Sunday, October 4, 2015

Putin Checkmates Obama

Russia Confounds US with Decisive Action
The week’s big failure was the administration’s, and it was of course Russia’s going full-bore into Syria. This wasn’t Vladimir Putin “enacting” anything. Even the Obama administration didn’t “act,” really. They scrambled, desperately, stung by surprise and humiliation.

Mr. Putin has moved to fill the void left by American inaction; he is attempting to displace the U.S. as the region’s dominant outside power. [...]

Mr. Putin’s move is worse than a snub to President Obama. It’s an insult, a cuffing. (WSJ via RCP)
Making President Obama's humiliating embarrassment extra crispy, rumor has it China could get involved.

“Moderate Syrian Rebels” is a Myth

Perhaps some are personally moderate, but they are like an independent or third-party politician trying to win an election. No affiliation, no funding stream, no support structure. That is why any rebels who may have been moderate at one time ran to Al Nusra, ISIS or one of the other Islamist organizations.

If Obama’s JV Team doesn't understand this, they are criminally incompetent. If they do, they are colossal liars or naïve dreamers who endanger the nation.

Russia is Saving Assad

Russia has entered the fray to shore up Bashar Assad’s regime. This after the hapless Obama met with Putin, and the hapless John Kerry brought his marbles to a 3D chess match with Putin’s foreign policy chess masters.

Russia will resupply and revitalize the Syrian military, and they will drive all the terrorists and rebels from Syrian territory, and that's a good thing. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

Stalinists or Islamofascists:  Take you Choice

Assad is a Stalinist tyrant, but ISIS is an Islamofascist tyranny. Take your choice. While Obama and his fellow weak sisters in Europe dithered, Putin chose sides and rolled in.

Assad, like Saddam, is a secular dictator, but he's not dropping barrel bombs on innocent people for the hell of it.  He is fighting an Islamist insurgency, and that is what governments do to people who are trying to topple them.

The Assad regime’s cruelty is well-documented, but the cruelties were meted out to those trying to topple the regime. Go about your own business, and you are not a target. Christians and other religious minorities who refrained from anti-regime activities lived in peace and relative freedom under the Assad and Saddam Hussein regimes.  Indeed, everyone was safer and better off before we rolled in to "save" everyone.

Europe Bribed Khadaffi

Here's another cold, hard reality: European governments bribed Moammar Gaddaffi to snuff the cross-Mediterranean human trafficking. Obama’s incompetent team of fumblers, bumblers and international firebugs upset all that, after criticizing Bush’s Middle Eastern follies.

End Game? 

Who knows?  If they secure Syria, Russia could convince Assad to ride off into the sunset with a few billion in his pocket, guaranteeing him a dictator’s vacation exile in Bahrain or some remote, exotic location.  This would give Syria's secular regime a complete reset.  They implement some “reforms,” and put the world and regional jihadis on notice that they will deal harshly with any uprisings that threaten the peace and stability of the nation. Calm restored, displaced Syrians can return home.

Related Links:
Bloomberg: Putin Hailed as Humanity's Savior
RT: Russian Air Force Destroys ISIS Command Center

Friday, October 2, 2015

My First Rock Concert

The first rock concert I ever attended was at the old Philadelphia Spectrum way back in... I think November 1980,  I seem to recall it was cold and raining when it let out which kind of rules out August '79 in my mind.  The band was KANSAS!

Quart bottles of Miller in brown paper bags, an old Chevy Nova, and we discovered that if you drove twice the electronically posted speed limit on the streets of Philadelphia you still would hit all the lights green.

What was your first concert?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Elites are not like You and Me...

I enjoy reading the much-maligned Peggy Noonan (She enjoys the privilege of being damned by those on both the left and right).

She hits upon an eternal truth in her WSJ piece about the European refugee crisis, The Migrants and the Elites:
But here is a problem with Europe’s decision-makers, and it connects to decision-makers in America.
Damning “the elites” is often a mindless, phony and manipulative game. Malice and delusion combine to produce the refrains: “Those fancy people in their Georgetown cocktail parties,” “Those left-wing poseurs in their apartments in Brussels.”
So far so good... But then this:
"This is social resentment parading as insight, envy posing as authenticity."
At this point, I was ready to heave my laptop into the wall, but they frown on that at work...

My brain barked out an angry rebuttal:

It is not resentment! If you effete progressive elites want to have your fancy dinners and cocktail parties, have a ball. We have a problem when you presume you have the brains, authority and will of the people to go out and screw everything up. That is the problem with the elites.

But then she got back on track and nailed the heart of the matter to the wall:

"Rules on immigration and refugees are made by safe people. These are the people who help run countries, who have nice homes in nice neighborhoods and are protected by their status.
Those who live with the effects of immigration and asylum law are those who are less safe, who see a less beautiful face in it because they are daily confronted with a less beautiful reality—normal human roughness, human tensions.
Decision-makers fear things like harsh words from the writers of editorials; normal human beings fear things like street crime.
Decision-makers have the luxury of seeing life in the abstract.
Normal people feel the implications of their decisions in the particular."
Those statements damn elites everywhere to the hell they richly deserve. She just enunciated a unified field theory of everything that is wrong in this nation and the world. 

How many Somali goat-shaggers is Nancy Pelosi putting up in her house?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rise of the Majority

An outdoor party, sun-dappled afternoon...

... a tuxedoed string quartet, chamber music wafting on the breeze.  Wine-sipped serenity, islands of polite conversation dot the expansive back garden of the five hundred year old estate.

Serenity, even as the collective western consciousness pauses every so often, a mental fidget, worrying over the inevitable march of the majority, trickling in, but soon to burst forth.

"But how can we begrudge those flocking to our doorstep?

"What human being, lost in the darkness, lonely and cold, would not be attracted to the farmhouse with glowing windows?"

"Exactly!" Cries a nervous man, crowding in at her elbow. "It's a disequilibrium.  A minority cannot monopolize the promised land forever, excess abundance thrown on trash heaps, milk and honey spilling on the ground, wasted, washed down drains." He quits as abruptly as he started, retracts himself from the conversation, self-conscious at his spontaneous outburst.  

The woman across from him, a cracked and faded portrait of youthful beauty, protests.  "No, no, we brought them Western Civilization, billions in aid..."

A bearded man, white trousers and blue blazer, regards the woman with sympathy.  He clears his throat and the chatting stops.

"The glory, the heady rush as your boots first stir the dust of an exotic foreign land, people peeking out at you from windows and doorways, everywhere eyes. Breathe in the air, shared by a hundred generations, and set to the task of pouring new wine into old wineskins."

An inhale, the conversation sits perched, then the man continues.  "The conquest, followed by foretold disasters, the shoulders shrug, a nation politely averts its eyes and celebrates a triumphant return anyway... Banners, parades, embossed medalions of base medal dangling from bits of colored ribbon ...  All for saving or destroying some far-away collection of people huddled in huts of mud and squatting around dung fires."

The old man casts his gaze past the white-tipped mountains, green and granite, over the fields and forests, past the roaring seas.  The far horizons he once patrolled lay splayed and sprawling before his mind's eye. "Then, they follow you home."

All Roads Lead to Germany...

... And England, Australia and the United States...

The World's Congested Migration Routes

Osmosis, inevitable,
Gravity most grave
Constantinople falls,
Nothing to save

National Geographic - The Worlds Congested Migration Routes

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ariel and Caliban: A Trans-Atlantic Anti-Love Story

Europe has come a long way since the middle ages...
Since medieval times, Northern Europeans have gradually grown less cruel, less violent, and more self-restrained. As society became more complex, it rewarded people who were more diligent, prudent and mild-mannered, and punished people with poor impulse control. ([Harvard psychologist Stephen Pinker's] book on this subject, The Better Angels of Our Nature is essential reading.)
He reminds us that only a few hundred years ago, people tortured animals for fun, disemboweled criminals in the public square, and displayed the heads of their enemies on spikes. Murder rates were 10 to 50 times higher than they are today." (Margaret Wente - Globe & Mail)
That goes for Canada and the US as well.  We enjoy lower crime rates, more enlightened behavior, and everything else that goes along with a happy society.

Pinnacle:  Nowhere to go but Down

The United States should get a lot of credit for this.  We encouraged European liberalism and pacifism after WWII, and we succeeded.  Too well.  The liberal Europeans lounged under our security umbrella while cursing our ultra-conservative bellicosity.  But we kept the peace, dammit, and it allowed Europe to blossom and flourish in all its idealistic, altruistic glory.

Europeans grew urbane and soft on their beautiful old continent, and life was a dream.  Their governments contributed to global charities, Europe's good people warmly dilated on international solidarity and brotherhood as they interred Thomas Hobbes along with Jesus Christ. It was the end of history, no need for anachronistic militaries, restraining dogmas...

But now, Europe rubs the reverie from her eyes and awakens to the peal of the bell. Is it a tocsin, or a knell?
"If we want to keep the freedom of movement in the European Union, we have to protect the outer borders.'' Peter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
If you're going to be soft on the inside, you better be hard on the outside, or they'll eat you alive.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Thank God For Capitalism

Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (Jeon Han)
How else could we possibly pay for this?

John Paul's visit to NYC in 1995 cost the city $4,401,714,  Benedict's visit cost NYC $6,584,637, the federal government's budget for "national special security events" is a mere $4,500,000.

Who's footing the bill?  Well as they said on Yahoo "The simple answer is everybody but the Vatican". 

To give you an idea of the logistics involved in events like this, the manning for John Paul's visit was: 36,713 people including 685 police lieutenants, 3,810 sergeants, and 32,218 officers.

The event in Philadelphia alone is estimated to cost $48,000,000 and to their credit the World Meeting of Families has set a fundraising goal of $45,000,000 so far they've raised $30,000,000.  The city itself expects a $12,000,000 dollar bill.  The Philadelphia Convention and Visitor's Bureau has estimated that the event will bring (okay, I'll stop with all the zeroes, I think I've made my point) $418 million and many think that's an overly optimistic and unrealistic estimate.  Even if dead on and all that money is spent solely in Philadelphia the city's take will still be well short of its estimated $12M cost ($8.36M based on the city sales and use tax).  Hopefully the World Meeting will pitch in and make up the difference.

When asked about the cost most of the government agencies involved at all levels simply respond with no comment.  How's that for transparency?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to the Pope's visit but consider this... a Georgetown University study estimated that the Catholic Church's net Sunday rake each and every week here in the good old USA is $850,000,000 (Okay, I lied about the zeroes).

Fortune: Who will pay for the Pope's visit?

IB Times: How Rich is the Vatican

I'll leave you with this gem from the Fortune article: writes that some of the expenses will be covered by event organizers and the federal government, but taxpayers likely won’t be completely off the hook.

Uh...who do they think funds the federal government?

And to be honest, didn't actually write that, Fortune did. 

So How About it Papa, care to go Dutch?


Sunday, September 27, 2015

John Boehner Resigns


Celebrate, Cry, it doesn't matter.  The body politic is hopelessly corrupt and nothing's going to change. That's my heartfelt opinion and it would seem the opinion of a majority of Americans.  In a Gallup Poll released Friday 60% of Americans want a third party. The question asked was this:

“In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job of representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed?” 

78% of Independents, 47% of Democrats (Do you find that surprising?), and 45% of Republicans want a third major party.  That ties back to the sentiment in a September 19th Poll in which 75% answered Yes to the question:

"Is Corruption widespread throughout the government in this country, or not?"
 It also explains why outsiders are dominating this election cycle amid a climate of apathy and disgust.

So John Boehner's gone and I'm pretty much indifferent to it, how about you?

Friday, September 25, 2015

il Papa II

Inno e Marcia Pontificale
(Papal Anthem)

Here are some of the other selections that will be played in association with the pontiffs visit.  Feel free to comment on the music or on anything the pope has said or done that you wish to comment on.

¡Albricias mortales! que viene la aurora
( by the Mexican composer Manuel de Sumaya)

Exsultate , Jubilate

And I've heard the following will be performed by Sister Sledge and Aretha Franklin at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia

Me, I have to say I prefer the Exsultate Jubilate.