Video Saturday

So, it’s Saturday. How about a video round up, of some others views. Let’s start with Pat Condell

 

A bit harshly stated, perhaps, but I can’t say that I disagree with him. The Right Angle guys have something to say, as well.

 

And a bit on fake news, and where it comes from.

 

Yep. And if you have ever had the nightmare of dealing with flat pack furniture, especially IKEA’s well, you’ll understand.

 

Obama’s Legacy Of Deceit

obama-fail4It’s been quite a while since we featured Victor Davis Hanson, no good reason for it, it simply hasn’t happened. But he wrote one of the best articles on why Obama’s legacy is so tainted with most of us. Here’s some

In its remaining days in power, the Obama administration suddenly punished Vladimir Putin’s Russia for allegedly interfering in the U.S. presidential election. It claimed that Russian or Russian-hired hackers tapped into the records of the Democratic National Committee as well as the correspondence of John Podesta, a Clinton advisor.

But what the Obama administration did not say was that such cyber-crimes are by now old hat. Both the Russian and Chinese governments have been hacking into far more important U.S. records and government archives for years without earning retaliation

The administration also did not mention that the election hacking occurred largely because of Podesta’s own carelessness in using his security password. Moreover, it failed to acknowledge that the Republican National Committee was likewise targeted, but apparently had enough safeguards to prevent successful entry into its records. Finally, the administration refused to mention that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange went on the record saying that he did not receive the email trove from the Russians.

The truth is that Obama, throughout his presidency, has appeased Putin. As president, Obama ended the previously agreed-on Eastern European missile defense; he made open-mic promises to be more flexible with Putin after his reelection; he barely responded to Russia’s aggression toward Crimea and Ukraine; and he constantly criticized both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney for being inordinately tough on Russia.

Until now, he saw no reason to stop enabling Russia. Had Hillary Clinton won the election, Putin’s alleged hacking would not have earned any administration attention. But this time around, an emboldened Putin allegedly went too far and crossed the only red line that Obama might have enforced by supposedly enabling the release of information that might have turned off some voters on Clinton. Blaming Putin for Clinton’s loss was a more convenient narrative than admitting that Obama’s own policies have turned off even traditional Democratic constituencies and for now reduced the Democratic Party to a minority coastal party.

All administrations play fast and loose with the truth. It is the nature of high politics to fib, cover up, and fudge in order to ensure the success of a so-called noble agenda for the greater good. But not since the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations have we seen a president so institutionalize misrepresentation.

There are ample examples. It was clear from Clinton’s own leaked emails and from real-time memos from intelligence agencies that the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was nota spontaneous riot over an insensitive video produced by a reactionary Coptic zealot residing in the United States, as the administration claimed. But such a concoction fit Obama’s 2012 reelection narrative: the recklessness of right-wing Islamophobes endangers national security abroad. In contrast, the reality—a preplanned al-Qaeda-affiliated attack on an unprepared and semi-covert American consulate—challenged Obama’s reelection myth that Al Qaeda was “on the run” and that the administration was vigilant in ensuring security for our diplomatic personnel in the Middle East.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Susan Rice, went on five Sunday morning talk shows to insist, quite wrongly, that the deaths of four Americans in the attack were the tragic result of ad hoc furor over intolerance. The video-maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was abruptly jailed on probation violation charges, in a display of swift American justice never matched by a commensurately prompt arrest and prosecution of real terrorists.

One question that I have had for months is this. Why exactly would Putin favor Trump, a man who believes in, if not perhaps, the American Dream, some version of it, and not Hillary Clinton, an experienced and proven appeaser? Huh? Why? Just doesn’t make sense, does it? Continuing.

More recently we learned that Iran got the sanctions lifted before it met all its obligations outlined in the deal. Ben Rhodes, an architect of the swap and deputy national security advisor, boasted about the administration’s affinity for deceit. Rhodes, described by a New York Times interviewer as “a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal,” explained the methods of concocting an Iran narrative to a guidable media: “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” Rhodes intoned. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. . . The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Rhodes’s cynicism was reminiscent of the boasts of another administration advisor, the MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who bragged of the administration’s ability to get passed the Patient Protection and affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), largely through deliberate deceit about the inevitable consequences of higher premiums and deductibles, the dropping of existing coverage and doctors, and increases in federal outlays. Some of the bill’s more obvious and unpopular elements—such as the employer mandate—were not enforced until after Obama’s 2012 reelection bid. Gruber admitted that the law was composed “in a tortured way” to delude people into accepting that “healthy people pay in and sick people get money”—a subterfuge that was both necessary and worked because of “the stupidity of the American voter,” a fact confirming that the “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage”

via Obama’s Legacy Of Deceit | Hoover Institution

You know I live out here with average Americans, and yes, I’m one myself. What’s our common characteristic? We’re uh, average. Neither rich nor desperately poor, brilliantly smart nor imbecilic, completely informed nor apathetic. Something else, which doesn’t apply as much to me anymore, we’re quite busy trying to make a living, and so don’t spend all that much time watching the swamp circus in Washington. We care, we always have, but we have mortgages, families, and all that stuff to do, so… But we can easily tell when the bullshit meter pegs, and it’s been going off almost constantly lately.

In many ways, the last administration reminded us of a stroppy teenager, who won’t shut up, and won’t go away. These are the kids that a sensible policeman arrests for disturbing the peace or some such. That this was our government became an embarrassment to us. And so we’ll try Trump. Sure he’s a noisy self-promoter, but we all saw The Music Man long ago, and kind of like town bands, in any case.

Is this the cure? We really ain’t got a clue but are convinced that it’s an improvement, and we’ll think about it for next time. Kicking the can down the road? Sure. But that’s better than scoring an own goal, after all.

Seriously but not Literally

america-vs-englandI again quoted whoever it was that said we take Donald Trump seriously but not literally again last evening. It is true, we do, we voted for him because he looks to us like a real outsider, who is his own man, not an owned man of the progs. It was exactly the same impulse that led to Brexit, I, and many other Americans and Britons think. Here’s more about that impulse and the repercussions, from a British blog, that I found through still another British blog: The Conservative Woman, which has become one of my favorites. Here’s some of what Herbert has to say:

In 2016, after the best part of five decades spent infiltrating our media, our universities, and our pop culture, the radical feminists, racial minorities who see race as their identity, LBGT types, statists, and haters of national pride and free market economics, came out of the shadows in a final act of revolution, confident that the world was theirs for the taking, and it all came to nothing.

Hillary Clinton, the archetypal feminist, was denied the most powerful position in the world, from where she would have wreaked untold havoc on the most basic values that America and the developed world stand for. And we Britons took back control of our national sovereignty from the creeping socialism and the Soros-funded open society, open-borders mentality of the EU.

This was a massive shock to the progressive left, of course, as witness the parade of their weak-minded, slogan chanting, under-achieving, envy-driven, really rather stupid professional grievance-collecting, entitlement-ridden, acolytes, who emitted what amounted to a shriek of anger that their well-laid plans had been foiled by democracy.

The reaction of this rag-bag army of misfits and malcontents finally showed the new left’s true colours to the world. They demonstrated publicly that all they had to offer was slogans: ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘homophobe’, ‘fascist’ – and, of course, ‘climate change denier’ whenever that part of their plan could be slipped into the equation.

During the 2016 US Presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum in the UK, the progressive left threw everything at victory through the arrogant media, the self-satisfied celebrities, and the pc professors – the so-called experts – who came out of the woodwork, confident that they would swing us all to their all-pervading progressive worldview, and that we would submit.  We didn’t. In 2016, in the UK and the US, the silent majority of ordinary people thumbed their noses at all of them.

This was the real revolution – a revolution of common sense and decency – of values and freedom. It amounted to a rejection of identity politics, grievance cultures, climate change hysteria, alleged experts telling people what is right and wrong, politicians trying to take moral authority over the people who elect them levelling accusations that they were racist when all people wanted was to preserve their hard-won culture, and protect it from being swamped by alien cultures intent on hegemony.

Do read the whole thing at 2016: The year the worm finally turned | herbertpurdy.com

He’s right, it is a real revolution, in the same sense that the American Revolution was. It is an effort to restore, to complete the revolution, if you will, to stand things back in their proper place.

Brexit is and was an imperfect tool for this, but it seemed and seems to be fit for purpose, to divide the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Similarly, Donald Trump is not, and was not a perfect candidate, many of us had reservations, and we may be clinging to a frail reed in his cabinet picks. We will see. But then, neither was Stephan Langton, or the barons a very good choice for the freedom of the common man, but they gave us the first of those charters that have marked our history: Magna Charta.

What is not in doubt is that after still another four or eight years of Hillary Clinton as President, it was going to be very unlikely to put this right, and so it was time to act. This was not a communal, collective act, this was a decision reached quietly, inwardly by millions of Americans, as was the Brexit choice in Britain, and for very similar reasons.

There is a reason why the Anglo-Saxon countries have a thousand year long history of increasing freedom, no matter the opposition. Kipling, as always stated it well.

“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.

“You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

“But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they’re saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes you all day.

They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark.
It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game in the park).
Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man- at-arms you can find.

“Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you fellows’ and ‘I.’
Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em a lie!”

Hopefully, it works, at least temporarily, but if it doesn’t, there is a further leavening in the Anglo-Saxons. It has come down to us known as:

The furor of the Northmen

I don’t think anybody really wants to go there, but we did back in 1688, and in 1776, and once more in 1861. It wasn’t pretty, but as always:

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Happy New Years Day!

And it was

So what shall we talk about to start the year? Could be almost anything, couldn’t it? Got all the same problems we did last year, but hey, I (and I suspect you) screwed off, last night, and the dog ate my homework. So we’ll start off with some stuff from other people. Like this year-end summary from Dave Barry.

In the future, Americans — assuming there are any left — will look back at 2016 and remark: “What the HELL?”

They will have a point. Over the past few decades, we here at the Year in Review have reviewed some pretty disturbing years. For example, there was 2000, when the outcome of a presidential election was decided by a tiny group of deeply confused Florida residents who had apparently attempted to vote by chewing on their ballots.

Then there was 2003, when a person named “Paris Hilton” suddenly became a major international superstar, despite possessing a level of discernible talent so low as to make the Kardashians look like the Jackson 5.

There was 2006, when the vice president of the United States — who claimed he was attempting to bring down a suspected quail — shot a 78-year-old man in the face, only to be exonerated after an investigation revealed that the victim was an attorney.

And — perhaps most inexplicable of all — there was 2007, when millions of people voluntarily installed Windows Vista.

Yes, we’ve seen some weird years. But we’ve never seen one as weird as 2016. This was the Al Yankovic of years. If years were movies, 2016 would be “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” If years were relatives, 2016 would be the uncle who shows up at your Thanksgiving dinner wearing his underpants on the outside.

Why do we say this? Let’s begin with the gruesome train wreck that was the presidential election. The campaign began with roughly 14,000 candidates running. Obviously not all of them were qualified to be president; some of them — here we are thinking of “Lincoln Chafee” — were probably imaginary. But a reasonable number of the candidates seemed to meet at least the minimum standard that Americans have come to expect of their president in recent decades, namely: Not Completely Horrible.

So this mass of candidates began the grim death march that is the modern American presidential campaign — trudging around Iowa pretending to care about agriculture, performing in an endless series of televised debates like suit-wearing seals trained to bark out talking points, going to barbecue after barbecue and smiling relentlessly through mouthfuls of dripping meat, giving the same speech over and over and over, shaking millions of hands, posing for billions of selfies and just generally humiliating themselves in the marathon group grovel that America insists on putting its presidential candidates through.

And we voters did our part, passing judgment on the candidates, thinning the herd, rejecting them one by one. Sometimes we had to reject them more than once; John Kasich didn’t get the message until his own staff felled him with tranquilizer darts. But eventually we eliminated the contenders whom we considered to be unqualified or disagreeable, whittling our choices down until only two major candidates were left. And out of all the possibilities, the two that We, the People, in our collective wisdom, deemed worthy of competing for the most important job on Earth, turned out to be …

… drum roll …

… the most flawed, sketchy and generally disliked duo of presidential candidates ever!

Yes. After all that, the American people, looking for a leader, ended up with a choice between ointment and suppository. The fall campaign was an unending national nightmare, broadcast relentlessly on cable TV. CNN told us over and over that Donald Trump was a colossally ignorant, narcissistic, out-of-control sex-predator buffoon; Fox News countered that Hillary Clinton was a greedy, corrupt, coldly calculating liar of massive ambition and minimal accomplishment. And in our hearts we knew the awful truth: They were both right.

It wasn’t just bad. It was the Worst. Election. Ever.

And that was only one of the reasons why 2016 should never have happened. Here are some others:

▪ American race relations reached their lowest point since … OK, since 2015.

▪ We learned that the Russians are more involved in our election process than the League of Women Voters.

▪ For much of the year the economy continued to struggle, with the only growth sector being people paying insane prices for tickets to “Hamilton.”

▪ In a fad even stupider than “planking,” millions of people wasted millions of hours, and sometimes risked their lives, trying to capture imaginary Pokémon Go things on their phones, hoping to obtain the ultimate prize: a whole bunch of imaginary Pokémon Go things on their phones.

▪ A major new threat to American communities — receiving at least as much coverage as global climate change —emerged in the form of: Clowns.

▪ In a shocking development that caused us to question our most fundamental values, Angelina and Brad broke up even though they are both physically attractive.

▪ We continued to prove, as a nation, that no matter how many times we are reminded, we are too stupid to remember to hold our phones horizontally when we make videos.

▪ Musically, we lost Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Michael and Debbie Reynolds; we gained the suicide-inducing TV commercial in which Jon Bon Jovi screeches about turning back time.

Did anything good happen in 2016? Let us think …

OK, the “man bun” appeared to be going away.

That was pretty much it for the good things.

And now, finally, it is time for 2016 to go away. But before it does, let’s narrow our eyes down to slits and take one last squinting look back at this hideous monstrosity of a year, starting with …

via Dave Barry’s 2016 Year in Review | Miami Herald

More, lots more at the link, and it seems pretty accurate to me! 🙂

For me, the biggest stories of the last year are Brexit

Donald Trump

And perhaps sadly, the retirement of Thomas Sowell

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Heh!

And these guys sum it up

Two things:

  1. Hillary Clinton will never be president
  2. Have a great 2017

 

A new Trump Tower?

I’m still buried under a mountain of stuff, but shoveling as fast as I can to clean up a field in Louisiana (if you understand that joke, we share a taste in movies). But this is rather important.

It was a feckless and reckless move on the part of Obama, by now that should surprise no one. Krauthammer is right at the end, it’s time to withdraw funding, abrogate the treaties, and evict the whole mess. If they love Zimbabwe so much they can move there. New York could use some new condos, and some more taxable property wouldn’t hurt either.

Whatever happened to:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty. This much we pledge—and more.

John Kennedy had it right.

Likely though, if Trump does it right, this too will backfire with serious unintended consequences for those who wish us, and Israel ill.

Enough is more than enough.

New Year thoughts

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[One more of Jessica’s, because it reflects my beliefs as well, and is an excellent wrap up for the year. It’s been a very strange year, and in truth, I’m glad it’s ending. I should be home fairly late tonight, so with luck, I’ll have a new post for you tomorrow, although I’m not guaranteeing anything. 🙂 ]

As we head towards 2014, our thoughts tend to travel in that direction: we make (and fail to keep) resolutions; we speculate on how things will be different (and they often won’t be); and we wonder where we’ll be in a year’s time (if we’re lucky, where we are now).  So focussed have we become as a society on material well-being, that many of the commentators seem to think that an economic recovery is the be all and end all of existence; it is as though a form of utopia would be “can be we all go back to spending like it was 2007”.  As someone who didn’t spend a great amount then, it isn’t that specific aspect which bothers me, it is the poverty of aspiration.

I sometimes wonder to what extent this concentration of material things is a function of our societies forgetting about God, or thinking He must be confined to the private sphere?  It is easy enough (which is why it gets done so often) to focus on the bad things which came from a time when society was more Christian: the intolerance of other views; the attempts to force belief on others; the narrow-mindedness of some believers, and the like; it is little use pointing out that these features were also to be found in non-Christian societies and seem to be art of mankind’s development (where it does develop); those who wish to blame Christianity for the world’s ills will do so regardless of the evidence. But there is another side to it all. The values which Christianity espouses are about personal responsibility but also altruism: you take responsibility for your own sins, but you are saved by God’s mercy; you are part of a Christian family, and you have responsibilities to others; you are not better than others, but others are no better than you: at your worst you are a sinner; at your best you are also made in God’s image. Redemption is always possible. No one is so bad God cannot save them; no one is so good that they do not need God’s forgiveness.

All of that gives a focus to life which takes us beyond narrow definitions of self-interest, and which helps put material wealth in a proper perspective. There’s nothing in Christianity which says money is wrong; there’s a great deal which says that loving money more than people is very wrong; it is bad for you and bad for the society of which you are a part. The moment you begin to regard another human being as somehow instrumental in a search for personal wealth, whatever you may gain, you are losing your soul.  Christianity has been responsible for education and social and health care long before civil society took an interest in such matters; it has inspired some great art and architecture. It is easy enough (and therefore often done) to think that a Church should simply sell off anything that can be sold to feed the poor, but that ignores so much about the motive for the art and architecture, and it betrays an attitude towards religion which comes from the purely material world.

Men and women have given of their gifts freely to God and His service, and some of these have been great artists and architects. They take us beyond the realm of the everyday to visions of what can be, they raise our eyes above the horizon of the possible towards what could be. It is good for the human spirit to have that, as it is good for it to repent of sin and to help others; all of these are part of what it is to be really human.  In losing these dimensions, our modern society threatens to shrink our world to the merely possible and the expedient. It was not thus that mankind advanced, nor will it be thus it advances further.

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