2017-03-14

Obama's Legacy: Nuclear Iran

Emily Landau at Middle East Quarterly :
There is little doubt that Barack Obama deems the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of July 2015 to be his crowning foreign policy achievement and an important pillar of his presidential legacy. To his mind, the deal is a shining nonproliferation success story achieved via peaceful diplomacy and an important catalyst to improving decades-long, moribund U.S.-Iranian relations.
But, Obama's assessment is wrong....
Read the rest at the link.

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2017-03-12

US Attorney Preet Bharara

Jonathan Spyer on the post-Daesh ME

Jonathan Spyer:
The Islamic State is on its way to ceasing to exist as an entity controlling significant territory.  This process is set to continue many months.  But IS, having lost tens of thousands of fighters and with the flow of new recruits drying up, facing enemies with complete control of the skies and vast superiority in numbers and equipment, has no means of reversing the trend.

In Assad’s war further west, meanwhile, the rebellion is in retreat and its eventual eclipse seems a near certainty.  The regime, with its Iranian, Russian and Hizballah allies, is currently seeking to reduce and destroy isolated rebel held enclaves in the midst of regime-held territory in western Syria.  Hence the attacks on  eastern Ghouta, and on Wa’er in the Homs area.  Once this is done, the pro-regime forces may well turn their attention to south west Syria, and eventually also to rebel-held Idleb province in the north.

The regime is also now engaging in the war against Islamic State.  Government forces  reached the Euphrates River this week, after sweeping through IS-held territory in the east Aleppo countryside.
As the direction of events becomes clear, so the possibility emerges of the Iran-led alliance achieving an overall victory in the Syria and Iraq wars...
  For more on what such an outcome might look like - and how it might be prevented - go to the link.

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"'The twilight of Saudi oil dominance has arrived."

Belmont Club:
Just as the US won the Cold War not because federal government agencies outwitted the Reds but because American society out-competed the Soviets, the frackers may have bankrupted the Sunni Jihad.  But in doing so the oil men have created a potential power vacuum even bigger than which resulted from the Arab Spring.  Technology often creates new power relationships which officials only belatedly respond to.  The consequences of American oil power have not yet been fully assimilated by the political system. Turmoil in the Kingdom and the Gulf might trigger a tragedy that would make events in Syria and Libya seem trivial by comparison. ...

Sarah Hoyt: Conservatives and Libertarians Come Out

Sarah Hoyt posts life in the liberal-controlled media culture:

We did such a dance to test both the reliability and discretion of the other before revealing ourselves that we might as well have developed a hanky code. [Blue for true blue Conservative, white for pure Libertarian, red for the blood of our heroes, brown for OWL (older, wiser libertarian), purple for squishy conservative, powder blue for Brad Torgersen. (The powder blue care bare, with the bleeding heart… and the flame thrower.)]
Conventions were nerve wracking because I watched myself ALL the TIME.  And you never knew how much you had to watch yourself.  Suddenly, out of the blue, at a World Fantasy the speaker, a well known SF/F writer went on about Dean Howard, our next president. The room erupted in applause, some people stood to clap, and I sat there, frozen, unable to actually fake it to that point but too shocked to even put a complaisant expression on my face.
This is one of the instances where I think if I didn’t give myself away I gave them the impression I was not very bright and therefore untrustworthy.  Another would be the letter exchange with a gentleman who went after my first Analog story.  Another instance would be that I actually could not help myself and defended Heinlein at all possible occasions.
They were never sure enough that I was a – dropped voice – conservative, but they were sure enough that my books had the strangest issues with distribution and marketing....

All this was justified, you see, because in the minds of the establishment and establishment hangers on, conservatives are creatures shown as “right wing” on movies and tv (none of whose writers would know a true conservative, much less a libertarian if one bit them in the fleshy part of the *ss [and libertarians might.]  They give conservatives (which again is everyone to the right of Lenin) informed attributes never found in the real creature: conservatives, in their crazy little heads, are people who are racist, sexist, homophobic, ultra-religious in a medieval fashion or a crazy-evangelical (there are some, but not many) one.
 Go to the link for more on "informed attributes".  I think that's one of the key points here, where "everybody knows" that group X are attribute Y without having any basis for "knowing" this in real-life experience.

Ahmed Daqamseh, 'the Amalek of today', released in Jordan

Arutz Sheva:
Ahmed Daqamseh, The Jordanian terrorist who murdered seven girls in the Naharayim attack and was released Sunday after serving his sentence of 20 years imprisonment stated after he returned home that he would "stay a soldier in the Jordanian armed forces," adding that "I went into jail as a soldier and now I consider myself and my sons soldiers in the armed forces." He was given a jubilant reception in the village where he lived after his return.
Meanwhile Yaffa Shoukroun, an Israeli seriously injured in Daqamseh's murderous attack, referred in an Arutz Sheva interview to the terrorist's release.
"I heard this morning about the release and I feel that they ruined our Purim celebrations," she said. "The Jordanian government did not coordinate with us the decision to release him," said an indignant Shoukroun. ...
 Read the rest at the link.

2017-02-22

Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo:  A young guy with an English accent, a Greek name, and a French handbag.  He looks like a gay version of Billy Idol.  For about 24 hours, he was going to be the keynote speaker at CPAC.

Here is Milo in his own words:



Sarah Hoyt:  If they take Milo down, you're next.
The charges against Milo are contrived from a) video editing and b) rumor and innuendo and c) pretending no one ever used the word “boy” to mean man, thereby meaning playboy is for 10 year olds and “playing with the big boys” means middle schoolers.
IF the attack on Milo were about, say how outrageous he got before the election (he’s been walking it back since.  I suspect he gets a little battle mad as I tend to.) I’d shrug and say “whatever”.  However this is a contrived and false attack and one that apparently came from the right but is teaching the left the way to take every one of us down.  You might not like Milo or his lifestyle, but you should not under any circumstances, applaud this means of taking him down.  And if you do, I hope you experience likewise and get to experience what you like so much.  There is a good chance you will.  They’ve tasted blood with Milo.  We’re next. ...

And idiotic socons are piling on, telling us that “Milo doesn’t belong on the right” and that his (rather effective, frankly) talks about his private life are “disgusting.”

Maybe they are, but if you’re going to kick out everyone who isn’t middle class US, blond, Southern Baptist, you’re never again going to hold power in this country.  Which is exactly what the left wants, and what you’re preparing.

Because NONE of you are clean. ...

Dystopic at The Declination:  Milo, lies and videotape.
Did Milo kiddy-diddle? No. No evidence of this has ever surfaced, so far as I am aware. There are no chat logs of him discussing how he wants to rape his 8 year old cousin, such as in the case of Sarah “Butts” Nyberg. There are no accusers coming forth to say that he molested them. There are no convictions, or even court cases. Nothing. So the insinuation that he, himself, is a pedophile has no basis in fact, no evidence whatsoever. The insinuation is a subtle lie.

Did Milo defend pedophiles? No. Evidence exists that he did the exact opposite. He has exposed multiple pedophiles in the past, including the aforementioned Nyberg. Salon, one of the publications attacking Milo for this supposed behavior, has published many articles defending pedophilia, calling it a sexual orientation (something Milo has absolutely never done). People like Meryl Streep have given standing ovations to convicted pedophiles, like Roman Polanski. Do you really think any of this is based on principle? That the media has suddenly developed a conscience when it comes to molesting children? ...

Did Milo defend the practice of pedophilia in any way? No. I’ve reviewed the unedited video [the video has since been taken down – can’t imagine why] and Milo’s response. In both, it is clearly and emphatically stated that he has no problem with the age of consent, and does not condone pedophilia. Yes, in the same video he is purported to be supporting this behavior, he denies supporting it.

So what did Milo do wrong?
Well, he did make a mistake. In fact, he made several mistakes. Again, let’s be honest here.
First off, he went into too much detail about something that, quite honestly, we don’t want to know about....

But let’s be crystal clear, because I suspect even my readers are divided on this issue: you have done or said something that can be used to assassinate your character.
Again, for clarity: you have said things that the press could assassinate your character with. I guarantee it. Every single person reading this right now has said something which the press could twist into a knife and plunge into your gut. All of you.
 Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse  Milo's existential threat:

Take this guy Milo out of the picture and replace him with any politically incorrect name you choose, and you’ll see the concerted effort to remove his influence is not about him, it’s about the underlying threat he represents.

Those who control the levers of the DC Swamp municipal system are determined to defeat the highly outlined objectives of a President Trump administration.  Milo is merely a concentric circle outlier of their real target.  The transparent objective here is to isolate, ridicule and marginalize Mr. Milo to create a door to the next circle.

Pass through the door that is Milo and proceed to the door that is Breitbart Media.  Deploy detonation devices….. open door.  Pass through the door that is Breitbart Media and proceed to the door that is Steve Bannon. Deploy same detonation devices (same approach)….

And when the UniParty GOPe want to utilize the useful tools of the religious right, they know just the right triggers to begin their onslaught.  Quick, to the bathroom drums…. the bizarre thing is how many people don’t realize the stagehands are the Marxist left greasing the skids to reinforce a hate narrative and steady the divisions.   Gays, like blacks, must remain on a very specific -and purposeful- political plantation.

Freedom by it’s very nature has a rather diverse set of potential allies.  The ability to reach those allies and rally them toward a standard of effectiveness is a threat to the order of those who deploy inequity and hopelessness as tools toward the more preferred strategy of ambivalence.

2017-02-21

They said, "Be our Nazis."

How do you explain self-proclaimed "liberals" and supposed "feminists" becoming eager apologists for radical Islam?  I don't think I can do any better than Dystopic at The Declination in this post on Cenobites.  Don't worry if you don't get all the Hellraiser references.

In the manosphere, the various hodgepodge collection of sites emphasizing a return to masculinity for men, I encountered a comment some years ago which stuck with me. In it, a man who had been banging a number of women lamented that every woman he encountered was a Cenobite, one of Clive Barker’s seekers of pain through pleasure. They would say “choke me until I pass out, hit me, spank me until I bleed, cut me…” They would demand ever-greater excesses, because they were unable to feel pleasure if it did not include pain. He didn’t care — all he wanted was to get laid, so he’d do whatever they asked of him — but he didn’t understand why women were this way, or why he could find so few who weren’t like this. He seemed to have a sense that things were not always this way. ...

As that commenter lamented, so I’ve seen first-hand. These SJWs, the radical feminists who spend their lives fighting the Patriarchy? They come to my clubs to be beaten senseless on crosses, chained to them by men dressed in uniforms very reminiscent of the Nazis. Yes, it’s a thing, as anybody who has ever been to a Goth club can attest. They demand to be tied up, burned, bruised, and battered. ...

I see it everywhere. I see women spurning “lesser” men, finding the most intimidating, scarred, barbaric thug on the dance floor and making out with him all night, and it hits me. I see barbaric men starting fights over stupid shit, and everybody drinking until they can’t see or walk straight, filing out of the club at 3AM to try and crawl their way home. This is our entire civilization right now. These people are in power, and are doing on a meta level exactly the same sort of thing I see from my DJ booth.

They scoured the world for the most barbaric and twisted belief systems they could possibly find, and said “come to our home. Beat us. Be our Nazis.” Islam, certainly, can do that well enough. It is more than willing. ... These RadFems don’t want less Patriarchy, they want more Patriarchy. They don’t want less Nazis, they want more Nazis. A civilization full of weak-minded fools has broken them, somehow. Deprived of any form of constructive masculinity, people have gone out to seek it among the barbarians. ...
 Now go read the whole thing at the link. 

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Sweden

Look at what's happening in Sweden.

President Trump's words were, of course, intentionally misunderstood by the media. But if you listen for yourself to what he said, it's clear what he is talking about: a wave of violent crime that has swept Germany, Sweden, Belgium, France, and other countries in Europe and elsewhere that have admitted large numbers of Muslim migrants.  And Trump is inviting us to "look at what's happening" and consider carefully.


Gateway Pundit has a roundup, with video. 

Gatestone Europe cites the case of Swedish cop Peter Springare, whose candid words on migrant crime got him in trouble with his higher-ups.
“Here we go; this is what I’ve handled from Monday-Friday this week: rape, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, rape-assault and rape, extortion, blackmail, assault, violence against police, threats to police, drug crime, drugs, crime, felony, attempted murder, Rape again, extortion again and ill-treatment.”
“Suspected perpetrators; Ali Mohammed, Mahmod, Mohammed, Mohammed Ali, again, again, again. Christopher… what, is it true? Yes, a Swedish name snuck in on the edges of a drug crime. Mohammed, Mahmod Ali, again and again.”
 Read the rest at the link. Want more video?  Here's a 60 Minutes segment where their own film crew was attacked:


And while the elites were chortling to themselves over Trumps non-existent reference to a non-existent terrorist attack, another wave of riots broke out in Sweden.

Having spent the entire new cycle trying to ignore the immigrant crisis facing Sweden, and pin the ignorant tail on Trump, both Dagbladet and Expressen reports riots breaking out in the highly immigrant concentrated Stockholdm borough of Rinkeby, Sweden with police firing warning shots as 100s of young people throw stones and burn cars.

During the evening hundreds of young people gathered in the center of Rinkeby, well known for its high concentration of immigrants and people with immigrant ancestry. ...
 Read the rest at Zero Hedge.

2017-02-19

Toni Morrison

American novelist Toni Morrison has celebrated her 86th birthday. Toni Morrison's politics are not necessarily mine (it would be an understatement to say that I do not share her admiration of the Clintons), but I am a great admirer of her work.

I've read (and am now re-reading) all of TM's eleven novels to date, from 'The Bluest Eye' (1970) to 'God Help the Child' (2015). You can read my reviews of the first four at my LiveJournal page:

The Bluest Eye
http://asher63.livejournal.com/520790.html

... The book begins with a flash-forward to the fall of 1941, when marigolds failed to grow; how those marigolds came to be planted is revealed in the story. This is our first hint of TM’s non-linear narrative style. The narrative voice alternates between a third-person voice and Claudia, who is 9 years old at the time of the story and would have been the same age as TM; her name phonetically evokes TM’s birth name, Chloe. Later in the book, some of the back story is filled in by Pecola’s mother Pauline (“Polly”).

The Breedloves’ perception of their own “ugliness” is intimately tied to their awareness of their dark skin in a racist environment, and to the tragedy of Pecola’s story. As TM explains in the foreword,


The novel [written during the height of the ‘Black Is Beautiful’ movement] tried to hit the raw nerve of racial self-contempt, expose it, then try to soothe it not with narcotics but with language that replicated the agency I discovered in my first experience of beauty.

When I first read ‘The Bluest Eye’ as a young adult, I did not understand the centrality of Pecola’s baby to the story. This baby is the reason for the marigolds mentioned cryptically at the beginning of the story and not explained until near the end. It is concern for this baby - conceived in an act of rape and incest - that draws Claudia and her older sister Frieda out of their shells and propels them toward emotional maturity.


Sula
http://asher63.livejournal.com/521417.html

... Where youth sees “hypocrisy”, maturity often sees pragmatism. Where youth sees the “unconventional”, maturity may see the dysfunctional. I think Toni Morrison succeded in conveying a great truth in ‘Sula’, but perhaps not the one she intended. “Outlaw women are fascinating,” Morrison writes in the foreword, but the consequences of irresponsible acts are painful and exceedingly dull. If there is a moral insight to be gained from reading ‘Sula’, it is the danger of romanticizing the ‘rebel’ - both in literature and in life.

Song of Solomon
http://asher63.livejournal.com/529120.html

’Song of Solomon’ (1977) is Toni Morrison’s third novel, and it’s the one that put her on the literary map, winning the National Book Critics award, getting chosen for Oprah’s book club, and inspiring at least two collections of critical essays and the name of a punk-rock band. Written following the death of Morrison’s father, it is her first book to feature male leading characters. The first part of the book is set in an unnamed city in Michigan. The part of the city called ‘Southside’ - i.e. away from the desirable lakefront property to the north - is implied to be the black neighborhood. (The geography is somewhat ambiguous, as some of the landmarks named in Chapter 1 are consistent with Morrison’s native Ohio.) And like Pecola Breedlove in ‘The Bluest Eye’, its chief protagonist, Milkman Dead, is born in the same year as Morrison herself - in fact, one day after TM’s own birth date. The main action of the story takes place in September 1963, in the days following the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. ...

Tar Baby
http://asher63.livejournal.com/625442.html

Who or what is the 'Tar Baby' of the title?

Apparently it refers to Jadine, whom Son calls a "tar baby" (along with a string of other colorful terms) during a fight in their New York apartment. As TM explains in the Foreword, the tar baby legend implies a love story: "Difficult, unresponsive, but seducing woman and clever, anarchic male, each with definitions of independence and domesticity, of safety and danger that clash."

I wonder, though, if there is another level to the role of the tar baby - the feminine, irresistible image that first seduces, then traps the rabbit. Both Son and Jadine are drawn toward the island by inexorable, almost supernatural forces: Son by the ocean's current in the prologue, Jadine by the mysterious figure of the African woman in the yellow dress. And it is Jadine who becomes trapped in the island's black, tarry mud in chapter 5. So I wonder if the 'Tar Baby' of the title also refers to the island itself.


I want to come back to politics for just a moment. There are some ideologues, on both the right and the left, who feel they need to read everything through a political filter. I am not among them. I'm a registered Republican and I vote Republican, but I don't submit my favorite writers to a litmus test, and I don't require that my books be on Dennis Prager's or Hugh Hewitt's reading list.

Good literature is a braid woven of three strands: the universal, the cultural, and the individual. What good writers do well is to observe human relationships: between a person and society, or between individuals, or between a person and himself. I don't have to admire Toni Morrison's diatribe against Donald Trump to respect her talent in doing what she does best: creating vivid, memorable characters that help us understand ourselves.

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2017-02-16

Urban Visitor Attends LVF Rally in John Day, Oregon

Free Range Report:

LaVoy’s memorial on January 28 was given the title, “The Meeting that Never Happened” because the gathering would fulfill the aims of those who traveled with LaVoy Finicum on January 26, 2016, to meet with local folks, and talk about the constitutional rights to life, liberty and property which he came to Oregon to defend. The Meeting that Never Happened was attended by around 500 people, many from other states, who wanted to tell the story that LaVoy Finicum simply wanted to share when he was gunned down; the story of a rancher who loved his God, his family, his country, and his freedom, more than life itself. ...

Following are the reflections of Macon Richardson, a 41 year-old technology professional from Bellingham, Washington, which is located about 9 hours north of John Day, Oregon.

FRR: Please share your impressions of eastern Oregon. How is it different than Bellingham?

Driving south to John Day from Bellingham, I thought to myself just how far away from the urban setting eastern Oregon is. Not just far in the sense of distance but far in the sense that people out here live a different life than most people in America. Out here folks care about each other, they know each other. They look out for each other. They have to, if they don’t look out for each other, who will? Without all of the comforts of large emergency service infrastructure and a grocery store on every corner the people of eastern Oregon have to be there for each other.

FRR: Being unfamiliar with the people out here, what did you expect after hearing media accounts of the Oregon Standoff? Did anything surprise you about your interactions with them?

A day in eastern Oregon made it clear to me that these folks are good, hardworking, caring Americans. I don’t understand why have some of them been deemed terrorists by the media. Why did a small group of ranchers decide to form a protest in such a remote part of Oregon? Why not protest in a big city like normal protesters? Why didn’t they burn things and assault people like the “normal” protesters that we’ve seen throughout America? I wanted to take a good look at it first-hand. There has to be more to the story than it just being some fringe group taking over a federal building with guns, as CNN reported.

FRR: What did you know about the background of the story, and the motives of the Oregon Standoff protesters before tonight?

I knew a little. The Harney basin has been a real hotbed of land deputes and outright destruction of natural resources for decades. By reading the news about the protest in Oregon last year you may think that all of this wrong-doing must be caused by the people who live there. But I learned that all of these transgressions and aggressions have been perpetrated by our own Federal Government. ...

Read the rest at the link.

Beyond the Hipster Ghetto

I like Portland, and I mix well with the hipsters here, culturally speaking. We can talk about books, art, music, exotic food, whatever, and it's all good. The minute we get into politics, though, everything changes. It's always the "elephant in the room" - so to speak - and there is just no getting away from the fact that I simply don't see the world the same way they do. This is what I mean when I affectionately refer to Portland as "the hipster ghetto". It's a densely populated place with a certain culture, a very rich culture to be sure, but it is a walled garden. There's this whole world of social norms, social signals, social codes, that you have to navigate. And politics is very much a part of that world. Deviate from the codes at your own peril.

Go outside of that walled garden, though, and the picture changes rapidly. A hundred miles to the east, across the Cascades, lies another Oregon entirely. It's a land of ranchers and Tea Partiers and Three Percenters; travel east from Bend and you're in John Day, the site of a recent memorial rally for LaVoy Finicum where they held a teach-in on why ordinary Americans should care about LaVoy. And to the north, across the Columbia River, you're in Vancouver, Washington, a town I've so far only briefly visited but which seems more moderate and down-to-earth than my beloved Portlandia.

In the coming year, I'm looking forward to exploring the West (which lies east of the West Coast) and in particular that other Oregon.