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, January 27, 2020

China Virus: The World is Going to End . . . Again . . .

Lots of stuff going on in the world, and it's hard to focus on one or two items, not to mention I have my own life to conduct and wreck . . . Much of what passes for news, however, is of a dubious nature. What has been driven home in the last several years is how once venerable institutions have fallen to the progressive onslaught and become purveyors of hysterical, politically motivated rubbish. The schools, universities, the media, Hollywood, the legal profession, the law enforcement  and intel agencies, the political parties, even the military all have degenerated to varying degrees in the face of that onslaught. We are awash by and adrift on a sea of fake news all designed to cow us into giving ever more power to the permanent bureaucratic elites.

We have, of course, as much discussed here, the most fabulous hoax of them all, the "man-made global climate change" nonsense. We also have the hysteria over "internet neutrality," Brexit, and, of course, the American elite's two favorite hoaxes, RUSSIAN COLLUSION (!) and the ongoing impeachment farce which seeks to overturn the 2016 election and invalidate the 2020 election.

There are many more of these hoaxes out there; I am sure you can turn naming them into a party drinking game.

Among other things, this destruction of our institutions means it is harder and harder to discern what is really happening.

One of the more recent examples of something happening which is hard to decipher is the Coronavirus scare. Is it real? Is it yet another existential threat to mankind? Is it overblown? Is it, instead, worse than the rising oceans, Spanish flu, the plague, Y2K, SARS, delayed aid to Ukraine, Alex Jones, mercury in seafood, a Rebel Wilson movie, etc? Who knows? Nobody does, that's who. Nobody.

Is this a real threat? We are dealing with an authoritarian and highly corrupt government in China which is incapable of telling the truth. We really have no idea what is going on in China. How many are infected? We don't know. How many have died? We don't know. Is it underreported in China? If so, does that lead to exaggeration in the outside world? We don't know. If it's that serious why isn't travel to and from China cut-off? Immigration from China? Business in China? I have been to China, and, frankly, it's an authoritarian Third World country with large foreign currency reserves, abysmal living and public health conditions, and a very corrupt governing elite determined to become Masters of the Universe. Don't look for the truth to come from China . . . or from our Chimerica business clan.

The Truth is out there, we just don't know where.

Monday, January 20, 2020

On Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below I have reposted something I wrote in 2014, on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day. I think it holds up ok and I am not going to add or subtract from it. The only thing I would note is that we have come a long way away from his vision of a color-blind America in which we judge on the basis of character and not skin tone. The guilty ones in that regard are the left and the "woke ones" who have an obsession with race and anything else that promotes division and sabotage of the great American Experiment.  Very sad.

January 21, 2014

The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day in the US; the TV and other media were full of stories about King and his times, and what it all means today. He has been compared to Gandhi and Mandela, become an icon for American "progressives," and, of course, a historical symbol of the nonviolent civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, almost every major American city has a thoroughfare named for him, and, as noted, we have a national holiday in his honor--making him and Columbus the only ones to have such holidays. Gunned down in 1968, at the age of thirty-nine, he left the civil rights movement to less capable and less visionary successors who undermined his legacy and his goal of a color-blind nation.

Was he a great man? He showed great courage, commitment to his cause, insistence on nonviolence, strong political and leadership skills, patriotism, and became a highly eloquent spokesman for civil rights. "I Have a Dream" is one of the great speeches in the English language. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" more than equals any Thoreau or Gandhi writings, and is not something that today's civil rights leaders, such as they are, could match, nor could the typical graduate of almost any university in the world today. (The letter's pacing, erudition, and, above all, the surgical preciseness with which it takes down opposing arguments bring to mind General Sherman's letter to the Mayor of Atlanta.) King's life made a difference to millions of people. The answer, therefore, to this paragraph's question is yes, he was a great man.

That said, serious problems exist with some of the narrative spun about King, in particular, and the civil rights struggle, in general. Part of the problem, of course, is that King died young, enabling others, as with the two Kennedy brothers, to fill in the rest of the story and use it to further certain political agendas. King died short of his fortieth birthday; had he lived longer, presumably he would have evolved and, possibly, become a very different man than he was when he died--we will never know. What we do know is that the Democratic Party and their "progressive" media and education machines have rewritten the history of the civil rights struggle. This was driven home to me some years ago while visiting a college campus. The students assumed King was a Democrat, and the segregationists confronting the peaceful marchers, and using fire hoses, snarling police dogs, and truncheons, and wearing white hoods were Republicans. They assume a Republican killed King--today's college kids probably believe the Tea Party had him killed. That the exact opposite is true, shocks many. King came from a staunchly Republican family--his father, a prominent leader in his own right--openly endorsed Richard Nixon against JFK in the 1960 presidential election. The Democrats had a one-party lock on the South. The party of slave owners and secessionists, had become the party of Jim Crow, school segregation, anti-miscegenation laws, poll taxes, and on and on.

Many Americans, not to mention foreigners, do not realize not only that the Republican party was formed in opposition to slavery and that Lincoln was a Republican, but that the famous Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose rulings dismantled the legal basis for segregation and put serious limitations on the power of police, was a former Republican Governor of California. It was, furthermore, war hero and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who sent troops to Arkansas to enforce court-ordered desegregation at Little Rock Central High School. Congressional Republicans were the main supporters of civil rights legislation; their votes ensured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, over the opposition of a significant bloc of Democrats--let us also not forget that Congressional Democrats for years blocked Republican efforts to pass federal anti-lynching legislation. All this, of course, is history, but an important chunk of American history that is being lost, distorted, or otherwise flushed down the memory sewer--along with the fact that anti-leftist J. Edgar Hoover proved the most formidable foe of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an organization founded and staffed by Democrats, such as long-time Democratic Senator Robert Byrd.

Before I get back to King, let me address another issue that has been badly distorted and become something of a meme among the quasi-literate left. I refer to the idea that the parties have "switched places." This is something I have heard from some lefties who, knowing the true history of the Democratic and Republican Parties when it comes to race and civil rights, try to argue that that was then, and this is now. Since FDR or so, they argue the Democratic and the Republican Parties "switched" places on the race issue, with Republicans taking the role of protecting white privilege and keeping minorities, especially blacks, down. The truth is quite different. What happened was that the old party of slavers, segregationists, lynch mobs, and secessionists figured out that government programs and intervention were the means to deprive Republicans of a significant voter bloc. The aim was to keep black Americans dependent on the largesse of government and Democrat-run urban political machines. Anyone who doubts that should read the crude comment in which President Johnson revealed the real purpose underlying his massive social program expansion, i.e., to keep black Americans voting Democratic. The Democrats have succeeded admirably at this objective.

Back to King and the civil rights movement. By the time of his death, King was losing control of the movement. It was fragmenting. King's vision of a nonviolent effort was under assault by radical elements. The message of non-violence and concentration on individual liberty was losing attraction. The thirty-nine-year-old King seemed old, thundering out a message from another time. A new generation of black activists, inspired by the increasingly confrontational and violent atmosphere in the country challenged King for the spotlight, and found allies in violence in the largely white anti-Vietnam War movement. The civil rights struggle was becoming part of the noise of the very bad closing years of the 1960s, which saw bloody race riots shake nearly every major American city, and numerous incidents of domestic terrorism. In addition, what had been a largely grass-roots, private sector movement was being sabotaged by growing government involvement. Many black leaders were being syphoned off by government programs to "fight poverty." Activists increasingly focused on getting handouts to their followers rather than, as noted above, on King's more lofty, ancient-sounding focus on liberty, and the goal of having people judged not by their color but by the "content of their character." This new generation of government-oriented and dependent leaders did not fit in with King's conservative, Southern, church-based movement. They wanted racial turmoil, not racial harmony. We need also remember that Attorney General Robert Kennedy had put King under FBI surveillance, including the making of compromising tapes of King having extra-marital liaisons, providing the government excellent blackmail material against him.

All these factors, in my view, had begun to take a toll on King; he aged dramatically in appearance, and had begun talking about issues not directly related to the civil rights struggle, e.g., the Middle East, Vietnam. Had he lived longer, we likely would have seen King becoming radicalized, pushed leftward as he sought to retain control of the movement--but, as noted before, we will never know.

In sum, he was a great man with a great vision. His successors, many of them frauds of the first rank, largely have not been faithful to that vision of liberty and color-blindness, and we all have suffered for it.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Diplomad Movie Review: 1917

A few days ago I went with the eldest Diplosons to see Sam Mendes' film, 1917.

We went to one of those fancy theaters in Raleigh with the reclining seats, BIG screen, surround sound, waiters, etc., you know the drill. Nice time, only made foul by my receiving a traffic ticket outside of Wilmington when I fell into a known speed trap just as the I-40 enters town. I knew it was there, but it was nearly midnight, traffic was light, and I had my Jeep's Bose speakers booming out Louis Armstrong. In sum, I wasn't paying attention when the speed limit suddenly dropped from 70 to 45--and it drops for no good reason, I might add. The cops were having a field day as they had three or four other miserable miscreants lined up at the side of the road, plus this humble blogger, all awash in the flashing blue lights of shame. A good day for the coffers of North Carolina.

OK, as to the movie.

It is definitely worth seeing. Go see it. The British soldiers, for the most part, look like British soldiers of the era--no, they are not bad ass lesbians--and the sets are extraordinary, with an amazing attention to detail. The no man's land that plays a central part in the film is, to say the least, a harrowing muddy landscape of blasted and twisted machines, abandoned guns, barbed wire, partially filled craters, and rotting human and animal bodies: a remarkable depiction of hell.

A lot has been written about the "one take" technique used in the film. It is a terrific technical achievement, but, and here is my but, my sons and I found it unnecessary, and even distracting. After a bit you get almost nauseous as the camera weaves its way around and becomes--unfortunately--a hindrance to good story telling. You want some edits, some close ups, but no, it's all presented as one continuous shot. In some cases it's fine, for example, when the soldiers are walking through the trenches with the camera leading the way in a scene highly reminiscent of that in Paths of Glory  when senior officers are inspecting the trenches, and, again, when the lead character is running through an impressively orchestrated artillery barrage. There were a couple of scenes lifted almost entirely from Saving Private Ryan--you'll see what I mean when you see it. That's fine, of course, as movies borrow from each other all the time. The obsession with the one shot technique, however, robbed those scenes of the emotional impact they had in Spielberg's still superior Ryan.

Never mind all that nitpicking. Go see it. It's a tribute to brave men who saw and did their duty. You don't get much of that in contemporary movie making.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Soleimani and the "Imminent Threat" Furor: Usual Nonsense from the Anti-Trumpers

OK. Qasim Soleimani is dead as dead can be--and that is a very good thing. As noted here and many other places, ol' QS was both a serial and a mass murderer on an international scale. He took particular "joy" in plotting and executing the death and maiming of Americans. He was a brutal fanatic who did not hesitate to murder his own countrymen, as well. He had risen to the near top of the Iranian gangster state and was the architect behind that state's campaign of international terror. Shed no tears for QS.

Well, shed no tears for QS unless, it seems, you're a member of the Trump Derangement Syndrome Squad (TDSS) and just can't see that President Trump was absolutely within his rights as President, absolutely right as a matter of principle, and absolutely required by his oath of office to protect and defend the United States in ordering the lethal attack on QS. He violated no laws; he acted in the best interests of the United States and the civilized world.

In fact, Trump likely did Iran a favor by removing the malignant QS tumor from the Iranian body politic, thus allowing the other gangsters in Tehran the opportunity to reassess their current path to total destruction. We see some preliminary reports--unverified, so far--of a mini-purge within the ranks of QS's old outfit, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. I hope that's true, and results from the Tehran Dons trying to make some course adjustments. The belated admission by the Tehran gangsters that, yes, indeed, they accidentally shot down the Ukrainian civilian jet over Tehran would seem an indication of possibly some change underway. Perhaps. Let's not be too optimistic, but . . . well, we'll see.

I don't understand the furor coming mostly from the TDSS over the "imminent threat" piece of the rationale to hit QS. That comprises a minor factor, an almost irrelevant one. "Imminent," of course, is a judgment call. Did we have to know with 99.99% certainty that QS and his band of merry thugs planned to hit US targets within a day, a week, a month, a year? Who cares? Why had QS gone to Baghdad to meet the leadership of the proxy Iranian militia that had just assaulted the US Embassy and previously killed a US civilian? They had future attacks in mind, and of that we can have no doubt.

The police do not have to show that a known murderer presents an "imminent" threat to others to take that murderer off the streets. They can remove him for actions already committed. Reasonable people could see a murderer who has killed multiple times over many years, bragged about it, and vowed to continue, as posing an "imminent" threat to the community--however you define "imminent."

I have worked a great deal with the product of US and other intelligence agencies. Some of it proves good; some not so good, to say the least. In this case, however, and again, there can exist no doubt--for reasonable people--that given QS's track record over the past nearly thirty years, that, at a minimum, he continued to pose a threat to Americans and others. Did Bin Laden or Al Baghdadi pose an "imminent" threat? I don't know, you don't know, none of us knows, and it's not relevant. What they already had done put them outside the boundaries of civilization. They deserved to die. Period.

Soleimani presented a proven, clear, and continuing lethal threat to American citizens. Period.

Soleimani deserved to die. Period.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Just Speculating: Did Iran Hand Us Soleimani?

OK. Don't hold me to anything I am going to write here. This is just me speculating. I am not an expert on Iran, but then neither is any one of the dozens and dozens of pundits who has suddenly  appeared on television and in print offering views on what's going on with and within Iran. None of those folks knows. So you and I can be as "expert" as any of them.

After some spirited discussions with my clever number two Diploson, I am coming to the conclusion--I can be talked out of it--that General Qasim Soleimani got handed to us by a faction or factions within Iran's ruling circle. Let me 'splain.

The late unlamented QS was a "terror mastermind," designing and heading terror operations carried out by the Iranians for the past thirty or so years. Those ops included, among many others, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the bombing of the Khobar Towers, the bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, attacks on our troops in Iraq, perhaps Benghazi, and, of course, the recent attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad. He set up and maintained a network of proxy organizations around the world to carry out terror operations against Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, and on and on. In recent months, he had been brought in to help suppress dissent inside Iran; his Revolutionary Guard thugs shot, detained, and tortured thousands of anti-regime Iranian protestors.

What do we know about the internal workings of the Iranian regime? Not much--and I don't think those talking heads on TV do, either.

We safely can assume, however, that the Tehran regime is beset with all the "normal" rivalries and schisms present in such gangster regimes. The rise to prominence of QS, and his increasingly dangerous behavior, had to raise concerns among many within that regime. I can see some concluding that QS and his policies would lead Iran into a war with the United States, especially under Trump, that Iran could not win, and that could result in the destruction of the Tehran regime. Don't forget, under Trump the regime has faced increasing and very harmful economic sanctions. Life is not very pleasant in Iran.

Don't, therefore, be surprised if it turns out that people within the regime, through any number of channels and proxies, could have slipped us the info on where QS was, where he was going to be, and what he was doing. They might have helped paint the target on him. The speed with which the US acted against QS in Iraq was quite remarkable, and would seem to indicate we were ready and waiting for him.

Thus far, it seems, it seems, it seems, that Iran's much threatened retaliation for our pulverizing QS and his cohorts has consisted of firing off some ballistic missiles into the Iraqi desert and claiming "revenge." The Iranians, reportedly, tipped off the Iraqis and the neutral Finns that they were going to launch these missiles presumably so that US forces got tipped off and moved out of danger. It would seem, there's that word, that the Iranians want to put an end to the current confrontation in a face-saving manner.

We, of course, will have to see what the President says this morning, and whether Iran or the US has any further actions it will undertake.

If I am full of nonsense, please don't hesitate to let me know. I know you will. Just remember what I said at the top.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Good News: Qasim Soleimani, Dead as Dead can be

I was delighted to hear that Iranian scumbag and General Qasim Soleimani met his end in a ball of fire thanks to a missile from a US Reaper drone. This is good news; this is very good news. We should all be very grateful that we have a President with the courage and patriotism to order the death of QS. I have long bemoaned the fact, and I stress fact, that we in the West have not been at war with the Islamist crazies--be they Shia or Sunni--but we have been under attack. In other words, they have been at war with us, while we have allowed ourselves--as a rule--to suffer attacks and outrages; we have crippled our ability to respond thanks to the goodness of our societies, our kindness towards strangers, our tendency to paralysis through analysis, by trying to anticipate every outcome, every consequence of what we might do--a hopeless task.

There at times when you must just act.

Before we get ourselves into a Bastiat-style discussion of the possible ramifications and unintended consequences of killing QS, let's remind ourselves of some basics. Soleimani deserved to die for the terrorist horrors he has inflicted on the world for the past 25 or so years. He was a prolific mass and serial murderer. There are times when such people just have to be removed, damn the consequences. Would we have desisted from killing Hitler out of concern for the power vacuum his death might leave at the top of the Reich? For fear that his death might energize the Nazi war machine even further? No, no way. Hitler deserved to die, and in a horrible manner. Soleimani, and his evil companions, deserved to become ropa vieja on that Baghdad highway.

Now, some "niceties."

I have been angered, though not surprised, by some of the idiotic negative commentary on Trump's order to shoot. Trump did not need to consult with the Congress or anybody else before giving that order. Soleimani was a uniformed enemy combatant active on a foreign battlefield, directing and implementing operations against US personnel and institutions, e.g., the Embassy. QS had a LONG, LONG history of conducting lethal operations against US and other Western targets, using largely proxy forces. At the time of death, he was in Iraq meeting the leader of one of those proxy militias, the one which had just attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad, and preparing further actions against us. He was not some random civilian Iranian government official whom we assassinated in his home in Tehran. He was a military man, conducting a covert military mission against us outside of Iran's territory. His killing is no more an illegitimate act than say that of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto or of US General Simon Bolivar Bruckner, Jr.

Now, the consequences.

Sure, the Iranians are angry and humiliated. They were convinced that we would not do anything directly to them and that we would be content with killing a few lowly proxy militiamen. They were wrong. Trump is not Obama; he is not going to ship them $1.5 billion in cash and gold in the dead of night in the vain hope of appeasing the Persian Moloch, getting a worthless piece of paper promising that Tehran will cease and desist with (fill in the blank). He is not the sort to put up with another Benghazi massacre. So, yes, the Iranians have a problem on their hands. They have to decide what to do, knowing that it will in all likelihood provoke another terrifying US response. The whole proxy thing is now a bit threadbare, but they could, out of habit, go back to that and have a proxy conduct some sort of operation against US forces, civilians, diplomats, etc. They could launch an attack in London, or Paris, or New York using the "sleeper cells" made possible by idiotic Western immigration policies. They could try some sort of cyber attack. They could launch ship-killing missiles in the Gulf aimed at shutting down marine transit through Hormuz. There are lots of things they might do, many of those were ones they were already doing.

All that, well, is for them to decide: weigh the pros and the cons of an action.

As far as we are concerned, however, we should not wait. We need to be preemptive, and I don't mean just issuing warnings or stepping up security at Embassies and airports. I would hope that the President is being handed a list of options for further action as needed. Now is the time for the President or the Secretary of State to go on the air and tell the Iranians the sorts of things we are considering. Sometimes being secretive is not useful.

Now is the time openly to tell the Iranians that we do not want war, but they should want it much less. We should openly tell them that we will dismantle their oil production, their ability to generate electricity, to distribute water, to conduct financial operations, etc. We should tell them that their navy and air force are forfeit in the case of an action against us, and that we will degrade their ability to conduct all types of military operations. We will smash their proxy forces without mercy. On the other hand, we are open to talks with Tehran and stand ready to discuss all topics without preconditions. Meet us.

We also should quietly, once the current cloud of dust settles, tell the clowns in Baghdad that we are leaving. They are not worth the life a single American.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Blue Dog Joe Sacrifices Blue Collar Americans: Maybe Hunter Can Help?

Just a quick one as I write something else on 2020.

I see that Uncle Joe Biden, the "lunch-pail" Democrat, the man who is a blue collar wearing worker at heart, the man who grew up around coal miners, the man who is the Democrats' "moderate" island in a sea of leftist lunacy, etc., has been at it again.

In a recent "debate," Blue Collar Joe said he would be willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of blue collar jobs in pursuit of the Green New Deal. Generous of him. What a great "sacrifice" for him. Now he has advice for the coal miners he would put out of work, which is, I kid you not, "learn to code." Maybe he should "learn to code" given how his political fortunes are shaping up . . . but I digress.

It seems to me that these coal miners know a lot about the energy industry, and that perhaps Joe and Hunter could help them get jobs with a Ukrainian energy company . . .  the miners seem more qualified than Hunter . . . just saying. "Burisma here they come!" Good campaign slogan for Joe . .  .

I would love for some "journalist" or just some average American to ask Joe about that . . . just a suggestion.