After 2 years of big nothings, reasonable Leftists should abandon the Russia theory, but the Putin-Trump confab recharged the Left’s conspiracy mania.
After 2 years of big nothings, reasonable Leftists should abandon the Russia theory, but the Putin-Trump confab recharged the Left’s conspiracy mania.
If Trump is crazy, he’s crazy like a fox. As for members of the media, they are stupid — not stupid in a smart way, but genuinely, truly stupid.
I’ve been mentally composing a post in my head today about Trump’s negotiating tactics with Putin, not to mention his other clever moves, all of which are aimed at cutting through the garbage of diplo-speak or at engaging in functional relationships with un-nice people who nevertheless share planet earth with us and with whom war would get very ugly, very quickly. So, I had all these inchoate ideas and arguments, when suddenly I had before me Dov Fischer’s masterful Everyone is Smart Except Trump.
Having read it, I feel as if all the best ideas, arguments, and jokes I had in my head, all of which were blending in an incoherent (at worst) and dull (at best) mess, got sucked out of me and incorporated into an article that had me saying after every sentence, “Gosh, I wish I’d written that.” Here are some select gems from Fischer’s article, but you’re denying yourself both a pleasure and a learning experience if you don’t read the whole thing: [Read more…]
After today’s meeting between Trump and Putin, Leftists have ratcheted their Russia hysteria up to level 12 out of 10. Do ordinary Americans care?
I’m so old I can remember when Teddy Kennedy, the revered lion of the Senate, during the height of the Cold War asked the Soviets to intervene in the 1984 presidential election.
I’m so old I can remember when Democrats constantly castigated conservatives for being paranoid about Soviet interference into world and American affairs.
I’m so old I can remember when Democrats and their fellow travelers brushed off stories about Soviet atrocities as mere Cold War propaganda.
I’m so old I can remember when we were told Communism is just another type of government and we should be more open to the Soviets and that the Cold War was a sorry relic of a fascist American past.
I’m so old I can remember when Obama sent Hillary Clinton off to meet the Russians with a big red reset button.
I’m so old I can remember when Barack Obama met with Putin and had these nice things to say:
“I’m aware of not only the extraordinary work that you’ve done on behalf of the Russian people … as president, but in your current role as prime minister,” Obama said during a breakfast meeting at Putin’s country home on the outskirts of Moscow. “We think there’s an excellent opportunity to put U.S.-Russian relations on a much stronger footing.”
I’m so old I can remember when Hillary authorized selling 20% of America’s uranium to a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin in exchange for a massive cash infusion into her private slush fund.
I’m so old I can remember when Mitt Romney said Russia was our greatest geopolitical foe and President Obama sneeringly replied that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.”
I’m so old I can remember when Barack Obama, during a meeting with outgoing Russian President Medvedev, was caught on a hot mic asking that Medvedev tell incoming President Putin that Putin needed to “give me space” so Obama could betray former Soviet bloc countries on missile defense and promised “more flexibility” after the 2012 election. [Read more…]
The real Russia collusion — Obama and Clinton team with Russia against Trump — makes sense if you look at the motives driving the various actors.
Da Vinci once said that “Every action needs to be prompted by a motive.” Motive is certainly a helpful tool when it comes to bringing an organizing principle to the sprawling, chaotic Russia collusion — the real Russia collusion. The real one isn’t the fake claim that Trump, who had no contacts in Russia, partnered with Putin, who had no reason to root for Trump, during the 2016 election cycle. Instead, I’m talking about the real Russia collusion, one that sees more evidence every day to support it. This is the one that says that Obama and Hillary, along with all their high level minions, conspired with Russia to keep Trump out of the White House.
You might not believe it from my blog silence about the unfolding Russian collusion, but I am paying attention. I daily read multiple articles analyzing the Nunes Memo, and the Grassley-Graham letter. I try to keep track of the cast of players: (1) the various swamp crawlers, from Hillary to Blumenthal to Brennan to Simpson to Shearer; (2) the surprise guest appearances from Obama administration players such as Rice, Lynch, and (3) the rotating cast of regular players at the FBI and the DOJ, from Comey to Strzok to Mueller. Looking at it this way, it’s pretty clear that one of the things that’s truly Russian about this whole scandal is that it has the complexity and character count you’d find in War and Peace or some other epic Russian novel.
After reading and reading and reading, I have to admit that I’m still confused about the specifics (timing, facts, lies, laws lying in smoking ruins, etc.). Nevertheless, the overarching picture emerges clearly from this welter of data: Trump did not collude with the Russians to win the election or betray America, although there were people who were temporarily on the very periphery of Trump’s campaign who would have liked to have seen Trump be even more friendly to Russia than Obama and Hillary already were. Instead, it was the Hillary team, with help from the Obama administration, that either colluded with Russia or were Russia’s patsies in trying to set up Trump.
Understanding which is the real Russian conspiracy has the unexpected byproduct of bringing people’s obvious or known motives into alignment with the emerging facts. The original story, the one that had Trump as the conspirator, never made sense, because neither he nor Putin had a motive to do what they were alleged to have done. Thus, it never made sense that Putin would collude against a Hillary presidency. Indeed, the last thing Russia wanted was for Trump to win. After all, despite his stated willingness to work with Putin, Trump was shaping up to be a nightmare for Putin for one very specific reason: Drill, baby, drill.
Under Putin’s corrupt oligarchy, the Russian economy is a wasteland. Its main reliable source of wealth is oil. The Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to destroy America’s oil-producing abilities were a boon to the Russians. Trump’s stated desire to bring America’s oil back on-line was something Putin would have wanted to avoid at all costs. It was also unclear whether Trump would continue to follow Obama’s lead when it came to Ukraine, Central Europe generally, Syria, and Iran — in all of which locales Obama had withdrawn from traditional American friends or funded foes and, when possible, handed power to Russia.
That’s why, when Steele and others (Brennan? Shearer?) came sniffing around seeking dirt on Trump, Putin and his spymasters must have been beyond thrilled. They knew Hillary could be bought; they knew Hillary would continue Obama’s effort to handicap America’s energy industry; they assumed that Hillary would follow Obama’s disreputable patterns towards traditional American friends and foes; and they probably had enough blackmail material on Hillary to last for six terms, not just one or two. (Not the least of which, as Trump pointedly joked during the campaign, would have been those 30,000 emails Hillary erased from her unprotected server, but which the Russians had probably hacked years before. Even without that, the Russians almost certainly had information about Bill’s myriad indiscretions, Benghazi, and the whole Clinton Foundation.)
Motive is even easier to find with Obama and Hillary. Obama had a legacy to preserve. Obama, who has never been a fool although he is a knave, understood that his legacy was built on sand. Except for Obamacare, he had no major legislation. All he had were executive orders, regulations, “Dear colleague” letters, and a host of other ephemeral directives that would become embedded in America culture only if a subsequent administration made it clear to true believers in government and education that these legal simulacra needed to stay to complete America’s fundamental transformation.
As for Hillary — well, heck, Hillary understands that, if you want to win, you have to cheat. She didn’t cheat hard enough in 2008, but in 2016, by God! She was going to cheat and she was going to cheat big, thanks in large part to the Obama administration’s willingness to support her win at all costs philosophy.
So, if you want motive for collusion, you have it with the Obama administration, the Hillary campaign, and the Putin administration. All of them had a vested interested in ensuring that Trump lost.
But one still has to ask why would career civil servants be so willing to join in? Sure, Trump talked about trimming back the civil service, but everyone talked about it and nobody did anything about it. I think there must have been more than mere job security at issue for same many upper ranking members of the FBI and the DOJ willingly to jettison laws, procedures, and their own past histories of relatively upright behavior.
Before I go on, let me say that I’m not talking about people such as Brennan, whom I believe to be completely corrupt, or truly evil hangers-on such as Blumenthal and Shearer. I’m talking about the others, including people like Comey and Mueller. They were always political and played hard ball to advance their careers, and they were unethical in a “cut-throat office politics” sort of way, but no matter how one points out their viciousness and failures of intelligence, before now, they’d never crossed the line. Had they walked right up to it and put their toes on it? You bet. But cross it ? No.
So what happened? [Read more…]
New facts show that the so-called Russia conspiracy was in fact a product of savvy Russians and credulous, willing, and very dishonest Democrat operatives.
This Trump-Russia collusion narrative is looking more and more like an incredibly intelligent mix of publicly available facts wrapped around some damning pieces of knowing slanders and fictions, all of which were then given the imprimatur of verisimilitude by attaching a retired British spy, Christopher Steele’s name to the whole misbegotten mess. None of the damning pieces have been proven, though several key bits have been disproven. Edward Jay Epstein recently opined at Powerline that the Steele Dossier, to the extent it seems to contain actual information from Russian sources, seems to contain Russian curated disinformation at best.
I am rapidly concluding that the Dossier may represent more than Russian meddling. Certainly Russia meddled. That’s what it does. But in this case, it seems to have gotten some help on the home front. There are far too many coincidences, far too many things that don’t make sense, and in several cases, dogs that don’t bark, for me to believe that, within America’s borders, those working on the Steele Dossier assembled it in good faith as honest, genuine investigatory work. It might be, but that is not the direction in which the known undisputed facts point at the moment.
In addition to reading this post, I recommend you read two other things. The first is Victor Davis Hanson’s article, Hillary’s “sure” victory explains most everything. The second is my post briefly explaining FISA and the questions that the FBI and DOJ have yet to answer about abusing FISA in the Trump-Russia matter. Both will help make sense of the events of the past two years and the tale I tell below.
In the coming days, I will also publish a detailed timeline listing all the relevant events and explaining why many of the key ones are problematic. It is very long. Before throwing you into that deep end, this post simplifies the timeline narrative and lets you see most of the major the issues without having to hack your way through the . . . I would say weeds, but it really is a triple-canopy jungle.
This post, relying on the facts set out in my soon-to-be-published timeline, gives you an insight into what was going on in the Hillary campaign. You’ll see that the evolving Trump-Russia narrative dovetailed perfectly with the struggle Hillary’s campaign had to overturn voters’ firm conviction that it was impossible for anyone to be more corrupt than Hillary.
So, with that preamble, let me ask you to step back in time and pretend you’re a top political operative in the DNC Now, close your eyes and make spooky noises as you travel back through slime, time and space. When you open your eyes, you see that the calendar on the wall shows that today is April 30, 2016.
April 30 . . . and your gal, Hillary Clinton, is tapped as a shoe-in for the nomination. And looking at the crowded Republican primary field, you know it’s a hop, skip and a jump from nomination to her walk on a red carpet, showered with a glittering combination of male tear drops and fragments of glass from the broken ceiling, as she heads to her coronation . . . uh, inauguration.
It’s a beautiful vision. But in the meantime, something has gone wrong. Very wrong.
Now, don’t misunderstand — not everything has gone wrong. The DNC is an arm of Clinton, Inc., bought and paid for, and it is doing her bidding. The DNC has stacked the primary deck in her favor and Hillary has virtually all the super-delegates in her bag.
The MSM is on her side and is pushing Donald Trump’s nomination on the theory that he will be her weakest opponent, Donald Trump. The MSM’s work seems to have paid off, as it is becoming ever more apparent that Trump is going to win the Republican nomination. All of that is great . . . but there are still a few irritants preventing you from reveling in the moment.
The main irritant is that Hillary is still on the ropes with the public for the email scandal that was first exposed almost a year ago. And worse, that public — including all those darn Deplorables — will get to vote for President in six months.
These likely voters know that Hillary, while Secretary of State, put tens of thousands of America’s secrets at risk by running them through an unsecured private server, the entire purpose of which was to thwart Congressional investigations and watchdog groups, something itself completely illegal. (This particular irritant, incidentally, if proven can be punished with 20 years in prison and a ban on ever again holding public office – which may explain why Comey didn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole when he exonerated Hillary on 5 July.) The Russians and every other American competitor and enemy, from China to Iran to the fat boy in Pyongyang, may have copies of all her emails during her time as Secretary of State, exposing both her and our nation to blackmail.
The FBI and DOJ are giving the appearance of investigating Hillary’s wrongdoings, but giving her exoneration a veneer of an honest investigation takes time. The FBI needs to interview witnesses and give them immunity. They need time to make side deals to destroy evidence. The grand jury needs . . . whoops, forgot: Unlike virtually every other criminal case the DOJ and FBI investigate, they haven’t bothered to impanel a grand jury. Someone needs to write (and edit) an exoneration statement, so it doesn’t get thrown together carelessly at the last minute, after you’ve heard and discarded the evidence. And all of this is a pain in the ass when you keep getting interrupted by having to do all these check-the-box “key” witness interviews.
And all the while all this is going on, no one trusts Hillary. She can’t shake the scandal, despite her trying out a new excuse – usually laughable, as even you admit – on a weekly basis.
Still worse, Hillary is facing a real primary challenge from Bernie the Red, despite the fact that the super-delegates will ensure he can’t possibly win. Still, he’s seriously hurting m’lady’s “inevitability” narrative, especially because young Democrat voters, those with the stars still in their eyes, are almost as bothered as the Deplorables are by Hillary’s email “issues.”
Finally, to pile on the irritants bedeviling inevitability. you learn that Hillary’s Campaign Chairman, John Podesta, fell for a phishing scam and now Wikileaks has all the DNC’s and Podesta’s emails. Who knows what dirty laundry lies at the bottom of that black hole?
So many problems it makes even the most confident head spin. You shake yourself — time to get back to concentrating on pulling this tired old donkey across the finish line. You decide that what you are going to need is an opponent who makes Hillary look like an angel dressed in shining white robes; one that makes her seem an avatar of ethics and purity in comparison.
Impossible? You say, Ha! [Read more…]
A snapshot of Trump Derangement Syndrome: the different responses to reports about Trump’s alleged insensitivity versus Hillary’s selling America to Russia.
Yesterday’s news broke two stories, one detailing massive national security infractions involving Russians during the Obama administration and one reporting the claim that Trump was insensitive to the widow of a Green Beret who died in the line of duty. The response to these two stories on my Facebook feed was predictable and depressing.
News story No. 1 was a fully-sourced report about the utterly corrupt way in which the Russians went about obtaining rights in American uranium during the Obama administration:
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
Although fully aware of these corrupt practices, including Hillary’s weighing in on a matter that personally benefited, the Obama administration still gave the nod to a deal that put increased Russia’s nuclear power at America’s expense. The story was buried. That it came out now was because of a whistle-blower.
The above story is uncontested, disgraceful, and not subject to any interpretation other than realizing that Obama ran a corrupt administration, one that benefited his cronies, and that he did so to America’s major detriment. It certainly explains, though, why Obama of all people has been relatively silent about the post-election anti-Russia hysteria (and highlights what an idiot Hillary is that she can’t let the subject drop).
And of course, this report ought to resonate strongly with all those people who’ve been terribly worried for the past year about Russia’s malevolent influence within America. That they cannot make themselves comment upon it says that they’re focus on Russia was driven by Trump Derangement Syndrome, not a concern about America’s well-being or about how Russia can endanger America. [Read more…]
Is there any question that, when Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş killed Andrei Karlov in cold blood, he was doing so either at ISIS’s behest or as part of a lone wolf ISIS-inspired assassination? To me, this picture provides the only evidence one needs:
The Islamic State militants, known as ISIS, are now using a single, raised index finger as the symbol of their cause. It’s a well-known sign of power and victory around the world, but for ISIS, it has a more sinister meaning.
Nathaniel Zelinsky writes in Foreign Affairs that the gesture refers to the tawhid, “the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion.” More specifically, though, it refers to their fundamentalist interpretation of the tawhid, which rejects any other view, including other Islamic interpretations, as idolatry. Zelinsky writes that when ISIS uses the gesture, it is affirming an ideology that demands the destruction of the West, as well as any form of pluralism. For potential recruits around the globe, it also shows their belief that they will dominate the world.
Here are some examples:
A genuinely curious Progressive asked me to address this breathless article claiming that Russia actively interfered with the American election:
In assessing Donald Trump’s presidential victory, Americans continue to look away from this election’s most alarming story: the successful effort by a hostile foreign power to manipulate public opinion before the vote.
U.S. intelligence agencies determined that the Russian government actively interfered in our elections. Russian state propaganda gave little doubt that this was done to support President-elect Trump, who repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin and excused the Russian president’s foreign aggression and domestic repression. Most significantly, U.S. intelligence agencies have affirmed that the Russian government directed the illegal hacking of private email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and prominent individuals. The emails were then released by WikiLeaks, which has benefited financially from a Russian state propaganda arm, used Russian operatives for security and made clear an intent to harm the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
Of the top of my head, I was able to come up with several “don’t worry” arguments, but I did want to tap all of you for further arguments. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
I have a hefty batch of links related to the election and the culture wars raging in America. I’ll try to write just enough to pique your interest so that you follow those links or watch the videos:
The reason the Left opposes photo ID for voting. James O’Keefe, who is Andrew Breitbart’s true heir, has a horrifying video showing a surprisingly honest, indeed decent, New York Democratic election commissioner bemoaning the terrible corruption that plagues New York voting, speaking of van loads of people being driven from precinct to precinct on election day to cast multiple votes, and admitting that it’s pure politics that blocks the reasonable use of voter IDs.
Hillary treats people like dirt. Hillary put on her saintly face during the second debate to talk about treating people well. One of the Deplorables has taken issue with Hillary’s pious, and hypocritical, stance. She reminds Hillary of the reprehensible way Hillary treated our troops way back in 2003 — because their hard work savings lives left them dirty.
The Left constantly manufactures crises. Dennis Prager takes the occasion of Trump’s decade-old crude postings to point out that this is yet another in the Left’s endless series of crises that only it can fix through its leadership, its laws, its taxes, its regulations, and its censorship. This type of headline hysteria, especially before a major election, allows the Left to sell falsehoods to Americans through the vehicle of emotion (and we all know how that works now thanks to Scott Adams’ tutelage).
GOP leadership has Stockholm Syndrome. Ace doesn’t use the phrase Stockholm Syndrome but, as he describes the way in which the GOP has bought into all of the Left’s Social Justice Warrior tropes, it’s hard to think of a better description. Republicans are trapped in Washington, D.C., and if they want to survive, they have to adopt their captors’ mindset — something incomprehensible to those Americans still managing to live relatively free, ordinary lives in an increasingly Orwellian America.
Trump is an amateur compared to the Clintons and their Democrat cohorts. I’m seeing Lefty posters going around on Facebook that talk about the fact that Hillary shouldn’t be held responsible for her husband’s actions (rape, assault, regular and workplace harassment) — which would be fine if Hillary hadn’t come out swinging on Bill’s behalf, lying hard and destroying any women between her and ultimate power.
If you take the time, you can look up awful stories about Kennedy orgies (and the possibility that Bobby ordered a hit on Marilyn), Al Gore’s “sex-crazed poodle” attack on a masseuse, Teddy Kennedy’s cold-blooded murder (not the original car accident, but deliberately leaving Mary Jo to drown), LBJ’s filthy language and penile boasting, Anthony Weiner’s sex texts with teens, and on and on. Given that Democrat history, James T. Harris is not about to let dirty words be compared to dirty acts. (Plus, he makes a nice little point about the inherent racism of calling Bill — poor, Southern, sax-playing sex machine — the “first black president.”)
Whew! I was quite productive today. I think those iron pills I’ve been taking because of mild anemia have helped. I felt much less sluggish. I still have a lot of stuff in my inbox, but these articles are a good start:
The always-astute Lee Smith has a surprising take on Obama’s coziness with Mahmoud Abbas. I don’t believe that Obama has thought the issue through as carefully as Smith, but I think that the outcome is the same whether Obama acted deliberately or accidentally.
Oy voy vey! It’s not just that Obama is giving away the Free Speech internet, which is disastrous enough. It’s that, back in 2010, when he wasn’t even in full flexibility mode, Obama handed something very valuable over to Putin. And Putin, being no fool, will play this card as he reinstates the former Soviet Unions geopolitical reach.
The pro-Iranian faction has always argued that sanctions hurt the poor the most. In Iran’s case, they said, sanctions deprived the poor of medicine. But what if it turns out that sanctions are just depriving the rich of luxury articles? Will that information change Obama’s calculus? No. At a fundamental level, he thinks it’s wrong that Israel has the bombs and Iran doesn’t. He’s working to redress that inequity.
If you like creative literature with a libertarian/conservative bent, a new site called Liberty Island is the place for you. Here’s a snippet of its mission statement, explaining that conservatives are the new counterculture:
Once upon a time the mainstream culture was conservative and the so-called counterculture was left wing. Today the situation is reversed and a new counterculture has arisen, one that boldly challenges the cynicism, nihilism, and stifling political correctness of popular culture today.
Our mission is to support this raw and untamed counterculture by gathering its creators in one place and providing the tools and resources they need to succeed. Here they can present their latest works, interact with colleagues, and connect with a likeminded audience. At Liberty Island, readers of a conservative or libertarian bent can find fiction, music, video and graphics that reflect their social values and political beliefs — and readers of all persuasions can find new voices and undiscovered talent. Writers and creators you’ve never heard of, and won’t find anywhere else, because their views have been excluded from the mainstream popular culture.
Rogue government? Well, yes. The ATF ignores a court order and raids a gun store to get its customer lists. Let me quote Elmer: Be afwaid. Be vewy afwaid.
Let me reiterate a point I’ve made repeatedly before: Women do not belong in combat units.
This has been a crazily chaotic day. I got thrown off my stride by my morning swim (phase 2 in physical therapy for my knee, now that I’m off the perpetual motion machine), and just couldn’t catch up anymore. Throw in a few unexpected demands on my time and — voila! — I’m doing my round-up early in the evening instead of first thing in the morning. Still, proving that there’s always room for a cliched phrase, better late than never. So, here goes:
A friend sent me the following link in the mail and it was so eerily close to the way real events are playing out, that it took me a second to realize that it’s satire (and pretty damn funny satire at that): On Defense Cuts, Obama Just Comes Right Out And Says He Wants The Terrorists To Win
Perhaps we’ve reached a stage where the best we can hope for is that Israel will have our back, rather than vice versa. At least today, Israel had its own back (can I say that and still make sense?), capturing a massive arms haul — Syrian missiles, shipped out from Iran, and headed to Gaza. Thank God the Israelis still have the sechel to watch out for their own interests.
And speaking of Israel’s interests, if the last twenty-two years have shown us anything, it’s that participating in peace talks isn’t working. The reason, of course, is that the peace talks are all directed at a “two-state solution,” but the Palestinians, as well as the surrounding Arab and Muslim states, have no interest in a two-state solution. Yoav Sorek says that it’s time to stop chasing this chimera and create a new paradigm: a one-state solution — Israel — that the Palestinians have to learn to live with.
If you’re girding your loins against the possibility of a Hillary victory in 2016, maybe it’s time to stop girding and start working incredibly hard for a good conservative candidate, instead of the usual lousy conservative candidates. I say this because Hillary is also a lousy candidate and the only way in which Republicans can lose if she’s the Democrat candidate is if they put up another McCain. (What do you bet that the Republicans put up another John McCain?)
Here’s a scary thought: I already suggested that Obama has gone round the bend. What if Putin has done the same? The world is scary enough with one madman in power. What’s it going to be like with the last two great powers of the 20th century both headed by malignant narcissists whose already tenuous grip on reality has been destroyed by the bubbles in which they surrounded themselves?
Maybe none of it matters anyway, at least when it comes to Russia. I’ve noted before that Russia is in serious decline and this article provides the facts behind my conclusions. Whether Putin’s move on the Crimea is crazed or calculated, it can only buy a small amount of time for a country that will be eaten by China in the next few decades. (And considering its population, China will have a credible “lebensraum” argument, won’t it?) Ultimately, Putin will have gained nothing for his own country, although he will have succeeded in providing more evidence that Obama is feckless and unreliable, and may have caused several thousand, or even several hundred thousand, deaths along the way. Given the two delusional men at the helm of two declining nations, the last thing we want is a fast-walk to military confrontation.
If Snowden had merely shown how the U.S. government routinely collects very scrap of data it can about American citizens, he would have deserved the “hero” title that the far Left and far Right placed on him. But considering that he mostly stole 1.7 million sensitive files touching upon national security, and then headed for the Chinese and, after that, the Russians, it’s clear that he’s the biggest traitor in American history. I’m putting more and more credence in the theory that he was a massive traitor all along, and that he stole the “spying on American” stuff only to provide himself with cover.
Walt Disney Co. is free to demand that everyone and everything with which it deals support gay marriage. And people who disagree with that position are free to stop dealing with the Walt Disney Co. I really like Disneyland and Disney World, but it won’t be the end of the world for me if I never go to either place again. I bet the same is true for a lot of Americans. I’m not suggesting a formal boycott. I am pointing out, however, that in this information-rich world, we no longer have to deal with companies that spend our money in ways we dislike.
Jonah Goldberg supports Obama’s initiative to help black youth, even if it’s manifestly discriminatory for the federal government to extend aid to one racial group while ignoring others (not that this has ever stopped the feds before). Jonah is right that America’s black youth are in desperate straits and need all the help they can get. My only concern is that it was the federal government that got America’s black youth in this situation in the first place, thanks to Leftists’ belief that blacks cannot manage without government support. It seems to me that the federal government is the last entity that should be trusted to get blacks out of this miserable cycle of violence, drugs, and poverty. Remember Frederick Douglass’s words (emphasis mine):
In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…. I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … Your interference is doing him positive injury.
Not only did I enjoy Ace’s take on Obama’s manifestly unconstitutional decision to amend Obamacare again, but I loved the Photoshop you’ll find at that link. (BTW, Obama’s action is unconstitutional because only Congress can amend a law. This is banana republic stuff.)
Did I say “banana republic stuff”? I did, and I meant it. Michael Ramirez has his own comment on what Barack Obama has managed to do in five short (although they seemed very long) years.
The NAACP says “stand your ground” laws are part of “institutional racism.” Think about that for a moment. The laws simply say that, if your choices when faced by an assailant are to cut and run or to stand and fight, you can stand and fight (especially when cutting and running carries risks). They are facially neutral laws that apply to anyone facing a threat, black or white. What the NAACP is implicitly conceding is that the only/primary threatening parties in America — the ones who will be on the wrong side of “stand your ground” — are black. Wow! Is that racist or what? It seems to me that the NAACP is guilty of a bit of institutional racism itself.
There are two writers out there who make just about everything interesting . . . and when the subject matter is inherently interesting, they’re off into the stratospheres of wonder for their readers. Enjoy the Diplomad’s Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy; Putin Confronts the West and Sultan Knish’s A Maddow in MSNBCland.
Boehner’s bad: He freely concedes that all he cares about is opening up America’s borders. Who cares that the voters don’t want that? Remember, our elected officials are no longer our servants; they are our masters.
Muslims bomb the Boston Marathon and Boston, home to the American Revolution, does what the Left does best: it backs down. That’s the word from Runner’s world:
A decade long tradition will be missing from this year’s Boston Marathon. Due to the new, stricter security guidelines released by the Boston Athletic Association last Wednesday, ruck marchers will not be allowed to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boylston because they are considered “unauthorized participants.”
Active members of the military have participated in ruck marches at the Boston Marathon for years. Donning full fatigues and carrying 40-pound rucksacks on their backs, ruckers march the length of the course in support of families of fallen soldiers.
Muslims don’t have to defeat America on the battlefield. If they scare us enough, we’ll unilaterally declare defeat and turn ourselves over to the enemy.
And finally, Danny Lemieux posted the following quotation on his real-me Facebook:
“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
– Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
It’s funny how we spend our adolescent years desperately trying to shake off our parents’ care, which we feel comes with too many strings attached, and then spend the rest of our lives trying to get someone to care for us, strings or not.
As I was driving home from the swimming pool today, I heard that Russia’s representative was refusing to accede to John Kerry’s request that the Russians sit down for face-to-face negotiations with the Ukrainians. My first thought was that the report was way too polite. Kerry’s not requesting, he’s begging.
My second thought was that this is what happens when the President of the United States spends five years making it plain that America will not use its power and, worse, that the president’s word cannot be relied upon. Kerry has no leverage.
As for my third thought, I didn’t actually have a third thought. Instead, I’m borrowing from a friend, who forwarded his thoughts on the matter to me:
Obama and Kerry attempting to use diplomacy with Putin is like trying to use reason with robbers during a home invasion. As they are talking, he’s filling his pockets and getting the tactical advantage. If he gets away with this who’s next? Further, why would anyone choose to negotiate over something they can simply take?
All of the above would be amusing if it was written into a lunatic novel. (By the way, if you’re looking for a wonderful, clever, laugh-out-loud funny lunatic novel, I highly recommend Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood.) But this is isn’t a lunatic novel. It’s real life, and Obama has managed to destroy in five years almost 70 years of American influence.
Every time a Leftist media rag has a momentary epiphany that Obama isn’t the messiah, all I can think is “Too little too late.” Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that those epiphanies don’t make a point. Such is the case with the WaPo’s observation that Obama’s foreign policy is built upon a fantasy of the world as it should be, rather than the world as it is.
The fact that Putin may also be living out a fantasy, as Angela Merkel surmises, is irrelevant. Putin is living out his fantasy with guns and tanks, which makes him an extremely dangerous fantasist.
In any event, it’s not clear to me that there’s anything fantastic about Putin’s plan. As every Russian leader has wanted since at least Catherine the Great’s time, Putin needs a warm water port, this time to export Russia’s energy reserves. He also knows that, while his nation is in demographic and economic decline (a) selling reserves will at least offset the economic losses and (b) aiming a gun at people unwilling to fight back is a good way to offset a demographic drop.
Apropos that warm water port, a liberal asked me “Why is Putin doing this?” My response aside from the obvious “because he can,” was “because he wants a warm water port.” The liberal sneered at me that this isn’t the 19th century anymore. I suspect that he hadn’t read that Lurch er . . . Kerry said exactly the same thing. Instead, this is just a default Leftist sneer. In fact, as I noted above, a warm water port is an excellent thing for the Russians and Putin knows it. He is therefore following State Craft Rule 101: act in your own self-interest. As Tom Rogan explains, no airy-fairy theory in the world will override this number one rule of governance.
(I can’t resist an aside here, which is that Obama’s policies have not been to America’s self-interest, unless our nation’s self-interest demands bankruptcy, security weakness, and cultural collapse. This means that because he’s clearly following a game plan, his self-interests are at odds with America’s. He sure is some president.)
Everyone acknowledges that nobody is going to run for their guns to defend Ukraine. David Goldman astutely points out that Ukraine has never had a history of true independence, that it lurched from one oligarchy to the next, that it’s completely bankrupt, and that no one has a real interest in engaging with Russia over it (as Putin knows).
Still, the U.S. and the world are not entirely helpless. While it’s unlikely that America or the EU can pry Putin away from his warm water port, they can constrain him. Timothy Snyder, who wrote the devastating Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, thinks that Europe has a lot of soft power that it can bring to bear on a nation whose leisure class loves to travel to and spend money in Europe.
I wonder, though. What Europe wants above all is cheap energy — and Putin’s Crimean takeover promises them that. I think the EU will huff and puff for a while, and then wallow in the black gold flowing its way.
That’s my two cents. Drew, at Ace of Spades, didn’t futz around with two cents worth of links and thoughts. He goes all out in an excellent post that I see, after reading it, heads in much the same direction as mine, only with much more data and analysis.
The Diplomad ties everything up in a neat package with a very important observation: our foreign policy will continue to fail unless we, at home, create a true commitment to liberty. As long as the weak, America-hating, internationalist, Islamophilic, socialist Obama controls the government, that’s not going to happen. We therefore have to hope that we can weather a few more years of Obama at the helm and then hope even more that a true leader runs for the White House and that the American people have the sechel to elect him.
One more thing. Remember the young Kerry who included in his Congressional testimony during the Vietnam War a reference to “Jen-gis Khan”? Jen-gis Khan! Huh! It took a moment for most people to realize that Kerry was speaking about a historical figure everyone else in America called (and calls) “Gen-gis Khan”?
That snotty reference to a commonly named figure warned us long ago that Kerry is a self-involved, arrogant, elitist poseur. Knowing what we know about him, are we surprised that, while the rest of American is focused on Kiev, Kerry is focused on Kyiv?
A couple of days ago, I wrote a lengthy post in which I argued that, during Democrat presidencies, the media constantly elevates non-essential information to top status, thereby keeping America’s attention away from the fact that things are going badly wrong. During Republican administrations, the press focuses exclusively on hard news, always reported to the administration’s detriment.
Today’s Drudge Report perfectly exemplifies what’s roiling the world (Putin) and what’s roiling the media and the Left (a proposed Arizona law that would allow people who practice traditional religions to refuse to provide their services to gay weddings, which they see as a direct affront to their faith):
They’re rattling sabres in a way that presages another Cold War or, worse, a hot war, while our chattering class is incensed that traditional religionists don’t want to be driven into bankruptcy because, while they do not want to be active participants in what is to them a deeply offensive event.
The American media has found its fiddle, even as the world burns down around our ears.
If you’re a true believer, it’s very hard to admit that your idol has feet of clay. For some, it may be impossible. Andrew Sullivan currently falls into the latter category. He has written an almost pathetic post assuring his followers that Obama cleverly baited a trap for Putin and Putin, that preening fool, fell into it.
According to Sullivan, everything we think we know about Obama’s apparently feckless Syria policy is wrong. Sullivan is willing to concede that Obama was careless when, a year ago, he mentioned a “red line” about Syria. Once Obama had done that, however, Sullivan assures us that Obama instantly knew that he had the perfect bait with which to hook his fish.
In Sullivan’s world, Obama wasn’t flailing when he said that he intended, on his own executive initiative, to bomb Syria. He wasn’t being a rank amateur when he announced the intended date, time, and location of his “muscular,” yet delicate, attack.
Obama wasn’t backtracking when he abruptly announced that, despite the urgent need to bomb Syria, he would wait until Congress convened, deliberated, and voted on an attack. Obama also wasn’t prevaricating (some might say “lying”) when he explained that he hadn’t drawn a red line; the world had drawn a red line, and he was simply helping the world enforce it.
Likewise, Obama wasn’t guilty of rank hiring malpractice when he put before the world a Secretary of State who announced that any US attack against Syria would be so infinitesimally small that a toddler could withstand its impact. That same potential malpractice was inapplicable when that same Secretary of State remarked, to the administration’s explicitly expressed surprise, that Bashar al Assad could make everything good by turning over his weapons which, said Secretary of State hastened to add, could never actually be done.
And of course, no one in the administration was made to look like a fool when Russian President Vladimir Putin instantly announced that he had brokered an agreement with Assad by which Assad agreed that he’d be pleased to turn over all his nasty weapons, at a date, time, and location of his and Putin’s determining. In the same vein, Obama didn’t look like a fool when he went before the American people on Tuesday night and said that war was the only answer, except that he’d be happy to wait on Putin’s proposed peace plan.
Finally, says Sullivan, there was no humiliating slap in Obama’s face when Putin hired a PR firm that wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which Putin threw all of Obama’s words back into his face, including Obama’s 2009 statement that there was nothing exceptional about America.
Instead, according to Sullivan, everything went according to Obama’s carefully laid scheme. America hasn’t bowed out of being the top power broker in the Middle East, and Putin hasn’t leveraged his Third World nuclear power into being the Big Dog in a region that responds well to loud barks. Obama won! We’re just too stupid to recognize victory when it’s clothed in such subtle garb.
Here’s what Sullivan says really happened: Obama engaged in a strategic game that would have made Machiavelli proud. He’d cleverly figured out that Syria is unsalvageable, so he’s now foisted responsibility for it onto Putin. You heard me. That’s what Sullivan says:
If the end-result is that Putin effectively gains responsibility and control over the civil war in Syria, then we should be willing to praise him to the skies. Praise him, just as the far right praises him, for his mastery of power politics – compared with that ninny weakling Obama. Encourage him to think this is a personal and national triumph even more than he does today. Don’t just allow him to seize the limelight – keep that light focused directly on him. If that also requires dumping all over the American president, calling him weak and useless and incapable of matching the chess master from Russia, so be it. Obama can take it. He’s gotten used to being a pinata.
All this apparent national humiliation is worth it. The price Russia will pay for this triumph is ownership of the problem. At some point, it may dawn on him that he hasn’t played Obama. Obama has played him.
It’s now all so clear. The Great and Powerful Obama willingly put his credibility and America’s stature on the line in order to lure Putin closer and closer to the Middle Eastern tar baby. Obama understood that it was never in America’s interest to go in. Being wise beyond all mortal recognition, however, he also understood that America, because she’s got the best military in the world, was always expected to go in. The only way Obama could avoid that horrible fate (a fate, incidentally, that the vast majority of American people think is a lousy idea), was to appear like a bumbling, incompetent idiot, thereby inveigling Putin to step in. Well played, Obama! Well played!
Sullivan’s theory about Obama’s wonderfulness is really quite perfect, until one realizes that he’s wrong about a central fact: Putin’s and America’s goals are different. Unlike Obama, with his anti-American “responsibility 2 protect” doctrine (America can only step into another nation’s war if it’s not in America’s interest to do so), and unlike the American people, who have soft hearts, and hate to see innocents massacred, Putin doesn’t care at all if Syrians engage in a slaughter that leads every man, woman, and child to the grave.
What Putin cares about is (a) humiliating Obama, which he did magnificently; (b) humiliating America, which I’m sorry to say he also did magnificently; (c) becoming a player in the Middle East for the first time since the Cold War, another magnificent accomplishment; and (d) finally, having access to Syria’s chemical weapons, while keeping Russia’s arms market afloat by selling to Syria and Iran.
Put another way, Obama was no Machiavelli. He was one of those dumb dogs playing poker with a master strategist and tactician. As for Sullivan, he’s got his head so far up . . . well, you know, that he’s blinded by the light shining through Obama’s tonsils every time the President opens his mouth to spout another lie or prevarication.