same way.  And their goal is to spread Sharia law everywhere.  Even in the MN GOP.

Of course, they – and I – say Muslims, and all immigrants, should assimilate into our culture (and, for my part, that “multiculturalism” must be killed with fire).   To which I respond “What on earth is more assimilatory than trying to attend a Minnesota GOP caucus?

Some of them have gone so far as to say there’s no room for people who are inclusive of Muslims (not Islam, mind you –  they they gotta support the rest of the GOP’s platform and, of course, the US) and them.  To which I’ve replied “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out”.

But with all that said – this is the sort of thing that needs to be kept on the other side of a high, spike-topped, literal and intellectual border wall

 

Counterintuitive?

Given the vigor with which Scandinavian countries (and those who romanticize their welfare states with all the subtlety of Swedish Chef Night at Karaoke Hut) play up the “gender equality” card, you’d think they’d have the whole “gender equity” thing figured out.

You’d be wrong.

Comparing the Nordic countries with each other, a pattern emerges: Those with more extensive welfare-state policies have fewer women on top. Iceland, which has a moderately sized welfare state, has the most women managers. Second is Sweden, which has opened up welfare services such as education, health care, and elder care for private-sector competition. Denmark, which has the highest taxes and the biggest welfare state in the modern world, has the lowest share of women in managerial positions.

The rise of the welfare state has been a double-edged sword for women’s advancement.Essentially, the rise of the welfare state has been a double-edged sword for women’s advancement. On the one hand, it has created jobs in women-dominated fields such as health care and education, and aided the labor-market entry of women by offering day care and other family-related services. On the other, the attendant high taxes have reduced the economic incentive for both parents to work full-time, and have also made it difficult for families to purchase services that alleviate household work (such as cleaning). Parental-leave policies have given women an incentive to take long breaks from working. And state monopolies in female-dominated sectors such as health care and education have limited women’s career choices.

Also worth noting – Scandinavian societies going back to the Vikings gave women rights they wouldn’t have for centuries elsewhere in the world – the rights to own land, inherit property, and file for divorce.   An astonishing level of gender equality predated the Scandinavian social state by centuries.  Not that that stops the left from claiming credit they dind’t earn.

ivvIf you’ve been readint thias blog any length of time3, you know how “unintended conse3qiuences” work.

Leftist Social Media Kills Children

Facebook – which is unstinting about signaling its progressive virtue domestically – is being assessed some culpability in the oppression of the Rohynga minority in Burma:

A U.N. fact-finding mission has highlighted the role of social media networks, and Facebook in particular, in fueling hate speech against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, telling the U.N. Human Rights Council this week that “incitement to violence” is “rampant” and “unchecked.”

Reuters reports that in an interim submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council, fact-finding mission chair Marzuki Darusman emphasized the “determining role” of social media networks in the conflict, which he said “substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict” in Myanmar. “As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media,” Darusman told reporters.

Granted, it’s only the UN.  And it’s a broadside against hate speech – which is applicable in this case, but Facebook will use it as further grounds to stifle conservative speech even further.

Still, it’s nice to see virtue-signallers get slapped.

Events Of A Feather

Six years ago, Venezuela banned private firearms ownership,  via a piece of legislation that had to have sent a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines.   It was done to consolidate and reinforce the control of a government that, one might suspect in concept had to have sent a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines.

Of course, we know the results; socialism degenerated “unexpectedly” into thugocracy (which, being “haves” in a socialist society, wouldn’t not send a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines, necessarily – socialism is a wonderful thing for the kommissars).

And here we are today.

The left would like you to consider them separate events.

They are not.

Earthquake

Americans who are weary of Muslim excuses ask “so when will ‘moderate Muslims’ take a stand against the radicals?”

Here you go; one of them is taking a stance against the radicals:

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia after a rare meeting in Cairo’s main cathedral.

Speaking to Egyptian media after the visit the head of the Egyptian church, Pope Tawadros II said: “In the name of the Coptic Orthodox church we welcome Prince Mohammed’s visit to his second country Egypt.

“Prince Mohammed spoke a lot of his affection for the Copts,” the Pope said, adding that the kingdom’s heir to the throne invited him and all Copts to visit Saudi Arabia.

The two men walked together through St Mark’s Cathedral, in what Egypt’s state news agency described as the first tour of its kind.

The visit came on the second day of the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Egypt – his first foreign visit since he became heir to the throne. …

He also met Egypt’s top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb at Al-Azhar, the foremost seat of learning in Sunni Islam.

Thomas Lifson notes in AmThinker:

Simply stated, MbS is seeking to defang Muslim extremists who seek to destroy Christianity in Arab- and Muslim-majority countries. Garnering support from the most respected source of Islamic scholarship (no doubt accompanied by the offer of funds from the Saudi treasury) is the carrot to be used in persuading Wahhabi clergy to change their preaching, with the denial of Saudi funds to recalcitrant advocates of armed jihad supplying the stick.

This is potentially huge.

So why is it getting zero reporting in the Big Media?

Blame Truimp!

American media mostly are clueless about religion and lack any understanding of the momentous changes underway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the full support of the Trump administration. The fact that MbS is reputed to be close to Jared Kushner seals the deal: the mainstream media have little interest in extolling the world-historical transition underway in the nation that is pre-eminent in Sunni Islam, the Guardian of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, and which has been the moneybags for radical jihadists for three generations.

Bin Salman is taking a huge risk – the Wahhabi aren’t going to be happy, being cut off from all that oil money.

But if it goes right, this – and the very quiet Saudi discussions with the Israelis –  could be an epochal change the religious war in the middle east.

And if it’s tied to Trump, Big Left will deny, or scupper, it.

Paperwork

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Trump’s administration will allow importing elephant trophies, reversing an Obama era ban.
Trump’s policy is correct. If it’s an elephant owned by a tribe who raised it to be shot in a trophy hunt and who get the proceeds (and meat), then there’s nothing wrong with allowing the import. Poached elephants, obviously not. This is not an elephant issue — there’s nothing inherently bad about elephants — it’s a documentation issue, removing the incentive to poach while retaining the power to license hunts.

It’s similar to the Gibson guitar fiasco. President Obama’s Justice Department raided the guitar maker’s factory and seized $1 million of imported ebony and rosewood which it claimed was protected under the laws of other nations and therefore banned for import into the United States. But there’s nothing inherently evil about rosewood. It’s a paperwork issue: import from this country, you’re okay; import from that country, you’re not. Remember “conflict diamonds?” Same deal.

A blanket ban on importing all rosewood, diamonds and elephant trophies harms the economies where those products are legally produced. We can be smarter than that.

Joe Doakes

Government isn’t great at “reasoning”.

Mediocrity In Our Time

A review of the movie The Final Year  – about the Obama Administration’s, well, final year – reveals more between the lines than in the actual script, according to Kyle Smith in NRO.

Pullquote:

The Obama foreign-policy masters see their three accomplishments as the Paris Climate Accord, the opening to Cuba, and the Iran deal. Given that the former wasn’t presented to Congress for approval, was nonbinding, and was later dumped by President Trump, while the other two amounted to making concessions to American foes in exchange for virtually nothing, this is a bit like bragging that you suckered the Franklin Mint into giving up a souvenir Elvis plate for only $34.95. But to understand why Rhodes and Obama are so pleased with their foreign policy, you have to understand the way they think. The documentary is revealing about that.

A contest to determine the worst Secretary of State of the past fifty years between Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry would be a spirited one indeed.

Walter Duranty Is Alive And Well

American legacy media trip over, beclown selves with their coverage of the Nadia Comaneci of this year’s winter olympics…

North Korea:

No foreign leader has enjoyed coverage as good as North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong since Vogue profiled Asma al-Assad, first lady of Syria, back in 2011. (That was right before Assad’s regime killed tens of thousands of people and used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.) A sampling: Reuters: “North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics’ most important medals: the diplomatic gold.” CNN: “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics!” Business Insider: “From her “side-eye” of US Vice President Mike Pence to hints at Korean unification, Kim has stolen the spotlight at the Winter Olympics.” Washington Post: “The ‘Ivanka Trump of North Korea’ captivates people in the South at the Olympics.”

All that is necessary to get the coastal media’s blessing is to  be the opposite of Donald Trump.

Without whom this rapprochement, real or fabricated, would not be happening in the first place.

Cognitive Assonance

When Donald Trump was elected, Big Thinkers with Bylines predicted that he – and the BREXIT movement often associated with him and his rise – would gut US markets.

Apparently not.

They also said that his intransigence would make American foreign policy even more fraught than it had been.

I’n not exactly “tired of winning” yet, but it’s interesting how turning foreign policy and defense over to grownups – people who’ve read enough non-intersectional history to know that coddling bullies just gives you more bullies – is slowly moving some of the world’s needles in the right direction.

 

 

State Of The World

Sometimes, no matter what “side” of American politics one is on, it can seem like there is no good news to be had.

It’s most prevalent among people on the left, these days, of course – but even conservatives can fall prey to the idea that it’s never been worse.

And with that in mind, sometimes it’s good to take a step back and a deep breath and look at some of the advances the West has made in terms of global strategic goals in the past year or so.

So let’s do that – the top ten developments in the world strategic picture in the past year:.

Here’s one development I never thought I’d see in my lifetime:

In 2017 it finally happened. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait went public in support of an Arab-Israeli alliance to oppose Iran. Many (Arabs, Israelis and Iranians) believe that such an alliance won’t last long but that is not crucial. The alliance only has to last long enough to halt the spread of Iranian power and influence. Israel has been through this before. The peace deals with Jordan and Egypt have largely held even though there are ups and downs. The Israelis know that the anti-Semitic attitudes in the Arab world go back to before the emergence of Islam in the 7th century and have waxed and waned ever since. Anti-Semitism is again widely tolerated in Europe. But the United States has a new president who grew up in and around New York City, built a fortune there, has a Jewish son-in-law, Jewish grandchildren and a pro-Israel attitude that is more decisive and imaginative than that of the last few American presidents. Currently the Arabs of Arabia, or at least key leaders, have decided that decades of denouncing Israel, the one nation in the region with a functioning democracy, the most advanced and successful economy and the most powerful armed forces, ought to be rethought. So now Israel is seen as a potential ally not a battlefield opponent. As a result Arab journalists and leaders are speaking openly, and more frequently, about such an alliance. Some countries, like the UAE (United Arab Emirates), can now speak openly of the discreet (and often not so secret) commercial, military and diplomatic links they developed with Israel over the years. To a lesser extent Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian connections are now admitted.

Read the whole thing.  The news isn’t all good, but it’s much better than the current, TDS-addled media will tell you, too.

Panic

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Hillary criticized Trump’s efforts to contain North Korean aggression, while she was speaking at a conference in China on Tuesday.  She wants to see the six-party talks brought back (North Korea walked out in 2009 to resume its nuclear weapons program).

A few hours later, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile at Japan.  It was not carrying a nuclear warhead  . . . this time.

And still, she wonders why people would rather vote for an orange orangutan than vote for her.

Joe Doakes

I’m amused by people blaming Trump for the fracas last week in Hawaii.  As if the Hawaii emergency management people wouldn’t have made the same mistake, engendering the same panic, under HIllary.

Much Ado About S______es.

News flash: President Trump said something offensive.

Maybe.

The is sure, but can’t confirm it beyond Dick Durbin – a man with a long record of practicing the ethics of convenience – and repeated by the Dems’ stenographers in the media, which only stops them when the subject is a Democrat, but whatever, but whatever; it’s one of the reasons I trust a used car salesman with an untreated gambling addiction more than the institution of the media.

Anyhoo, the President ostensibly referred to certain nations – as distinct from people – as “S***h**es”.

My dislike of Trump goes back, uninterrupted, to the mid-eighties – but let me break this down for you:

If you are referring to a society where the vast majority of the people are short of basic necessities like food, water and jobs because the “government” runs things for the benefit of a kleptocratic ruling “elite” (in the same sense that the Crips, MS13 or the Mafia are “ruled by an elite”) – as in much of subsaharan Africa, and a fair part of Asia and Central and South America – the President may have had a point.

If you are talking about a society that brags about having a culture hundreds or thousands of years old – but all of that cultural history is marked by feudal warlordism, systematic devaluation of the individual, mass murder, indentured servitude and serfdom, systematic ignorance of human rights and endless cycles of variations on single-person or single-party rule, the President isn’t that far off.

If you’re talking about a culture that we’ve had to teach how to stop herding people into death camps at bayonet-point in living memory, or a country where very significant numbers of people were perfectly happy to send their neighbors of an inconvenient ethnicity to their deaths for 13 pieces of silver, or one where millions of people long for the return of the most bloodthirsty tyrant of all time? The President may have been wrong in the literal sense, but not moral or metaphorical ones. `

And if you live in an American city where the achievement gap and the gap between the gentrified “haves” and the ghettoized “have nots” is approaching third-world levels, crime is rising even as the national crime rate is plummeting, and the public debt bubble is growing to catastrophic levels, and the leadership’s response is to virtue-signal about minimum wages and police shootings?

The President wasn’t referring to you, but to foreign countries. So far. But he’s not far off.

I didn’t vote for Trump. But some of the people howling about his (alleged) remarks really need to broaden their focus. All humans are created equal before God and the Law (whether their rulers acknowledge it or not), but all governments and nations are not.

Anyone who disagrees is invited to live in Venezuela until further notice. Which isn’t saying “America – love it or leave it”; it’s saying “History: learn it or end up on the wrong side of it”.

Not That There’s A Problem

Two years ago, “the authorities” dismissed reporters that gangs of Middle-Eastern and North-African migrants roamed the streets of German cities during the New Years celebrations, attacking women in an orgy of depredation Europe hadn’t seen since, well, Europeans were doing it to each other in the thirties and forties.

Dismissals aside, The Authorities” saw fit to staff “women only safe zones” in Berlin for this year’s New Year celebration in Berlin:

Organisers of Berlin’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are to set up a “safe zone” for women for the first time.

The new security measures planned for the Brandenburg Gate party come amid concerns about sexual assaults…Women who have been assaulted or feel harassed will be able to get support at a special “safety zone”, staffed by the German Red Cross, on Ebertstrasse…The city’s police have also issued advice to women, encouraging them to seek help if they feel threatened and to carry a small bag with no valuables.

The “zone” will be staffed by counselors and psychologists.

I’m thinking the Bundeswehr would be a better idea, but then The Authorities never ask me about these things.  Still, I’m not the only critic:

Critics say it does not tackle the perpetrators of sexual violence, while some others complain it is discriminatory.

A society that thinks giving refuge from rapists “discriminates” against…rapists may be too far gone to save.

On the other hand, Berlin is, in American terms, a hard-blue city.  Which brings us back to “perhaps too far gone to save”.

 

 

In The Money!

SCENE:  Mitch BERG steps out onto his porch to bring in his mail – and is startled to see Avery LIBRELLE looking over the envelopes. 

BERG:  Um, Avery?  What the…

LIBRELLE: Merg!  Venezuela is raising its minimum wage! If they can do it, why can’t we?

BERG:  The “increase” is meaningless.  Just like the ones in the US.

LIBRELLE:  They benefit those who need it most!  The poorest and most vulnerable!

BERG:   Let me ask you this, Avery.  Let’s say that I give you coupons, in payment for waving a sign around at a rally.  Those coupons can be used for one thing – to get mint tea at Whole Foods.

LIBRELLE:  Mmm. . Whole Foods.

BERG:  Right.  Now, I give you two coupons.   One for every four hours of sign waving.

LIBRELLE:  OK.

BERG: But Alida Messinger gives you four coupons.   That’s a coupon every two hours.

LIBRELLE:  I’ll work for Alida.

BERG: Right.  But Whole Foods only has one bag of mint tea left in the store.  At all.  How many coupons is it going to cost?

LIBRELLE:  I don’t get it.

BERG:   You have coupons good for tea.  But there is no tea.  So all your coupons are are pieces of paper given to you in exchange for a day of waving signs.

LIBRELLE:  The correct answer, then, is that my labor – sign-waving – is of intrinsic value, and should be rewarded with tea.

BERG:  Not to Whole Foods, it’s not.    The coupons are just pieces of paper exchangaed for slices of time you spent, er, working.  The sign didn’t get waved twice as much, or twice as hard, or… (looks at LIBRELLE) twice as effectively.  You just got more slips of paper.  But the tea is all gone.

LIBRELLE:  Right, but I still have three more coupons!

BERG:  Which are of no value.  Like the 40% “pay raise” in worthless money that the Venezuelan “poor” will get out of this “raise”.

LIBRELLE: But when they throw off the shackles of the international capistalists, they’ll all be rich!

BERG: Right.  Just like you’ll have three bags of tea when the truck finally arrives at Whole Foods.  Hey – why are you on my porch.

LIBRELLE:  Just checking for thoughtcrime.

(And SCENE)

For Sale?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Trump issued an Executive Order.  Human rights abuse and corruption are a threat to national security, so if you’re on our secret list, we can bar your entry into the country and if you’re already here, we can seize your assets without notice.

Wow, that’s a big step, worse than the No Fly List.  Just on general principles, I’m uncomfortable with the President giving the bureaucracy that kind of power.  What brought this on?

The order is somehow related to the Magnitsky Act, which is named after some Russian who died under suspicious circumstances.  The Russian government hates the Magnitsky Act and wants it repealed.  Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton didn’t enforce the Act because they wanted favorable relations with the Russians.

Remember Natalia Veselnitskaya, that Russian lawyer woman who met with Donald Trump Junior before the election?  She claimed to have dirt on Hillary so he went to the meeting but she had no dirt, it was a pretense to lobby him to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

Turns out that same woman was given special permission to enter the US by the Obama Department of Justice, tricked Junior into taking hermeeting, and also met with Fusion GPS – the people who made the fake dossier paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign – before and after hermeeting with Junior.  She came, got instructions, executed them, reported back . . . mission accomplished.

That meeting and the Fusion GPS dossier are the Democrats’ reasons for claiming Trump was colluding with the Russians to steal the election.  On the contrary, it’s beginning to look as if the whole thing may have been a team effort between the Russian government, the DNC and the Clinton campaign to smear Trump and thereby help Hillary get elected.  And the proof is this Executive Order – had Trump not been elected, Hillary would have continued to go soft on Russia, so plainly the Russians had no interest in defeating her.  Trump is their worst nightmare – a politician they can’t buy.

The special investigator should be looking at collusion, all right, he’s just not looking in the right place.

Joe Doakes

Now that Trump has nominated a good SCOTUS justice, if all he accomplishes is further undercutting the respect for the media and the federal bureaucracy, I’ll consider his presidency a success

Sign O The Times?

Big Left seems to thrive on misery.  They seem to love to cling to the notion that things have never been worse, in the nation or the world (or at least they do when there’s no Democrat in the White House).

For example – ask a typical liberal, and they’ll say that “gun violence” is at an all time high.  It’s not – nationwide, it’s at sixty-year lows, and even in Democrat-controlled major cities it’s lower than it was 25 years ago.  And yet if you ask a “progressive” what’s going on in the world, they’ll to a person insist “violent crime is out of control”.

And that’s not the only area.

I mentioned the other day the church service I went to on Christmas Eve, featuring a homily that made it sound like the world was teetering on the the brink of collapse – notwithstanding the fact that, for most of the world, things have never been better.

Don’t get me wrong – the human condition is an ugly thing.  I’m of Scandinavian descent, so optimism and pollyannaism don’t come naturally.   And the arc of the universe, while long, curves inexorably toward tyranny and barbarism.  It could all go south someday.  And there certainly  are wars going on, refugees in camps, pockets of malnutrition.

But for now, for most of the world’s people, things have never been better. As evidence, I submit this:   for the first time in the history of humanity, obesity is a bigger problem than malnutrition, as reported by those noted conservative crazies in The Lancet, in this case via both CNN and an actual news organization (which notes that obesity kills three times as many people worldwide as malnutrition).

This, not fifty years after “experts” like Paul Ehrlich “proved” that mankind was headed for an unavoidable date with Malthusianism ; that poor countries in South Asian and Africa were beyond hope and would need to be “triaged”; that India was, inevitably, going to plunge to a stable population of 100 million, and Subsaharan Africa was going to mostly die off as well.

Bear in mind that throughout all of human history, mankind has always been one bad crop away from mass starvation.  This is the first time in history most people on this planet can take a deep breath and think about a future that goes past the net harvest.

And this is almost entirely due to the success of the free market – even in places that have repudiated free markets!

Again – not that life is a picnic everywhere on earth.  It’s not.  But it’s also never been less dire and threatened.

There’s just no telling that to Big Left.