Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Prophet Tom Clancy

I started rereading Tom Clancy's The Hunt For Red October, one of his best back before he started churning out just awful, predictable books before his death. It was written in 1984, some years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the death of the Soviet Union. It later became a popular movie but not a terribly good one, thanks in part to Sean Connery trying to talk with a Russian accent in his Scottish accent (a close second in cringe to him trying to sound Irish with a Scottish accent) and the presence of uber-liberal Alex Baldwin, a casting choice that apparently irritated Clancy.

It doesn't get much play in the book but it does warrant several glancing mentions that this fictional story was happening in the middle of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, an occupation that lasted a decade (1979-1989). The occupation resulted in some 14,000 Soviet fatal casualties and tens of thousands more wounded. It also led to a perception of weakness and was a source of smugness among Americans who knew we were aiding the mujahideen. The Soviets were bled for a decade and in the end retreated from Afghanistan. The Soviet Union collapsed shortly thereafter. I was struck by a statement Clancy penned early in the book from his main protagonist, at that time CIA analyst Jack Ryan regarding Afghanistan.
“Sir, the truth is that Moscow moved in there by mistake. We know that from both military and political intelligence reports. The tenor of the data is pretty clear. From where I sit, I don’t see that they know what they want to do. In a case like this the bureaucratic mind finds it most easy to do nothing. So, their field commanders are told to continue the mission, while the senior party bosses fumble around looking for a solution and covering their asses for getting into the mess in the first place.” 
Wow, that sounds familiar. A misguided occupation of Afghanistan with no clear objectives but sustained by bureaucratic inertia and a fear of looking weak. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan lasted a little less than 10 years. The U.S. occupation is entering the 16th year with no sign of a "victory", no actual objectives that anyone can name and the looming reality that when we eventually leave, the Taliban will take right back over and things will go back to how they were. The same Taliban as an aside that grew out of the mujahideen that were our buddies when they fought the Soviets but now are our enemies. Ironic, no?

Staying in Afghanistan because we don't know what else to do and can't figure out a way to leave without losing face is criminally incompetent. We are on our third administration overseeing this fiasco with no sign of a change in policy. On the bright side there have "only" been around 2,000 fatal casualties for U.S. troops which is a lot better than the Soviets losing 14,000.

Afghanistan has often been referred to as the graveyard of empires or where empires go to die. The British learned this. The Soviets learned this. We apparently are refusing to learn the same lesson. Every day we stay there bleeds our nation a little more and accomplishes nothing. It is high time for someone to have the courage to realize and say out loud that we have no mission in Afghanistan, no discernible objectives and no way to "win" when we don't even know what winning means. President Trump needs to be the maverick he ran as being and get us out of Afghanistan. We should not sacrifice even one more American life in the pursuit of an unknown goal. Osama bin Laden is dead, the Taliban are ascendent yet again and we need to wash our hands of that country.

The only real question left is how many more American kids will die in that desolate wasteland before we finally leave.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Love Of Power Is Not The Same As Love Of Country

Following the shooting of House Majority Whip Scalise and three others by a leftist loon (somewhat redundant, I know), President Trump released the obligatory and predictable statement condemning the attack, calling us to come together, etc. It was completely forgettable and I would rather he had skipped this predictable exercise that we go through after every tragedy. His visit to the hospital was far more noteworthy. But one line in the statement stood out to me, not because it was profound but because it was an obvious lie.
We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and a son of globalist
demagogue and puppet-master George Soros. How very cozy.
Does anyone seriously think that Nancy Pelosi is in Congress because she loves this country? Or that Chuck Schumer is in the Senate and pals around with the Soros family because he loves this country? In the spirit of bi-partisanship, do you really think Mitch McConnell, as worthless a Majority leader as the Senate has ever seen and the most pitiful excuse for a "conservative" this side of George Will, is in the Senate because he loves this country?

What about lobbyists? Federal bureaucrats? Various trade associations and law firms and sundry other groups? Do they all love this country? I don't doubt some of them do but no doubt a lot of them like their job or at least the benefits or happen to live there.

Or, as is I suspect very common, they love the power. They may not have much but they like being in the vicinity of the power. Smelling it, rubbing shoulders with it on the Metro, seeing it walking around, surrounding them in every grotesque Federal office building that controls and dictates the lives of hundreds of millions of people. I have spent some time in D.C. and you can feel it. You can feel the difference. There is some of this when you are in the financial districts of big cities. The tall, imposing buildings full of people that think they are super important convey that sense of power. I imagine that is what it is like on Wall Street but I have actually never been to New York City, one of the few major cities I have not been to on business., but I suspect it is similar. But D.C. seems to throb with power. Everyone seems to look at everyone else as either someone to envy or someone to look down on depending on their place on the Washington social strata. Plus there is the weird love-hate relationship people who live there have with the city. They all complain incessantly about traffic, crime, cost of living, tourists, etc. but they would never leave. If I disliked somewhere as much as so many people in D.C. do, I would leave but they don't because you can't get a taste of that power anywhere else.

There is a difference between loving this country and loving what this country can do for you.

A huge difference.

I know this. Anyone with any sense knows this. I know for a certainty that President Trump, a man who spent his life running in the power circles and buying and selling politicians, knows this far better than I do. So why say something like that?

It is just what you do when you are President. The whole game in D.C. is a giant farce put on to distract us. The truth, or at least the first whiff of truth, is that no matter who wins or who loses an election, the same people stay in power. Sure, if Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer switched places as Majority/Minority leader it would mean a little more power for one and a little less for the other but they would still be enormously powerful, wealthy, influential and sucked up to. For a man who campaigned that he would "drain the swamp", President Trump seems to find that the swamp ain't all that bad and kind of suits him these days.

Sometimes you drain the swamp, sometimes the swamp drains you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This Is The World We Live In

Unless you have been completely out of the loop, you know that a fruitcake supporter of Bernie Sanders, a fanboy of Rachel Madcow Maddow, 66 year old James Hodgkinson opened fire today on a large group of Republican Congressmen practicing for a charity baseball game against their Democrat counterparts. Reports are still coming in but it looks like this guy was a fan of every leftist group around, from Bernie Sanders to the Southern "Poverty" Law Center, which ironically claims to identify people who hold hateful ideology, and Media Matters, one of the most intractable and obsessive leftist engines on the internet.

The FBI is seeking information on this guy, it certainly seems like he acted alone but who knows?

One of the wounded is the Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise who is listed in critical condition, as is a lobbyist who was there. A Congressional staffer and two cops were also wounded. You can watch the video taken by a cell phone here if you want.

What are we to make of this?

The first and most obvious thing is that this is what we should expect in an era of overheated rhetoric laced with violent suggestions. The American Left has been engaged in an orgy of assassination porn from the New York play mimicking Trump being assassinated to "comedian" Kathy Griffin holding a mock severed head that was made to appear like it belonged to the President of the United States. Who can forget Madonna and her juvenile bluster about blowing up the White House or this ironic picture:

Spoiler: There are actually two clowns in that photo. Keeping it in the family, the nephew of Mr. Dogg, some nobody who calls himself Bow Wow, blustered about "pimping out" the First Lady of the United States, thereby unintentionally reinforcing any number of stereotypes about black men.

Weird, who could have predicted that the endless attacks by the media and "entertainment" figures would lead to violence from unhinged people? It is worth repeating yet again that while the rhetoric is super-heated on both sides, the violence leading up to and following the election has been overwhelmingly one-sided and the side it emanates from is the Left.

Second, these are perilous times we live in. It has been my opinion since the election that we were headed for partisan bloodshed sooner rather than later and I was correct, unfortunately. Absent the police being there because of the Majority Whip this could have been a situation where dozens of sitting Congressmen were assassinated in broad daylight. I am not sure what that would have meant for this country but it would have been unprecedented in my lifetime. I have a hard time seeing how this country doesn't come apart at the seams, literally, in the next five years. The only question is how bloody it gets. I hope that doesn't happen but I can't really see a way forward when you look at the state of this country, our debt load, our diminished economy, etc. It is something of a comfort that this gunman was an idiot and an awful shot which helped mitigate the potential carnage.

Third, it is even more obvious now than ever that the media in this country is not a news source but a partisan mouthpiece mostly for the Left. As more and more people realize and embrace this, we see more and more people gravitating to echo chambers whether on the right or the left. At least conservatives for the most part realize they are doing this while the left seems to think that their hyper-partisan favorites are somehow the unbiased news sources. While the "mainstream" media obsesses over Russia and the NBA champs (who knew the NBA was still a thing?) boycotting the White House visit to whimsical musings about impeachment without a shred of evidence to outright calls for open revolt, there are many people who soak that up and that leads to losers opening fire on Congressmen playing baseball.

Fourth and finally, and more on this later, we are seeing that the old dichotomy of liberal-conservative, left-right, no longer are accurate descriptions of our political situation. It has evolved way beyond that but most of the energy is still spent on useless battles while the real struggle is happening elsewhere.

This is a sad day for America and for our grand experiment of liberty and freedom in a Constitutional republic. Benjamin Franklin once was said to have responded to a question about the sort of government the Constitutional Convention had given the American people. His reply is said to have been "A republic, if you can keep it". The reason for his warning seems clear today and the response is sadly looking very much like we are no longer able to keep the republic they gave us.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Speaking Of The Mad Queen

Hillary tries to be funny on Twitter

Hillary is not funny

Donald Trump, Jr. Replies

Hillary Gets #REKT

The Madness Of Queen Hillary

So check this out...

"I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost,” she said at the annual Code Conference in California. “Anti-American forces are going after our economy and they are going after our unity as a nation."

It sort of reminds me of another person who was never at fault:

Hillary Solo!

First the delicious irony. Here is someone who described millions of Americans as "deplorables", essentially irredeemable people who deserved that insult by virtue of not obediently voting for Mrs. Clinton. Yet she is deeply concerned about "our unity as a nation". The only unity she is interested in is unity based on her being in charge. In other words the same sort of "unity" we see in places like North Korea where the people are unified under a single glorious leader. In America, a place Mrs. Clinton seems unfamiliar with, we have a history of patriotic dissent but that apparently shouldn't be permitted according to people like Mrs. Clinton and Mayor Ted "Joseph Stalin Wannabe" Wheeler in Portland.

She colluded with the DNC to derail the Bernie Sanders campaign, she colluded with the media who gave her advance notice of debate questions. She is a terrible, arrogant person that conducted a predictably terrible and arrogant campaign. She apparently listened to mental midgets like Rachel Maddow who assured us that even if Donald Trump had the best day ever he would still lose (I can't get enough of this video of Maddow slowly melting down on camera while that nasty smirk slowly goes away to be replaced by a petulant tantrum) and didn't spend any time in places like Michigan and Wisconsin and that cost her the White House. She is perhaps the least likable public figure since Nixon and has left a trail of scandals (Whitewater, the email server, Benghazi, her influence selling family "foundation") as well as a trail of bodies in her wake. Still we hear there are lots of reasons she lost but none of them have anything to do with her. It was Russia, it was the FBI, it was the alt-right, it was Pepe memes, it was Russia, it was the DNC, it was Russia, it was misogyny, it was Russia. Did I mention Russia?

I have watched a lot of elections come and go but I can't ever remember anyone refusing to move on after losing. Not even Al Gore. Although Al is still badgering us about phony "mad-made climate change" while living in a huge, energy burning mansion and flying around the world in a greenhouse gas emitting jet to scold America, at least he isn't whining about the election he lost. McCain, Romney, Gore, Kerry, Dole, Bush, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter. They lost and they went on with their lives. Not Hillary. Like her former boss Obama who can't get enough media attention now that he is out of office, Hillary just can't let it go. After creeping around the woods for a short time, with the occasional "impromptu" photo op with distressed supporters, she is endlessly on the news whining about why she lost.

She is really becoming kind of unhinged. I am convinced her whole existence, her whole reason for being, was to become the first female President. Do you think she married Bill out of love or because he was ambitious? Do you think she stayed with him after all of the scandals because she is just a "stand by your man" kinda gal? Oh, she specifically said she wasn't. Everything she has done for decades led up to the 2016 election. She didn't get the nomination in 2008 but that was because she was up against the eventual first black President so I think she was sort of OK with that but assumed that when Obama left office she would step right in. The media lapdogs assured her that she would win, her sycophantic advisers assured her she would win, her tiny "crowds" of supporters at campaign stops reinforced this. She created an entire worldview based on a coronation, a cosmic inevitability that she would be elected in a landslide.

Then in one glorious night it all came crashing down and I think something snapped in Mrs. Clinton. I think she is off her rocker and I also think she somehow thinks that something is going to magically happen, Trump will get impeached and in spite of the Constitution we the people will come to our senses and on bended knee beg her to be our President, President Hillary Clinton, first of her name. I really think she thinks that. I guess the alternative, that she will never be President, that her party has moved on and is no longer interested in her brand of sanitized corporate liberalism, is too horrifying for her to contemplate so her mind has created an alternate reality but unlike most people who get professional mental health care when they have a psychotic break, she is being egged on by her only true supporters left, the sold out mainstream media and the silly children on college campuses. Her slide into madness is only accelerating.

In all seriousness, I dislike Hillary Clinton. Actually I despise her and am sick to death of her whining. Nevertheless it is pretty unseemly and more than a little disturbing to watch her slowly unravel mentally in real time. She turns 70 this year and is spending her remaining years in a fever swamp. Someone close to her, assuming there is anyone, needs to give her a heavy dose of reality. Otherwise she is going to end up on her death bed mumbling about the Russians, going to her grave cursing Putin and standing at her Judgment still thinking that she really won the election. That isn't a fate I wish on anyone.