Saturday, August 31, 2013
Carolyn Glick points out that does have three core interests relating to the war in Syria. The first is to keep the fighting within Syria. Israel has done a good job of seeing to that. The second is
chemical, biological and ballistic missile arsenals from being used against them either directly by the regime, through its terror proxies or by a successor regime.The third is in
preventing Iran, Moscow or al Qaida from winning the war or making any strategic gains from their involvement in the war.
Read the whole thing here
"What you are reflecting is the orthodox narrative of history, which has nothing to do with reality. Ingrained bias against Christians in the media and academia. The politically correct paradigm is that Christians are the persecutors, and Islam is peaceful."
Raymond Ibrahim is interviewed by Fox News. Not available on You Tube, but Jihad Watch has it here.
About 40 percent of Americans age 85 and older say they experience some memory loss, a 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center found, as did 27 percent of those 75 to 84 and 20 percent of those ages 65 to 74.Researchers have pinpointed a brain molecule responsible. Now for the remedies.
No journalist does a better job of watching the UN than Claudia Rosett. She writes,
the UN promises things it cannot deliver, and while those promises are invoked as remedies, or signs of action, people suffer and die, and the problems grow.
In the case of Syria, when the March, 2011 rebellion met with violence that mushroomed into mass carnage, civil war, the use of heavy weapons, and chemical weapons, by the regime, and the emergence of Islamist elements including al Qaeda affiliates among the opposition, it was easier for the U.S. and its allies to hang back and watch — because the UN was, in theory, on the job.
On August 21st came the worst chemical weapons attack yet, in which according to the White House the regime killed more than 1,400 people, 426 of them children. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting (which the new U.S. ambassador, Samantha Power, did not manage to attend), and the result was… nothing. This week, the five permanent members of the Security Council held a closed-door meeting on Syria (this time, Power was present), and the result, once again, was… nothing. What matters in the UN universe is not the agony of war, or the actual violations on the ground of international taboos, but such stuff as the preferences of veto-wielding members of the Security Council. Russia and China simply won’t play ball. Game over.
If anything is to be done about the use of chemical weapons for mass murder, that leaves the U.S., and any allies President Obama can muster, to deal with these atrocities. It’s an open question whether Obama, when he does make up his mind, will decide on action that makes any kind of strategic sense, or will choose simply to stir this hornet’s nest. But for the moment, at least, it has become virtually impossible to hide behind the UN. That does not by any stretch guarantee a good result, or even a least bad result. There are widely varying views over what, if anything, should now be done. But the benching of the UN at least allows room for some clarity of debate, responsibility, and decision. That’s a step in the right direction.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Michael Ledeen has been saying for years that our biggest enemies in the Middle East are the mullahs in Iran. On August 25th he wrote,
We invaded Iraq in the name of the War Against Terror, which President George W. Bush defined as a war against terrorist organizations and the states that supported them. That should have made Iran the focus of our strategy, since Tehran was (and still is, now more than ever) the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. Nothing would have so devastated the jihadis as the fall of the Iranian regime, which–then as now–funded, trained, armed and gave sanctuary to terrorist groups from al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Unless we defeated Iran, it would not be possible for Iraq to have decent security, no matter how total the defeat of Saddam and the Baathists, and how well-intentioned the successor government. As you can plainly see.
Here we go. Again. We are still the main target of the terror war, of which the leading sponsor is Iran. The Assad regime in Damascus is a satrapy of Iran, as we are publicly told by both the Syrian insurrectionaries and the Iranian leaders, including The Great Moderate, President Rouhani. There are thousands of Iranian killers in the front lines, hailing from the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force and from Hezbollah, long the regime’s foreign legion. Iranian advisers tell Assad’s loyalists where and how to attack, and if the Syrians have indeed used chemical weapons, you can be sure the Iranians approved it, and were probably involved in the operations.
So, as in Iraq, if you want to win this battle in the terror war, you must defeat the Iranian regime. And, as in the early years of this bloody century, you can do it without dropping bombs or sending Americans to fight on the ground, because the overwhelming majority of Iranians want to rid themselves of Khamenei and Rouhani and all the rest of their tyrannical oppressors. They can do it, with a bit of political, technological and economic support. They could have done it in 2003, when they were on the verge of declaring a general strike against the regime. Colin Powell and W abandoned them, and it never happened. They could have done it in 2009, when millions of them took to the streets in demonstrations larger than those that led to the downfall of the shah. Hillary Clinton and O abandoned them, and a brutal repression ensued.
A lot of Americans have been sacrificed to our failure of strategic vision, and American soldiers, the best of us, are at risk today in Afghanistan, targets of Iranian-trained Taliban fanatics. You can be sure that more Americans will be at enhanced risk if we engage in Syria, from soldiers on military bases to civilians in embassies and consulates and resorts and stock exchanges, or even walking through Times Square or waiting at the finish line of a marathon.
How can so many policy makers, pundits, scribblers and babblers overlook Iran’s centrality? And how can so many of them fail to recognize the enormous power of the ongoing revolt against the theological fascists who hold power in Tehran and who have just lost power in Cairo? The uprising that defenestrated the Muslim Brothers in Egypt was the biggest mass demonstration in the history of the world, but the self-proclaimed deep thinkers debate whether it qualifies for “coup,” and suggest that the fascists should be given a share of power.
Win in Damascus by supporting freedom in Tehran.
Is there a war going on? Michael Ledeen says there is. What is that war? Ledeen:
The war is easily described: there is a global alliance of radical leftists and radical Islamists, supported by a group of countries that includes Russia, at least some Chinese leaders, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The radicals include the Sunni and Shi’ite terrorist organizations and leftist groups, and they all work seamlessly with the narcotics mafias. Their objective is the destruction of the West, above all, of the United States.
But, what about Syria?
You’ve got Bashar Assad on top in a neighborhood of Damascus, supported by Iran and Russia, fighting against a variety of insurgents including al-Qaeda units, Salafists, former members of Assad’s military, and the usual mob of adventurous souls, including Americans and Europeans, who believe they are waging jihad in the name of Allah.
Assad is actually a figurehead; the real capital of Syria is in an office of the Iranian supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. A leader of the Syrian opposition made this clear, saying that Hezbollah and Iran were the real powers in Syria, and there’s plenty of evidence for his assertion, including dead Hezbollahis and Quds Forcers.
The good news is that they’re divided, and slaughtering each other. And it’s not always possible for us to sort out what “each other” even means. But one thing is quite clear, and I know it’s an unpopular idea, but it’s a true fact: they’re not an awesome force. The radical left has failed everywhere, and so have the radical Islamists. Both claim to have history (and/or the Almighty) on their side, but they go right on failing. The left is now pretty much in the garbage bin of history (you can hire Gorbachev for your next annual meeting if you can afford his speaking fee), and the “Muslim world”–sorry to be so blunt–is a fossilized remnant of a failed civilization. Look at the shambles in Iran, look at the colossal mess the Brothers unleashed on a once-great nation.
So we’ve got opportunities, lots of them. We’ve already passed up many: failing to support the Iranian people against the evil regime that is the central source of terror against us and our would-be friends, failing to support Mubarak against the Brothers, failing to quickly support the opposition to Assad at the outset, before the enterprise got buried under a heap of jihadi manure, and so forth. OK, we’re human, we’re led, if that’s the right verb, very badly, by ideologues who think we are the root cause of most of the world’s problems. Which is the same thing our enemies believe, as luck would have it. But this will pass, and even now we could transform the big global board by doing the strategically sound and morally correct thing, and support the Iranian people against the regime. Don’t bomb them, don’t invade them, just tell the regime we know who and what they are, and start talking to their most dangerous enemies, the overwhelming majority of the Iranian nation. We may not know exactly how to do it, but they do, and if we showed up, they would tell us.
Nile Gardiner writes a devastating critique of President Obama at The Telegraph. He compares Obama's coalition efforts to those of George W. Bush. In Iraq President Bush built the largest military coalition the world has ever seen, including roughly forty countries.
As it stands, President Obama’s proposed military coalition on Syria has a grand total of two members – the US and France. And the French, as we know from Iraq, simply can’t be relied on, and have very limited military capability. It is a truly embarrassing state of affairs when Paris, at best a fair weather friend, is your only partner. John Kerry tried to put a brave face on it at his press conference today, by referring to France “as our oldest ally,” but the fact remains that his administration is looking painfully isolated.
In marked contrast to Obama, President Bush invested a great deal of time and effort in cultivating ties with key US allies, especially Britain. The Special Relationship actually mattered to George W. Bush. For Barack Obama it has been a mere blip on his teleprompter. Bush also went out of his way to build ties with other allies in Europe, including with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and an array of countries in Eastern and Central Europe. Obama simply hasn’t bothered making friends in Europe, and has treated some nations with sheer disdain and disrespect, including Poland and the Czech Republic. He has found common currency with France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande, an ideological soul-mate, but finds himself in a very lonely position elsewhere across the Atlantic.
In addition, and most importantly, George W. Bush was a conviction president on foreign policy matters, driven by a clear sense of the national interest. President Bush emphatically made his case to the American people and to the world, explaining why he believed the use of force was necessary, and dozens of countries decided to follow him. In the case of Barack Obama, whose foreign policy has been weak-kneed, confused and strategically incoherent, the president hasn’t effectively made the case for military intervention in Syria, and has made no serious effort to cultivate support both at home and abroad. President Bush may not have been greatly loved on the world stage, but he was respected by America’s allies, and feared by his enemies. In marked contrast, Obama hasn’t generated a lot of respect abroad, and he certainly isn’t feared.
From Mail Online:
Enjoying the trip of a lifetime to Thailand, university student Isabelle Brennan strokes a young tiger at a popular tourist attraction – one of the few places in the world where you can pet the deadly animals while they sleep. But just minutes after this photo was taken, another 400lb tiger leapt into the frame, knocking the 19-year-old to the ground with its paw and sinking its teeth into her thigh.
Bob Schieffer asks Hillary Clinton about Assad when he began killing fellow Syrians in March 2011. Hlllary says members of Congress think Assad is a "reformer." He is a "different leader" than his father. Like her husband, Hillary says it very convincingly.
During his first campaign for president in 2007 Barack Obama answered in writing some questions from writer Charlie Savage of Boston.com.
1. Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?
The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.
2. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites -- a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)
The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.
Devastating problems, but not civil rights problems. Over fifty percent of homicide victims are black, and 94 percent of the killers are black. The civil rights struggle is over and won. The illegitimacy rate is now 75 percent. Only 30 percent of black kids live in two parent families. Education: in Washington D.C. the average black student who is a twelfth-grader has the reading, writing or computational skills of a white sixth grader. Obamacare and minimum wage laws raise the cost of hiring people.
77-year-old Walter Williams:
Perhaps he will break free of “moral relativism, multicultural hypocrisy and political correctness.” Perhaps he will realize not just that he has to act, but that he has to act decisively.
It may be that the president believes he ought to get congressional approval before acting against Assad. There is merit to this view. The solution is to ask Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Harry Reid to call the House and Senate back to Washington as soon as possible. A full debate in Congress would be appropriate and desirable. It would focus the American people on what is at stake, instead of leaving the public a bystander watching media commentary on the administration’s rhetorical zigs and political zags. We suspect at the end of the day Congress would pass legislation authorizing the use of military force against the Assad regime. And if Congress refused, at least we would have had the considered judgment of the duly elected representatives of the American people.
The worst outcome would be for Obama not to call Congress back, or not to act at all, but to falter and retreat. For his retreat would be America’s retreat, and his humiliation America’s humiliation.
Israelis register for gas masks at the central post office in Tel Aviv. What the matter? Don't they trust Obama? There are never any unintended consequences from his actions. Oh, yeah there was the Fast and Furious thingy. But that was in Mexico, where there is lots of violence. Everything should go just fine in the Middle East.
Have you ever played elephant polo? I didn't think so. These elephants in Thailand are taking a fruit break. Proceeds from the tournament go to help rehabilitate elephants rescued from abuse. Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features
Grandly named Colonel Meow has been awarded a place in the 2014 list of Guinness World Records holders for having the longest fur on a cat. The Himalayan-Persian cross-breed from Los Angeles has hair that reaches 22.87cm. Photograph: Guinness World Records/PA
Things can change. Before it’s too late, before we’re completely burnt out, things can be different. We could receive The Greatest Gift of letting ourselves be changed. We can get weary enough of being weary to have the strength to reach out for the gift we’ve always wanted.
South Korea is reporting that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has used a machine gun firing squad to kill his ex-lover and eleven other well known entertainers, accusing them of pornography. He also required their families and members of their orchestra to watch, then sent all of them off to prison. Some of the people who were required to watch had Bibles. Kim's current wife used to be a member of the same orchestra. Some believe she was the one who wanted his ex-lover dead.
Here is a picture of his ex.
Here is a picture of Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju and their protectors, smiles all around.
a generation of women are growing up believing the only thing that matters is how sexually appealing they are? And that when they are older – they will have lost all of their appeal?
28-year-old actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge has created a play entitled Fleabag that is very popular and winning prizes. Fleabag's character, played by Waller-Bridge, works in a London cafe facing foreclosure.
Here is a photo of her performing Fleabag.
Do you ever hear women talking in a mixed gender group about what they want in the bedroom? Emma Barnett writes that
Fleabag brilliantly has no such qualms. She masturbates. A lot. And she talks about it openly. Waller-Bridge knows women “aren’t meant to talk about such things” and yet jokes about men pleasuring themselves are totally the norm. Society doesn’t bat an eyelid.
I notice where I work that attractive women spend a lot of money on make-up. It is rare (and appealing) to find one who doesn't.
Scientists have discovered a canyon in Greenland that is larger than the Grand Canyon. One problem: it is hidden beneath the ice in Greenland.
Here is a 3-D view.
The hidden canyon is up to half a mile deep, six miles wide and stretches for 466 miles beneath the country’s giant ice sheet.Richard Gray writes,
It is thought to have been carved out by a meandering river more than four million years ago – at a time before ice covered the area and humans were just beginning to evolve from primates.
Similar work in Antarctica has also revealed enormous lakes and entire mountain ranges locked beneath the ice.
The canyon was discovered after scientists pieced together thousands of bits of data from airborne radar surveys.
Researchers have been flying over Greenland over the past two decades, beaming radio waves through the ice to image the rock beneath.
An Oklahoma Congressman and his wife have adopted twin girls who were "separated at birth."
Why were they separated at birth? I wanted to know more about this story. I researched it a little further here and found that they were not separated at birth. They were separated when they were three months old. Like the Congressman, the twins are Cherokee. Why were they removed from the families that were raising them? What is the likelihood of that happening? Are they identical? Like everything else in the child protection system, it is hard to find answers.
Two guys where I work are identical twins. I have seen them together many times, and always they are enjoying each other's company.
Do you want the most bang for your bucks? Kiplinger Magazine has published a slide show featuring the ten cities in the US where you can do just that. Number one is Omaha, Nebraska, which has
the lowest cost of living in the country of all cities with median incomes above the national level.Famously frugal billionaire Warren Buffet lives there
in the 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home he purchased for $31,500 in 1958 (despite the fact that he's now worth an estimated $53.5 billion). Omaha's median home value is just $144,800 (versus $186,200 for the nation), and the average apartment rent is $740 a month.
Utah has two in the top ten: Ogden at number two, and Salt Lake City at number seven.
Des Moines, Iowa is number three. Cedar Rapids, Iowa is number ten. That doesn't surprise me, since I grew up in Sioux City. After my parents died, my sisters sold their nice home for way less than $100,000, while I was paying way more than that for my smaller home in Colorado.
Ohio also has two on the list of top ten: Columbus at number five, and Cincinnati at number seven. I think my kids would like Columbus better, because they have a state fair there.
Raleigh, North Carolina at number six, Austin, Texas, at number eight, and St. Louis at number nine, round out the top ten.
Caution: there may be a reason these places are such bargains! Don't you usually get what you pay for?
What do you think of this one? This man went into the hospital to donate a kidney to his sister. The nurse inadvertently threw away his kidney
as she discarded the contents of a slush machine before the operation was over.The hospital fired two nurses and placed the administrator of surgery services on paid leave. The hospital flew the woman to Colorado to get a new kidney. Here she is talking about the ordeal.
I hope she and he get over their bitterness.
Do you want to live to be 95? Would you be willing to let some scientists tweak your genes to accomplish that? They have already done it on mice. Scientists lowered the expression of the gene mTOR, which is involved in balancing energy and metabolism in the body.
The mice lived 20 percent longer, had better memory and balance as they aged, but their bones deteriorated faster.
They outperformed normal mice of equivalent age in maze and balance tests, indicating better retention of memory and coordination, and also retained more muscle strength and posture.
But they had a greater loss in bone volume as they aged, and they were more susceptible to infections at old age, suggesting a loss of immune function.
Do you know how many Americans rely on a doctor's prescription to get to sleep at night? 8.6 million! How many more millions use non-prescription remedies?
Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden has had a 33 year prison sentence overturned. He will be tried again, but not in public.
The doctor was tried under the Frontier Crimes Regulations, or FCR, the set of laws that govern Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal region. Human rights organizations have criticized the FCR for not providing suspects the right to legal representation, to present material evidence, or to cross-examine witnesses. Verdicts are handled by a government official in consultation with a council of elders.
I wonder how much the CIA paid to the government official and each member of the council of elders.
His lawyer has not been allowed to contact him.
I admit I had to think about this joke by Tommy Cooper a while before I got it:
'Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.'
I believe in equality. Equality for everybody. No matter how stupid they are or how superior I am to them - Steve Martin
I went into a French restaurant and asked the waiter, ‘Have you got frog’s legs?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ so I said, ‘Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich' - Tommy Cooper
Vegetarians, if you love animals so much then why do you keep eating all their food? - Unknown Origin
You know, I have Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Skype accounts. Man: and do you have life? OMG, No! Could you send me a link? - Unknown Origin
Last week my mother-in-law fell into a wishing well, can’t believe it actually worked - Unknown Origin
I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister - Will Marsh
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2406713/50-funniest-jokes-includes-Ricky-Gervais-Russell-Brand-Peter-Kay-liners.html#ixzz2dTKuuz5s
Normally 500 to 1000 people a day flee Syria. Now that Obama is threatening to bomb, that number has risen to 6,000 passing into Lebanon in the last 24 hours.
One woman, Um Ahmad, entered Lebanon with her five children, saying she fears U.S. strikes on Damascus.
'Isn't it enough, all the violence and fighting that we already have in the country, now America wants to bomb us, too?' the 45-year-old said, declining to give her full name for security concerns.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2406351/Assad-accused-moving-human-shields-key-military-targets-defence-Western-air-strikes.html#ixzz2dTCzxyIg
If you were a guy facing 35 years in prison, would you rather be in the men's prison or the women's prison? Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning, chose the women's side. At first thought, it seems like a no-brainer. But, when you think about it a while, I'm not so sure.
Chelsea riding in the car.
Bradley looking snappy in his uniform.
Do you use plastic bags at the grocery store? Are you one who likes as few bags as possible? Do you tell the bagger how you would like things bagged (heavy or light)? If you tell the bagger to cram as much as possible in the bag, then the bag breaks on your way to the car, whose fault is that?
Walmart is being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars by a man in Nebraska. The bagger put two 48 ounce cans of La Choy Chinese vegetables plus a two pound bag of rice in his wife's bag. On the way to the car, the bag broke open and one of the cans landed on her toe. The toe got infected. The infection spread through her body. After two surgeries, and antibiotic treatments, she died several months later.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Here is another important news story from The Onion. Millions of Americans are overcoming media pressure to be thin. As many as 70 percent of us have been
“courageously refusing to conform” to these media ideals of physical fitness and leanness.
“Given the media’s clear preference for thin physiques, we expected most Americans would be actively seeking to emulate such body types, but we found that nearly 7 in 10 American adults possess the inner courage and determination to overcome the constant pressure to maintain a trim figure,” said behavioral psychologist and the report’s co-author Olivia Trumbull, noting that these Americans boldly ignored, on average, 10 to 14 images of in-shape individuals every minute of the day. “This level of resolve is astonishing, considering that the media is saturated with models, actors, athletes, and pop stars who are no bigger than a women’s size 4 or a men’s large. However, if you look around any American town or city, you’ll find incredibly brave women who are size 18, size 20, even size 24, as well as brave men who routinely wear XXXL clothing. That’s a testament to American willpower.”
Indeed, the report found that, rather than give in to the constant emphasis on a lean, shapely physique, the brave segment of the U.S. population consistently and valiantly avoided nutritious foods, reasonable portion sizes, and any exercise whatsoever.
Who used chemical weapons in Syria? Robert Spencer writes,
UN inspectors in Syria have no mandate to determine exactly who used the chemical weapons, but only the fact that they were used – despite the fact that the key question is who used them, and no one has a clear or definite answer, least of all Barack Obama.
Then again, Barack Obama has aided jihadists and Islamic supremacists before, in Libya and Egypt – and that is exactly what he is about to do again.
Given the fact that both the American and the British governments are dedicated to denying the reality of Islamic jihad and ignoring how Islamic jihadis use core texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that U.S. or British forces will be able to tell the difference between Sharia supremacists and secularists, or act effectively in favor of the latter, if indeed there are any significant secularist forces left in Syria.
After all, the U.S. and Britain presided over the establishment of Sharia constitutions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why will Syria be different? Bashar Assad is unquestionably a bloody tyrant; so also are many other rulers around the world whom the U.S. and Britain have not yet determined to dislodge – and a general worldwide War on Tyranny would likely sap the remaining resources of both in short order. But his regime has been far more hospitable to Christians, Alawites (of which he is, of course, one) and other religious minorities in Syria than a Sharia state could or will ever be. Nor is there any reason to think that a Sharia state in Syria, even one established by the United States, will be any more grateful to the United States than are the current regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We can only hope that other forces in the world that are far more powerful and sinister than Bashar Assad will not take advantage of this new depletion of already-depleted U.S. forces to give our tottering economy and weakened military a final push over the edge. But Barack Obama and David Cameron will ultimately discover that they can’t tempt fate forever.
Fred on Everything writes a piece about the media.
They are concentrated in Washington and New York. They don´t get out much. Editors naturally tend to hire people who agree with them, so everyone does. (I knew a couple of closet conservatives in the newsroom of the Washington Post, but they kept their heads down.) Papers say they want diversity in the newsroom, but by this they mean people of different colors who think the same things.
And of course diversity in the newsroom means homogeneity in the news: If you are, say, a white man sitting in a room with blacks, lesbians, real women, homosexuals and Chicanas, you can´t say anything that might offend any of them, because you have to sit next to them again the next day.
Reporters don´t have much curiosity. Go to NBC Washington and ask the editor whether she has been to Idaho to get to know the militias, (”Jesus, those crazies?”) or spent enough time in a police car to learn what actually goes on (“Oh god, oh god, I can´t put that on the air.”), or been in the military (“No, I was at Swarthmore.”), or spent a week in a cheap hotel in Bluefield, West Virginia to see what people think.
If she did go, she would overdress, seem a virtual space alien to the locals, and know so little of the culture that she couldn´t really talk to people. She would have her laptop, though, so she could read Salon.
The dinosaur media lose out to the internet because they not only don´t want to but can´t deal with things that most stir the populace: race, wars, guns, abortion, separation of church and state, evolution, immigration. The velvet noose of political correctness ensures that only Appropriate Thought can be published. Those who deviate will be fired.
If you deal in opinion, you have to avoid upsetting the editor, the advertisers, your colleagues, the victim groups, and above all be politically correct. In columnists, papers want slot-fillers—the female liberal, female conservative, black liberal, and so on—who can be relied on not to say anything unexpected or controversial. Editors want adventure without danger. Thus the rule for an aspiring columnist for print publications is to choose a spot on the political spectrum and never deviate from it, even though he knows that much of it is nonsense. This keeps columnists boring.
It also creates huge openings for writers on the web. No paper on the planet would publish Fred on Everything, which means that it has no organized competition. Yet I have far more circulation than I did in what I once thought of as serious journalism. And this is why you can find better, more expert, and more thoughtful commentary on line than in the (as we say) Major Media.
Fred on Everything writes a piece about our military. Unlike PJ O'Rourke who Fred says thinks our military
is an international Charles Atlas, a motingator, astonishous, gleaming military monster such as the world has never seen (and didn´t ask to, but never mind).Fred, on the other hand, thinks
the Pentagon has the wrong things. It is glorious and glitters and has many buttons and screens. It is just the wrong military.
The great Chinese strategist Fred Tzu once said, “Never use a broadsword to fight a swarm of pissed-off hornets.” Exactly. You have to understand the enemy. Otherwise you are in trouble and can´t understand why. If you are a behind-the-times sort of dinosaur, the rats are going to eat your eggs. If you are an American infantry battalion, sneaky little guys behind rocks are gonna blow hell out of your up-armored Humvee with the revolving IR heads. Trust me.
Think about it, PJ. I´m serious. The world´s most magnificent budget got run out of Nam like a scalded dog, yelling that actually, really, I mean honest, we really really won, shriek.
Not so´s you´d notice.
The same highly-trained martial codpiece got run out of Lebanon with 241 Marines dead, run out of Mogadishu by teenagers with armed pickup trucks, performed a comedy routine trying to rescue hostages in Tehran, lost in Iraq, and works diligently at losing in Afghanistan. Not too much bang for the buck, I´d say, or for the doe either.
Our global strategy is to surround Russia with military bases and missiles, and similarly to surround Iran and China. This latter is like an aging bull terrier trying to surround a frisky Rottweiler pup that is reaching puberty. The portents are sub-optimal. Anyway, when you have surrounded China, what does it buy you? Given our sorry record against several thousands of annoyed peasants in the bush world, do we figure to land at Shanghai and take on a billion Han Chinese? What could be a better idea?
Now, they say that money isn´t everything. Oh yes it is. And it is what America doesn´t have so much of any more. All those zoom-wowees and whizz-kerblams cost moolah. The days when the US could afford high wages and fun wars and a vast military all at once, them days is over. Oh. Ver. The jobs went to Asia and Mexico, unemployment runs way high, everybody is on food stamps or welfare, the standard of living falls, infrastructure rots, everybody is getting edgy and hates everybody else, and the military budget grows like kudzu on a Georgia road-cut. Hoo-boy. Think of an aging wrestler with a withered leg and padded jockstrap going into a biker bar and saying, “I can whip any bozo in the joint.”
This woman thought she had a really good idea. She had just been arrested for failing a field sobriety test, and placed in the back seat of the patrol car. Her idea was to crawl through the divider window up into the driver's seat of the patrol car and drive away. She failed this aspect of the test, too.
Linked by Dave Barry
A man in Washington state fired this arrow with a small bag of marijuana tied around it. The arrow landed in the recreation area of a jail. I am guessing it was a gift for a prisoner, though the shooter says he was shooting at a squirrel. Then, why the marijuana bag?
Linked by Dave Barry
the most important goal of mental health treatment is seldom to relieve all your pain; that’s usually an impossible pursuit, or one that just shifts the pain from your head to your wallet and your friends. The better goal of therapy is to use it to figure out how to prevent that pain from interfering with the way you think about, and lead, your life. If you elect to suspend treatment because you’re ready to accept pain and uncertainty, and ready to re-start it if you find it necessary, then you’ve achieved one of psychotherapy’s most important goals. Life will always involve pain; don’t let fretting over the decision whether or not to stop therapy add to it.
Guest post by Suzann Darnall
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King, Jr. 28 August 1963
So, am I the only person who thinks he meant he wanted ALL people to be judged by character and not by race??? What a shame that the 50th anniversary of MLK,Jr's great speech will be marred . . . by the prejudice of those who claim his mantle as civil rights activists. They actually wear a cloak of racism that is closer to the robes worn by the KKK. Bigotry comes in many forms and practicing it because of history is as shameful today as it was 50 years ago ... no matter the color of one's skin. Let us look to our character and seek to see others through a prism of their character . . . not looking through a window of skin color that can blind us to so much.
The above paragraph is what I wrote and posted on my FaceBook page yesterday. I wrote it after hearing some of what was going to be presented at the anniversary event and then hearing a very few of the speakers. Little did I know that it was going to be even worse than I expected.
I listened to several speakers yesterday, as well as some of the sound-bites, coverage, and commentary that took place before, during, and after the event. I was dismayed that this was not a celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr's dream being achieved to such a great extent, but rather another pity party put on by the race-baiting so-called civil rights leaders that refuse to acknowledge that America has come a long way in the past 50 years! Just another public display of their feigned outrage about how everything wrong in America is because we used to have slavery and segregation.
I know we have come a long way in 50 years. I have actually lived in the South a lot in my life and in Alabama three times in particular. I lived there as a child, as a young single woman, then as a wife and mother. I personally saw changes that happened between my times there.
When we lived in Alabama in the early 1960s one of my father's best friends was also an Air Force officer, like my father. With one difference. Russ was black. Actually, "Uncle" Russ was dark tan with freckles, but that made no difference to the laws of Alabama.
The United States Air Force did not have enough student housing at Maxwell Air Force Base for all the Squadron Officers School students and families, so they rented housing from the city of Montgomery. But, the housing came with rules. No blacks allowed . . . unless they entered through the back door. Yes, you read that right! If Russ, a USAF officer, was going to visit our home he had to come in the back door. Except for a little rule that Russ and my parents took advantage of! Workmen were allowed to enter by the front door. I suppose for the convenience of the lady of the house. So, Russ would wear his white overall uniform over his clothes, come in the front door, take off the overall, and life went on.
That was life in Alabama about the time Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement were marching on Washington. A time I remember even though I was very young. It was very bad.
Now, fast forward to my second time to live in Alabama. Again in Montgomery and Maxwell Air Force Base. But, it is now the mid 1970s.
I worked at a store in the mall. One of the little old ladies I worked with actually referred to small black children as "pickaninnies", which shocked me to no end! I knew the term from history and because it is also a kind of historical doll. But, had no idea anyone outside of the pre-Civil War South used it. So, I thought perhaps things were no better than they had been back in the early 1960s . . . until two events happened that let me know America was righting the long time wrongs, even if a little slower for some folks than others.
The first thing that happened was in conjunction with me hearing the derogatory term used about two little girls. But, you see, those little girls were the daughters of a lady who shopped in our somewhat better dress shop on a regular basis. That lady was the wife of one of the leading attorneys in town. They lived in one of the historic old mansions and his offices were in another historic old mansion. Hmmm . . . quite a step ahead from my "Uncle" Russ having to carry a wrench and pretend to be a workman to come through our front door.
The second thing was also connected to the place I worked. The lady who cleaned our store was a member of an extended family that pretty much owned the majority of the cleaning contracts in the Montgomery area. Her husband was in charge of cleaning our sister store across the mall. The entire mall was cleaned by members of her family. They lived in bigger homes and drove better cars than the family that owned our shops and some others in the area. The lady who cleaned our store had a college degree in business and her children went to private school. But, her family had been in the maid and janitor business for generations, had connections all over town, and built it into a miniature empire.
Let's fast-forward again to the 1980s. I was again living in Alabama, this time while my husband went to Squadron Officers School. His group had two black officers. One was married to a black woman. The other was married to a white woman. This has relevance only in so far as what happened when we went to a very elite private dining experience in a very Southern Belle's home/business. What happened was . . . nothing!
Nothing except that we were all welcomed into the establishment. Plus, the lady even spoke to and visited with the black couple, as well as the bi-racial couple. This in a place that decades before had been a whites only establishment. Another big step from "Uncle" Russ and his white overall trick to walk in the front door, huh?
Let us now fast-forward through a few historic firsts. Colin Powell, first black Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman. Condaleezza Rice, first black female Secretary of State. Barack Obama, first black President of the United States of America. Gee, it seems to me that we most certainly have come a long way since 1963 and the historic civil rights march on Washington. There are black firsts far too numerous to list. In fact, most of us don't even look to landmark events that much anymore 'cause we just assume everyone can do anything they desire and perspire to attain.
I think we have very much become the land MLK,Jr dreamed of . . . except that the dinosaurs of the civil rights movement are holding up the bus and throwing white America under it at every chance. They are working overtime to keep racial hatred alive and well in the 21st century. Hardly the goal of Dr. King who was known to be a pacifist, integrator, and uniter. A man who wanted ALL people to be free and equal. A man who wanted to end the false notion of separate, but equal.
But, too many of those who profess to follow in his footsteps are working to segregate America by making it a land of black, white, brown, yellow, or red. A land where people are judged by the color of their skin. A land where the content of character seems to always be less important than that all important skin-tone. Is this what MLK would have wanted? I think not! I think he would be ashamed that his name was being used in vain when attached to such racially-charged diatribes as went on yesterday and pretty much every day in some form or another.
We will none of us be "Free at last, free at last" until the last racist, of whatever color, learns to move beyond skin color and look to judge by character. We should do as Dr. King said and judge those race-baiters by the content of their character. I think we will find that most of them come up pretty darn short!
A commenter at David Warren's blog accuses Mr. Warren of not advocating Christian solutions to problems in the Middle East. Warren replies,
The Christian has no business hating his enemies, or settling scores from the motive of revenge. But neither is he deprived by faith of the most elementary right of self-defence, nor under an obligation to permit the slaughter of himself & others — whether they be his fellow Christians or not.
In condemning appeasement, I am addressing the moral responsibility of the state, which it shirks at the risk of its own legitimacy, even survival. It must maintain boundaries. It must declare, “Thus far & no farther.” It must declare, impersonally, in defence of those boundaries, “If you do this, we do that.” And it must do, consistently, what it has declared: no more & no less. That is the upright course, & the mark against which I judge the state’s success or failure.
I like to read essays from people who know what they are writing about. David Warren knows and writes about Egypt:
Peace comes, & comes only, in this world, with the strength of enforcement. It does not come from prattling with the psychos; it comes from rendering them powerless. The Egyptian military understands this from intimate dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood; & now the fickle Egyptian public, from first-hand experience of Brotherhood rule. You do not go half way with these people: you destroy them, or they destroy you. Turn your cheek & they slit your throat.
The Egyptian military did what it had to do. They told the Brotherhood to remove their camps from the middle of Cairo, or have them removed. The regime acted exactly as it threatened to act, when the Brotherhood did not move. It should continue to act, with resolution. There is no mealymouthed advice the world can give, to which the officers should listen; none to which the Israelis should listen. They, not we, take the consequences of irresolution.
In Egypt, we should note that the fate of ten million Christians is on the line. Either the Muslim Brotherhood will be uprooted, or the Christians will be uprooted. There is no “third way,” & those who speak & act as if there were have effectively taken sides, with evil.
"Concealed within President Obama’s carping about Rush Limbaugh is a distaste for democracy. Obama is not the first aspiring tyrant to complain that the pen is mightier than the sword, or in this case, that the pundit is mightier than the president...
...He represents a familiar figure in history: the left-wing revolutionary who rises to power by praising dissent, then stays in power by trying to suppress it. This suppression is usually cast in terms of “civility,” respect for government, or whatever other cant works at the moment...
...Somehow Obama’s concerns about civility didn’t stop him from writing a glowing blurb for domestic terrorist Bill Ayers or dissuade him from attending the “God damn America” sermons of Jeremiah Wright. Out of power, Obama defined dissent as patriotism. In power, he treats it as near-treason..." --George Neumayr
A wide range of officials characterized the action under consideration as “limited,” perhaps lasting no more than one or two days.However, Jonathan Tobin writes at Commentary that
Should the U.S. strikes lead to missile attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, as that terrorist group’s Iranian masters warn, then the situation will turn out to be more complicated than the president thinks.
Amina Kahn writes in the LATimes,
UFO watchers' eyes were set ablaze recently by reports of what looked like a stony rodent lurking among the rocks on Mars. The so-called Mars rat, spotted in an image taken last year by the NASA rover Curiosity’s Mast Camera, captured imaginations even as it inspired several new parody Twitter accounts.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Never boring Ann Coulter says Democrats do not care about American national security. Syria? Too late now! Would have been good a few months ago. We have to intervene now because Obama said there was a red line? Do we need to act now solely so that our President will not look like an idiot?
Priorities? We have them in order:
The Pentagon is shelling out millions of dollars — to coach football.
Three college football coaches are currently the highest-paid employees on the Defense Department’s payroll: Army football coach Rich Ellerson, Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun.
Calhoun raked in $882,000 last year, with Ellerson falling close behind, making $600,000. But Niumatalolo takes the cake as the highest-paid Pentagon employee, earning $1,605,370 in 2012. His salary is almost double Calhoun’s salary — the second highest-paid employee.
The Department of Defense isn’t exactly seeing bang for its buck, though. The three teams’ combined record was 16-22 last season. The Navy Midshipmen was the only team out of the three to finish with a winning season.
And it isn’t just the federal government making room in its budget for college coaches. In 40 out of 50 states, the highest-paid public employee is a college coach. In Minnesota, a basketball coach and football coach actually tie as the highest-paid employee on the state’s payroll.
Appropriately, the nation's only black President spoke today on the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King's I have a Dream speech. Inappropriately, the nation's only black Senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina, was not invited to speak. Could it be because Mr. Scott is a Republican, and not a leftist?
PRESS PENTAGON ON PURPLE HEARTS FOR FORT HOOD VICTIMS! Now that Nidal Hasan is convicted and condemned to death, isn't it time for the Pentagon and Chuck Hagel to quite the pretense and do what is right by awarding Purple Hearts to the Fort Hood military victims and give their survivors proper benefits? He is a terrorist, and Obama has the Pentagon ducking for cover to protect this piece of scum, even after he's convicted and admitted his intend throughout the trial.
We have come full circle since 9-11-2001. We are about to jump in on the side of al Qaeda in Syria. Actually, we already are funneling weapons to terrorists there.
I heard an analogy today. Two dogs are fighting. A cat comes over to where the dogs are fighting each other. The dogs stop fighting and go after the cat. America is the cat. Middle Eastern Sharia Supremicists are the dogs.
My thirteen-year-old son Jon wrote this satirical poem just for fun. I think he has real talent.
The sauce of the dead.
Shouldn't be here.
They should be confined.
But is Death?
By no means.
It is the master.
Then why is death crimson, black?
Blood keeps us alive.
Sorrow keeps us dead.
The color of death is the opposite of all dark rages.
Ice. Bloody ice. Too much. No more.
To live would be so cold.
But the heat of the oven, lalala.
Piece of cake.
I will die.
Can it be as uncomfortable as we think it to be?
The raven cries for Death, the only material death.
We need to eat.
Make life from Death.
It's simple. They die. We eat. You cry, It's Meat!
Vegetables? What's the difference?
Go for it. Nature means cruelty.
Ha! But who cares?
Cruelty is caring.
Nah, But in a way we kill to live.
How is this society so naive?
So listen to me.
To survive is to save.
Save a life.
Save Money Live Better
In Colorado next month there will be recall elections in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The two who are facing recall were active in passing legislation restricting Coloradans' Second Amendment rights. Mayor Bloomberg of New York has sent the President of the Colorado Senate, who is the guy in Colorado Springs facing recall, a check for $350,000.
Mayor Bloomberg has that kind of money. He also has the first amendment right to send that money. At the same time, we have the right to know where that money is coming from. Bloomberg, as far as I know, didn't try to conceal the fact that he was the one cutting the check. I don't think other people should get to conceal who they are financially supporting, either.
I don't know how Bloomberg is thought of in New York; but here in Colorado he does not have a good reputation. He is thought to be a controlling nanny. It helps people decide how to vote when they know who is financing the campaigns of politicians.
Why do you suppose it is so important to Bloomberg to stop this pro-Second Amendment movement?
I am in a lot of pain right now. I had all-morning surgery to remove skin cancer from the top left side of my forehead and the top right side of my forehead. As soon as I got home I opened the computer and went to Ann Voskamp's A Holy Experience blog. As usual, she had the medicine I needed. She linked today to a post by Joni Eareckson Tada.
Joni is quadriplegic. One day she just sat in her wheelchair looking out her front door, not knowing if she could face another day. Her husband came to her with a sharpie pen and a yellow post-it note, on which he wrote the letter "C."
“It stands for Courage,” he said, “The courage of Christ. I can see it in your eyes, Joni, and you can do this. I know you can!”With that he pressed the post-it note just above her heart. She writes,
Those words were brimming with power and life. His was a pronouncement, a declaration of the good he saw in me… or, at least the good he wanted to see. And God gave me His amazing grace to rise to the occasion.
It’s a hard world. Even the best of Christians are feeling the weight of weariness. Little wonder we are to “Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13).
Think of the people you’ll see today… friends recovering from surgery, neighbors dealing with grief, coworkers coping with pain.
Whether you say it in an email, over the phone, or in person, your words have the capacity to change their countenance and character.
Ann provided just the blog post I needed to deal with today's pain.
While I am on the subject of the Denver Broncos and their fanatical fans, there is another Broncos controversy getting a lot of chatter in Colorado today. Mile High Stadium (now known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High, in deference to the sporting goods store that bought the rights to the name) has a huge image on it today. I just drove past it on the way to get some cancer dug out of my face.
The image is of two quarterbacks: Peyton Manning of the Broncos and Joe Flacco of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Not only that, but there are huge banners of Flacco posted elsewhere in downtown Denver. Many fans are pissed. How did the Ravens get to the Super Bowl? They beat the Broncos on a last minute pass by Flacco.
The Denver Broncos finally got something they really needed: a star linebacker who could team with star cornerback Champ Bailey to give the Broncos a balanced team to go along with star quarterback Peyton Manning's prolific passing attack.
What could go wrong? Well, for starters, Von Miller has been suspended for six games for violating the NFL drug policy.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that when Miller went to give a urine sample to the drug tester, it was spilled. When Miller then came back later to give the drug tester another urine sample, that sample was found to be diluted.
But the NFL makes clear that a positive drug test isn’t the only way to violate the substance-abuse policy. Failing to produce a testable sample when asked to submit to a drug test can also be considered a violation.
Von, you let your teammates down, and the many thousands of devoted Bronco fans, too. Those fans pay big bucks to attend games, and buy souvenirs with your name on them. When you get thousands of people willing to shell out big bucks, it is actually the way the team owner can afford to pay you millions of dollars to play a game.
Perhaps you let yourself down, too? How long will it take for you to realize that, and correct your course?
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Will Americans awaken to the increasingly rapid deprivation of their freedoms — not draped in an American flag but draped in tolerance and health?
The left now has a president who is a true leftist who is asserting unprecedented presidential power through his cabinet and myriad other agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency) and through presidential decrees. The left has taken over the universities and, increasingly, high schools and elementary schools. It dominates the news and entertainment media. And many judges and courts are leftist — meaning that their decisions are guided by leftism more than by the law or the Constitution.
With all this power, the left controls more and more of the life of the American citizen. And when nothing stops the left, the left doesn’t stop.
I cannot count the number of times I heard liberal professors and liberal writers quote the phrase: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
The phrase is brilliant. There is actually no threat to America of fascism coming from the right. The essence of the American right, after all, is less government; and fascism, by definition, demands ever larger government.
Therefore, if there is a real fascist threat to America, it comes from the left, whose appetite for state power is essentially unlimited. But because the left has so long dominated American intellectual, academic, artistic, and media life, it has succeeded in implanting fear of the right.
I have never written that there is a threat of fascism in America. I always considered the idea overwrought. But now I believe there really is such a threat — and it will come draped not in an American flag, but in the name of tolerance and health.
Seth Mandel writes here about the revelation that spies spy!
Do we spy on the UN?
The UN is a dictator’s playground through which Western interests are relentlessly targeted and undermined and genocidal maniacs the world over are shielded from the consequences of their murderous depravity. This is all done while furthering anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and weakening sanctions regimes. The UN does this largely from its perch on American territory and with the help of billions of dollars of American taxpayer money. Of course the U.S. collects intelligence there.
Americans seem to be broadly comfortable with spy agencies conducting foreign surveillance. And they don’t tend to think too highly of the UN’s problem-solving capability. The idea that the U.S. spied on the UN’s nuclear watchdog, for example, will probably be encouraging to most Americans as the U.S. works to stop Iran and others (like Syria) from obtaining nuclear weapons. If Poitras, Snowden, and Greenwald want to turn public opinion against the American government, defending the UN’s sullied honor is probably not the best way to do so.
Guest post by COLONEL CURTIS D. DALE, PhD, USAF (Ret)
I am very disappointed at the WEAKNESS OF THIS SURVEY! It give the appearance of writers who are afraid they are going to offend Barack Hussein Obama. I could see this being written by John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell who are the most ineffective, unreliable Republican leaders I can ever remember being in the US Congress.
Your questions are not fleshed out to capture the full outrage of the Republican Party Base. The Republican Party should be identifying very specifically with the Tea Party. You will see that I checked Conservative Republican Party and Tea Party BECAUSE I do not trust the RINOs in Washington. When I think RINO GOP, I think weak, unwilling to stand and be counted.
Question 6 is obviously written so that anyone who says “yes” will be construed to changing the strategies and tactics to adopt essentially the same stands as the liberal Dems, not strong, moral stands.
On question 8, why didn’t you address the major attack by the Obama Administration on our Religious Freedoms?
On Question 6, I am frankly just as disgusted with the blathering and dodging of Mitch McConnell as I am with Harry Reid. In the House, Boehner is a disaster and an embarrassment. I look back to Newt. Now there was a leader in the House. I have spent time with Tip O’Neil and compare even him, a Democrat, to Boehner. He was powerful, effective, and respected. How can I possibly respect a willy-nilly Speaker like Boehner? I can’t. He bows, nips and tucks to Obama with great regularity.
Question 7. I live in Colorado. The Colorado Republican Committee is an embarrassment. I specifically blame the past two or three establishment GOP machines with giving the Assembly and the Governor’s Mansion to the Dems. I fault them for letting Traitor Tom Tantraitor hijack the party and run as a Third Party Candidate to get his whopping 35 percent, as I’d predicted, letting Hickenlooper walk in without even campaigning. And, now, Traitor Tom is running again. Disgusting!
Why didn’t you ask, “Do you think Obama should be IMPEACHED over:
Attack on Second Amendment Rights?
Why did you not ask, “Do you believe Obamacare should be DEFUNDED?” That term “Defer” means nothing! Obama’s already doing the deferring because it is bad legislation, and it won’t work. But you couldn’t even word the question strongly. Why not ask, “Should Congress just get rid of Obamacare?
Monday, August 26, 2013
Daniel Greenfield writes that
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. And sometimes liberty is the price of eternal vigilance against subversive rodeo clowns.
What can’t be seen on the stage of Saturday Night Live must go underground to the Missouri State Fair. In every totalitarian country, the jokes that can’t be told are told anyway in secret places, between friends and to rural and working class audiences. The Soviet anecdote was born out of such restrictions.
Twenty years and a whole other nation ago, a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair not only wore a George H.W. Bush mask, but even swapped out a dummy in the same mask that the bull tore apart on the spot.
The nation did not shudder, the politicians did not call for the clown’s head and there was no secret service investigation of a possible assassination-by-bull plot by a gang of rogue rodeo clowns.
But that was America; a strange and different country. It was not perfect, but rodeo clowns, comedians and your neighbor Bob felt free to mock the President of the United States without worrying that the heavy hand of manufactured outrage would descend on their necks.
The new OSSR, that marvelously enlightened empire of wealth redistribution from the working middle class to the government upper class, that beacon of green energy, transgender rights and drive-through abortions, is far too fragile to survive the sort of mockery that the reactionary running dog leaders of the old US were accustomed to.
It is hard to describe that America to a younger generation that has never lived in it and has never known anything other than the liberal morality mobs of the Obama age eager to pounce on some offense of heteronormative white privilege committed against liberal conformity.
Maybe the best way to describe life in the US, before the dawn of the OSSR, is with another Soviet anecdote.
A Moscow cop sees a man poking a hole in the tire of the American ambassador’s car. The vandal puts his mouth on the hole and begins sucking in the escaping air.
“What are you doing?” the cop demands.
Sheepishly the man tells him, “I wanted to breathe the air of freedom.”
Now that even those of us in Sedalia, Missouri are choking on foul Moscow smogs, I wonder whose tires we’ll have to poke through to breathe the air of freedom.