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;...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and the Gift of Sanity

As a fat, rumpled, and crumpled old Jew, I want to wish a genuinely Merry Christmas to one and all.

For me the greatest thing we could do for all of us in the coming year is to restore sanity in our beloved and beleaguered Republic. Let's all work on giving the nation the gift of practical and common sense for which the USA was once well known.

All the best.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

On Cuba: Do You Trust Obama?

As readers of this blog know, I have little to no regard for the current occupant of the White House. I see him as the most ignorant, uncultured in every sense of the word, and destructive President in the long history of our now much beleagured Republic. As far as I can tell, what thoughts he has are shaped by some superficial reading and understanding of Marxist-tinged tracts and slogans, the classic progressive disdain for America and its achievements, and a strong sense of entitlement, all glued together with a mighty dollop of Chicago-style race and class politics. He has little to no understanding of America or of the world.  His speeches are loosely linked bumper sticker slogans, progressive fantasies, and, frankly, just lies. He has no concept of leadership or management, having never had a real job in the real world. He relies on a political base made up of an elite of America-haters, and a mass of low-information dolts who also think in bumper sticker terms--many of these dolts products of our decrepit "higher" educational system. He, however, is what we've got as President: a sad, sad day for America and those around the world who believe in and struggle for freedom.

I wrote before some preliminary thoughts on Obama's announcement on relations with Cuba. I noted then that his speech showed the typical ignorance of what passes for elite thought in America these days: the speech-writers are either woefully ignorant of the history of Cuba, Castro, and our foreign policy of the past sixty years, or just decided to lie and rewrite it. Either or both are possible in this misadministration.

Let's review some basics. Fidel Castro was an enemy of the US and of freedom well before the Bay of Pigs. A Communist whose firing squads killed thousands of opponents at home, he tried to export his brand of violence throughout the Americas well BEFORE the Bay of Pigs took place, much less the establishment of the so-called "embargo." In other words, his hostility to the USA and freedom did not result from our actions against his regime--this despite Obama's attempt at establishing some sort of "equivalency." His brother, Raul, now President of Cuba, likely was a KGB asset since at least the mid-1950's. Raul, by the way, was the hit man for the brothers, having personally killed several people. He, however, was willing to live in the shadow of his narcissistic, charismatic, flamboyant, and articulate sibling; whether Raul believed or believes in anything in particular other than power is an unknown. It seems unlikely, for example, that he has a mastery of Karl Marx's obtuse mumbo-jumbo, or that he takes seriously his brother's pretensions of being a great intellectual. Raul was Frank Nitti to Fidel's Al Capone, with apologies to Nitti and Capone. That Raul is now stepping out from his brother's shadow has to mean that Fidel is no longer a major player in decision-making.

For nearly six decades it has been the foreign policy of the United States to oppose the Castro regime, with varying degrees of success which one can debate for hours on end. The one constant throughout the years was our insistence that for a "normalization" of relations, the Castro regime had to give up support for terrorism, stop "exporting" the revolution, and respect basic human rights at home, including allowing the development of a democratic process. Has that happened? You decide, but I vote "no."

Let us not forget that we had a major "breakthrough" in US-Cuban relations previously. Obama, of course, did not bother to acknowledge Carter in this respect and that whole effort seems to have been wished away into the cornfield. We established an interest section in Cuba in 1977, and Cuba one in the USA. Did things get appreciably better between the US and Cuba, or for the Cuban people? Ask the murdered Brothers to the Rescue for their view on that . . . In other words, despite all the prattling on about how great it is to establish diplomatic relations, there is no guarantee--as we saw in the case of recognizing Soviet Moscow back in the 1930s--that with setting up formal embassies bilateral relations will get any better than now, or that, somehow, our values will creep in and turn Communists into capitalists and Jeffersonian democrats. What I can assure you is that Cuba will have a much better espionage base than it now does. Guaranteed.

Ah, but China, you say, what about the China model? Nixon's rapprochement with China came at a particularly bad time for the US at home and abroad. It seemed that the Soviets were on the winning side of history. The Nixon-Kissinger move towards Beijing was a brilliant--albeit cynical--move to outflank the USSR, our main enemy and the only enemy we have faced in modern times who could have destroyed our homeland. It let the Soviets know that we no longer believed--at last!--in the unity of the Communist bloc. In retrospect it was the beginning of the end for the Soviet empire, something most did not fully recognize at the time. We, of course, can debate whether in the long-run our relations with China have proven a net plus, but that we can do another day.

What do we get from "normalizing" relations with Cuba? Not clear. Why did Obama put us in the position of being the ones asking and willing to give things up? Who needs "normalization" more, the Castros or us? I understand what Raul thinks he will get, e.g., access to credit, easier trade terms, less reliance on Venezuela and its preposterous Chavista revolutionary preening, entry into the OAS and international financial organizations and programs, and an easier flow of remittances and tourist dollars at a very rough moment for the regime. We and the Cuba people get . . . what? What was the rush? Why could not the President have waited for the new Congress, laid out his arguments and created a bipartisan approach if he thought a normalization with Cuba was due. No. That would require leadership and a genuine concern for American interests. Both of those traits are sorely lacking in the current White House. Instead, as with immigration, he creates a complicated mess, at home and abroad, which requires the Oracle of Delphi to decipher. He turns the issue into a bipartisan conflict. It seems unlikely that the GOP-controlled Congress will accede to the demand for a complete lifting of the embargo in exchange for nothing. I suspect that at least some Democrats, already gun-shy from the pounding they received in the last midterms, will be reluctant to be in the front rank of Obama's latest version of Pickett's Charge.

Bottom line: I don't trust this President (see opening paragraph).

If we had a George Bush, a Mitt Romney, a Richard Nixon, a Harry Truman, oh hell, just about anybody else short of Henry Wallace in the White House, I might be willing to go along with a "normalization" in the understanding that we had a plan of action to pursue after "normalization." Does anybody genuinely believe that the Obama/Kerry/Jarrett/Rice misadministration has a plan to further US interests and to do something concrete about the deplorable state of human rights in Cuba? The Congress better grab hold of this fast and have a reasonable discussion of pros, cons, and in-betweens.

More in the days ahead.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Castros Pull It Off, Again? Some Preliminary Thoughts

I broke my vow never to listen to an Obama speech; I listened to the one he gave on Cuba. I also listened to the matching speech given by Raul Castro. I am going to write about Cuba here, but I ask readers to pardon a bit more than usual incoherence on my part. I am still conflicted and uncertain about the effects of what was announced today, so I will be thinking aloud. I reserve the right to change my mind, or better said, to make up my mind.

Part of my problem is that I have been very close to the Cuba issue for years. I dealt with Cuban issues directly at the UN, at the OAS, at Southern Command, and had dealings with many Cubans, both Castroites and the victims of Castro. I have lots of Cuban friends. I have seen the DGI--Cuba's very good intel service--up close and I abhor it and the thugs it employs. I have written a great deal about my experiences and views on Cuba and don't want to repeat all that. I certainly don't want to be Obamesque and make this about me; I am just laying out for you that I have issues when dealing with Cuba, ones that make it hard for me to be dispassionate.

My biggest issue is that I see the Castro brothers as evil monsters who have subjugated and brought ruin to a wonderful country, and done it with the tacit approval of the bien pensants around the world. Prior to 1959, Cuba was not some dirt-poor plantation as it has been portrayed by the Castros, Hollywood, and their many other apologists. It was a country with a remarkable cultural and economic level. Remember that before 1959, Cuba had an IMMIGRATION problem, that is to say, it was having a hard time coping with all the people from Europe and elsewhere who wanted to come to Cuba. My own in-laws in Spain made considerable money exporting high-end baby clothes to the Cuban middle class. Cuba had world-class doctors, engineers, poets, businessmen, and thinkers. It had a standard of living that was by some measures second only to that of the USA in the Western Hemisphere--it had a standard of living considerably higher than that in most of Europe and all of Asia.

Cuba, however, failed in the political sphere, suffering through a succession of corrupt and inefficient governments since independence in 1898--that is why so many members of the quite ample Cuban middle class initially supported the Castros, getting taken in by their anti-corruption and Jeffersonian rhetoric. The Castro brothers, of course, had another agenda. They wanted total power, to bring violent revolution to the Americas, and to develop a model socialist state of "New Men" in Cuba. They certainly achieved the first, failed at the second, and brought only poverty, imprisonment, and misery to Cuba's men and women, "new" and old. From being one of the richest countries in America, that island is now one of the poorest countries in America; it has gone from an importer of people to an exporter of people. ¡Con la Revolución todo es posible!

The brothers proved lucky and brilliant at staying in power and pulling victory, or at least survival, from the jaws of impending destruction. They were masters of the Hail Mary. They dodged the first big bullet in 1961, when the feckless JFK abandoned La Brigada on the beach. They survived the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when after Castro threatened the destruction of the United States with Russian Missiles, in exchange for Nikita Khrushchev's agreeing to remove those missiles, the JFK administration agreed not to topple the Castro regime. In the 1990's, they even survived the collapse of the Soviet bloc and found in Chavez's Venezuela a fawning benefactor who helped make up the loss of Soviet aid. The brothers were masters at eliminating those in their inner circle who seemed to step outside their assigned roles as cheerleaders for the brothers: Che, Ochoa, dozens of others met fates including exile, firing squads, and long prison terms. All the while the United States could not make up its mind what to do about the Castros and their revolutionary pretensions. The rest of the West, and eventually all of the Latin America, decided to do nothing and went along with the regime in Havana out of fear, cowardice, indifference or as a cheap way to defy the gringos. The much ballyhooed American "embargo" was always a half-baked affair, never fully enforced, and riddled with loopholes, and often defied.  The rest of the world had no intention of imposing an embargo, so while it was true, for example, the regime could not buy Fords and Chevrolets, it had no difficulty buying Toyotas and VWs, using dollars often sent by the Cuban exile community. The "boycott" served primarily to give the Castro brothers an excuse for the grotesque failings of socialism in Cuba. When Senator Helms tried to give the boycott some teeth, his efforts were sabotaged by the White House and the State Department. Within little time, the US was actually Cuba's third or fourth largest (depending on the year) trading partner. Some boycott.

Now to the speech by Obama. It was a clever speech designed for people who don't know the full history of Cuba since 1959 or the nature of US-Cuban relations. The speech gave away the leftist bias of its drafters with the nonsense equating "colonialism" and "Communism." What colonialism was Castro Communism fighting? Cuba had been independent for sixty years when the brothers took over; one of their first acts was to turn the country into a colony of the Soviets. Communism and colonialism went hand-in-hand, no opposition, no clash. Obama's speech sought "balance" by blaming both Cuba and the US for the state of relations. Nonsense. The Castros were and are murdering thugs who have never hesitated to kill anybody in their way whether at home or abroad. Castroite firing squads were operating at full speed even during the honeymoon period with the USA, when the NY Times was writing fawning pieces about Fidel Castro.

My first thought on hearing Obama talk about the need to get past colonialism and Communism was that he was channeling his father's anti-British obsessions. Cuba as Kenya. Much like Obama's immigration speech, it is not at all clear what we are getting. Alan Gross, who should never have been detained, has been released as has a long-imprisioned intel asset. In exchange, we freed the Cuban agents who helped set up the murder of American citizens. There is a further loosening of currency and travel restrictions. The speech, of course, will upend years of established American positions and lead, for example, to the entry of Cuba into the OAS without meeting any of the requirements laboriously worked out, e.g., a functioning democracy with full respect for human rights.

Raul Castro's speech was very short and to the point. None of the flowery phrases that his older brother would have used. Very business-like. No discussions of colonialism and Communism, and, above all, no promises to do anything in particular except to keep talking to the US. The impression I got was that he felt he had just pulled off another Hail Mary. Just as Chavez/Maduro Venezuela collapses along comes Obama . . .

This is getting a bit long and I will end it here with the observation that it is now up to Congress to decide what to do with this jumble dropped on its doorstep by Obama. The "embargo," what's left of it, is now in the hands of Congress, and Obama can go back to leading from behind.

I will have more to say in the coming days as my thinking clarifies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Imagine . . .

Not along the lines of John Lennon's silly song, but just imagine a morning where you wake up and do not have to hear or read about another atrocity carried out in the name of Islam . . .

With its savage attack on school children in Peshawar, the Taliban has done what Muslim groups all over the world do every day, to wit, prove that Western civilization is superior to the alternatives.

Now, of course, we all know that the real threat to humanity is a couple of Israeli apartment buildings being put up on the outskirts of Jerusalem and the CIA's water boarding of a handful of top terrorists.

We must keep our priorities in order, of course, lest our progressive overlords get angry with us . . .

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sydney Siege, Muslim Immigrants and Male Privilege

As I write this the news is coming through that the Australian services have put an end to the hostage taking in a Sydney cafe. It seems, from press reports (caution), that the hostage-taker is dead as are at least two of the hostages. Seen from here, the Australian authorities played it right. When it became obvious the hostage-taker was not going to be talked out, they sent in the special units who handled the matter as Aussies generally do, i.e., with skill and courage.

A few thoughts come to mind.

Again, we must note that the hostage-taker was a Muslim, an Iranian Sunni refugee. He benefitted from the generosity of Australia, and proved himself--according to the press--a perennial and serious trouble-maker during his 15 or so years in Australia. He finally paid back his adopted country with violence and murder. He undertook his actions in Sydney in response to the political dictates of his totalitarian and intolerant creed.

I thought it odd to hear journalists wondering about the gunman's motivations when he was forcing hostages to hold up a banner that read, "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet," and demanding that the cops deliver to him a proper ISIS flag. Wonder what was his inspiration? Only a journalist or some other member of the progressive clan could and would pretend not to know.

It gets worse. The situation had not yet been resolved, we did not know if any hostages would get out alive, and the progressives began their mau-mauing with stories about how this situation made Muslims in Australia feel uneasy: they worried about how they would be treated--you know the always present "blacklash." I guess they feel "uneasy" because, well, you know there was that famous anti-Muslim pogrom that took place in Australia back in, uh, well, uh . . . what utter nonsense.

Some more thoughts, and any reader, especially Australian, who thinks I am off my meds, please chime in and let me know.

A general observation. As I noted before, a couple of months back, the Australians announced that their intel and law enforcement agencies had broken up a plot to attack Parliament in Canberra. The usual experts chimed in, pooh-poohing the whole thing, doubting that ISIS or AQ could carry out such operations around the world. As we saw, however, a few days after the break-up of the Australian-based plot, there was one with eerie similarities that took place in Canada, where a Muslim gunman did attack the Canadian Parliament. I have noted before that groups such as ISIS or AQ or whatever they call themselves on any given day, do not need a vast logistical network slipping supplies and instructions to agents. They have something much better. They have the globalized media--both traditional and "social"--that transmit messages and images, and a bunch of Western countries with insane immigration policies that allow these murdering terrorists to live and thrive in the midst of tolerance. How does Australia--or Canada, or the UK, or the USA--benefit from taking in thousands and thousands of Muslim immigrants? Would we have knowingly taken in thousands and thousands of Nazis into our countries in the midst of WWII, or Communists during the Cold War? Is the war against the jihadis less lethal?

Speculation. I have never been--alas!--to Sydney. Judging, however, from the photos and video of the hostage situation, it seems that the Lindt cafe sits in a pretty nice part of town as would befit a Swiss chocalatier. The cleintele appear to be upper-middle class, primarily female, many non-white, and apparently all very professional. I am pretty sure that these are folk of a progressive bent, who probably find much of the popular culture of Australia or America embarrassing, are, nevertheless, remarkably tolerant of other cultures, are strong supporters of immigration, and are probably not the kind who voted for Tony Abbott. If the Lindt cafe is anything like Starbucks or some of the other upscale cafes we have in the USA near universities or other centers of progressive "thought," I am sure you could overhear conversations about "white male privilege," or the "patriarchy," etc.

Just want to note that the folks who had to risk their lives by breaking into the cafe and killing the gunman were white working class males exercising the privilege to protect their fellow citizens.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Awash in a Sea of Progressive Lies

These past few days have been incredible, literally incredible. We have been subjected to a concentrated barrage, nay, a flood, a tsunami, hell, an ocean of progressive lies. Really quite remarkable.

So many lies, so hard to know where to start (Note: I am having trouble with the LINK function, so this will be a no-footnote rant--but the material on which it is based is not hard to find).

Let me start with Michael Brown. The evidence presented the grand jury has been released. How can any rational human being read that stuff and not conclude that the policeman, Darren Wilson, was plainly within his rights to use lethal force against the rampaging giant thug Brown? The whole story of "hands up" was as false as false can be. Made up. It, however, fit the endless movie loop running in the heads of the progressive mountebanks who dominate our media and entertainment industries, and fit in nicely with the narrative of the race hustlers and corruptocrats who comprise this misadministration in Washington. The truth doesn't matter. It could have been true, and besides, we all know this happens all the time and is not reported, so what if it didn't happen this time? The innocent citizens brutalized and ruined by rampaging Democrat incited lynch mobs? Well, they are the collateral damage produced by an unjust society. Next time, officer Wilson should let himself be killed for the greater good. The lie serves the truth, don't you know?

Then we go to the University of Virginia gang rape case. Rolling Stone ran a lurid and detailed account of a gang rape on the UVa campus carried out by a gaggle of good ol' frat boys in keeping with a long-established initiation ritual which had been kept secret for decades. Right. Unfortunately for the progressives, the new media is not in the grips of those progressives, not yet, and a thousand beams of light were cast on this horrid little tale, and guess what? The story is not true. In the meanwhile, however, the politically correct authorities at UVa had shut down the fraternities and a hunt was on for the horrid frat boys who had committed this horrid crime. The story is not true? Oh, but that doesn't matter, you see, because rape is rampant on US campuses, and greatly under-reported, so the truth in this instance does not matter, because it could have happened, and it provides a teaching moment for reflexion. (How do we know rape is rampant and under-reported? Well, uh . . . You hate the victims!)  The suspension of due process, the smearing of dozens of innocent men, and whole organizations? Well, that is just the collateral damage produced by an unjust society, you see. It is all for the greater good. The lie serves the truth, don't you know?

Onward we go to the absurd actress Lena Dunham who has long been held up as a role model for progressive girls and women: This age's Amelia Earhardt, Marie Curie, Mary Shelly! Ok, so she's an admitted pedophile and practitioner of incest, but isn't she so daring in revealing her innermost thoughts and dark secrets? OK, she, too, claimed to have been raped, this time by a Republican (nice touch, that) named Barry while she was at Oberlin. How brave of her to come forward! I am woman, I am strong! Oops . . . the story is not true? The Barry who was at Oberlin is putting together a lawsuit? Well, the story could have been true. So what if it didn't happen this time? Suspension of due process? The smearing of an innocent man? Collateral damage produced by an unjust society. All for the greater good. The lie serves the truth, don't you know?

It goes on and on.

We see the outgoing Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intel Committee, the absurd Diane Feinstein, release an wildly inaccurate report on CIA "torture." Blame Bush! Can't get enough of that! A report drafted exclusively by left-wing Democratic staffers, who never bothered to interview anybody, or acknowledge that the Democratic Congress was briefed on all of this years ago, is hailed as a "bomb shell"! It rehashes old and discredited stories of the suffering by the poor AQ terrorists at the hands of the CIA and friendly services. My heart bleeds for them, I tell you. The same Senate that seems eager to denigrate those who did the tough job of protecting our country, is not at all interested in investigating the outrageous Fast and Furious scandal which saw hundreds of Mexicans and at least two US federal agents killed by guns deliberately supplied by the Obama DOJ to the drug cartels in furtherance of the anti-second amendment narrative. Mexican lives matter! Well,  only if they are on this side of the border and voting Democrat. The lie serves the truth . . .

The Feinstein report, of course, got released at the same time that the Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was getting grilled by the House, especially by the remarkable Trey Gowdy. Gruber is a liar who participated in one of the great lies of our time, Obamacare, which is bringing economic devastation to millions all in the name of helping millions. So what if the premises of Obamacare weren't true? They could have been. The lie serves the truth . . . you can fill in the rest. I am going outside to sit with my dogs and watch them tear apart some new and expensive "indestructible" plush toys I just bought them.

So many lies . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Extrajudicial Execution of a Capitalist in New York

I was planning on taking a break from blogging for a couple of weeks, but things happen on which I want to comment. Lately those things have been mostly of a domestic nature, which was not the original intent of this humble blog. But, that's the way it is.

My thoughts on the Ferguson case are quite clear. I think Michael Brown was a giant thug--who happened to be black--who had robbed a convenience store, assaulted the Asian owner of that store, and then went on to assault a cop--who happened to be white--and try to take his gun. Brown paid for his arrogant and brutal stupidity with his life. The grand jury acted correctly in refusing to indict police officer Wilson despite the enormous pressure brought to bear by extrajudicial actors such as the Democrat-led lynch mob in the streets, the ever-more disgraceful Attorney General, our completely hopeless President, and the echo-chamber mass media. The system worked.

I now turn to the Eric Garner case in New York. I am not sure that the system worked in that case. According to the press--and that's all the info I have--we have a man by the name of Eric Garner, who happened to be black, killed in the process of being arrested by a gaggle of NYPD reenacting Swift's Lilliputians tying down Gulliver.

You can see in the video that Garner, a very large man, is being wrestled to the sidewalk by several much smaller cops, one of whom has a hold on his neck. I don't know if it was technically a "chokehold," but it did consist of the cop's arm across Garner's neck. He falls and you can hear him gasp, "I can't breathe!" Apparently his last words or close to them. It is also not clear that Garner was resisting arrest. I acknowledge that different people can look at the video and reach different conclusions; I, however, am not convinced that he was resisting.  To me, he looked confused and uncertain as to what the cops wanted him to do.

What bothers me a great deal is that Garner had not robbed or assaulted anybody, much less an armed cop. He was neither Michael Brown nor that other thug, Trayvon Martin. His crime? Selling loose cigarettes to passers-by, thereby, depriving the city of a few cents of tax revenue. He died for selling loose cigarettes; he died for not paying a few cents in taxes to the Progressive New York City Leviathan cum Tony Soprano.

Garner was a victim of progressivism's lethality, and shared that fate with millions of other persons around the world. That NYC, my old home town, can afford to send at least eight or nine vastly overpaid and over-equipped cops to bust and kill a guy for selling cigarettes tells us all we need to know about the state of progressive governance in our horribly misled, once great, and former Republic.