No, not even this.
Are the Kims just crazy or crazy as a fox?
If there’s any regime on the planet that’s been only a Turkish Angoran cat and a monocle away from being a James Bond villain, it’s been the Kim dynasty of North Korea. From the regime’s nuclear weapons program, to attacking the South Korean navy, shelling a South Korean island, and even declaring a “state of war” with their southern neighbors last March, North Korea has created a reputation as a teetering, despotic dynasty constantly on the verge of either collapse or thermonuclear genocide. Or perhaps both.
Such an image has been cultivated, in large part, by the cult of personalty surrounding the Kims – and nourished by the reputation of them engaging in downright theatrically outlandish acts of evil. So it is any wonder that news reports have surfaced that Kim Jong Un didn’t merely executed his purged uncle Jang Song Thaek, the number 2 North Korean official, but fed him alive to 120 dogs? (skip ahead if you’re squeamish):
“Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called ‘quan jue’, or execution by dogs,” according to the Straits Times of Singapore. The daily relied on a description of the execution in a Hong Kong newspaper that serves as the official mouthpiece of China’s government.
“The entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr. Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials,” the Straits Times said in a piece published Dec. 24, 2013, but only now getting traction in the United States.
There’s no report yet if when Jang Song Thaek asked Dear Leader if he expected him to talk, Kim Jong Un replied “no, Mr. Thaek, I expect you to die.”
All terrible Bond jokes aside, if the accusations sounds far fetched, it’s because they likely are:
The source is questionable, too. If the Chinese knew about how Kim’s uncle died, why didn’t they talk about it sooner and why did the story only leak out through a Hong Kong news outlet? The incident was first reported by the Wen Wei Po newspaper on December 12, yet it’s only now that The Straits Times has commented upon it – and only now that the Western media has started to take notice. The Straits Times is a respectable and widely read publication, but it’s often been accused of being the mouthpiece of Singapore’s ruling party and is staunchly anti-communist – so political bias is possible. Finally, we can’t dismiss the possibility that China itself has fabricated or at least encouraged the story to send a message to Pyongyang. Kim’s uncle was the architect of closer economic ties between the China and North Korea and there is thought to be a lot of anger about his death.
The story exists because it serves the purposes of all parties involved. Kim Jong Un needs to maintain the aura of “crazy” that his grandfather and father created, for both foreign and domestic opponents. Kim was reportedly the target of an assassination attempt last March by rival factions, perhaps being the impetus for Kim’s declaration of “war” later that month as an effort to put the country on a heightened security footing without exposing the weakness of his grip on power.
China loves the story because it gives them a further excuse to distant themselves from the hermit state after having lost their greatest internal political champion in Jang Song Thaek. The South Koreans love the story because Pres. Park Geun-hye has taken a much harder line against the North, abandoning the “Sunshine Policy” of the 2000s in favor of a more Reaganesquse “trust but verify” approach (billed as “trustpolitik“ by some foreign policy pundits).
The “Kims-as-crazy” story angle ensures no sizable shift in policy on the Korean peninsula, even though there has been a massive shift away from the reconciliation that the Sunshine Policy (1998-2008/9) attempted. In an effort to extort South Korea and drive a wedge between them and the U.S., the Kims’ reckless behavior accomplished the exact opposite.
So perhaps the Kims are simply crazy after all.
…of Cindy Yuille and Steven Forsythe, who were murdered a year ago at this minute (3:25PM Pacific Time) in the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon by Jacob Tyler Roberts, an insane, delusional narcissist…
…and the many, perhaps dozens, of people whom Roberts couldn’t murder in the ensuing minutes and hours, because Nick Meli – a citizen with a carry permit and a .40 cal Glock 22 – made Roberts stop short, and then end his shooting spree by killing himself. (We talked about it yesterday).
If you see Representative Heather Martens, Jane Kay, their PR flak Doug Grow, Michael Paymar, Alice Hausman or any of the Twin Cities’ other gun grabbers, please do me a favor and remind them – Nick Meli saved more lives in that moment than they and their groups of smug, sanctimonious, sputtering hamsters ever will.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Media is identifying this as the LAX shooter’s rifle.
What is it? The long bare snout looks like an M1 Carbine that my Dad carried in Korea:
. But it has a pistol grip the M1 didn’t have.
The body looks like wood, which nobody uses for modern assault rifles, they’re all black plastic, and the receiver is the same size as the fore-grip.
It doesn’t have the huge carrying handle of an AR-15 or a rail to attach scopes, etc.
Weird. What is it?
I’m gonna place it as a “Tacti-Cool” modified Ruger Mini-14. In its original form, it’s one of the most popular working guns in rural America…
…an excellent varmint gun, built on the legendary M-1 Garand operating system (which was adopted by the M-14 service rifle – hence the name “Mini-14″ – it’s basically an M-14 chambered for 5.56x45mm (like the AR-15/M-16/M-4 series) instead of the much more powerful 7.62x51mm round.
With some “tacti-cool” accessories added – as not a few police departments have done – it does a passable “assault rifle” impression:
That’d be my guess.
Any other takers?
Speaking of the LAX shooting – how about the absolute dearth of details about the alleged shooter?
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.
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.
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”.
Over the past year, we Real Americans were asked “Why do you neeeeeeed an ugly military-grade firearm?” – and before we could answer, were promptly told “You really don’t!”.
There are many answers, of course. The best of them is “I’m a law-abiding citizen buying a legal product that will never be used to commit a crime of any kind, so it’s none of your business, and go piss up a rope”. But “serving as the ultimate deterrent to government overreach” is right up there.
And somewhere down the list – for Americans – is this answer; deterring, and if necessary doing more, to the scumbags that prey on society’s honest and hard-working people
An audacious band of citizen militias battling a brutal drug cartel in the hills of central Mexico is becoming increasingly well-armed and coordinated in an attempt to end years of violence, extortion and humiliation.
What began as a few scattered self-defense groups has spread in recent months to dozens of towns across Michoacan, a volatile state gripped by the cultlike Knights Templar, a drug gang known for taxing locals on everything from cows to tortillas and executing those who do not comply.
Law enforcement – up to an including the Army – is of no use in protecting the citizen:
The army deployed to the area in May, but the soldiers are mostly manning checkpoints. Instead, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is facing the awkward fact that a group of scrappy locals appears to be chasing the gangsters away, something that federal security forces have not managed in a decade.
They include a 63-year-old pot-bellied farmer mindful that he can run only 30 yards; a skinny 23-year-old raised in Oregon who said he had never used a gun before; and a man who wears a metal bowl stuffed with newspaper as a helmet. A 47-year-old bureaucrat, who is sure that she will be killed if the gang retakes her town, said of her decision to join the cause: “I may live one year or 15, but I will live free.”
“Hey, you can’t fight an army…” – and the narcotrafricantes are surely an army, if only an army of thugs – “…with your deer rifle!”
Volunteer fighters who have been using old hunting rifles and even slingshots are increasingly armed with silver-plated AK-47s, armored trucks and other bounty that they said they have seized from the cartel. And although the self-defense groups had been operating independently, they are coalescing under the leadership of a tall, white-haired surgeon who once worked for the Red Cross in California.
Read the whole thing.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
One of the early, successful examples, of drawing a line in the sand, from before President Obama got into the act.
The Light Bringer can’t pull this off because his words carry no authority. When the Roman Consul threatened you, it wasn’t with a strike “just muscular enough to not get mocked” or one that would be “unbelievably small.” When Barak Obama threatens you, it’s an international joke.
You don’t risk American lives and spend American money to “send a message”.
Say what you will about both of Dubya’s wars – Afghanistan went bad, and the unintended consequences in Iraq were worse than the war itself for all concerned, we get that – but when Dubya went to war, he didn’t “send a message” to the Taliban, or “punish” Hussein. He went to war to unconditionally defeat them.
Not to send a message.
“Messages” are why we have a State Department. ”Punishment” is why we have trade sanctions, Stuxnet and spooks .
(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.
How is it that the Administration is absolutely double-dog certain that Assad launched chemical weapons - in an area with no US presence, much less sovereign control - but after one full year still claims not to know what happened in Benghazi?
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.
The Nobel Peace-Prize-winning Obama Administration has been beating the war drums like John Bonham has risen from the dead and wants to get through the gig so he can trash the hotel already
And still we’ve seen no sign of Madea Benjamin.
Or Cindy “Absolute Moral Authority” Sheehan.
Or Code Pink.
Their relatives are starting to get nervous.
If you have any information as to their whereabouts, please call 1-976-PEACECREEPS.
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.
(SCENE: The cockpit of a US Navy F-18 Super Hornet strike fighter. The plane, loaded with JDAM precision-guided bombs, flies through the clear desert skies as the camera closes in on the PILOT).
PILOT: “Cobra Two Five, On Station”
CONTROLLER (flying in an AWACS plane over the eastern Mediterranean): “Welcome to Syria, Cobra Two Five. We’ve got an air support call from “ABU”. Go ahead, Abu”
ABU: (mildly distorted, on the radio) “This is Abu Fuad Hadji Al-Ramshish. We are trying to advance through Al-Khebab, and there is a group of government tanks blocking the way”.
PILOT: “Copy, I’m five minutes out…hey, wait. Abu Fuad Hadji Al-Ramshish?
ABU: “That is correct”
PILOT: “Didn’t a bunch of Marines call me in on an ground support strike against you near Fallujah back in 2005? Weren’t you an Al Quaeda commander?”
ABU: “Why yes! I thought you sounded familiar, Cobra Two Five! Call sign…er…Mobster?”
PILOT: “Er, yes. Wow. So you’ve switched…”
ABU: “Oh, merciful heavens, no. Your bomb missed me, I left Iraq, I got promoted, did a tour in Afghanistan…”
PILOT: “Hey, me too…”
ABU: “…and now I’m here”.
PILOT: “Well, I’ll be”.
ABU: “Small world, isn’t it?”
PILOT: “And now I’m flying air support for…uh…”
ABU: “For me, an Al Quaeda operative. That is correct.”
PILOT: “Huh. OK. Well, Cobra Two Five, I’m at the IP”
CONTROLLER: “Weapons Free, Cobra Five, clear to go hot”
ABU: “Good shooting, Mobster. And then die, American infidel pig dog”.
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit:
Hmm. Seeking a coalition of the willing to take down an Arab Ba’athist dictator over WMDs. Where have I heard this before?
How many times do we need to repeat it?
At least so far Obama’s copied the parts of Bush’s administration that actually worked. Now he’s treading into “squib” territory.
The left-leaning media – meaning “most of the media” – is tittering and cavorting about the sparks that’ve been flying between New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. “GOP CIVIL WAR”, they bellow, as if it’s something new.
There are three different definitions of “Conservative” in American political life:
- Northeastern Conservatives: Comfortable with big government, socially moderate-to-liberal on social issues (defined broadly; it refers to education, welfare and immigration as much as abortion and gay marriage), assertive on defense, tolerant of massive intrusions in the interest of internal security. Their focus is less on shrinking government than on getting the best value for the tax dollar. Think Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie – or for that matter Norm Coleman. Don’t think Michael Bloomberg; he’s not a conservative in any way, shape or form.
- Western Conservatives: Favor aggressively limiting government. Generally socially libertarian (at least on a policy level; they may or may not be personally conservative), frequently vague on defense, favor law and order but opposing massive law-enforcement overreach. Favors shrinking government intrusions in the economy and personal life. Think the Tea Party and the pols that are aligned with it, including Rand Paul and, largely, Rick Perry.
- Southern Conservatives: Comfortable with big government, conservative on social issues, hawkish on defense and law-and-order. There aren’t many major contenders from the Southern school in this campaign. Huckabee’s a southern-con. You could make a case Dubya was one, too.
So the Christie/Paul kerfuffle isn’t just a battle between candidates; it’s a battle between fundamentally different schools of American conservatism.
And after reading both of them, it’s clear; they’re both right.
Christie Was Right – Libertarians, when it comes to national security, frequently are lost in la-la land. I’ve long since lost count of the Ron Paul supporters who sincerely believe that Iran would be a great friend of the US if we just acted nice to them (and left the Israelis to their own devices with no further ado). Not a few libertarians are just as lost in the fog as Vietnam-era anti-war liberals when it comes to one of history’s great facts; societies that practice war eat societies that would eschew it for breakfast.
Sure – the relatively peaceful, relatively liberal democracies of the West did in fact eventually defeat the warmongering totalitarian Nazis, to pick an example – but only at staggering cost and dislocation.
If you accept that war happens, and that sometimes those wars come to us against our national will, and that it’s better to win them than lose them, then some form of effort to gain intelligence about ones’ enemies’ intentions is one of those things that one trades for, among other things, casualties. And don’t kid yourself – intelligence-gathering has been an incredibly intrusive force in Americans’ lives in the pasts; FDR ordered his intelligence and counter-intelligence services to read every single piece of snail-mail, every telegraph, and eavesdrop on every single phone conversation entering and leaving the United States during WWII.
And like winning wars, staying a jump ahead of your enemies is an ugly, messy thing; it’s the sausage you really don’t want to see getting made. Like fighting crime – there’s a trade-off between liberty and effectiveness. A perfect police state might, hypothetically, be crime-free (at the cost of being, in essence, a criminal state itself); a pure libertarian state might be “Crime-free” in that, having no government, it recognizes no crime.
Say what you will about libertarian purism; if you stop short of anarchy, then defending your society from those who’d harm you is the most direct justification to have a government in the first place. It’s one of the few really good reasons to have a government; without defense (and courts to enforce contracts), really, what truly useful purpose do they serve that the private sector doesn’t do better? If government can’t keep the people safe from foreign aggression, why have it in the first place? Even libertarians that aren’t anarchists largely agree on this, right?
If you think you prevent airplans from crashing into skyscrapers, or underwear bombers from blowing your kids out of the sky as they come home from London, happens by just squirting good-will at the world, you are completely nuts.
But Wait – Rand Paul Is Also Right! – But then you’re also nuts if you believe that government doesn’t take a mile for every inch you give it, or that “Defending the Nation” is a static, unchanging thing.
All of you national-security hawks who say “The FISA Courts, into which was have no visibiliity and into which there is exceptionally limited oversight, are ample protection of due process for Americans” have apparently forgotten the IRS scandal. Or Fast and Furious. Or the trampling of the Fourth Amendment, or the growing militarization of the police.
In short, law and order conservatives who are pollyannaish about government are no less addled than those who are pollyannaish about the role of unilateral good-will in keeping the world at peace.
“We’re from the government and we’re here to help” is no less a joke coming from the NSA than it is from the Fish and Wildlife Service. Just as liberals would suspend the Bill of Rights to cut CO2 emissions, some conservatives – especially the ones that are comfortable with “the System”, and there is nobody who can grow more comfortable with “The System” than a federal prosecutor like Christie – are perfectly fine saying “would you trade the Fourth Amendment for getting that drug dealer out of your neighborhood?”
As to defense? The libertarians are wrong, we need a strong one. But the definition of “a strong defense” changes, and changes radically, over time. Is it the right time to engage the American military in an endless counterinsurgency that might be better suited to intelligence and proxies to carry out (uh oh, now the Libertarians and Liberals will get upset) when the Russians and the Chicoms are taking the world in a much more convention direction again?
The point being that re-assessing what the nation’s strategy actually is, and how the military forwards it, and what kind of military we need to do the job isn’t “anti-military”.
Above all? Due process needs to be more than just an inconvenient speed bump for the authorities – or what’s the point of pretending to be a “representative Republic” anyway?
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
This is just too much.
And now, the terrorists have won.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
The Benghazi story keeps getting weirder.
Notice the FBI is on the job. The first 5 suspects have been identified, but not enough evidence has been gathered to try them in court. Enough exists to kill them if the Big O says so, but not enough to capture and try them. Is it just me, or is this administration’s War on Terror policy bewildering?
The guy who made that Mohammad video must have been the greatest filmmaker of all time, to provoke this much response with one low-budget flick.
And the “Poles” who attacked the radio station at Gleiwitz must have had some serious momentum to have started all that fuss by themselves.
Just think how much worse this story would be if Britons had the means and legal right to resist violent crime.
When American gun-grab advocates talk about the UK’s crime rate, they gloss over the fact that general violent crime in the UK Is higher than in the US.
Someone tell Representative Martens.
…for all time the quaint, pollyannaish notion that the “elite” media exist as anything but a Praetorian Guard for the Democrat party.
The biggest Benghazi-related story that took place outside of the House Oversight Committee’s hearing room today is this item in Politico, regarding CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. She’s the reporter who famously drew White House officials’ profane ire over her unapologetic pursuit of the Fast & Furious scandal story; now she’s apparently facing searing criticism from another source: Her own bosses. Why? Because she’s been covering the Benghazi story too aggressively
Read the whole thing.
If Bohner and Cantor don’t get a select committee on Benghazi going yesterday, then what the hell is the point of even having an opposition party?
Joe Doakes from Como Park emailed me a link to this piece, by Richard Fernandez of Belmont Club in re not so much the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing, but our newfound cultural non-response to all sorts of violent threats:
Read the whole thing, natch – but here’s the money quote;
We focus on things because it is prohibited to focus on people. The TSA looks for things — scissors, liquids, shoes, etc — but it doesn’t stop the underwear bomber. People now want to blame “access to guns” for the Tsarnaevs. But it would be uncouth to ask about what they heard from their imam or their teachers.
This is in contrast to the “El Al” system of screening. They look at the man first. “Who are you?” is in many ways more important than “How long are your scissors?” But since we can’t inquire into the man, might as well look into the scissors.
As time passes, more and more acquaintances will come forward saying, “Well, come to think of it he did say this and that and this. …” It will transpire that many knew. Many suspected.
But no one came forward. Why not? Because the system doesn’t do things. It doesn’t do people. It doesn’t do mental strife. But the system has really nifty swords. Armored vehicles, dogs, drones, thermal scanners, .50 cal sniper rifles. Heck, there might even be a minigun or two out in Watertown. Betcha they work real good too. Pity they might have to be used in those neighborhoods.
It’s easier to clean up messes afterwards (and creates more unionized public works jobs!) than to risk the lawsuits involved in getting it right in the first place.
One Boston Marathon bombing suspect dead, one on the lam, one cop dead.
First responders; on the off chance you see this, stay safe out there.
It’s best to try to engage your opponents’ best arguments; that makes your own arguments stronger.
David Sirota’s Salon piece, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American“, is not one of our opponents’ better arguments:
As we now move into the official Political Aftermath period of the Boston bombing — the period that will determine the long-term legislative fallout of the atrocity — the dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks. That’s because privilege tends to determine: 1) which groups are — and are not — collectively denigrated or targeted for the unlawful actions of individuals; and 2) how big and politically game-changing the overall reaction ends up being.
According to Sirota, “white privilege” has prevented white males from coming under the sort of scrutiny that, say, Arabs have for ghastly crimes.
This has been most obvious in the context of recent mass shootings. In those awful episodes, a religious or ethnic minority group lacking such privilege would likely be collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse) if some of its individuals comprised most of the mass shooters. However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.
Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as “lone wolf” threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters. Meanwhile, non-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats — the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.
Yeah, it could be the “white privilege”.
Or it could be the fact that nearly all of the Arab mass murderers – from Major Hassan up to the 9/11 hijackers - have actually been members of, or allegedly explicit sympathizers with, major extranational military/terror movements, while the white males have represented tiny fringes of tiny fringes of our society:
By contrast, even though America has seen a consistent barrage of attacks from domestic non-Islamic terrorists, the privilege and double standards baked into our national security ideologies means those attacks have resulted in no systemic action of the scope marshaled against foreign terrorists.
The examples Sirota gives (drawn from the lefty idiotblog Crooks and Liars - the only blog in the world that can’t shake its head at what dolts the Daily Kos diary writers are) are largely lone crazies, many of them implicated in “white supremacy” by the thinnest of threads; some of them (John Patrick Bedell) are actually lefties; the article itself considered the Gabby Giffords shooting a “terror attack”.
And beyond that?
In fact, it has been quite the opposite — according to Darryl Johnson, the senior domestic terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, the conservative movement backlash to merely reporting the rising threat of such domestic terrorism resulted in DHS seriously curtailing its initiatives against that particular threat.
Sirota is apparently writing to an audience of the addled; DHS Secretary Napolitano’s “reporting” (along with her camp followers at the Southern Poverty Law Center) was less “reporting” than “releasing a list of groups that opposed the Democrats”. The right was correct to mock both “efforts”.
Is there an element of “racism” in the way our society treats crime? Sure – although the term might better be called “we-ism”. Everyone in the world is a “we-ist”; they’re more tolerant of people who look, speak and act more like them, and less tolerant of those who don’t. It’s true of everyone; middle-class black professionals are twitchy around urban Latinos; alpaca-clad Volvo-driving fashionably-gray NPR-listening upper-middle-class white liberals get nervous around leather-wearing Bud-drinking bikers. Our society is still largely white, and the male half of that majority is, well, male; to the extent that the idea of a “white male majority” includes both David Sirota and, well, me, I guess you could say “we” are more forgiving of people like “us”, whoever they are.
So you could chalk this up to “white privilege”.
Or maybe to the fact that so many Arabs who’ve attacked us have expressed sympathy with the goals of the groups that attacked us in 9/11 (notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of American Arabs are no less American than anyone in Bemidji), while the vast majority of “white terror” suspects have indeed been lone wolves (I mean, if you’re going by evidence rather than Sirota’s fervent, nearly evidence-free wish that it were otherwise) might have something to do with it.