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;...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Merkel Refuses to be Talked Off the Ledge

German Chancellor Angela Merkel just let the world know that her country and Europe can no longer "completely rely" upon the US and UK and that this has become quite clear these past few days, i.e., during President Trump's visit to Europe. She criticized Brexit and the US "failure" to reaffirm its commitment to the Paris Climate accord. She said Europe needs to stand together, and "that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands for its own defense."

This has produced a torrent of prog chatter on both sides of the Atlantic trying to show how President Trump has destroyed the Western alliance, something, of course, which Putin and Russia have long sought.

I will use a highly technical, quasi-legalistic diplomatic term in response to Merkel, et al: Crap!

If anybody has destroyed or at least seriously degraded the Western alliance it is Merkel and her progressive ilk. It is they who have opened the flood gates to a torrent of jihadis and produced the security and demographic nightmares that characterize today's Europe.

It is, of course, the EU which has for years sought to degrade NATO, and promote the EU as a political, military and economic rival and alternative to the "Anglo-Saxons," going so far as to produce even its own currency, the Bernie Madoff-like euro.

As I noted many years ago --2011, to be exact--
The EU as currently structured is a scheme that has as its political purpose to reestablish Europe as the center of the world, and dim the light of those braggarts with their Coca-Cola, cowboys, Hollywood, aircraft carriers, and comic books on the other side of the Atlantic. Many years ago, as the EU monster was growing and making ugly noises, I told a German diplomat friend that "France sees the EU as an anti-American project led by French politicians, protected by British troops, and paid for by German taxpayers." That was in the early 1980s; I wasn't too far off.

If you go to the EU's official websites you see lots of bragging about all that the EU has "done," e.g., ended the Cold War, brought peace to Europe, etc. It is written sort of like an Obama speech. It's, of course, rubbish. The EU has basically done nothing except create an enormous bureaucratic Frankenstein and come up with the ultimate Procrustean bed, the euro.
Except for a handful of Europeans, the UK, Greece (surprise!), Estonia, and Poland (of course), the rest are not meeting their defense commitments. The Germans and the French did not like the blunt Trump telling them this in his blunt way.

So as Germany goes into its election cycle, Merkel has decided to seek votes among the anti-American, anti-British slice of the electorate, and to endorse the revolutionary idea of Europe doing what it is already doing: going to hell real fast.

Merkel is committed to a Jack Kevorkian policy for Europe.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Snapshot of Our Present Condition

A beautiful sunny day here in southern California. Took the dogs for a long walk just before 6 am and they are now happily chomping on kibble and chicken strips. The Diplowife is at the gym. I am waiting for the electrician to come check a faulty outlet that is playing havoc with the pool filter, so this is the perfect moment to write about how horrible most things are. Not all things, just most.

President Trump is back in the USA from his first foray abroad as President. I think he did a tremendous job. He was flexible and accommodating where needed, and tough and blunt also where needed. I didn't see any missteps of any significance. He has firmly established himself as the major player on the world scene. He does not intend, clearly, to lead from behind. The vacuum that has existed for the past eight dreadful years has been filled, and unlike many of these sorts of trips, I think this one will have lasting and positive consequences. More on that in a later post.

The jihadis, of course, continue their onslaught. We have seen them target, attack and murder children in Manchester, England, and target buses of Coptic Christians on their way to prayer in Egypt. This aside, naturally, from the routine jihadi mayhem that now hardly gets reported in places such as Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc. The media finds the mass murder of brown people in remote places easy to ignore, and, besides, it doesn't fit the narrative they want us to swallow about Islam, its peaceful nature, and how Muslims suffer from Western Islamophobia. We all know, of course, that the two greatest crises facing Western civilization are our antipathy towards hijabs and our unfounded belief that Islamism is a violent death cult. The biggest threat facing people in Manchester, for example, is that long-predicted anti-Muslim backlash that's coming any day now. It's imminent, absolutely, just like the anti-Muslim backlashes that took place in New York, Orlando, San Bernardino, London, Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and so many other places with no valid reason for fearing or resenting Islamism and its totalitarian preachings.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło is one of the few making sense. She gave a marvelous and blunt speech in parliament in the wake of the Manchester massacre,
We are not going to take part in the madness of the Brussels elite . . . We want to help people, not the political elites. 
Where are you headed Europe? Rise from your knees and from your lethargy or you will be crying over your children every day. 
If you can’t see this – if you can’t see that terrorism currently has the potential to hurt every country in Europe, and you think that Poland should not defend itself, you are going hand in hand with those who point this weapon against Europe, against all of us. 
It needs to be said clearly and directly: This is an attack on Europe, on our culture, on our traditions. 
Do we want politicians who claim we have to get used to the attacks, and who describe terrorist attacks as incidents, or do we want strong politicians who can see the danger and can fight against it efficiently?
Here in the USA, thank God, all of our major problems have been solved so we can spend hours, days, weeks, months fretting over "collusion" between the Trump campaign and administration with Russia. What form this "collusion" took place and what evidence there is to support such a charge, well, those are unknowns, or to put it more plainly and in the pseudo-legal jargon that has taken over our daily speech, there is no evidence. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Rien.

But yet, but yet, the Washington Post and other major media outlets are full of stories of how the "scandal" grows! It is now apparently illegal to talk to Russia. It was fine for Obama to talk to and give away the store to the Iranians, and to do the wave at a ball game with mass murderer Raul Castro, but Heaven help us if Trump wants to talk to the Russians about terrorism! It's not like he's selling them 20% of our uranium supply in exchange for some $500,000 speaking fees and a contribution to the Clinton Trump Foundation. That would never happen.

The Social Justice Warriors continue their war on common sense. There are just too many examples. One, of course, is their insistence on bizarre WOMAN STRONG comic book characters--they, of course, ignore real strong women such as the Polish PM. I laugh at the present controversy over the all-woman showing of what seems to be an idiotic film, "Wonder Woman." You have here a movie made by rich elite people all around the world in places where they get tax breaks for making movies. I am going to go out on a limb and make a bold prediction, that this movie will bomb just like the all woman version of "Ghost Busters," and when it bombs we will hear endless speeches about mysoginy and Trump . . . bold prediction, that.

Well, that's enough for now. I hear my dogs barking so either the electrician has shown up or the social justice police are here to cart me away.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Manchester Massacre: The No Surprise List

ISIS is claiming credit for the attack and massacre in Manchester that targeted children and teenagers. No surprise.

Also no surprise is that the suspected suicide bomber is the child of Muslim refugees, this time from Libya. That's the reward Western societies get for their generosity, tolerance, and adherence to "diversity."

Also, of course, no surprise is that even while British parents are still frantically looking for their missing children or discovering that their kids have been blown apart by a "nail bomb," the progressive dolts are already putting out messages of support and love for . . . Muslims in Britain, because we all know that the greatest issue with these terror attacks by Muslims is that we might blame Muslims for them. No surprise.

Another in the "no surprise" category, the murdering savage was "known to authorities."

And, of course, the bombing took place at a concert by some minor American celebrity known as Ariana Grande whose greatest prior achievement apparently was being caught on video licking doughnuts in a pastry shop and expressing her hatred for America. I guess that didn't get her any points with ISIS. Progressives please note: They will kill you, too.

It seems that in the immortal words of the criminally stupid Mayor of London, we just have to get used to these sorts of things. Terror attacks are like traffic jams, garbage collector strikes, and noisy neighbors, just things to be tolerated as part of life in the cities of the West. Nothing to see here. No surprise.

And here at home, well, the press and Congress are going on and on about Russia. No surprise.

Feel free to add to the "no surprise" list.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Arc de Trump: President Off to a Very Fine Start

He did very, very well.  If there were any justice or sense of fairness in the main stream media outlets of the world, Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia wold be hailed as a major success for America and the West.

His first speech abroad as President was a carefully drafted and well-delivered blend of diplomatic boiler-plate AND a good dose of tough and clear straight-talk. I know, I know, friends and others have pointed out that Trump didn't use the exact phrase "radical Islamic terror" but he came close enough, and his audience knew damn well about whom he was talking.

He did a masterful job of telling the Muslim world, well the Sunni part of it, at least, that if ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko, Hamas, etc., are not following the tenets of Islam, it is up to the Islamic world to say so, and act in accordance. I thought he also did a good job of following through on the principles laid out by Tillerson to the effect that our values are one thing, our policies might be another.   

I suspect that SecState Tillerson, with his long experience working with the Kingdom, gets at least some of the credit for the stunning reception given Trump by the Saudis. They clearly went out of their way to show him and America great respect and to acknowledge that there has been a change for the positive in Washington since the end of the dismal Obama misadministration.

The President leaves Saudi Arabia with the wind at his back. I think he's going to get a great reception in Israel, and that the Israelis will appreciate what he has accomplished in his first visit to the Muslim world.

When I get home I will do a more thorough look at the visit. Now, I must ready for another sojourn onto the streets of Manhattan. My credit card has not yet maxed out . .  .

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Democrats Resurrect Stalin and Beria

Sitting in my hotel room in Manhattan while the Diplowife and the Diplodaughter spend what's left in my bank account, I was reading a great CATO post from 2010, "The Criminalization of Almost Everything," and ran across this wonderful paragraph,
Alan Dershowitz discusses his time litigating cases in the old Soviet Union. He was always taken by the fact that they could prosecute anybody they wanted because some of the statutes were so vague. Dershowitz points out that this was a technique developed by Beria, the infamous sidekick of Stalin, who said, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” That really is something that has survived the Soviet Union and has arrived in the good old USA. “Show me the man,” says any federal prosecutor, “and I can show you the crime.”
Does this sound familiar?

It seems that anything the progs don't like should be considered a criminal offense.

How many of us could survive with our finances, reputation, and soul intact from an open, endless investigation by powerful agents of the state with unlimited resources and powers of coercion? Nobody, that's who.

On the Trump-Russia investigation, for example, please find the crime. None exists. All that we have is politically motivated speculation joined with politically motivated citing of politically motivated anonymous "sources" making increasingly outlandish and politically perfectly timed allegations.

When, however, we turn to actual crimes committed by the Democrat high and mighty, e.g., "Fast and Furious," unsecured servers used to transmit classified information, then, well, no such investigations or prosecutions are to be undertaken.

It seems, therefore, that it is the progressives who have come under the influence of Moscow and two of its most famous past denizens, Joseph Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria.

I think we need an investigation . . .

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Heading East

Blogging might be a bit on the light side for a few days. I am flying back to my ol' hometown of New York City.

Born there many years ago. Worked at the UN, too.

Haven't been there in several years.

Going to see the wonders wrought by Blasio Rule.

I will have my IPAD with me, but . . . .

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Attack Continues: Russia, Part 397 . . .

I have written before that the lefties are out to sabotage the President and make America look ungovernable unless the progressives are firmly in charge. We see manifestations of this sabotage every day, and the ferocity grows. The idea being, of course, that eventually even the strongest Trump supporter will get tired and just give up, and say "OK. OK. Let's put somebody else in . . . "

The most recent iteration, as of this writing, is a return to the Russian meme whereby Donald Trump and his administration are portrayed as puppets of Moscow, dancing to Putin's will. The latest allegation, as of this writing, is the claim that in the course of a meeting among the President, the Russian Ambassador, the Russian Foreign Minister, the US SecState, and the US National Security Advisor, our President gave away incredibly sensitive classified information to the Russians, revealing sources and methods and burning the foreign ally who had provided the information. You can go read all the gory and dreary back-and-forth details on this; I don't have the energy to go through it all. The President's enemies, yawn, are calling for his impeachment; we are hearing the "traitor" word, etc.

Let me give you my conclusion: Bullsh*t!

I hope that's not too legalistic.

On that subject, let's get all the legal and quasi-legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way. Our President has the right and duty to meet foreign officials, to discuss matters of concern to the United States, and to seek their cooperation in those matters. That includes meeting the Russians. Neither the Constitution nor the law prohibits meeting the Russians. Russia is a big, important, and difficult country. There is nothing wrong with talking to the Russians and trying to find areas of common agreement and cooperation. Every President since FDR has done it; in fact, let us also remember Teddy Roosevelt's working out a peace deal between Japan and Russia. It's tough work and, usually not too successful, but worth the effort. We should not be afraid of the Russians; we can handle them.

The President, under the law, furthermore, can say, reveal, or share anything he wants. Material is classified if the President says it is; it is not classified if the President says it is not. Yep, that simple.

The details of a private conversation by a US official with a foreign official normally are classified. Usually, that is. When it's the President, well, it's Schrödinger paradox, to wit, the cat is both alive and dead (here); the conversation is both classified and unclassified. The ultimate authority is not the Attorney General, the FBI Director, or the Washington Post--it's not even poor Schrödinger. No, it's the President. Under our laws, our President has the power to determine if that cat is alive or dead. Nobody else. So, I repeat, if the President wants to say something to a foreign official, he can; if he wants to "share" or "give away" the most sensitive information, he can. There ain't nothing the lawyers can do about it. Good? Bad? I don't know. It's the law. The President has the ultimate authority to decide what is or is not classified.

It seems that the conversation with the Russians was about getting them to be more helpful combatting ISIS in Syria and elsewhere. It seems the conversation also mentioned the ban on laptops on flights from certain airports. Now, of course, that topic has been in the media for weeks; both the US and UK governments, for example, publicly have explained that laptops will not be allowed in the cabins of certain flights. This is not classified information. That cat is dead.

NSA McMaster came out and flatly said that the Washington Post/NY Times account of the conversation which had Trump giving away the store was "false." McMaster was in the conversation; the anonymous sources upon whom the MSM drew for their "bombshell" report were not--unless those are Tillerson, McMaster, or the two Russians (doubtful, no?) Who would have done it? Lots of suspects. The journalists might have made up their account--it's possible--I think, however, the culprits likely are members of the permanent bureaucracy that prepared the briefing papers, the talking points, and the Memorandum of Conversation. This is another attempt to bog Trump in the swamp.

McMaster also said the President did not know the sources or methods of the information discussed so he couldn't have given them away. That produced an avalanche of snide progressive snickering about the President not being briefed because he's some sort of irresponsible dope. Note to progs. The Presidential briefing papers normally do not contain the source and methods of the information. It was the same for Obama. The source can be described as a " foreign government source," a "source who has reported reliably in the past," as one who "has generally reported reliably," as a "new untested source," or some other phrase describing analysts' confidence in the information and the source. The President, of course, can ask for the source and methods, but that is rarely done.

I find very troubling that the NYT revealed the country that provided the intel on the ISIS activities being discussed. That is classified and actionable. Find that leaker and prosecute him/her. I repeat, that was not revealed by President Trump; that was by the very journalists decrying the "release of classified information."

Let us not forget, as I have written often, that the progressives have infiltrated the bureaucracy of government from top to bottom. There is a palpable hatred for Trump within that bureaucracy; he wasn't supposed to win! I am willing to bet, for example, that easily 80% of State Department bureaucrats voted for Hillary Clinton--easily 80%, and probably closer to 90%.

Sabotage is all they have left on the left . . .

Monday, May 15, 2017

People of Venezuela Continue to Pay the Price of Socialism

That price is growing.

I find amazing how little press reporting we are getting from the major outlets on the crisis in Venezuela. Casual observers would get the impression that Venezuela is having riots and other disturbances only because the price of oil has collapsed. The media, in the main, can't bring themselves to admit that the collapse underway on Venezuela is the direct consequences of some 18 years of Chavez-Maduro-Castro socialism.

Socialism always comes with a huge butcher's bill; the people who eat the chops and steaks, however, are never the ones who get called on to pay it.

The high oil prices of a few years ago helped paper over the disastrous economic policies pursued by the socialists. Free stuff for everybody--well, everybody who supported the regime, that is--was possible while the mega-bucks poured in; folks could ignore the rampant corruption, the enrichment of the Chavez family and a bevy of narco-dealing politicos, generals, and senior bureaucrats. The high prices also, for a time, covered up the consequences of the corruption and ineptness in the nationalized oil industry, and the use of Venezuela's petro-dollars to buy Chavez favor abroad. All that's over, and the buzzards have come home to roost and feast.

The thuggish Maduro hangs onto power by completely gutting what was left of Venezuelan democracy, using the power of the gun to stifle the rumblings of the empty bellies of his people. That strategy seems to be running out of steam. The unrest grows in Venezuela and Maduro's incompetence becomes more and more pronounced. As I noted before, he can't even do dictatorship right. 

I think we are beginning to move into the final chapters of this sad story. The opposition is growing ever more bold. We see that opposition not only taking to the streets but also calling on Venezuela's military to restrain Maduro (here, here) and help put an end to the crisis.

Now, of course, the military leadership is extremely corrupt; many of those leaders have gotten quite wealthy thanks to socialism, and, undoubtedly, many of them fear what could come after a Maduro collapse. That said, there are probably some thoughtful military officers who have serious doubts about pulling the trigger in favor of Maduro, a Maduro who looks increasingly weak, lost, and internationally isolated. I could see a scenario wherein some senior military tell Maduro he must go away, put him on a plane to Cuba, and then present themselves as heroes to the people.

Let's hope this can be resolved quickly and with minimal suffering. Socialism already has claimed enough victims over the past century.

No need to add to the tally.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Comey Goes

It was just a matter of time. I think we all knew that sooner or later FBI Director James Comey would get the boot. I would speculate that had Hillary Clinton won the election, Comey would have been gone within a week to the cheers and applause of the same Democrats now moaning about Comey getting the Trump boot.

What was Comey's "crime"?

Forget the contradictory statements about the Russians, forget even, if you can, about the weird "investigation" into Hillary's home-brewed server, forget about WikiLeaks, also forget about Comey's lackadaisical attitude towards the leaking of classified information. All those are reasons to dump Comey, no doubt, but, I think Comey's greatest sin was that we all know who he is.

Most people would be hard-pressed to name an FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover. That's how it should be. The FBI Director is meant to be a relatively obscure personage operating in that weird twilight zone intersection of fighting national and international crime and countering foreign espionage. The FBI Director should not, IMHO, be a media personality much less an obvious political actor, or at least, that's the way it was. The Director, I think, is not meant to be casting long shadows over our national elections with lengthy and, frankly, bizarre press conferences about ongoing investigations. It all went to his head, and he ignored his real duties. I have written before (here) that he simply made a mess of the FBI and its reputation,
The investigation of the Clinton Crime Family and, in particular, that of SecState Clinton's use of a private email server for classified information, and her use of the State Department as her and Bill's ATM leaves much to be desired. I, for example, cannot understand how an apparently morally upright and professionally competent Director, such as James Comey, did not go public with a resignation slammed down on the President's desk when Attorney General Lynch met "secretly" with Bill Clinton on that Arizona tarmac days before the FBI was to wrap-up its initial investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. I do not understand how Comey could have made the public statement that he made on July 5 when he gave Hillary Clinton a pass on her scandalous, unethical, dangerous, and illegal use of a private server for official work. I do not for a second believe, despite what Comey said at the time, that nobody, including presumably Lynch, Obama, and the Clintons, knew Comey would recommend no indictment. I knew it the minute Lynch announced beforehand that she would accept whatever recommendation the FBI made. Right. Sure thing. Did Donna Brazile send you an email? 
The FBI leadership made a hash of the investigation into Clinton. It was such a hash, that, reportedly, Comey's desk received a large number of outraged letters of resignation from agents justifiably angry over what Comey had done. He needed an excuse to try to save his reputation, when along comes Huma Abedin's husband El Perverso Anthony Carlos Danger Weiner. Apparently, an investigation into his "sexting" with a minor girl revealed tens-of-thousands of emails on his computer which MIGHT have relevance to the original investigation into Hillary's emails. So, reboot: A public reboot via a vague letter to the Congress that requires a lot of reading between the lines.
As noted in that same October 2016 piece, the Democrats had a point when they started calling for Comey's head. We have even heard from Hillary Clinton that she now blames Comey for her loss of the election--wait, wait, I thought it was mysoginists, or white supremacists, or voter suppression, or Russia, or . . . . But now, well, yes, the same Dems then livid about Comey being in office, are now livid that he's out of office. Go figure . . .

President Trump did the right thing by booting Comey. Timing? There was never going to be a "good" time to take a major decision such as this one. If he had fired Comey the day after the inauguration would Dem outrage have been less? If he had fired him a year from now? Two years from now? If he had kept him in office? The OUTRAGE generator would have cranked out the same voltage--or to conjure a different image, the alligators get testy when you try to drain the swamp . .  .

I repeat, the President did the right thing. He now needs to pick a Director who will restore the FBI's reputation and effectiveness. Ironically, he might just have to pick a media star in order to counter the damage wrought by the last one.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

La mort de la France?

The answer to the somewhat pompous question in the title is, "Maybe not quite yet, but keep the life support equipment handy."

The French presidential election turned out pretty much as expected; well, in fact, Macron did better than expected taking some two-thirds of the valid votes cast (a pretty good initial analysis of the voting is found in the UK Telegraph here. ) Macron took a stunning 90% of the valid votes in Paris. He did somewhat less well in the countryside, but turned in an impressive electoral victory, nevertheless. I don't know the internal dynamics of French politics very well, so I am not in a position to say that Le Pen's loss and Macron's win were due to message, personality, organization, or the thousand other "factors" that pundits pull out of the air to explain an election result. We will wait on the wise ones to tell us.

Just a few observations from geographically distant California. I would note that Le Pen's followers are not rioting or claiming that Macron is illegitimate. I thought they were the fascists? Hmm . . . I wonder if the reverse would have been true? I also note that Macron was preparing his own "the Russians did it" line of defense should Le Pen have won.

I also note, that our own Hillary Clinton sent out a Tweet that read,
"Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world. Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can't talk about that)" 
I guess that means, forgive my crudeness and lack of knowledge about the "settled science" on such matters, that Marine Le Pen does not have a vagina? What happened to "the special place in hell for women who do not support other women"? Will Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright be taking up residence in that "special place"? The "media" doesn't let the poor baby "talk"? Ah, more pathos, more self-pity, more bathos . . .. Sorry, didn't mean to make the French election about the US.

Turning back to France, I see this as a possible Petain moment. (Or maybe this?)

Will Macron be the new Petain?

Will he acquiesce in the occupation of democratic France by a hostile force driven by a totalitarian ideology?

It sure seems that way.

Hope Macron proves me wrong.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tillerson at State: Sounds Like He Gets It

I would urge all of you to read the address made by SecState Rex Tillerson at the Department on May 3.  Read the text itself, not the rather ignorant press reports about it, e.g., here and here, which seem to rely entirely on reactions either by hard-core bureaucrats or outright Obamistas. It's a remarkable speech in its clarity and, must be noted, one of considerable gutsiness as Tillerson must have known how it would be twisted and maliciously misinterpreted. It also, ahem, happens to reflect just about everything I have ever said and thought about how we should run US foreign policy--here, for example.

It is a speech which could have been written by Hans Morgenthau or Henry Kissinger. It is a return to a foreign policy with the goal of preserving and promoting the national interest. That "national interest" is more narrowly defined than we have become accustomed to in the last few disastrous years.  Clearly Tillerson sees the State Department as working to protect, above all, the nation's security and economic interests. That's how he interprets President Trump's vow to make "America First." There is no airy and, in the end, dangerous promise to "bear any burden," or to make the "world safe for democracy." He makes the excellent observation that
So let’s talk first about my view of how you translate “America first” into our foreign policy. And I think I approach it really that it’s America first for national security and economic prosperity, and that doesn’t mean it comes at the expense of others. Our partnerships and our alliances are critical to our success in both of those areas. But as we have progressed over the last 20 years – and some of you could tie it back to the post-Cold War era as the world has changed, some of you can tie it back to the evolution of China since the post-Nixon era and China’s rise as an economic power, and now as a growing military power – that as we participated in those changes, we were promoting relations, we were promoting economic activity, we were promoting trade with a lot of these emerging economies, and we just kind of lost track of how we were doing. And as a result, things got a little bit out of balance. And I think that’s – as you hear the President talk about it, that’s what he really speaks about, is: Look, things have gotten out of balance, and these are really important relationships to us and they’re really important alliances, but we’ve got to bring them back into balance.
So whether it’s our asking of NATO members to really meet their obligations, even though those were notional obligations, we understand – and aspirational obligation, we think it’s important that those become concrete. And when we deal with our trading partners – that things have gotten a little out of bounds here, they’ve gotten a little off balance – we’ve got to bring that back into balance because it’s not serving the interests of the American people well. <...>
He goes on to make the simple but, frankly, brilliant observation that,
Now, I think it’s important to also remember that guiding all of our foreign policy actions are our fundamental values: our values around freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated. Those are our values. Those are not our policies; they’re values. And the reason it’s important, I think, to keep that well understood is policies can change. They do change. They should change. Policies change . . .  our values never change. They’re constant throughout all of this.
There, faithful readers, you have the core of the issue. Our values and our policies are not necessarily the same. That is brutal truth. It is this observation by Tillerson that has led lefties and bureaucrats to come crashing down on him, calling him "clueless" and so on. They ignore, of course, that that's how we used to do foreign policy. We certainly, for example, did not share the values of the USSR's Stalin, but we made alliance with him against Nazi Germany. We did not share the values of China's Chang Kai-Shek but made common cause with him against Imperial Japan, etc. Those are things which seem to get "forgotten."

There, of course, is a highly cynical motive to some of the bureaucratic criticism which we must underline. By divorcing values and policies, Tillerson threatens the livelihood of an enormous swath of foreign policy bureaucracy.

In my 34 or so years at State, for example, I saw how the "human rights" bureaucracy grew and grew. It grew so much that much of it had to housed in annex buildings around DC. The human rights bureaucracy became an enormous and loud machine that consumed evermore of State resources, hopelessly confused important decision-making, made it increasingly difficult to prioritize our goals, and become a funding source for all sorts of lefty NGOs around the world. It provided employment and influence to thousands of people, and, frankly, produced little in the way tangible benefit to the national interest. Every policy decision had to pay homage to the human rights bureaucracy and its allied vested interest groups.

Likewise other chunks of the State bureaucracy in the trade and commerce arena, for example, became almost advocates for foreign countries and their interests rather than ours. We want "deliverables" to these countries to make them happy and "like" us. This is the mentality, I would note, that also affects, better said, infects our Embassies and regional bureaus. If Tillerson can begin to turn that around, he will be a very consequential SecState.  

Monday, May 1, 2017

One Hundred Days of Leftist Savagery

Apologies for the gap in blogging. Life gets in the way of living, or maybe the other way round. I don't know. Had to deal with a number of issues, mostly involving cars. Yes, the Diplomad has revealed himself a coward. No longer able to withstand the daily Diplowife assault on my mini fleet of three classic cars, I have begun the painful process of liquidating them. In fact, if you go to the Laguna Classic Cars website ( you will see my red 1973 Mach 1 proudly displayed for sale. It will soon be joined by my blue 1966 Oldsmobile and, later, the green 1976 Cadillac. Sigh. I, however, did not go down without a fight. I bought myself a beautiful Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from a wonderful family owned dealer, BlackStar Off Road, and insisted that it have a six-speed manual transmission. Ha! The Diplowife says she cannot drive manual, so there . . . my own safe space . . .

While all that important stuff was going on, of course, the rest of the world carried on.

The pundits are on and on about Trump's first 100 days. This "C-Days" benchmark is one of the silliest in American politics, and has extended overseas to comments on other governmental leaders' first 100 days. I used to hear it in Spain and elsewhere from people who had no idea of the origins of that 100-Day measure. This 100-day obsession comes from FDR's first 100 days during which, with overwhelming strength in the Congress, the disaster of the Great Depression weighing down and panicking the country, and, lest we forget, a much later inauguration date (March 4) which gave him more time to prepare, he rammed through a huge packet of legislation, the New Deal, that laid the foundations for the massive welfare state we now--depending on your views--enjoy or endure. So now the progs have decreed that we "MUST" judge our presidents by what they do in their first hundred days, and compare it to FDR's record. As I have said before about progressives and "words",
Words have meaning, and the left is very good at ever so subtly altering the meaning of words so that over time those words no longer mean what they meant. Words, of course, are the bullets of intellectual debate. If you allow your opponent to select your ammo for you, well, let's just say you are at a disadvantage.
Other than Lincoln, no other president took office encountering such widespread and well-coordinated antipathy, nay, sabotage. From the moment the shocked media meisters had to confront Trump's victory on November 8, the assault commenced. There was no "give the guy a chance," no "honeymoon," no "wait and see." We heard that Trump was not the "legitimate" president because Clinton had "won" the popular vote (Thank you, Mexico!) The chattering class conveniently "forgot" that the President is elected by the electoral college; that we have 51 separate elections in this country--one District of Columbia, 46 states, four commonwealths--to determine who becomes our president. They then turned on the electoral college itself, threatening and encouraging state electors pledged to Trump to switch either to Clinton or to somebody else. That, of course, turned into a disaster for Trump's opponents when it all backfired, and in the main it was Clinton electors who defected. Since and just before the election, the progs have been, as I have written quite a few times, beating the "Russia hacked the election" drum. This has had various versions but all were aimed at showing that somehow Putin wanted Trump to win and managed to get just what he wanted. Trump's opponents, i.e., the Obama misadministration, clearly engaged in a massive surveillance operation against Trump and his staff using the "looking for Russians" excuse. Suddenly the progressives were worried about Russia and our national security! How touching.

Opponents tried to disrupt the inauguration, and have engaged in a consistent pattern of street violence and thuggery aimed at intimidating Trump supporters and trying to give the impression that the country is ungovernable unless the progressives are in charge. Nothing is off limits, including Trump's family, in this assault on the new president. Unprecedented coarseness, violence, and fake news are all arrows in the progressive quiver and being unleashed on Trump and supporters daily.

OK, that said, what can we say about the first 100 days of President Trump?

He's done very, very well, certainly better than  his opponents. His executive orders reversing much of the environmental and anti-energy nonsense of the past and the elevation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Justice on the Supreme Court alone are worth the price of admission. We cannot exaggerate the importance of the Gorsuch victory. This gives us the chance to reverse a lot of the progressive "lawfare" tactics and undo much of the idiotic and destructive "gun control" and anti-free speech legislation and rulings. It should give Trump the ability to rein-in the criminally stupid 9th Circuit and other progressive judges and reverse their rulings on matters such as immigration and sanctuary cities. AG Sessions has taken exactly the right approach by announcing his DOJ is going after the MS-13 and other international gangsters who have taken root in the US thanks to our lax immigration policies. Illegal border crossings, even without the WALL, are way down in the first months of Trump, all because he has changed to the tone coming from DC. The economy is breathing a sigh of relief with the stock market into record territory, and companies, notably manufacturers, announcing plans to keep or open plants in the US. Granted much of that depends on Trump getting his tax and budget bills through, and that's where he has to work. There is, despite some odd behavior by some prominent Republicans in Congress, also a real chance to get those bills passed, and to undo the Obamacare disaster once and for all.

Trump has proven very adept at foreign affairs. The whole tone has changed. He speaks clearly and acts quickly and decisively. He is having the desired effect. I think we will get a renegotiation of NAFTA, for example, and the revitalization and refocusing of NATO. The Iranian and North Korean regimes, I think, will begin to realize that things have changed and that craziness will no longer be tolerated. ISIS is taking a pounding, and I think is on the road to defeat--at least in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, how it fares in its other bases in Europe, well, that depends on the Europeans. Relations with Russia will improve, as Putin realizes that he can no longer get away with what he was doing while Obama was in office. China also seems more cooperative on the North Korea issue.

Trump is keeping his promises, to the shock and chagrin of his opponents. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment has to been to reveal clearly the fascistic nature of the progressive "movement" in the US. That's my take away from the first hundred days.