District Pimp of Seattle 2

The Democrat-governed city of Seattle has appointed a pimp to take the place of a police force.

Posted under Progressivism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 24, 2020

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The West at sunset 5

Is the human species choosing extinction?

Mark Steyn writes about P. D. James’s novel The Children of Men:

The Children of Men endures as a meditation on the west at sunset. It is a quick read – a short book on a bigger question than anything roiling the news cycle …

Baroness James’s tale is set in Britain in the near future, in a world that is infertile: the last newborn babe emerged from the womb in 1995, and since then nothing.

Pets are doted on as child-substitutes, and churches hold christening ceremonies for cats.

The unneeded toys are burned, except for the dolls, which childless women seize on as the nearest thing to a baby and wheel through the streets. …

Sex itself becomes a bit of a chore. The authorities frantically sponsor state porn emporia promoting ever more recherché forms of erotic activity in an effort to reverse the populace’s flagging sexual desire just in case man’s seed should recover its potency. Alas, to no avail. … A bold conceit, at least to those who believe that shorn of all those boring procreation hang-ups we can finally be free to indulge our sexual appetites to the full.

[The] novel is set in the near future – very near in fact, next year, 2021 – in a world that is impotent, literally. The human race can no longer breed. The last children, the “Omega” generation born in 1995, are now adult. Schoolhouses are abandoned and villages are dying as an ever more elderly citizenry prefers for security reasons to cluster in urban centers. As the narrator writes:

The children’s playgrounds in our parks have been dismantled. For the first twelve years after Omega the swings were looped up and secured, the slides and climbing frames left unpainted. Now they have finally gone and the asphalt playgrounds have been grassed over or sown with flowers like small mass graves. The toys have been burnt, except for the dolls, which have become for some half-demented women a substitute for children… The children’s books have been systematically removed from our libraries. Only on tapes and records do we now hear the voices of children, only on film or on television programs do we see the bright, moving images of the young …

In one of the most striking scenes in the book, a fawn is seen happily loping round the altar in the chapel of Magdalen [pronounced Maudlin – ed] College in Oxford. … “Bloody animals,” rages the Magdalen chaplain. “They’ll have it all soon enough. Why can’t they wait?” It is an image of utter civilizational ruin … all lost to the beasts and the jungle:

In the [James] book, the “Warden of England” … knows an aging population wants “security, comfort, pleasure”, not untrammeled liberties. One discerns something similar in the west’s acceptance of Covid impositions: elderly societies will tend to be risk-averse, even if it means obeying orders to stay inside for six months.

P. D. James’s short novel is about loss of societal purpose in society: the symptoms are already well advanced in ours – convenience euthanasia, collapsed birth rates, [routine abortion, legal infanticide, sterilization by transgendering – ed], wild animals reclaiming empty villages on the East German plain, the rejection of the past that necessarily accompanies the abandonment of a future… It is a world of the middle-aged and old, a society on its last waltz.

So is the human species choosing extinction?

Unlikely? Impossible? Mark Steyn describes how Japan is already very like the society P. D. James visualizes. And it is not even a socialist country.

Socialism is the fast lane to despair and death.

If America chooses socialism this coming November, then certainly there is a Death Wish epidemic that will wreck our marvelous civilization.

Will it also put an end to the Human Age?

Posted under Commentary, Japan, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 21, 2020

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Racist racisst ray-cissst! 1

In this interview Mark Steyn denounces with indignation the Left’s inability to talk seriously about the coronavirus pandemic. Instead those “shrieking twerps” bring all discussion within their own “shriveled pointless parameters”, forever crying “racist”:

 

And Deroy Murdock writes at TrumpTrain on the Left’s irrational Trump hatred and its tedious inappropriate accusation of racism:

President Donald J. Trump could announce tomorrow morning that he pulled an all-nighter, whipped out the Bunsen burners and Petri dishes, and created a combined vaccine and treatment against the deadly COVID-19 virus. Furthermore, under his new Injections for All program, 330 million free shots would be available for every American, starting with doses at every Walgreens and Duane Reade, as of High Noon.

Rather than cheer the president’s diligence and creativity, the guttersnipes who slam him at every turn would moan: “So what? Why didn’t he cure breast cancer? Does he hate women? And what about Tay-Sachs Disease? No cure for that? At last, this proves conclusively that he’s an anti-Semite.”

Soon after this pandemic emerged in Wuhan Province, China, and began its long march overseas, Trump banned the arrival of foreign nationals from China and those who had traveled there within 14 days of reaching the U.S. Rather than applaud Trump’s January 31 action to defend America from these dreadful pathogens, his indefatigable foes lined up to smite him.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia – hysterical xenophobia – and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science,” former vice president Joe Biden thundered [or quavered] on February 2.

Three days later, Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said via Twitter: “The premature travel ban to and from China by the current administration is just an excuse to further his ongoing war against immigrants.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – California) attacked Trump for “using scare tactics about people coming back to our country”.

CNN warned that “the US coronavirus travel ban could backfire” and wind up “stigmatizing countries and ethnicities”. CNN also berated Trump’s panel of experts on public health and infectious disease for its “lack of diversity”, as if germs gave a damn about skin color.

CNN’s odious Jim Acosta berated Trump for calling COVID-19 a “foreign virus”, since this, too, would fuel — what else? — xenophobia. Never mind that this microbe first arose in China, which is not an American state, but a foreign country. Also, on January 23, Acosta referred via Twitter to “the growing spread of Wuhan Coronavirus.” Wuhan is not in Wisconsin. It’s in China. So, Acosta lacks even toothpicks on which to stand when he spews his ugliness.

Despite the Left’s destructive sniping, Trump’s “bigoted” travel restrictions kept infections and deaths far lower than they would have been otherwise.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, lauded the “original decision that was made by the president”. He added at a February 29 press conference: “If we had not done that, we would have had many, many more cases right here that we would have to be dealing with.”

If Trump had not taken these tough-but-effective steps six weeks ago, dead bodies likely would have piled up, as they have in Italy, and these very same Left-wing jackals would be screaming, “Why didn’t Trump ban flights from China? He knew each one was a missile brimming with biological weapons. But he let them land here anyway. Monster!”

The Daily Mail transmitted this lie via Twitter on March 9: “Trump REFUSES to say if he has been tested for coronavirus and storms out of White House briefing on crisis.”

Garbage!

As Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson demonstrated via a video clip that he posted on Twitter, President Trump finished his press conference and said, “Thank you very much.” As he turned right to exit the White House press room, the gathered journalists inelegantly hollered questions at him, as they have done in that situation for decades. “Have you been tested?” a man in the crowd shouted. “Have you been tested? Mr. President, have you been tested? Mr. President, have you been tested?”

As presidents have done for decades, Trump ignored these screams and very casually walked out the door. He did not “REFUSE” to say anything, nor did he storm out of anywhere.

LIES! Or, more politely, fake news.

The dinosaur media also claimed that President Trump called COVID-19 “a hoax”. In fact, he referred to the Left’s critique of his Corona response as a hoax, designed to sandbag him, like the Russia and Ukraine hoaxes.

Revolting.

It doesn’t matter.

Trump is evil for not getting tested for Corona virus.

“If he understood his role as a moral leader, Trump would submit to the test — modeling appropriate behavior for the public,” CNN’s Chris Cillizza scolded. He cited the president’s CPAC speech, where he had no direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. “Sure, it would be done out of an abundance of caution, given that he almost certainly hasn’t been infected. But it would also provide leadership, destigmatizing and demystifying the idea of being tested. It would show that Trump was willing to go above and beyond prescribed conduct for the good of the American people.”

Cillizza added: “The Point: Trump has never understood the moral responsibilities and imperatives of being President. And he doesn’t appear to be starting now.”

So, to summarize: Trump is immoral and failed to destigmatize a non-mysterious test for which people are clamoring and whose limited supply is overwhelmed by enormous public demand.

But if Trump had gotten tested, just imagine the outrage. Cillizza and others would have demanded to know:

Why is Donald Trump wasting precious test kits on himself, while he is asymptomatic? Doesn’t he know that these test kits are extremely scarce, or his he too stupid to understand this? Who the hell does he think he is? This proves, once and for all, that he is a terminal narcissist!

For weeks, these vultures have called Trump’s response lackadaisical.

“What he’s doing is late, too late, anemic,” Pelosi whined. “Hopefully, we can make up for the loss of time.” On February 24, Schumer said Trump was “asleep at the wheel” and had “no plan”.

Perhaps President Trump could have fought this headache harder and sooner if he were not busy battling something that Pelosi, Schumer, and their Democrat comrades concocted all on their own: his impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate. While COVID-19 incubated and expanded, Trump was at least slightly distracted by Democrats’ despicable, futile, and totally failed bid to dislodge him from office. In fact, Trump’s February 6 Senate acquittal came a full week after his Chinese-travel ban.

According to NBC News, “The president doesn’t appear to be taking seriously the threat Americans see to their physical and financial health.”

Trump has failed to take COVID-19 seriously, specifically, through these initiatives: his initial Chinese-travel ban, his original public-health-emergency declaration, his formation of a task force to coordinate these efforts, under the leadership of Vice President Mike Pence; his signature on an $8.5 billion Corona emergency spending bill, meetings with drug companies to speed vaccine development, pressure on the FDA to remove Obama-Biden-era red tape that hinders new-drug production, negotiations with insurance companies to encourage them to offer COVID-19 tests for free (absent co-pays, etc.), and more.

Also, the president addressed the American people from the Oval Office Wednesday night. That’s as serious as a president of the United States can get. He announced a 30-day moratorium on flights from 26 European nations, starting tonight. (The UK and Northern Ireland are exempt.) Centers for Disease Control chief Robert Redfield said: “If you want to be blunt, Europe is the new China.”

Well, now Trump is overreacting. It’s too much. He’s out of control.

“Coronavirus knows no borders but borders are the only thing that President Trump knows with regard to Covid-19,” global-health expert Thomas Bollyky told Vox in an article headlined Coronavirus is already here. Blocking travelers won’t prevent its spread. …

Allowing new cases into America would not be spreading it?

And now that Trump is blocking flights from Austria, France, Germany, Norway and other countries that quite fairly can be called white, does this expose his anti-Caucasian bias? If so, his self-hatred would seem to negate charges of his towering vanity. If not, this suggests that such travel limits are color blind and are a necessary evil when coping with people who, through no fault of their own, carry disease — whether they are Chinese, European, or simply traversing those locations.

It never stops.

Trump haters pummel him with sledgehammers all day, every day, no matter what.

It doesn’t matter.

This reprehensible headline in America’s so-called “Paper of Record” serves as an instruction manual for the enemies of the President of the United States to respond to anything and everything he does or says while battling this national emergency:

“Let’s Call It Trumpvirus.”

So proving the accuracy of Mark Steyn’s description of those “shrieking twerps” on the Left! Having no cause but hatred of President Trump, nothing to say but  “Racist!”, those are the “shriveled parameters” of their discourse.

Panic and pandemic 18

Is it prudent or stupid to lay in a stock of necessities in a time when shortages are likely? If most of us do it, shortages are ensured. If some of us for that very reason do not, we could find ourselves helplessly regretting it.

Is it prudent or stupid for political leaders to stress the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic, advise extreme caution (such as not going to the office, working from home), and order the closing down of schools, theaters, sport meetings, swimming-pools, public transport …?

Theodore Dalrymple writes at Law & Liberty:

The first casualty of war is truth. It is also the first casualty of epidemics.

When serious epidemics make their presence felt, a dialectic between complacency and panic is set up in the minds of both the public and the political class. Only after the epidemic is over can a proper assessment of whether too much or too little was done to halt it be made. Since life is lived forward rather than backward, it is only with hindsight that what would have been the right response becomes clear; but if the epidemic has killed a large number of people, recrimination is almost inevitable.

Politicians who have never given a moment’s thought to the science of epidemiology before are suddenly thrust into the roles of expert and prophet, while at the same time having to keep an eye on their ratings in the opinion polls. If they admit their ignorance, they are accused of lack of foresight and leadership; but if they make definite pronouncements they are bound soon to be contradicted by their opponents, if not by the facts themselves. …

Error is not the same as foolishness or wickedness, of course, though in dire situations it is often treated as if it were. The desire then for a scapegoat is almost overwhelming. …

If the epidemic is contained, [President] Trump will claim the credit; if it is not, he will blame others. His opponents will do the same, but the other way round: if the epidemic is contained, they will praise others; if it is not they will blame Mr. Trump.

In the next paragraph, the wise doctor puts the Dem in the panic, showing how the pandemic can be used by the unscrupulous Left to serve its political interest. (We plead guilty to the word play. Frivolity over the virus is not felt or intended.)

There is thus a disturbing grain of truth in the assertion that Democratic politicians would not be altogether sorry to see the epidemic spread, at least spread enough to turn the population against the administration: one extra death might be worth a thousand votes. The desire for power distorts everyone’s scale of values, whichever party they belong to. This, unfortunately, is the human condition, and even the most stringent authoritarianism or dictatorship can only paper over the cracks for a time.

Much is still unknown about the virus and its mode of spread. Even its fatality rate is unknown because many infections may have been without symptoms and therefore not come to the attention of the public health authorities. If this is indeed the case, the fatality rate would be considerably lower than the 2 per cent at present estimated, though it would also indicate that the spread is more difficult to control.

All that can be said for certain is that the old are more at risk than the young, as are those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If a vaccine were developed but was initially in short supply, it is they who should be immunised first; but in any case, it is unlikely that one will be developed quickly enough to affect the course of the epidemic. (Even the need to immunize the old first might be disputed, for more years of human life might be saved by preventing the death of one thirty year-old than by preventing the deaths of five eighty year-olds.)

It is a serious ethical dilemma, about which Mark Steyn writes:

A lady who claims to be “COVID-19 Positive” but has been thrice denied a test argues that restricted testing is intentional and strategic:

The Official Policy of the Trump Administration is Eldercide. They have seen the statistics from China and decided “Well, if grandma & grandpa die that won’t hurt the economy.” Make no mistake, these people don’t believe the Government should do anything.

I like a conspiracy theory as much as the next chap, and I’m willing to entertain the proposition that COVID-19 is Deep State payback or Politburo bio-warfare retaliation for the Trump trade war or all kinds of other things. But the above theory makes no sense. If “Eldercide” is anybody’s strategic goal, it’s surely the left’s: Their position is that it’s the geezer vote that provided the margin of victory for Trump and Brexit and everything else they revile, but that this is a last gasp of a xenophobic homophobic Islamophobic transphobic gerontocracy and as soon as the old coots are six feet under the triumph of the new utopia is inevitable.

If that’s the case, why would Trump kill off the only demographic keeping him in business?

To return to Theodore Dalrymple – he says:

As in the Cold War, we now talk of containment rather than of eradication. Early hopes that the United States might be spared the epidemic have proved what they always were, illusory. It is not only goods that are globalised.

For the moment, containment relies on case-finding, contact-tracing, and isolation or quarantine. In essence we are employing the methods used during the Black Death of 1347-1349. (They were unsuccessful in the Black Death, which killed a third to one half of the population of Europe, because, unknown at the time, the disease was carried mainly by a non-human vector.) Those who have symptoms of the disease, and those who have been in contact with them, are asked to isolate themselves for two weeks, until they are no longer—according to current ideas—infectious to others. Large gatherings are to be cancelled or postponed, as during the Black Death, and people are advised to travel as little as possible, especially by public transport, where the possibility of contagion is high. In the fourteenth century, walls were washed with vinegar and fumigated with burning herbs; we are told to wash our hands often and not to touch our own eyes or mouths, though how far this is actually effective in preventing spread to oneself is unknown. Sometimes it is necessary to go beyond the evidence.

It is hardly surprising that such advice—no doubt good—should lead to panic buying in supermarkets. Staying home as much as possible is the best way of avoiding contracting the disease even if one knows no one who has it, and more people than ever can continue to work from home. But of course, staying at home requires considerable stocking up of food and other necessities. Stocks of goods in supermarkets without re-supply are notoriously sufficient only for a few days even in times of normal buying. At the first sign of panic, it was obvious that the shelves would soon empty, which could only increase the initial panic. …

Is this prudence or stupidity? … [Most people do not] refuse to leave their homes because of the chance of a road accident. … [But] while it is perfectly possible that the numbers of deaths from coronavirus will grow at a rapid exponential rate, it is unlikely, to say the least, that the rate of death from road accidents … will do likewise. …

Epidemics do not go on for ever, and by the time this epidemic is over it is likely that, by the standards of the catastrophic Spanish flu of 1918-19, it will prove to have been relatively minor. It is always possible, however, that the next epidemic of a novel virus will be worse, so that the dialectic of complacency and panic will continue.

The epidemic might well have effects far beyond any that its death rate could account for. The world has suddenly woken up to the dangers of allowing China to be the workshop of the world and of relying on it as the ultimate source for supply chains for almost everything, from cars to medicines, from computers to telephones. No doubt normal service will soon resume once the epidemic is over, even if at a lower level, but at the very least supply chains should be diversified politically and perhaps geographically; dependence on a single country is to industry what dependence on monoculture is to agriculture. And just as the heart has its reasons that reason knows not of, so countries may have strategic reasons that economic reasons know not of.

Which  is to say the prudent country grows its own food and makes its own weapons and medicines, regardless of the economic case for international division of labor.

Posted under China, Economics, Health, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

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Training our enemies to destroy us 11

I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘there is no god but Allah‘.” With these farewell words the Prophet Muhammad summed up the international vision of the faith he had brought to the world. As a universal religion, Islam envisages a global political order in which all humankind will live under Muslim rule as either believers or subject communities. In order to achieve this goal it is incumbent on all free, male, adult Muslims to carry out an uncompromising struggle “in the path of Allah”, or jihad. This in turn makes those parts of the world that have not yet been conquered by the House of Islam an abode of permanent conflict (Dar al-Harb, the House of War) which will only end with Islam’s eventual triumph. In the meantime, there can be no peace between these two world systems, only the temporary suspensions of hostilities for reasons of necessity or expediency. … [The caliphs] were, of course, extremely proud of their religion and convinced of its superiority over all other faiths. Yet this did not prevent them from appropriating the intellectual property of other cultures and religions …  [T]he largest source of borrowing by a wide margin came precisely from that part of the world with which the House of Islam was supposedly locked in a deadly civilizational confrontation – the West.

So Efraim Karsh, in his book Islamic Imperialism*, explains the unceasing aggression towards the West, and the simultaneous cultural appropriation from it by Islam in its early history.

As Islam still has not conquered the world – though it is making rapid progress towards that goal – there has been no change.

Yesterday (Friday, December 7, 2019) a Saudi Arabian jihadi, enrolled at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, to be trained as a military pilot, killed three “infidels” and wounded several more.  

Why does the United States train its enemies in the techniques of war?

We agree with Mark Steyn that it is a stupid thing to do.

He writes:

Sometimes a society becomes too stupid to survive.

Back when President Trump was Candidate Trump, he famously proposed a soi-disant “Muslim ban” on entry to the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”.

Which was a rationale to which I was rather partial – because a failure to “figure out what the hell is going on” is a big part of why we’re where we are a generation after 9/11. Mohammed is now in the Top Ten boys’ names in America, which means it will sooner than you think be, as it is in Europe, among the Top Five boys’ names, and eventually the Number One.

Well, the “Muslim ban” never happened, after being struck down by judges and filleted into meaninglessness by the lawyers of the permanent bureaucracy. But you would think, given the mountain of corpses piled up on 9/11, that at the very minimum Saudi nationals would no longer be being given pilot training in Florida. After all, fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, and half of those who flew the planes received their lessons in the Sunshine State.

Yet today Americans pick up their papers to read:

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A Saudi Arabian military pilot training in the United States opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola, leaving three people dead and several others wounded before Florida sheriff’s deputies shot and killed him.

Or as The New York Times headlined it:

Florida Shooting Updates: Authorities Say It’s Too Early to Know if It’s Terrorism

We know it’s a Saudi national gunning down Americans, but it’s “too early to know” if it’s terrorism. Could be just “mental health issues” or “workplace violence” or “pre-traumatic stress disorder” or “involuntary self-radicalization” or whatever. Nothing to worry about and always remember … that “Allahu Akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here”.

On “the day that everything changed” [9/11] nothing changed – except the rate of Muslim immigration to the west, which doubled. A US immigration bureaucracy … cannot stop itself admitting Saudi trainee pilots to kill Americans.

Recently, I marked (under the headline Diversity unto Death) the tenth anniversary of the Fort Hood slaughter – the first mass murder in American history in which the perpetrator gave a PowerPoint presentation on what he intended to do, and to a roomful of military and mental-health professionals to boot. Some of whom felt a little queasy about what they heard, but not enough to prevent him going ahead and murdering everyone. …

No matter how many times Islamic terrorists strike in the West, few dare speak of “Islamic terrorism”. In Europe, speaking or writing that phrase can land you in jail.

And in America –

We will admit more Saudi would-be pilots (for no district judge would countenance an end to the program) but also order up more bollards for US military bases, and longer security lines and more sophisticated latex gloves. And, whatever happens, it won’t ever be anything to do with Islam, and not even anything to do with terrorism unless you’re going to a dead-drop in the park to collect your orders from Isis High Command.

Oh, and even the “Muslim ban” guy is back to the usual “the Saudis are our friends” bollocks:

The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.

Yeah, sure. Aside from the three other Saudis who filmed the attack as it was in progress.

The flaw in Trump’s “Muslim ban” was its conditionality on us “figuring out what the hell is going on”. Actually, what the hell’s going on isn’t so difficult to figure out. But, as events at Fishmongers’ Hall and the Pensacola Naval Air Station both underline, most of the western world would rather do anything than confront honestly “what the hell is going on”.

And so the hell will go on …

The likes of today’s perp and last Friday’s perp are able to do this to us because we’re willing to have it done to us. We have not the will to resist even the most absurd provocations.

What is the nature of such weakness? What has happened to the West?

Can it be said that it has been emasculated? Feminized?

Induced to hate itself? Its self-esteem defeated by the weird alliance of two grotesque ideologies, the Left and Islam?

Yes.

But why did we let it happen? What is the flaw in our magnificent civilization that its enemies have insidiously exploited?

What can it be but what Mark Steyn bluntly says it is – stupidity?

 

 

*Islamic Imperialism: A History by Efraim Karsh, Yale UniversityPress, pp.62-64

 

Posted under Islam, jihad, Muslims, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 7, 2019

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Another day another laugh at the old Joe who would be President 1

Enjoy the clip. Extra words are not needed:

Posted under Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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The man who got it right – has gone 24

Being strong supporters of President Trump, we are not happy making moan about his dismissal of John Bolton as his national security adviser. But make moan we do.

For one very important thing, John Bolton has always been right about how to deal with terrorist organizations like the Taliban, and terrorist regimes like Iran’s: they should never be negotiated with because to do so is to legitimize them. Now it seems that it is over this issue (inter alia, presumably) that the President and Bolton have parted company. (If proof were needed that in this matter Bolton is right, the Iranian government cheered the news of Bolton’s departure.)

Mark Steyn appreciates John Bolton as much as we do.

He writes  (in part … read it all for the wit, the sheer fun):

I first met the new National Security Advisor a decade and a half or so back, in a roomful of European prime ministers and foreign ministers. He delivered a line that stunned the joint:

‘International law does not trump the US Constitution.’

I was standing next to the Finnish Prime Minister, Paavo Lipponen, who had a genuinely puzzled looked on his face and eventually inquired of me: “He is making a joke, no?”

No. Since then, I’ve interviewed him at Fox a couple of times and passed him in the green room on many others. …

I first wrote about him fourteen years ago, after Bush nominated him as UN Ambassador. This is from The Spectator of March 19th 2005 – and my remarks about “the code-speak consensus of the global elite” are relevant, I think, to what drove Trump’s rise – as Mr Bolton was surely aware:

If you’re going to play the oldest established permanent floating transnational crap game for laughs, you might as well pick an act with plenty of material. What I love about John Bolton, America’s new ambassador to the UN, is the sheer volume of ‘damaging’ material. Usually, the Democrats and media have to riffle through decades of dreary platitudes to come up with one potentially exploitable infelicitous soundbite. But with Bolton the damaging quotes are hanging off the trees and dropping straight into your bucket. Five minutes’ casual trawling through the back catalogue and your cup runneth over:

The UN building?

If you lost ten storeys, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.’

Reform of the Security Council?

If I were redoing the Security Council, I’d have one permanent member … the United States.’

The International Criminal Court?

Fuzzy-minded romanticism … not just naive but dangerous.’

International law in general?

It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law.’

Offering incentives to rogue states?

I don’t do carrots.’

But he does do shtick. I happen to agree with all the above statements, but I can see why the international community might be minded to throw its hands up and shriek, ‘Quelle horreur!’ It’s not just the rest of the world. Most of the American media are equally stunned. …

In a roomful of Euro-grandees, [Bolton] was perfectly relaxed … [He] thwacked every ball they served back down their gullets with amazing precision. …He seemed to relish their hostility. At one event, a startled British cabinet minister said to me afterwards, ‘He doesn’t mean all that, does he?’

But he does. And that’s why the Bolton flap is very revealing about conventional wisdom on transnationalism. Diplomats are supposed to be ‘diplomatic’. Why is that? Well, as the late Canadian prime minister Lester B. Pearson used to say, diplomacy is the art of letting the other fellow have your way. In other words, you were polite, discreet, circumspect, etc., as a means to an end. Not any more.

None of John Bolton’s detractors is worried that his bluntness will jeopardise the administration’s policy goals. Quite the contrary. They’re concerned that the administration has policy goals — that it isn’t yet willing to subordinate its national interest to the polite transnational pieties. In that sense, our understanding of ‘diplomacy’ has become corrupted: it’s no longer the language through which nation states treat with one another so much as the code-speak consensus of a global elite.

For much of the civilised world the transnational pabulum has become an end in itself, and one largely unmoored from anything so tiresome as reality. It doesn’t matter whether there is any global warming or, if there is, whether Kyoto will do anything about it or, if you ratify Kyoto, whether you bother to comply with it: all that matters is that you sign on to the transnational articles of faith. The same thinking applies to the ICC, and Darfur, and the Oil-for-Fraud programme, and anything else involving the UN. …

The normal Western deference to the [UN] has grossly over-inflated its ‘legitimacy’ and ‘moral authority’. That’s what John Bolton had in mind with his observations about international law:

It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so — because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.’

Just so. When George Bush Sr. went through the UN to assemble his coalition for the first Gulf war, it might have been a ‘diplomatic triumph’ but it was also the biggest single contributing factor to the received wisdom in the decade and a half since that only the UN has the international legitimacy to sanction war — to the point where, on the eve of Iraq’s liberation, the Church of England decided that a ‘just war’ could only be one approved by the Security Council. That in turn amplifies the UN’s claim to sole global legitimacy in a thousand other areas, big and small — the environment, guns, smoking, taxation.

Yet the assumption behind much of the criticism of Bolton … is that, regardless of his government’s foreign policy, a UN ambassador has to be at some level a UN booster. Twenty years ago, the then Secretary of State George Schultz used to welcome the Reagan administration’s ambassadorial appointments to his office and invite each chap to identify his country on the map. The guy who’d just landed the embassy in Chad would invariably point to Chad. ‘No,’ Schultz would say, ‘this is your country’ — and point to the United States. Nobody would expect a US ambassador to the Soviet Union to be a big booster for the Soviets. …

A slyer argument is that yes, the UN’s in a terrible state, what with the Oil-for-Fraud and the Congolese moppets and the flop response to Darfur and the tsunami, but that’s all the more reason why America needs an ambassador able to build consensus for much-needed reforms. The problem with that seductive line is that most of the proposed reforms are likely to make things worse. Again, Bolton is right to be dismissive about restructuring the [UN] Security Council. Even as the Second World War victory parade preserved in aspic, it makes little sense.

I can find only one example of a senior UN figure having the guts to call a member state a ‘totalitarian regime’. It was former secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali … and he was talking about America.

A Secretary-General of the United Nations dared to name a member country as a totalitarian regime, and the country he named was the United States!

John Bolton’s sin isn’t that he’s ‘undiplomatic’, but that he’s correct.

This ship of state has lost a great navigator.

Joe Biden and mad King Ludwig of Bavaria 7

More than ever, we want Joe Biden to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency.

Because his mind – never strong – is weakening rapidly into dementia. In any debate, Donald Trump would leave him in the dust.

Here Mark Steyn excels even himself commenting on Biden’s flights from reality:

 

Posted under Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 31, 2019

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Savage kingdom 1

The best journalist in the world tells the real history of “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”: how a desert brigand became an immeasurably rich king.

(Starting with a hideous picture of the murderous monarch and one of his innumerable progeny, too virtuous to drink alcohol; but wait for Mark Steyn’s delightful bar background, an impressive display of mostly unbroached liquor bottles.)

Posted under Saudi Arabia, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 3, 2019

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A question of liberty 2

If Julian Assange has published information that has harmed anybody working for the United States, it is right that he has been arrested and right for him to be brought to trial.

But has he?

The BBC (no longer a trustworthy source in general but quoting other sources here) reported and commented in 2010 when “a trove of US diplomatic cables which offer, among other things, unflattering and candid assessments of world leaders” was released by Assange’s organization Wikileaks: .

Much of the criticism of Wikileaks … revolves around the notion that releasing such information risks lives.

Identities of informants could be compromised, spies exposed, and the safety of human rights activists, journalists and dissidents jeopardized when information of their activities is made public, the argument goes.

US military officials contend that allowing enemies access to their strategic and operational documents creates a dangerous environment for American troops serving abroad. ..

But is there any real evidence of this peril?

The problem … is proving direct links between the information released and any loss of life.

After the release of an enormous haul of US defense department documents in August, [a] Pentagon spokesman… told the Washington Post: “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.” …

After this latest release a Pentagon official … [said] that even three months later the US military still had no evidence that people had died or been harmed because of information gleaned from Wikileaks documents.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers which detailed government lies and cover-ups in the Vietnam War, is skeptical of whether the government really believes that lives are at stake.

He told the BBC’s World Today programme that US officials made that same argument every time there was a potentially embarrassing leak.

“The best justification they can find for secrecy is that lives are at stake. Actually, lives are at stake as a result of the silences and lies which a lot of these leaks reveal,” he said. “The same charges were made against the Pentagon Papers and turned out to be quite invalid.” …

Assange did not steal Pentagon documents, he published them. If he was wrong to do so, then so were the newspapers that did the same, such as the New York Times.

Professor Alan Dershowitz writes at The Hill:

Before WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gained asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, he and his British legal team asked me to fly to London to provide legal advice about United States law relating to espionage and press freedom. I cannot disclose what advice I gave them, but I can say that I believed then, and still believe now, that there is no constitutional difference between WikiLeaks and the New York Times.

If the New York Times, in 1971, could lawfully publish the Pentagon Papers knowing they included classified documents stolen by Rand Corporation military analyst Daniel Ellsberg from our federal government, then indeed WikiLeaks was entitled, under the First Amendment, to publish classified material that Assange knew was stolen by former United States Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning from our federal government.

So if prosecutors were to charge Assange with espionage or any other crime for merely publishing the Manning material, this would be another Pentagon Papers case with the same likely outcome. Many people have misunderstood the actual Supreme Court ruling in 1971. It did not say that the newspapers planning to publish the Pentagon Papers could not be prosecuted if they published classified material. It only said that they could not be restrained, or stopped in advance, from publishing them. Well, they did publish, and they were not prosecuted.

The same result would probably follow if Assange were prosecuted for publishing classified material on WikiLeaks, though there is no guarantee that prosecutors might not try to distinguish the cases on the grounds that the New York Times is a more responsible outlet than WikiLeaks. But the First Amendment does not recognize degrees of responsibility. When the Constitution was written, our nation was plagued with irresponsible scandal sheets and broadsides. No one described political pamphleteers Thomas Paine or James Callender as responsible journalists of their day.

It is likely, therefore, that a prosecution of Assange for merely publishing classified material would fail. Moreover, Great Britain might be unwilling to extradite Assange for such a “political” crime. That is why prosecutors have chosen to charge him with a different crime of conspiracy to help Manning break into a federal government computer to steal classified material. Such a crime, if proven beyond a reasonable doubt, would have a far weaker claim to protection under the Constitution. The courts have indeed ruled that journalists may not break the law in an effort to obtain material whose disclosure would be protected by the First Amendment.

But the problem with the current effort is that, while it might be legally strong, it seems on the face of the indictment to be factually weak. It alleges that “Assange encouraged Manning to provide information and records” from federal government agencies, that “Manning provided Assange with part of a password,” and that “Assange requested more information.” It goes on to say that Assange was “trying to crack the password” but had “no luck so far.” Not the strongest set of facts here!

It was Manning who committed a crime, not Assange.  Where Assange is concerned, we ( in agreement with Mark Steyn – see the video in the post immediately below – who is as firm a conservative as we are) do not accept that the US has a legal or moral right to have an Australian arrested in London and extradited here for offending the US. In his case, it is not a question of treason and betrayal as with Manning. It is a question of liberty.

Even if Assange is a Leftist, with opinions we strongly dislike, we cannot approve the gross interference with his personal liberty, cannot but object indignantly to his arrest and incarceration.

However, we are interested in what sort of person we are defending.

Is he a Lefty?

Hard to be sure. A sign that he is not, is that there are people on the Left who wish him dead. For instance, Bob Beckel said on Fox News:

A dead man can’t leak stuff. This guy’s a traitor, a treasonist, and he has broken every law of the United States. The guy ought to be — And I’m not for the death penalty, so if I’m not for the death penalty, there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.

Chris Hedges writes cogently (in part only – we strongly disagree with some of his comments) at truthdig.com:

The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.

Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assange’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy — diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory — to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States? …

Pause here for a particular disagreement. President Trump has not personally approved the extradition. During his presidential campaign he defended Wikileaks.

Britain will use as its legal cover for the arrest the extradition request from Washington based on conspiracy charges. This legal argument, in a functioning judiciary, would be thrown out of court. Unfortunately, we no longer have a functioning judiciary. We will soon know if Britain as well lacks one.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped. Assange and his lawyers always argued that if he was put in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. Once he was granted asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship the British government refused to grant Assange safe passage to the London airport, trapping him in the embassy for seven years as his health steadily deteriorated.

The Trump administration will seek to try Assange on charges that he conspired with Manning in 2010 to steal the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs obtained by WikiLeaks. …

U.S. government lawyers will attempt to separate WikiLeaks and Assange from The New York Times and the British newspaper The Guardian, both of which also published the leaked material from Manning, by implicating Assange in the theft of the documents. …

Once the documents and videos provided by Manning to Assange and WikiLeaks were published and disseminated by news organizations such as The New York Times and The Guardian, the press callously, and foolishly, turned on Assange. News organizations that had run WikiLeaks material over several days soon served as conduits in a black propaganda campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks. This coordinated smear campaign was detailed in a leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch and dated March 8, 2008. The document called on the U.S. to eradicate the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and destroy Assange’s reputation.

Assange, who with the Manning leaks had exposed the war crimes, lies and criminal manipulations of the George W. Bush administration, soon earned the ire of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The Podesta emails exposed the donation of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State, to the Clinton Foundation. It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe. It exposed Clinton’s repeated mendacity. She was caught in the emails, for example, telling the financial elites that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best positioned to manage the economy, a statement that contradicted her campaign statements. It exposed the Clinton campaign’s efforts to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Trump was the Republican nominee. It exposed Clinton’s advance knowledge of questions in a primary debate. It exposed Clinton as the primary architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. Journalists can argue that this information, like the war logs, should have remained hidden, but they can’t then call themselves journalists. 

What has Julian Assange himself said that reveals what motivates him?

He is against governments keeping secrets from the people. He thinks it is the job of journalists to reveal them.

Journalism should be more like science. As far as possible, facts should be verifiable. If journalists want long-term credibility for their profession, they have to go in that direction. Have more respect for readers.

One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.

It raises questions about the natural instincts of Clinton that, when confronted with a serious domestic political scandal, she tries to blame the Russians, blame the Chinese, et cetera.

Although I still write, research and investigate, my role is primarily that of a publisher and editor-in-chief who organizes and directs other journalists.

Cablegate [the scandal over the release by Wikileaks of State Department documents in 2010 and 2011] is 3,000 volumes of material. It is the greatest intellectual treasure to have entered into the public record in modern times. 

You can either be informed and be your own rulers, or you can be ignorant and have someone else, who is not ignorant, rule over you. 

Wikileaks is a mechanism to maximize the flow of information to maximize the amount of action leading to just reform.

True information does good. 

In the history of Wikileaks, nobody has claimed that the material being put out is not authentic. 

Well, I mean, the real attack on truth is tabloid journalism in the United States.

With these statements at least, we agree. We agree that Western governments have become too secretive. We agree that it is a journalist’s business to report what a government is doing to the people who elect it …

… always provided that no individual working for the country is harmed, and no planned strategies of war are betrayed to our enemies. For that to be prevented, it is the responsibility of governments to keep their secrets safe.

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