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Not neoneoconI would like to make you all aware of a blog I enjoy that you may not have heard of,

The author was raised in New York in a very liberal, progressive environment and then woke up one day and realized she had no idea why she believed everything she believed. She started doing her own research and slowly… Well, you can read her ridiculously long personal account in the “A mind is a difficult thing to change” thread on her site.

She is very intelligent and an excellent communicator and some of you will appreciate that she is a child of the 50s. She has a lot of personal insights into growing up in that era, the Vietnam war, the Kennedy assassination, LBJ’s great society, music, culture… There must be 5,000 posts in 100 categories on her site and I haven’t found one yet that I haven’t enjoyed.

Well worth a visit.

A Fool Flatters Himself, a Wise Man Flatters the Fool – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The Mask

Although this, is a very trivial thing when considering the big picture, it has greatly bothered me. I should care about government abuse of power, government fecklessness getting people killed overseas, endangering our lives at home, IRS persecution of political groups, grouse fiscal irresponsibility, the ACA taking over 20% of the economy, etc., etc…

But, I suppose since I don’t expect much from humanity I’m not surprised when people abuse power, are greedy or act small. However, if we lose the ability to laugh at our politicians; mock them, ridicule them; I fear we are on the road to despotism.

Some excerpts from the article by Sonny Bunch:

There’s something disquieting about the way the comedic class has treated President Barack Obama.

… In the place of comedy to criticize the powerful, you have comedy to comfort the powerful. You have John Oliver and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert DESTROYING and EVISCERATING straw men… It’s comedy designed to remind the smart set that it believes the right things, holds the right views, supports the right pols, vouches for the right laws. “Look at how dumb The Other is,” these shows scream. “We are smarter. We are better. We are good.”

… Clapter is the death knell of comedy, a sure sign that one is reinforcing preconceived notions rather than challenging prevailing norms. But clapter reigns supreme… Every time I think about humor in the age of Obama, I return to this horribly disheartening line from Between Two Ferns creator Scott Aukerman, who had been asked if Obama pitched jokes for the bit: “I don’t think the president has to pitch jokes, he just says jokes and we enjoy them.”

That’s not the attitude of a comedian…

It’s the attitude of a sycophant.

Friday Open Thread

French troops move through a communication trench during the Battle of the Ardennes (Aug 22, 1914)

French troops move through a communication trench during the Battle of the Ardennes (Aug 22, 1914)

On this date in 1914 the French Fifth Army was defeated at The Battle of the Ardennes (a lesser battle of a group called The Battle of the Frontiers). In a preview of the coming horrors, the French suffered approximately 27,000 killed in action on this one day.

Card Says, “Moops.”

Bubble Boy

I had an epiphany about a week ago. All y’all had this epiphany months ago, maybe years ago. I kind of did, but it struck me in a different way recently. This really is the Crusades. This isn’t “similar” to the Crusades or “sort-of” like the Crusades. This IS the Crusades. I’m not the first to make this comparison, not by a long shot, but until now I saw it as an analogy. It’s not an analogy. It’s not a syllogism. It’ not a simile.

I remember learning about the Crusades when studying European history in grammar school (5th or 6th grade?). It all seemed rather archaic, kind-of silly. I probably memorized a few dates to pass a test and that was the end of that. I have read about the fall of Rome more extensively, and recently, but I had a similar attitude to it; archaic.

I think I’m guilty of a common mistake; Inventions and Technology and Shiny Gadgets don’t = Societal Advancement. When I read about the fall of Rome I wondered why the Romans could not see the threat across the Danube.

Western culture is much different than it was during the fall of Rome or the time of the Crusades, and much has changed for the better. But Islam hasn’t changed. It is still the same force that was trying to eradicate Christianity 1,000 years ago and the cause is the same. This isn’t a new, modern cause created by British Imperialism or U.S. involvement overseas or anything else. This is a continuation of the same war Islam has waged for over 1,000 years. The same war.

I’m sure the average Roman gave little thought to the Vandals or Visigoths. How could such backward tribes impact Rome? The technological and educational and civilizational divide was enormous. Roman citizens had no interest in the Barbarians to their north. But those Barbarians were interested in Rome. Very interested.

Outlaw's favorite Outlaw...

Governor Rick Perry



Headline from the New York Times…it has since been changed.


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The Police. Strong words in the staff room…

Non-Intervention Rears Its Ugly Head

It strikes me, as I watch our Empty Suit in Chief watch the world burn — or at least smell the smoke from the 14th green — that the Ron Paul movement’s isolationist foreign policy is also being repudiated. Last decade (and really over most of Ron Paul’s political career) Paul and his hardcore Libertarian followers kept caterwauling about American over-involvement overseas and argued for basically an isolationist (at least in 21st century terms if not the 1930s version) foreign policy. Obama has nominally continued Bush-era policies, but has pulled them back in his second term — dropping the mic and declaring victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and using drones to do the rest. Drones are interventionist foreign policy like television and video games are involved parenting. There’s a nominal acknowledgement, but no real engagement.

We basically have a non-interventionist foreign policy in place. Whether by intent or by incompetence we are living in a world more like the Paulista foreign policy vision of lesser involvement. The list of simmering to roiling trouble spots is long and, I’m sure, incomplete:Russia/Ukraine, China/Vietnam/Japan, North Korea, IS on the move in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Israel/Gaza, Pakistan, Iranian nukes, Mexican drug cartels running rough shod over our border, Nigeria and Boko Haram, and Yemen.

Would a President Rand Paul be overseeing a similar world situation if he runs and wins in 2016? I doubt he’d be as bad as his Dad on foreign policy. He’ll be making a lot of foreign policy speeches over the next 2 years if he’s going to get mainstream conservatives on board for 2016. I don’t think folks expect him to be George W. Bush on foreign policy, but something more than a remote control foreign policy is called for to be sure. I think (hope?) Rand Paul has it in him. If he is the GOP candidate I will vote for him enthusiastically over any Democrat nominee and her demonstrated foreign policy incompetence.

There is little doubt in my mind that this is what a world would basically look like with a President Ron Paul. I hope for better from his son and will be waiting to hear it (and will be looking for it over the next two years) if he decides to run for President in 2016 (or later). No amount of domestic libertarian bliss would offset the storm that will be the next two decades (or longer) of trying to becalm the fires that are flaring. It’s a repudiation of Democratic incompetence, but, it seems to me, to also be a repudiation of Libertarian non-interventionist fantasies. Their heads are in different places when it comes to foreign policies, but neither group has their heads where they should be — in the game.

Ed.: Upon further reading I inadvertently conflate non-intervention (a foreign policy view that limits — broadly speaking — military force for direct self defense only — but there’s a lot more to it than that) and “isolationism” which is also a broad view but is more of a total disengagement. The two are philosophically different as Kmele Foster points out on Eric’s Facebook page, but they often intersect in foreign policy areas. The idea that since we should never have gone into Iraq at all in 2003 and thus this chaos is directly because of that is odd. We had it settled (or in a position with nurturing to eventually be stable) in 2010 and Obama dropped the mic and declared victory. Even taking the “contra-Iraq War” argument as 100% gospel reality dictates that we deal with the situation as it is. We left too soon.

Behead the Beheaders

Shakir Wahiyib is an enforcer for the Islamic State. (UK Telegraph)

Shakir Wahiyib is an enforcer for the Islamic State. (UK Telegraph)

General John Allen (Ret.) has a great piece at Defense on what we should do with the Islamic State:

IS must be destroyed and we must move quickly to pressure its entire “nervous system,” break it up, and destroy its pieces. As I said, the president was absolutely right to strike IS, to send advisors to Iraq, to arm the Kurds, to relieve the suffering of the poor benighted people of the region, to seek to rebuild functional and non-sectarian Iraqi Security Forces and to call for profound change in the political equation and relationships in Baghdad.

The whole questionable debate on American war weariness aside, the U.S. military is not war weary and is fully capable of attacking and reducing IS throughout the depth of its holdings, and we should do it now, but supported substantially by our traditional allies and partners, especially by those in the region who have the most to give – and the most to lose – if the Islamic State’s march continues. It’s their fight as much as ours, for the effects of IS terror will certainly spread in the region with IS seeking soft spots for exploitation.

American and allied efforts must operate against IS from Mosul in the east across its entire depth to western Syria. In that regard, “sovereignty” in the context of its airspace and territory is not something we should grant President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Syria is a failed state neither capable of acting as a sovereign entity nor deserving the respect of one. We cannot leave IS a safe haven anywhere or a secure support platform from which to regroup or enjoy sanctuary across the now-irrelevant frontier between Syria and Iraq.

Go read the whole thing at the link. I think we know what this C-in-C will do, though he might escalate now that journalists are being killed and not just Christians.