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;...

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Year

OK. Another year is about to expire.

And? What did we learn?

Re politics, we seem stuck in a tiresome film loop with MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, CNN, et al, breathlessly announcing every couple of weeks that President Trump is finished, that a new revelation is about to emerge from the investigation by Don Quixote, er, I mean, Robert Mueller that will put Trump and his supporters in prison for years . . . Yawn! How much more of this nonsense? Time to put up or shut up.

The Dems got back the House, which is very bad news for the possibility of serious government in the coming two years, but they were more than stymied in the Senate, despite some clear voter fraud.  I suppose we're in for two years of non-stop House subpoenas and "investigations," blather about Dreamers, Diversity, the Climate, and, of course, gun control. The GOP House leadership proved, by and large, miserable SOBs, who would rather give control back to the Dems, than further the President's agenda, the agenda for whom the people, defined as American citizens, voted. The failures to scrap Obamacare, and to begin building the much-needed border wall proved simply outrageous and unforgivable.

Brexit continues to be a mess entirely of May's doing. I guess she just wasn't convinced that when the British people said they wanted out, they wanted out. She and her alleged Tories sold out the British position in some absurd negotiations with the EU. The Brits had the upper-hand! They held all the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, and Jokers! The EU had nuthin'. I hope that Britain can just tell the EU to get stuffed and walk away; forget about May's deal. If the Brits walk, others will soon follow, and that whole absurd house of cards will come crashing down. Good riddance!

The economy? Well, it's doing pretty well, very well, in fact . . . well, as long as we can continue to ignore the looming debt crisis . . . but we've ignored it for 75 years, so here's to another 75! It's clear to me that there are evil political forces, call them Deep State, Globalists, Uniparty, Communists, whatever you want, working to sabotage the economy in the hopes of destroying Trump. Some of the actions by the Fed are inexplicable otherwise.

And, of course, turning the subject to me, I note that my weapon collection grew notably this past year. Glock 17, SiG P320, several new S&W pieces (including the greatest rifle of all time, the AR-15), a Ruger .22 and a .45, a 1900 Portuguese cavalry sword (made in Toledo, Spain) and an 1850 North Carolina Catawba County musket, were among those artifacts joining the Great Diplomad Arsenal of Freedom. At the risk of provoking great wrath and turning this post into a gun debate, I found the Glock and the SiG mildly disappointing. I thought they both had inferior grips to the S&W M&P 2.0, and while their triggers were marginally better than the S&W's that did not compensate for the grip. That S&W M&P 2.0 in 9mm is just about the most accurate gun I have fired in my life. A beautiful piece of work. I took it to the range yesterday and this morning and was knocking the center out of the target consistently at 3, 5, 7, 10,  and 15 yards. OK, enough of that. Did I tell you that I shot my new M&P 2.0 in 9mm? Huh? Oh, sorry. It's the age.

As habitual readers will know, I don't do New Year Resolutions. They are too depressing. I hardly even do New Year. I, however, will engage in my traditional walk onto the driveway and watch my cars depreciate. That's what passes for excitement these days.

Anyhow, Happy New Year to one and all--well, maybe not to Mueller, but everybody else, well maybe not to Pelosi or Schumer, but to everybody else, well, maybe not to . . . . Did I tell you about my M&P?  

Friday, December 28, 2018

Now I know why Santa did not come down our chimney . . .

                                            Talk about the predator's stare!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas and Syria

Flying in the face of Political Correctness and risking offending thousands of cultures and sub-cultures and people who shop at Whole Foods, I wish one and all a Merry Christmas! There, if that doesn't prove I have guts, nothing will.

Christmas, of course, evokes the Middle East.

That little corner of the world has played an outsized, amazing, totally awesome role in the development not just of Western Civilization but of Global Civilization. We all have grown up thinking about the Middle East's good stuff, but also spent many thoughts worrying about how the next world war would start there, the next nuclear apocalypse, etc. We have seen almost non-stop warfare in the Middle East and its environs, and out of that region, of course, has emerged the jihadi challenge which we in the West continue to face some 1400 years after the establishment of Islam.

This is just a humble little blog of opinion so I am not going to provide a history of the past 2000 years in the Middle East. I, however, was struck by the uproar over President Trump's announcement that we are finished or will be finished soon with our military presence in Syria. (Note: For now, let me put aside the issue of Afghanistan which the President also has indicated he will be reviewing.)

Let's state the obvious: None of us knows the details of President Trump's proposal for our new posture re Syria. None of the pundits and other bien pensants prattling on about it knows those details or what exactly the President has or has not worked out in terms of a deal with Russia, Turkey, the Saudis, the Kurds, Israel or anybody else. So we cannot really comment on President Trump's new approach to Syria because we don't know what it is. What we can discuss is the issue of whether we should have a presence in Syria and whether our presence there has, so far, done us good. That's what I will briefly discuss.

I have written a large number of posts (go here, for example) which discuss our involvement in Syria, another muddled Obama foreign policy legacy. You will see that my principal concern about our involvement in Syria was that nobody seemed to know its purpose. What was the end-game? From what I could discern our Syrian "war" under Obama seemed to involve a lot of blather about fighting ISIS without really fighting ISIS--our President declared them the "JV team," let's not forget--and we had some weird White House declarations about "red lines" when it came to the Assad regime, "red lines" which the White House promptly ignored when Assad crossed them. There was sloppy bipartisan rhetoric about getting rid of Assad; the late John McCain seemed to like posing with "Syrian rebels," and pushing to have them get our support. It seemed we wanted a repeat of the Libya fiasco or the almost equal fiasco in Egypt when we pushed for the Islamist thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood to take power there--that was prevented only by swift action by the Egyptian military which ignored Hillary's advice. Anyhow, I have written lots about all that, and I shan't repeat it.

I made my recommendation back in 2016 on our Syrian adventure, and said our policy should involve taking note of the Israeli position on Assad,
I have stressed more than once that when dealing with Syria's Assad one should look at the Israelis. If anybody has a right and a reason to detest the Assad family dictatorship the Israelis do; they, despite having the ability to do so, have never sought to knock out the Assads. They know that in the Arab world the devil you know often times proves much less worse than the one you don't. Keep that in mind.
Furthermore, I wrote that our policy should,
o Back the Israelis, of course, but also support the Kurds; help them establish their own homeland in territory that is now Syria and Iraq. They are the last major group in the Middle East without their own country. They deserve one. We can and should tell the Turks to get stuffed. Now, of course, the Kurds are Muslims, but even El Cid made alliances with Muslim princes to get rid of other Muslim princes. 
o We must continue to seek energy independence, so that the Middle East becomes increasingly less important to us. 
o Stop importing that war and terrorism to our shores via our currently insane politically correct immigration and refugee policies. 
o Smash ISIS to drive home to jihadis around the world, that Islamic war against the West leads only to their defeat (here, here).
With the advent of President Trump, it appears  our policy in Syria became somewhat better defined and went along roughly the lines I recommended. In particular, I note, yet again, that our growing energy independence makes the Middle East increasingly less important to us. It turns out, we can drill our way to energy independence despite what the progs have told us for years and years.

President Trump did take a much harder line on ISIS, and thousands of ISIS lunatics have been turned into glass in the desert sands. He also sent Russia and Assad some harsh messages when, for example, our forces turned a large group of pro-Assad forces and Russian "mercenaries" into dust. OK, but was our policy working? I don't know. It seems that ISIS lost a lot of ground and personnel in both Syria and Iraq and have been much less active in  Europe and elsewhere since President Trump went after their Syrian and Iraqi redoubts. So maybe we have "won" and it's time to leave; I would have to see the intel to be certain. I assume President Trump has seen it, is satisfied that our primary redefined mission to smash ISIS has been sufficiently achieved, and does not want to see a mission creep that will involve us in Somalia-style "nation-building." Are we leaving the Kurds in the lurch? I don't know, although it would seem so. I recognize, of course, that my soft spot for the Kurds is not sufficient reason to continue to put our people's lives at risk and to get us involved in some distant ethnic/civil war.

So, in the end, I give a qualified "yes" to President Trump's apparent decision to begin to wind down our involvement in Syria--if, in fact, that is what we are seeing. I will have to await further details to go beyond that.

I, however, must laugh at the Dems and other lefties now so concerned about our national security that they insist we stay in Syria. These are the same people who won't let us defend our own borders, or let us take effective measures to keep ISIS out of the USA, but want us hanging around in Syria presumably promoting "democracy" among people who have no clue what that is all about. They so hate Trump that they would prefer to support a war in a place far removed from our key national interests. Yes, let's have a Libya repeat by all means . . .

Merry Christmas, once again.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Clawing Back the Night

December 21 is my favorite day of the year.

It is the day we in the northern hemisphere begin to reconquer the daylight stolen from us by the Aussies and their Evil Down Under Allies. "Soon the light will be ours and the darkness yours!" Wonder if I can get that line into the next Lord of Rings or Game of Thrones rubbish? Sir Peter Jackson will work against me, I know . . . he's part of that Down Under conspiracy . . .

Anyhow, not too much of great interest happening except that the GOP is still running from the Wall. OK, the lame duck House has passed a modest budget for the wall, but, according to the press, the bill will die in the Senate despite the GOP majority.

If Mitchell doesn't invoke the Nuclear Option on this item, the GOP is a hopeless bag of blow hards! They screwed up getting rid of Obamacare and have wasted two years on the Wall. Makes me sick. Anybody who votes against the Wall should have to live in a doorless house and welcome anybody and everybody who wanders in and claims squatter rights.

And, folks, I don't want to hear about comprehensive immigration reform as the excuse for not getting us the Wall. You don't need comprehensive criminal justice reform to know to lock your doors. First things, first.

OK, going down to my cave in the basement.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Back from the Imperial Capital

Drove in last night to my beloved North Carolina after a few days in the nation's mighty imperial capital helping the Diplodaughter move into her tiny apartment. It was raining and depressing; everything very wet and gray. It all had the feel of those 1960s, 70s, and 80s movies about spies in Berlin, sans Sir Michael Caine, of course. So glad to be out of there.

Anyhow, I come back and my front door has stickers from UPS for some delivery that didn't get made because it requires an adult signature. I have no idea what it could be. All my ammo orders already have arrived so it can't be anything too good.

I also get back and find--wham!--that a Federal judge in Texas has done what Paul Ryan and the whole Congress could not do: put a major stake into the heart of Obamacare. Now, I am no lawyer--and don't pretend to be--and don't completely understand his ruling declaring the monster unconstitutional, and I am sure this is not the end of the thing, but it's a damn fine start. Let's see if the GOP has the guts to stand by the death of Obamacare, and not try to resuscitate it in some whacky form. Just make buying insurance into a national or even international market, let people buy--or not--what they want from whomever they want. The market will take care of prices and services.

I also see that the ol' USA has become a net exporter of fossil fuels. Who'd a thunk that possible? I mean, besides anybody with just a few functioning brain cells and no "green agenda" to sell . . .  In addition, some huge natural gas finds have been made both in the US and in Australia. Gasoline in parts of Virginia, by the way, was below $2/gallon--I even filled up once at $1.88/gallon. That's pretty cheap. Kinda gives the lie to the narrative about how we couldn't drill our way out of an energy crisis or that WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF OIL!!! Must switch to solar!! GAIA!!!

The border wall still remains unbuilt. It must be built for both practical and symbolic reasons. A proper wall in the right places will work to stem nonsense such as caravans and coyote smuggling ops. It will also reassert, in this time of globalist rubbish such has produced the Migration Compact (see prior post), that we are a sovereign country that can and does uphold its right and obligation to defend our borders. I have in prior postings provided some ideas on how to help fund it: e.g., tax on remittances, border crossing fee, increased fees for non-US citizen services at consulates, higher fees for immigration services in the US, maybe a small fee on foreign passengers arriving by plane or boat or train (could be assessed on their tickets), etc. There are lots of ways. Let's build the thing!

OK. The Diplowife wants to go to McDonalds to get her traditional Diet Coke. I must obey.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Climate Change and Migration Compact: More Prog Destruction

Sitting here in my rural corner of North Carolina watching my beloved canines run and frolic in six to eight inches of global warming pixie dust. You know the stuff that Al Gore long ago told us would be but a memory. Yes, snow. Lots of it. The beasts are having a wonderful time in it, and I dare Gore or the IPCC or any other of those global warmer hoaxers to take it away from them!

Now they are back inside, cold, wet and happy. Just gave them a towel rub down and they have plopped themselves down by the furnace. All is well.

Well . . . not really.

Our Parisian friends have kept up the protest against the loons running and ruining France, Europe and the West. We'll have to wait and see how that turns out. I think something big is brewing in France, and the ruling class is still not fully aware of it. How else could France be a willing participant in the travesty that will take place the next couple of days in my old stomping grounds of Marrakech, Morocco? Yes, I refer to the UN-sponsored Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration. If you've absolutely nothing else to do, go and read it. It's another one of those dangerous word salads which appear on first blush harmless, because, "I mean it's non-binding, and all."  Yeah, right. So if it's non-binding why have it at all? Nonsense. These sorts of documents ARE both binding and non-binding. Let me explain.

It's all really very simple. If a country sees it as binding, it is, if it doesn't it's not. Guess which countries will treat it as binding. Guess. Why the main Western countries, of course. Let me explain. These sort of UN documents and their progressive texts will and do work themselves into the social and political debate and the legislation of Western countries. We, for example, will see immigration lawyers and other advocates of mass migration--legal or otherwise--cite this or that paragraph of the Compact, and use it in legal briefs and political debate. Universities will cite it; the media will praise it; and, of course, Hollywood will endorse it. All that stuff about treating migrants with respect and dignity and due process? Can you guess which countries will do that? Which ones don't and won't? Can you guess what the UN solution for migration is? Why it's lots and lots of aid to poor countries and, naturally, to the UN and its various agencies. Of course! Why didn't I think of that?

You'll find big dollops of Orwellian language in the text, with my favorite being Objective 17 (page 24)--I am sure you can and will point out many other examples. Yes, the UN wants your country to have hate speech laws and do so much more, all of which should be called the No Borders and Prog Lawyer and NGO Full Employment Act. Go ahead get a load of this stuff (my bolding),
a) Enact, implement or maintain legislation that penalizes hate crimes and aggravated hate crimes targeting migrants, and train law enforcement and other public officials to identify, prevent and respond to such crimes and other acts of violence that target migrants, as well as to provide medical, legal and psychosocial assistance for victims

b) Empower migrants and communities to denounce any acts of incitement to violence directed towards migrants by informing them of available mechanisms for redress, and ensure that those who actively participate in the commission of a hate crime targeting migrants are held accountable, in accordance with national legislation, while upholding international human rights law, in particular the right to freedom of expression

c) Promote independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets, including internet- based information, including by sensitizing and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology, investing in ethical reporting standards and advertising, and stopping allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants, in full respect for the freedom of the media

d) Establish mechanisms to prevent, detect and respond to racial, ethnic and religious profiling of migrants by public authorities, as well as systematic instances of intolerance, xenophobia, racism and all other multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination in partnership with National Human Rights Institutions, including by tracking and publishing trends analyses, and ensuring access to effective complaint and redress mechanisms

e) Provide migrants, especially migrant women, with access to national and regional complaint and redress mechanisms with a view to promoting accountability and addressing governmental actions related to discriminatory acts and manifestations carried out against migrants and their families

f) Promote awareness-raising campaigns targeted at communities of origin, transit and destination in order to inform public perceptions regarding the positive contributions of safe, orderly and regular migration, based on evidence and facts, and to end racism, xenophobia and stigmatization against all migrants

g) Engage migrants, political, religious and community leaders, as well as educators and service providers to detect and prevent incidences of intolerance, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination against migrants and diasporas and support activities in local communities to promote mutual respect, including in the context of electoral campaigns
Ah, yes, the UN wants the press and others only to report positive stories about migration! The UN doesn't want electoral campaigns that raise concerns about migration! We must make no distinction between legal and illegal migrants. Think only positive thoughts! No calls for The Wall, naturally. No discussion of crime by migrants. That is forbidden.

I also like the casual way the Compact throws in climate change as a factor in migration. It does the usual prog tactic of just assuming there is "climate change" and that it is proven. In the old days, we would make fun of the Soviet delegation at UN when one of its members would begin a discussion with, "As is well know . . . " We knew that a big lie would follow. The progs continue with the same tactic.

By the way, there is no mention in the Compact of one proven factor causing migration: Socialism.

It seems that several countries have realized that this thing is another ticking time bomb thrown into the midst of Western Civilization, e.g., Australia, Italy, several Eastern European countries, Israel, and the USA. The problem is that the governments of those nations, including ours, can and will change and we will inevitably get the sort of virtue-signaling prog rulers who will go along with this destructive nonsense.

Total toxic rubbish.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Is Paris Churning?

I have watched with fascination the recent unrest in Paris and other places in the Fifth Republic. Before, however, I make any comments, let me repeat my well-worn mantra that, "I am not an expert on France and don't pretend to be one." If you want expertise, do what I do, and read the excellent NO PASARAN blog.  There you will find spot-on analyses of what is happening in France, and how it is being misreported by the MSM. You might also want to give a read to the always fun and insightful Canadian The Rebel Media. They have posted some terrific raw video of the demonstrations in Paris and provided excellent commentary on what is happening. I will refer back to that video.

These sorts of events prove tough to place in their proper order of historical importance. I want neither to exaggerate nor minimize the impact of the current disturbances in France. Do they rate with those of May 1968? The February and June rebellions of 1848? The Paris Commune of 1871? A re-run of 1789? Perhaps it is just an ordinary, run-of-the mill street riot? I will let others more knowledgable decide, but, naturellement, that won't stop me from opining.

Now, to what I think I know.

France is in real trouble. I mean REAL trouble. That once great country, in fact, is dying. It, along with most of the rest of Europe, has a worthless leadership class that, as we saw at the WWI commemorations, sees nationalism as a bad thing. That leadership argues that true patriotism means going along with the elite's efforts to kill the sense, the very idea of nation; it means allowing one's culture, traditions, and history to be wiped away, and rewritten to justify the on-going social, economic and political destruction. To object, for example, to the importation of hundreds-of-thousands of poor, illiterate and often violent migrants from some of the most failed countries on earth, many espousing an ideology of hatred for all that France and Western Civilization represent, makes you a vile racist and a deplorable, one who should not be heard, a "far right" pariah. In other words, Citizen,  fermé la bouche and let your betters decide for you. Nothing to see, keep moving. Leadership should be left to the professionals; do not attempt decision-making at home . . .

The immediate cause of the disturbances in France is, of course, the "green tax" that the government sought to impose on French people. In the name of protecting Gaia, the already sky-high fuel prices in France were to be hit with additional taxes. That, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. The foolish economic and social policies of France (and the EU) are making average French people into poor people. To an even greater extent than we have seen on these shores, the middle class is being eliminated, ground into dust. I read some interesting stats on France which now I can't find that showed that the average French citizen is out of money by the 20th of the month. Of course, it's all very different if you have a senior government or EU job. As one of the Diplosons commented to me the other day, "What does a young Frenchman do to accumulate wealth?" Most avenues to potential wealth are heavily taxed, regulated, or otherwise controlled and put out of the reach of the average person. The French education system is a leftist disaster--Perhaps even worse than ours? Hard to believe--and produces the usual crop of highly credentialed and useless morons now standard fare in the West. On top of it all, the chocolate on the soufflé, France continues to support the immigration of other countries' poor. What possibly could go wrong? Rhetorical question, folks, the list of answers is too long . . .

Back to the riots. One thing that struck me was some Rebel Media video in which you can see, through the swirling clouds of tear gas, demonstrators waving the Tricolor and hear them--gasp!-- singing La Marseillaise, arguably the most stirring national anthem in the world. I am not French and don't pretend to be, but that gave me goose-bumps. It, more importantly, also showed that these are not your run-of-the-mill Antifa-type thugs on the street. We might be seeing the rise of militant nationalism in revolt against the elitist globalism that has ruled and ruined the West for the past fifty or so years. De Gaulle would have been proud . . .

France's absurd President Macron has backed off for now on the new taxes--Gaia can wait, I guess. I don't think, however, that he and his fellow "leaders" have gotten the message. Perhaps France needs a President Trump to drive home that it's time to Make France Great Again? I also wonder how a Frexit vote would look? Fat chance that will be allowed . . . so, France continues to churn.

California should emulate the French citizens in the street. Right.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Bush 41

President Bush the senior has died. There are many tributes to him and examinations of his life and legacy out there by people who write much better than I, so I will keep my observations short and, hopefully, not too shallow.

It is easy to be conflicted in an analysis of the achievements of George H. W. Bush. Let me start by saying that I consider him to have been a patriot and a decent person. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, at the age of 18, despite being from a privileged family, he enlisted in the Navy, and become one of it youngest aviators. He flew 58 combat missions, was shot down on one of them, returned to action after being rescued by a submarine, and subsequently received the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other awards for his war-time actions. He became a successful businessman, Congressman, Ambassador to the UN, head of the CIA, Vice President and then President. Not too shabby. Quite a life.

I met him briefly once back in the mid-1980s when he was VP and I was a lowly State Department Pakistan desk officer. I had been tasked with writing some talking points for the Vice President for a meeting with the Pakistani Foreign Minister re our displeasure over Pakistan's continued covert efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. For what it was worth, Bush hit the FM hard and showed he could deliver a tough message face-to-face. The Pakistanis, however, kept working on the bomb, knowing that we needed them to make life hell for the Soviets in Afghanistan.

I know from my time working with Maureen Reagan, President Reagan's daughter, while Reagan and Bush got along well enough on a personal level, there was no love lost between the Reagan people and the Bush people. Reagan had "taken" the Presidency from the man most had considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination, Bush. When Bush won the presidency in the 1988 elections against the absurd and execrable Michael Dukakis, his people wasted no time in flushing most of the Reagan staff out of the government. In fact, a little Diplomad aside, I was called by an outraged and tearful Maureen, who had been unceremoniously thrown out of her office at the RNC within a few days of Bush's inauguration. She had been the Co-Chair of the party and went to her office only to find locks changed and her stuff in the hallway. I was already in Guatemala, and could not fly up to DC to help Maureen move her stuff out. When a year later or so she came to visit my wife and me in Guatemala, she refused to meet the Ambassador, who had been a close friend of Bush at Yale. It was awkward.

Bush had a tumultuous four-year term on the foreign scene: The overthrow of the thuggish Noriega in Panama; the first Gulf War; the death of the USSR; NAFTA; invasion of Somalia. Bush showed that he was not reluctant to pull the trigger and use American power. He, however, did not show that he fully understood the consequences of the use of that power, and we saw a half-finished war in Iraq and the set up for a disaster in Somalia. In Bush's defense re Somalia, however, he did use overwhelming power for limited objectives unlike his successor who flipped that formula and gave us "Blackhawk Down." Re the USSR, neither he nor his successor ever developed a cogent policy for handling Russia and the instability that followed the collapse of the Soviet empire. He showed himself as a tone deaf elitist on NAFTA and allowed Ross Perot to cost him the 1992 elections. He was unable to fathom the revolt that was beginning to brew in the American hinterland. Neither he nor his sons ever understood the Trump phenomenon and found themselves on the wrong side of history on that one.

Anyhow, President Bush, rest in peace.