Good or Bad for the Jews

"Good or Bad for the Jews"

Many years ago, and for many years, I would travel to Morocco to visit uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. Some lived in Tangiers;...

Friday, August 31, 2012

The GOP Convention: Pretty Impressive

I admit that I am a political junkie. I spent hours watching the GOP--and will do the same with the Democratic one next week.

It was one of the best conventions I have ever seen, despite Isaac and despite some pretty lame media coverage of it (MSNBC was beyond disgusting). The array of new GOP faces is genuinely awesome; the Democrats have nothing to compare with Mia Love, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Condi Rice, Susana Martinez, Ted Cruz, Allan West, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, or Clint Eastwood.  And, of course, they don't have Mitt Romney. They've got Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Sandra Fluke, Rahm Emmanuel, Barney Frank, Elizabeth "High Cheekbones" Warren, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Clint Eastwood's empty chair. No contest.

It is not just a people issue, it is a message issue. The GOP managed to lay out an optimistic and clear vision of support for freedom, success, and the basic values of this country.  The Dems? We will see, but judging from their campaign so far, it will be about bashing the rich, getting free contraception and abortion, and more government programs. It, in other words, will be trying to put some sort of a shine on the failed politics of the past.

Mitt Romney's speech had the right tone, delivery, and substance, and made the point that the President of the United States should work for the United States. The President is not the Citizen of the World out to heal the planet while making America look like Greece. I think it was an effective appeal to those who got caught up in Obamania in 2008 and now are waking up with an empty wallet, a splitting headache, and deep regret for the past four years.

Prediction: Romney will win this election.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ryan Speaks

Ryan gave a great speech and indictment of the Obama administration and its philosophy. I loved the line about the Obama administration being akin to a ship trying to sail on "yesterday's wind." He's got the tone exactly right. Regard the Obamistas as yesterday's fad.

Ryan is clearly a rising star and Romney deserves a lot of credit for picking somebody as energetic, intelligent, and articulate as Ryan. It shows that Romney does not fear smart people and does not fear their shadow. He can hold his own. Contrast the Ryan pick with the Biden pick and you will see what I mean about what it says about the Presidential candidate.

The Dems are apoplectic. They are trying to pick at little things in Ryan's speech in keeping with their little-minded campaign. The lefty blogosphere is full of nonsense about the Janesville GM plant. The Huffington Post ran a breathless piece  claiming to have fact-chekced him on the GM plant. As typical they have it all wrong. Ryan never blamed Obama for closing the plant; he said candidate Obama went in February 2008, to the Janesville plant, a hundred year old factory slated to be closed by 2010, and told the workers that with government partnership the plant could stay open another hundred years.  The plant "temporarily" shut its door in April 2009 when the last truck rolled off the assembly line. The Dems are going around saying the plant closed in December 2008. Even Wikipedia has it right, noting that the plant closed in April 2009.

The Dems and their supporters, of course, miss the main point.  Obama clearly implied to the workers at the plant that with government support the plant would remain open for another hundred years. The Obama misadministration now owns GM. Why is the plant still shuttered? Obama has had over three years to make good on his promise to the workers in Janesville.

There might well be good market reasons for the plant to be closed. Did consumers buy its products? Do the liberals and Obamistas drive GM cars? Judging from what I see on parking lots of liberal college campuses, and in the driveways of the liberal neighborhoods in California, Maryland, and Massachusetts, the answer is no. They seem to like cars made overseas or in non-UAW plants in the US. In other words, they don't want their personal money going to GM, but want our public money to go there. The Obama bailout was designed to defy the market and to pay off the UAW leadership and protect them from their follies.

So, folks, keep asking, why is the plant still closed? Ask people who favor the bail-out what car they drive . . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Condi! Condi! Condi!

Condoleezza Rice's speech was outstanding!

She has given the most unabashedly and intellectually solid patriotic speech I have heard in a long time.

I take back everything negative I ever said about her. I grovel in apology.

"Shocking Revelations" About Bin Laden's Death . . .

Well, there's a book out by a Navy SEAL on the op that killed UBL.  I am reluctant to buy these types of book, but will probably bite on this one.  I see that the press is already panting that the account disputes "the" official account of his death. Look, this blog has been highly critical of the Obama's misadministration's handling of the post-raid press and spin (here, for example). But to start parsing and feuding over whether UBL was shot in the doorway or in his bedroom, and that some SEAL had to use UBL's cadaver as a seat on a crowded helicopter is just silly. I can hear the Islamists and the looney left getting spun up over the "disrespect" shown UBL's body. I am sure they showed him more respect than he did the thousands of unarmed civilians he murdered on September 11, 2001.

Stop. This is the sort of press obsession that gets distorted overseas and can get people killed.

The Obama misadministration totally blew its handling of the post-Abbottabad raid spin. Obamistas just couldn't shut up, and stop giving away as many "details" as possible. Now, we have a SEAL joining in and providing what might be the most accurate account of the raid. But it is all unnecessary.

The message should just be, you kill our citizens and we will track you down as long as it takes and capture or kill you. No escape. Period.

The GOP Convention: So Far, So Good

Hurricane Isaac did not manage to annihilate the GOP convention, much to the apparent disgust of some elegant, well-educated, and tolerant liberals.

I thought Mia Love was an amazing revelation, and I very much hope she wins her race in Utah. I was struck by how many of those on podium, e.g., Love, Ann Romney, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Rick Santorum, are the children of recent immigrants. So much for the mainstream media/Dem narrative about Republicans being anti-immigrant and being the party of the Mayflower. I was also struck by how many terrific women politicians the GOP boasts having--another fail for the narrative about "war on women." In addition, the GOP women have a sense of humor, grace, and  modesty lacking in the hard-edged, humorless, egomaniacal, and almost robotic women politicians on the Democratic side, e.g., Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Nancy Pelosi.

On the two main speeches.  I think Ann Romney knocked the ball out of the park. She had a very tough job to do, to wit, refute the developing storyline about her and the Governor as bloodless, soulless rich royals with no understanding of the common guy and gal. She came across as sympathetic, smart, hard-working, human, and as a person who has endured considerable personal struggle--multiple sclerosis and cancer-- with grace, humor, and faith. She did it without veering into self-pity or becoming cliche-riden and maudlin.  She is a very good speaker, and likely would have been a formidable politician in her own right.   There is a lot of material in that speech which can used in ads over the next two months.

Chris Christie, also the descendent of immigrants as he proudly noted, did an unusual thing for a politician, especially for one with his reputation as a street-fighting man. He made an excellent philosophical speech. He was by turns brash, funny, touching, and above all truthful. He is a terrific speaker; I had never heard him deliver a complete set speech before, and was very impressed.  He underlined that this campaign is about big issues, and he stressed that the GOP is on the side of the little guy. His line  "They believe in teachers' unions. We believe in teachers,"could easily be a slogan for the campaign. He stressed that the campaign is about conflicting views of the nature and future of America. His speech was perfectly in line with Romney's selection of Ryan as a running mate:  this is a campaign about fundamental issues. How often does that happen? Politicians who do not pander and do run on important issues. Amazing.

The humor, the optimism about the future, the view of America as a special country. The Dems have their work cut out for them. Let's see if Sandra Fluke, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, et al, can match that. Right . . . .

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Republican Convention: What I Want to Hear

Assuming that Isaac and the mainstream media grant any visibility to the GOP convention in Tampa next week, I, a strong Mitt Romney supporter,  have one theme I would like to hear come out of the convention:

"It doesn't have to be this way. If you elect Romney-Ryan, it will not be this way."

We have to blow away that fog of Carteresque disillusion, cynicism, and hopelessness that has once again settled over our country and which the Obama campaign offers us at best only some empty phrases and bloated ineffectual government programs designed to help us deal with decay. The Obama campaign is essentially, "Hey things are the way they are. Not much we can do about it. Sort of like the weather, so let us buy you a couple of sweaters, and some soup to help you make it through the rest of your miserable life."

That is not America, at least, not America outside of Chicago, Cambridge, and Chicago.

We do not have to have unemployment in excess of 8%.
We do not have to have Federal budgets with annual deficits in excess of $ 1 trillion.
We do not have to have a deteriorating navy, air force, and army.
We do not have to stand around and watch our friends fall, and our enemies rise.
We do not have to have class warfare.
We do not have to have a government hostile to free enterprise.
We do not have to have ever-increasing taxes and spending.
We do not have to be dependent on hostile foreign countries for our energy resources.
We do not have to have a Federal government dictating our health care.
We do not have to have a Federal government that sells weapons to Mexican drug cartels, which kill hundreds of Mexicans with them as well as two US agents.

And on and on . . . It doesn't have to be this way.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Neil Armstrong: Classic American Hero

I will never forget those days that began with the July 16, 1969 launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Since I could remember, I had been a nerd and obsessed with science fiction, the space program, and our competition in space with the Soviets. I was caught up in the emotion of having the US beat the USSR to the moon. I had watched the launch on TV and kept the TV on non-stop (this before 24 hour cable coverage) just in case there were developments on the long voyage to the moon, and NASA needed my help.

The landing on the moon, July 20, was like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. When a few hours later, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module onto the surface of the moon and uttered his somewhat corny "one step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind," I was ecstatic beyond all description. We had beat the Soviets! The American flag was on the moon! American English was the "official" language of that orb! I even set up an old Bell & Howell wind up 8mm camera on a tripod in front of the TV set to film the grainy b&w images.

The moon landing was one of the few bright spots in what had been a dismal decade, and things were only going to worse. It was a time of war, riots, economic stagnation, and doubts about the ability of the United States to triumph not only over the Soviets but over the excesses of our own culture. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman (Apollo 8) were heroes of mine as they showed that America still had it when it counted. I was always impressed most of all by Armstrong who struck me as a classic almost Jimmy Stewart sort of hero. He was old time military; not a lot of flash or bravado, just quiet courage and competence.  The mission is what matters, and it doesn't matter what the mission is: "You want me to bomb a bridge in Korea? OK, let's go." "You want me to deliver five tons of Girl Scout cookies to Ulan Bator? OK, when do you need them?" "You want me to land on the moon? OK, when?"

I never got to meet him. I, however, did meet Buzz Aldrin when I was Charge of an Embassy in Asia. He had come by to visit Arthur C. Clarke. The Embassy put on an event with both of them. I got to introduce them to the press and to the crowd that had come to hear them speak.  Afterwards, I spent a considerable amount of time talking with them about science fiction and the future of space exploration, including getting a very detailed description with drawings on a napkin of Clarke's idea for a space elevator. (I was in nerd heaven.)  Both were extremely distressed that NASA had gone the Space Shuttle route and had stopped going to the moon. Clarke and Aldrin seemed to resent that Armstrong was not interested in promoting the commercial possibilities of space, and, at least then, in urging NASA to take a different path. Clarke told me, "He wants to be left alone. He doesn't like publicity." I remembered replying, "I guess he doesn't want to be another Charles Lindberg." Clarke looked up from his wheelchair and snorted, "Hell, nobody should want to be Charles Lindberg!"

Neil Armstrong, thank you for your courage, patriotism, and competence. Thank you for that glorious day 43 years ago.

Neil Armstrong, RIP.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gun Control . . . for the NYPD

Mass shooting at the Empire State Building!

The media were having a field day with the latest example of a mass shooting by a mad man. Well, that is, until the facts began to get in the way of the story. Turns out it wasn't really at the Empire State Building, and the murderous little creep had one victim in mind, a former work colleague, whom he murdered in cold blood. It was the cops who turned the scene into a "mass shooting."  It seems they pumped out somewhere between fourteen and sixteen rounds, while the other side of the "shoot-out" fired back with exactly . . . zero. All of the wounded at the scene were shot by cops!

I sound like a broken record on this topic, but cops are out of control. As could be predicted, Mayor Bloomberg has upped his anti-gun crusade calling again for a ban on "AK-47s," and, apparently, he was on a radio interview bemoaning AK-47s precisely at the time his boys in blue were shooting up mid-town with their 9mm handguns. He, therefore, might want to focus his gun control efforts a little closer to home: how about with the NYPD?

What kind of training do "America's finest" have? Are they, in fact, even trained in aiming and shooting a weapon? Double-tap, anyone? What sorts of rules of engagement do they have? Do NY City cops know how to operate in an urban environment? That might be a useful skill, just maybe, no? Didn't Blackwater get nearly put out of business for a shootout on the streets of Baghdad?

The NYPD will now get hit with a raft of lawsuits over this mass shooting. The already beleaguered taxpayers of NY are going to take it on the chin, again.  But, hey, they are safe from oversized sodas . .  .

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Attention Mortals!

"You must dare not look upon my visage, peons, lest I turn you to stone!"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Assange, Part Two

Sitting in a little coffee shop in Miami, my favorite city in the world, and watching the TV as Julian Assange gives a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The Cubans, Venezuelans, and Spaniards in the shop are laughing their heads off. They are all way too familiar with pompous egomaniacs giving speeches from balaconies to take Assange seriously.

I swear it looks like a scene out of a Woody Allen movie. He looks absurd, standing on the small balcony with a cameraman while giving his self-important speech to the "crowd" below. Ah, yes, the United States "must" do this or that . . . Sure, sure, you want fries with that?

Let the poor boy go to Ecuador. He won't last long there. Wait until he sees how Correa runs the place.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Will be on the Road

Taking the daughter to college (ugh!) so posting might be a bit light for a few days. I am sure my contact with the university types will fire me up . . .

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wikileaks' Assange and Ecuador's Correa: Made for Each Other

Creepy Julian "WikiLeaks" Assange has been granted asylum by the more than slightly mad President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.  They deserve each other as they both serve as classic representatives of the narcissistic leftism of the modern age. Both claim to be heroes of humanity. They, of course, are both frauds.

Assange's Wikileaks operation it seems benefitted from equally as creepy US Army Private Bradley Manning, who, it seems, was full of some sort of rage at the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the Army.  In a stunning lapse of security -- almost as bad as the White House's handling of classified information -- this resentful Private apparently managed to download thousands of classified cables, many if not most of them State Department messages (including quite a few that I wrote), and zap them over to Assange's operation. Most of the messages are harmless and probably over classified. Many, however, were not, and their publication revealed sources of information as well as confidential discussions and deliberations. If guilty, Manning deserves a good thirty or so years in the slammer; if it can be shown that people died because of his alleged actions, then he should be shot or hanged. Period. End of story.

Assange has been hanging out in the UK but ran afoul of the law: a couple of his erstwhile fans and co-workers in Sweden have accused him of sexual impropriety, including rape. The Swedes want to talk to him about this; the British courts said he must go to Sweden; Assange cried foul, saying it was all an American plot to have him shipped to the US and executed. While out on bail, Assange dashed into the Ecuadorian embassy in London and requested asylum. After two months, Correa has granted it to him, knowing that there will be no reaction of consequence from the Obama misadministration.

Correa is another resentful little man who hates America, admires Castro, and desperately wants to inherit Hugo Chavez's crown as the king of the Latin leftists. In true leftist fashion, Correa hates freedom of speech and press; has persecuted his own media nearly into oblivion; rigged the Constitution to give him almost unlimited power;  driven Ecuador's economy into the ground; and left the country open to drug traffickers, terrorists, and Iranian operatives.

I doubt Assange will ever make it to Ecuador. In a way that's too bad. He would lead a lonely, miserable life. The Ecuadorians soon would tire of him and of what we could expect to be his ceaseless demands for protection from the Americans and special status. Assange soon would also find that his views on "open" information are not widely shared within the Correa clique, especially not by the increasingly authoritarian Correa, himself.  Were Assange to try any Wikileaks nonsense with Ecuadorian government info, he would soon wish he were facing the "fascist" justice system of either Britain or Sweden.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Joe Biden in Context

Well, well, well . . . VP Joe has been sent out to be the attack Chihuahua, again. . .

Look, things are not fair. Ryan is young, athletic, smart, knowledgable, and has a full head of hair, and Joe, well, he . . . . Anyhow, the debate between Ryan and Biden just won't be fair. No, it's not right. In keeping with our Dear Leader's vision of the United States as the land of equal outcomes, I propose that Republicans make a special effort to help out ol' Joe as "he's been moving kinda slow . . . "

It is only fair that the Diplomad go first in this effort. A suggested spin for the DNC.

"By now we all have heard the Vice President's speech in Virginia in which he mentioned that the GOP sought to put black people 'back in chains.' We note the mock outrage from the Republicans on this comment, and roundly deny that the Vice President was implying that the Republicans would put black people in some sort of physical, metal 'chains.' The statement must be understood in its full context. The Vice President meant, and the GOP knows this, that were the GOP to win the November election, everybody would have to go shopping in 'chain stores' and eat in 'chain restaurants.'"

Just a thought . . . .

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ryan: A Serious Man

I will leave to those more qualified to analyze and spin the electoral impact of Governor Romney's choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his VP running mate. The masters of spin and parse will be out in force looking at whether the choice "alienates" single women, frightens senior citizens, or galvanizes the Tea Party into action. I am not going to get into that . . . much.

In terms of intellectual firepower, and track record of accomplishments in the private and public sector this presidential ticket, regardless of party, is the best one in decades and arguably ever.  This is a serious ticket. Voters will have before them a stark choice in November. On the one hand, the Democratic ticket consists of a failed, truth-avoiding, and corrupt incumbent President running with Joe Biden, one of the dopiest and least interesting hack politicians of our time. The GOP ticket consists of a successful job- and wealth-creating businessman and governor running with the single smartest and most competent Congressman on the Hill, the one man in the whole Congress who knows how a federal budget is put together and the impact it has on the country.  For me, there is no dilemma in making my choice.

The Democrats got nothin'. So they will double down on the sort of vicious assault on truth that we have seen over the past few weeks. The Democrat lie Gatling is already beginning to fire away: Ryan favors throwing the elderly off a cliff; he favors a federal budget to make the rich richer. More will come. Ryan can expect to have the most minute details of his life put out in public and subject to ridicule.  The President who refuses to divulge the most basic information of his own life, will spare no expense in having his minions dig up anything and everything that can be used or distorted. It will be disgusting and infuriating.

I hope that Ryan will give as good as he gets while sticking to the truth and coming back again and again to the failed Obama-Biden record, and the basic choice now facing us: do we want to continue marching down the road to stagnation, dependency, poverty, and a government-run society, or do we get back to the basics that have made America great. There should be no problem in making that choice, except that we have been busy developing a society of half-educated college graduates and cynics with no basic understanding of the economy or the world. We have people more and more removed from the process of wealth production and further and further into wealth consumption. That will be the challenge facing the Republicans and the future of America, to wit, to tap into what I believe is a still strong American ethos of work, saving, and investment, to make it clear that we do not have to become Greece.

America needs a little R&R after four years of B&O.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Obama's War on Truth

As we emerge from the summer doldrums, we see coming ever more clearly what we knew would come from the Obama re-election effort: an unceasing staccato of lies.

For all his exotic cool, easy smiles, and breezy charm, Obama is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. When I say that, I refer not just to the machine's well-known lax handling of money, e.g., Obama's real estate deal with convicted mobster Rezko, or its liberal attitude towards voter fraud, e.g., Obama's opposition to voter id laws. No. The real corruption of the Chicago way of politics is how it handles the truth, and the zero regard it has not just for the truth, but for the damage done to the political process and to real lives, real human beings, by the lies it spews. It is the politics of personal destruction on  steroids.

We see the machine at work in their "kill Romney" strategy.  The Obama machine tells lies, because lies are much better than the truth. The Obamistas only seem to tell the truth when they commit a "gaffe." The most prominent gaffe, aka inadvertent truth, is, of course, "You didn't build that!" Four words that revealed the ugly, angry hate-filled face behind the smiling mask. The truth is a disaster for the Obama campaign and must be avoided; to paraphrase Jack Nicholson, "They can't stand the truth." The Obama campaign is built around lies. Never mind the war on religion, the war on women, the war on the middle class.  It is a war on truth. The truth is that the Obama presidency is a disaster by almost any measure of the national interest. Endless and growing deficits; the imploding of the economy; the selling out of allies and the collapse of American influence abroad; the sabotage of basic American values by the promotion of dependence. The campaign cannot be about any of that. The campaign cannot be about Obama's record, it cannot even be about the secretive and deceptive Obama.

The Obama campaign has a Gatling gun loaded up with seemingly endless rounds of lies. They fire one lie after another on the assumption that, as Churchill noted, "lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." Romney is a tax cheat; Ann Romney has never done anything in her life; Romney rips off workers and small companies; Romney uses death squad money; Romney is a murderer. As the victim gets ready to respond to one lie, another is headed his way. No time to respond to all the lies much less get to focus on the real issues at play. That's the Chicago way.

Whomever Governor Romney picks as VP running mate, better be ready to have his life turned upside down. The Chicago machine will stop at nothing.

This is going to get very nasty.

For the sake of our country and for the sake of just plain decency, Obama must be defeated in November. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Drug War Summed Up

Going through 34-years of old photos, I found this one. I have another one somewhere that is clearer, but I haven't found the right shoebox, yet.

The picture is of a large plane (DC-3? Not sure) resting at the bottom of a lake in Central America. I took the picture from a helicopter while on an anti-drug operation many, many years ago--the shrubbery at the bottom of the frame is a marijuana plant we "captured" in a raid earlier that day and were taking back as evidence.

Seeing this plane in a lake made a huge impression on me; it drove home the futility of the "drug war." The narcos used big planes on one-way missions. They could afford to throw away aircraft and still make huge profits. You can't make war on the law of supply and demand . . .

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mars and Hiroshima

It seems almost appropriate that NASA's rover "Curiosity" should make its spectacular landing on Mars, named for the god of war, on the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, perhaps the single most spectacular and consequential military action in history. Both events are the result of a uniquely American capability: the ability to put together and execute in a brilliant fashion large, extremely complex, and technologically dazzling operations with long term consequences not only for America but for the world.  For those who hate America and for those who don't, the message is simple: never underestimate the United States when it comes to doing the difficult or even the "impossible." America has an unparalleled ability to carry out large even awe inspiring military and engineering/scientific projects, e.g., the building of the Panama Canal, the D-Day invasion, the Manhattan Project, the moon landing, the invasion of Afghanistan, and now the Mars landing.

On August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber, the "Enola Gay," dropped the world's first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  Nobody knows how many people died in the attack; estimates range from a "low" of 65,000 to about 250,000. Whatever the number, it was part of the "terrible arithmetic of war" in which whole cities in Europe and Asia were turned into rubble, including the March 9-10, 1945, firebombing of Tokyo in which perhaps over 100,000 people died.

I remember being at the UN building in New York on the 40th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. An exhibit had been put up in the lobby to commemorate the event. I joined the small group of European tourists who were being addressed by the UN tour guide, also a foreigner. The young man discussed the bombing as if it were an isolated event, no context. It was as if one day Harry Truman woke up and decided to drop a couple of atomic bombs on Japan.  Seething, I remember asking him where the exhibit was for the attack on Pearl Harbor since without the attack on Pearl Harbor there would have been no attack on Hiroshima. His only reply was, "That's the American version." 

Was the atomic bombing justified? Yes, it was. Truman made the right call. The US naval and air campaign against the Japanese homeland, unlike the Allied bombing of Germany, seriously deteriorated Japan's industrial capacity. The strategic bombing of Japan had by mid-1945 probably cut Japanese industrial production in half. Japan was clearly going to lose the war but its leadership had no intention of recognizing that. As the American invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa showed, the Japanese were brave, tough, skillful, and determined defenders of their home islands. American military planners looked at the casualties from those two campaigns and extrapolated to what it would cost to invade Japan proper. The US military estimated that there would be at least one million American casualties, plus hundreds of thousands of other allied dead and wounded, and perhaps twenty to thirty times that many Japanese casualties in the case of an invasion. Such a campaign in Japan might take one to two years, would result in the total devastation of Japan, and produce a legacy of hatred and bitterness that would last a hundred years or more.

One alternative to an invasion was the slow strangulation of Japan via a naval blockade and a continuous bombing and shelling campaign. That, too, would have resulted in the deaths of millions of Japanese, and a war that would have dragged on for perhaps years.

Dropping the atomic bomb was the only viable option. We should note, of course, that even after the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, important elements within the Japanese military tried to prevent the Emperor from making his broadcast accepting the Allied terms.  The atomic bombings allowed for a peaceful occupation and rebuilding of Japan, and within the parameters of the "terrible arithmetic" it was the least horrible of the horrible options available.

This is a day to stand in awe of science and the power it has to scare us and to amaze us. It is also a time to reflect on what real leadership, skill, and teamwork look like and can produce.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Obama and the Damage Done

As noted before, I began my career in the Foreign Service during the Carter presidency, and ended it during the Obama presidency: two horrific bookends.

Jimmy Carter should not have been president. He was incompetent beyond belief; angry about America's success in the world; wanted us to get our comeuppance; and was and is a mean, reptilian and graceless little man.  Being out of office has made him even angrier, meaner, smaller, more anti-American, and more anti-semitic. He was and remains a repellent creature; if anyone ever could make me ashamed of my country, he could. I can't forgive him for that.

He caused the United States a considerable amount of damage.  His economic policies were almost non-existent. He, in fact, never seemed to have an interest in the economy except to the extent that our dire economic performance during his term seemed to fit his view that we were being rightfully punished. He wanted Americans to live small, and see the future as a bleak struggle for atonement for past sins. His foreign policy was disastrous. The USSR and its vassals were on the march throughout the world, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, with virtually no resistance from the United States. His administration gutted our intelligence and covert capabilities; our military was a hollow shell; our international alliances were badly frayed; terrorist organizations and states, with Soviet-bloc support, operated openly in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America; and the insane Imams of Iran turned a major ally into a major enemy.

Along came Reagan. He laughingly rejected the Carter premise that America deserved its "punishment" and that we could do nothing about the economy, the decline of American power, and the rising might of the Soviet empire.  Reagan waved off the honking flocks of "intellectuals" who called him out-of-touch and dangerous. He connected with the American people and the great traditions of our country.  He slashed taxes and our economy turned around; he took seriously the Constitution's main role for the president: national defense.  Our military might came roaring back; he outmaneuvered the Soviets and brought them and their vast evil empire to their knees. It was a masterful performance.  Reagan managed to fix most of the damage done by Carter--the Iranian disaster, however, continues to haunt us over three decades later--and he restored faith in America as the indispensable nation in the world.

We now are saddled with another abomination as president: one worse than Carter. The damage Obama has done to our economy and global standing, while immense, can be relatively easily fixed. The real damage he has done is more pernicious and perhaps permanent. He has participated fully and deliberately in undermining the essence of what it means to be an American. Let me explain.

Anybody remotely interested could know Carter, what he had done with his life, and what he advocated. He had an easily accessible public record.  Obama, of course, is the most secretive and closed off president we have ever had. Only after years of badgering did he even release his birth certificate. We are not allowed to know about his education except that, like the absurd Elena Ceausescu, he is "brilliant." How did this self-admittedly mediocre high school student, from a relatively modest background, growing up in remote Hawaii and Indonesia as part of an apparently very dysfunctional family, manage to get into three expensive and "elite" universities? How did he come to their attention? Who vouched for him? Who paid? Did he claim to be a foreign student? What were his courses and grades? Who were his friends and teachers? In a celebrity obsessed world where we know everything about Tom Cruise and Britney Spears, we know next to nothing about the man who encumbers our presidency.

His political rise is shrouded in mystery. After Harvard, he suddenly moves to Chicago. Why? He becomes a "community organizer" there, and rapidly rises in the corrupt and crony-filled Democratic machine. He becomes the darling of gangsters such as Rezko, close friends with known terrorists and hate-mongers, and presto he is taking down opponents right and left and soon is in the White House.  We can't ask anything about it all. To do so risks charges of racism. His ascendency is a liberal Hollywood fable and it must remain unquestioned and unexamined. He is our anointed leader. He is our Athena.

This is the first bit of damage he has done. It is now considered by the majority of the media and the other honking "intellectual" geese as off-limits to question Obama's life, his claimed achievements, or note the contradictions in what he has said and what he says now. Free speech is no longer so free. If you question the President, you are a racist, insane, a danger to democracy, hate the poor or all of the aforementioned.  If you still hold the same views that he purported to hold up to a few weeks ago, e.g., the traditional definition of marriage, and failed to "evolve" when he did, then you are a hopeless homophobe; your business should be banned and ruined, and your employees bullied. This is not unlike Orwell's 1984, "We have never been at war with Eastasia . . . " You must keep up with the changes in Dear Leader's views. He will tell you when you can favor gay marriage; when you can raise closing Guantanamo; when the war will end; when the deficit must be cut with more spending. New Think is here.

Obama has become the incarnation of a troubling trend in our country that has accelerated over the past 40 or so years. He has become the head of what passes for modern progressivism: the alliance between tax-supported university faculties, lawyers, government bureaucrats, journalists, NGO "activists," and Hollywood. This alliance has promoted the politics of envy and resentment, and launched a sustained attack on traditional American values. Our country is now filled with the half-educated idiots who emerge from our universities with no real knowledge but with feelings of entitlement and resentment. We should stand in awe of people with PhDs regardless of whether what they say corresponds to the reality we see, because they know what's good for us. They are the "experts."

One should not underestimate the power of Hollywood in forming what passes for thinking by these impressionable morons. What many of our youth, and foreigners, think they know about America and American history, comes from movies and TV shows. Hollywood bombards us with the viewpoint that rich evil conservative white men (RECWM) are behind all of our troubles, and those of the world. Our heroes should be the brave lawyers who sue corporations; the brave journalists who expose the nefarious plots of the RECWM conspiracy; the brave activists who stand up to the "violent" gun nuts of the Tea Party; the gutsy abortion clinic workers who live in fear of their lives; the brave public servants, e.g., cops and perky assistant district attorneys, who protect us from the RECWM who, of course, are what all of us fear to encounter when we are in a dark parking lot.

Obama has captured this movement and its view, and represents and promotes it better than anybody else in living memory. Unlike Carter, Obama is not incompetent in promoting his hatred for America's traditional values and in embedding it into our institutions, e.g., the ruinous Obamacare, the rapid expansion of the federal dole, the insistence on apologizing for our successes, the disastrous "stimulus" spending, the glorification of the "victim" culture, promotion of envy and cynicism, and denigration of individual effort and success ("You didn't build that!") That is the real threat posed by what Obama represents. Overcoming that threat will take years of sustained effort. It begins, of course, with voting Obama out of the White House next November, but does not end there.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Media: They Just Can't help Themselves . . .

Tea Party backed Rafael "Ted" Cruz has won a surprisingly large victory in the Texas GOP Senatorial primary, beating his rival by some 13 points.  He is a smart, tough, conservative Hispanic who will win the Senate race next November quite easily.  So what does the Los Angeles Times write about? That Cruz might not be eligible for President in 2016!

Whoa! He hasn't even been elected to the Senate and already he is ineligible to run for President!

The LAT piece claims that since Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada while his father, a Cuban refugee, worked in the oil business, he is not a "naturally born citizen," even if his mother was a US citizen--which she was. Amazing the stuff they will come up with to try to destroy a rising GOP star. The liberals have to destroy women and minority conservatives above all others; not to do so would give the lie to their narrative that the GOP is the party of rich white guys. Look at the hatred directed at Palin, Bachmann, West, Rice, Cain, Rubio, and now Cruz.

On top of everything else, the LAT forgets the real reason Cruz will not be the GOP candidate in 2016: President Romney will be running for his second term.