Freedom, Bought and Sold

It always interests me to see what our readers are reading here. Yesterday, close to 20% of you were reading a fairly old article of Jessica’s, entitled The Exhausted West?.  In it, she spoke about Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Harvard Commencement address. It is, I think quite appropriate to today’s subject, especially one of the paragraphs she quoted from the speech.

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counterbalanced by the young people’s right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil. 

Indeed, we have lost here, and even more in Europe, the key fact that freedom imposes responsibility, and that there is much more to life than material possessions.

Today, we are going to speak of the late/current demonstrations in Iran, and even more the reaction to them in the west. The source of today’s is Douglass Murray in The Spectator (UK) article entitled The Iranian revolution the world wants to ignore.

If there is one lesson the world should have learned from Iran’s ‘Green Revolution’ of 2009 and the so-called Arab Spring that followed, it is this: the worst regimes stay. Rulers who are only averagely appalling (Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak) can be toppled by uprisings. Those who are willing to kill every one of their countrymen stay. So it is that after almost half a million dead we enter 2018 with Bashar al-Assad still President of Syria and with Iran’s mullahs approaching the 40th anniversary of their seizure of power in 1979. […]

Yep, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and quite a few more died peacefully in bed, few of their opponents did.

Yet anyone who expects these demonstrations to lead to swift change in the nature of the Iranian government remembers no history. Shortly after the latest protests began, the country’s security forces, including the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, were seen photographing the events. In Iran, a regime camera is as deadly as a sniper’s sights. Only more delayed. As in 2009, the photographs will be used by the police to arrest demonstrators and also family members unconnected with the protests. This will be followed by the torture and rape of men and women in prison by the theocratic regime’s frontmen. As after the Green Revolution, there will in due course be show trials, forced recantations and executions. This is how a police state with four decades of experience goes about its business. In 1979, the behaviour of the Shah’s dreaded Savak secret police was one of the spurs for revolution. The Ayatollahs have superseded the Savak, fine-tuned their brutality and learned from their mistakes.

Anyone in doubt about the capacity of the Supreme Leader to hang on to power need only watch the footage of crowds in the city of Rasht advancing down the street on one of the first nights of protest. You can see the exact moment when the regime’s Revolutionary Guard starts attacking the protesters. The crowd that is marching one way down the street suddenly finds an organised army running towards them. These are trained killers being unleashed on angry but peaceful civilians. Six hundred people have already been arrested and dozens already killed. The civilians don’t stand a chance. […]

None whatsoever, the Supreme Leaders people are not fully trained troops, probably, although they are inured to killing, which is all it really takes, plus a modicum of organization to easily defeat a mob in the street. Not much different than murder on an industrial scale, but it is effective.

Unless, that is, the outside world takes any interest in their plight. In the early hours of the demonstrations, the US President took to Twitter to warn the Iranian authorities that ‘The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!’ But such is the obsession with Donald Trump and the parochialism of all our politics that Trump’s critics immediately took to the media to condemn his condemnation of human rights abuses. Again on Twitter, the most powerful man on the planet — determined not to replay the actions of his predecessor in office, who was highly reluctant to speak out during the crushing of the Green Revolution — warned that ‘The world is watching.’ He may be right. But the world may watch in silence.

This is one of those occasions where, whatever you think of Donald Trump, he is correct, the west invented human rights, and are the only guarantor. And yet, many, maybe most around the world for whatever reason decided to side with the Ayatollah against the west, personified by Donald Trump. Speaking for myself, I found it sickening.

Some international caution is justified. People have their reasons. Our own Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has expressed ‘concern’ over events, but has been careful not to go further. Fresh back from a visit to Tehran, the Foreign Secretary has been working to obtain the release of the British–Iranian dual citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been imprisoned in Iran for the last 18 months. Thanks to a campaign by Labour MPs, the issue of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release has been turned into an issue of the Foreign Secretary’s personal competence (at times as though it is Boris Johnson, and not the mullahs, who imprisoned the woman). Johnson’s Iranian counterparts know that he has a lot riding on his efforts to release her and have used this advantage well. So a campaign for one woman’s freedom has hindered a Foreign Secretary from campaigning for a nation’s freedom.

Other silences have been less defensible. The leader of the opposition is not normally silent when there is an opportunity to talk about unfairness or injustice. Yet after days of protests in Iran, Jeremy Corbyn said nothing.

One reason may be that the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition was until recently in the pay of the Iranian regime. For presenting programmes on its propaganda wing, Press TV (before becoming Labour party leader), Corbyn received up to £20,000. Damningly — or it would be damning if more people cared — he appeared on Press TV even after the channel lost its broadcasting licence. It lost that licence not because of its always clear political support for a sectarian, gay-hanging, women-oppressing dictatorship. It lost it because during the channel’s campaign to delegitimise the 2009 protests, Press TV broadcast a forced confession from a journalist who had been abducted by the regime and was being held in prison. Ofcom thought this crossed a line. Jeremy Corbyn did not and was happy to continue to take his apple-juice money from Tehran.

Elsewhere the silence indicates the dream-puncturing of an entire political class. In 2015 the UN security council agreed a deal with Iran to limit elements of its nuclear programme for a period. Iran’s incentives included a freeing up of trade and a delivery of billions of dollars in cash. For their part, companies and governments across Europe hoped to get their own cash bonanzas in the wake of that deal. Such deals always compromise the people who make them. One of the chief defenders of the 2015 deal, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, has spent recent days being studiously silent on the uprisings in Iran. When President Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital she couldn’t tweet enough condemnations of his action. Yet five days into the protests in Iran, she hadn’t even said that she is watching events closely. Europe’s leading foreign affairs ideologue needs Iran’s governing status quo to stay in place so that nothing about her own deal, future cash prize or putative Nobel award is in any way disturbed.

We’ve said speaking of the election that Donald Trump has F**k you money. He has enough that he can do what he thinks is right without regard to his next paycheck. It’s a major advantage. It applies here, as well. The US, seemingly alone in the west has F**k you money, too. Not that we do, but we have a historical record of trying to do the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Do we always succeed? Of course not. But maybe that is the reason why we, of all the nations of the west, still will go out into the world to fight evil.

But I suspect the day is coming when we will come to the conclusion that if the people of Europe amongst others value money above all things, especially above their own freedom, well, why should we care. That will be the day that Europe falls. Of its own volition, bribed by its own money. It will be a sad day, but it begins to appear inevitable.



Peace through Superior Firepower?

Who knew? Perhaps deterrence works. In any case, the North Koreans are talking to the Southern ones. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Maybe this is why.

CBS has a report (more bloody autoplay videos, sorry!) that:

Last week, the Pacific Air Forces announced three B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers with approximately 200 personnel have been deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific island of Guam.

The statement said the deployment is intended to provide leaders with “deterrent options to maintain regional stability.”[…]

Last year, flights by B-1B bombers from Guam to the airspace around Korea were a major flashpoint, prompting a warning from North Korea that it had drawn up a plan to target the waters around the island with a missile strike that it could carry out anytime Kim gave the order. The B-2 is more threatening.

It’s the most advanced bomber in the Air Force and, unlike the B-1B, can carry nuclear weapons. It’s also the only known aircraft that can drop the Air Force’s biggest bomb, the 14,000-kilogram, about 30,000-pound, FGBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The “MOP,” capable of penetrating deep into the ground to destroy reinforced tunnels and bunkers, was explicitly designed with North Korea in mind.

That adds on to the CVNs Ronald Reagan, Carl Vinson, and perhaps the Carl Stennis, and the USS Wasp as well, an upgraded amphibious assault ship, with its Marines, and either carrying or capable of carrying about 30 F 35Bs.

That’s all in addition to all the stuff already in South Korea, Japan, and the general neighborhood, and the South Koreans who are no slouch themselves.

I recall SECDEF Mattis commenting that nothing keeps him awake, he keeps others awake. His point was that this administration while having due regard for public opinion, is not going to make policy from what will (XXX) do, the will make policy from what does the United States want to happen. A somewhat subtle but very important difference.

And so we see Whoa Fat’s minions at the conference table in South Korea, after less than a year of Donald Trump’s presidency. Likewise, we see serious demonstrations in the streets in Iran. They may not win this time, but win they shall. We see Egypt and Saudi Arabia talking to Israel, and about no less than a military alliance. We may, perhaps, be watching the dawn of a new era. KSA is reportedly negotiating to buy the Iron Dome system from Israel.

And we even see the people of eastern Europe stand up to their would-be masters in western Europe. Why it’s almost like they didn’t throw off their communist masters only to succumb to the fascists in the west.

The only people I see decrying this is the anti-freedom left in America, and the European governments most of whom have sold their soul long ago for material gain. Are they noisy? Yep. Are they important? Nope. Only when the sheriff is on strike. But the sheriff is on patrol again

And just now I see a report that the two Koreas will march together under a unified flag at the Winter Olympics next month. Not a problem solved, but one that is perhaps on its way, something no one foresaw a year ago.

Not “Peace in our time” but perhaps we are back to where we can say that it is better to “Jaw, Jaw than to War War.”

Quite a year it has been!

Land of the Formerly Free

British police stand guard at the entrance to the US Air Force base at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, Britain December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Radburn

A sad one today, that I hope will anger our European readers, it surely would in America. From The Daily Caller via The Daley Gator.

Northumbria Police in Britain warned online users that anyone who posts “offensive” and “potentially criminal” comments about grooming gangs will be tracked down and prosecuted.

The police force launched an investigation on Facebook comments posted to its Facebook page in response to stories about the Operation Shelter scandal. During the scandal, white British girls were groomed and sexually abused by gangs made up of mostly Muslim Pakistani men in Newcastle. 18 men were convicted over the sex crimes.

So that tells us plainly that if you are in Britain and you call a Muslim a Muslim and/or you refer to the government especially the police not doing their jobs and covering up that fact, you will be prosecuted. Not the kind of thing a free country does.

According to Chronicle Live and Breitbart, police reviewed every comment on the page after a member of the public complained that the posts made references to the convicted criminals’ race and religion—two of which were then recorded as racially aggravated public order offenses.

The police decided that there were eight comments that required action and have since tracked down six people responsible for posts “deemed to be offensive and potentially criminal.”

The story goes on to state that they all are remorseful. Well, I suppose I would be as well, if I had a police constable standing on my doorstep. Not that this is new, back in 2013 I wrote about a Baptist preacher in Norwich who dared to hand out Christian tracts at Norwich’s gay pride parade. He too was threatened very seriously with prosecution. You can read about it here, including documents.

While many of the groomers’ sex crimes against young girls were, by their own admissions, racially-motivated, Judge Penny Moreland allowed the convicts to receive lesser sentences because she believed the victims were targeted “not because of their race, but because they were young, impressionable, naïve and vulnerable.

So, even if the judge was correct, and these crimes were not racially motivated, which she is not by the perpetrators own words, because you are young, impressionable, naïve, and vulnerable, not to mention a working-class white, you are no longer equal under the law. Well, that seems to me to be what she explicitly said.

By the way, the grooming in Rotheringham, and elsewhere is still going on, in the very sight of the British police and government. Quite a few elsewheres, in fact, if what I read is true.

Note that I am referring to the government here, which is so corrupt that it is afraid to do its basic job, providing for the common defense, for fear that someone will call it racist. Well, you know what, the way it is selectively enforcing the law is, you got it, racist.

There was an article published yesterday, that said that without the Constitution, the United States would become “a sh*thole”. The author has much right in that assertion, and the proof is Britain.

Things are, of course, even worse in Germany, but that is not any great surprise, is it?

What was it that that old white Brit, Thomas Jefferson wrote one hot and muggy day in Philadelphia? Oh yeah, this.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Too bad that Her Majesty’s Government has forgotten their heritage, for those words stirred, in Britain, no less than in what would become America, fully a third of the population, including Burke, William Pitt the Elder, and Charles James Fox to support the colonies in Parliament. May they once again stir the hearts of freedom-loving Britons.

If I’m honest, if they don’t I foresee a time when Britain will be just another slave state, or in the current cant, a sh*thole, because that is the direction they are going.

Scamming the Citizen

Well, I don’t like to say, “I told you so,” but I told you this would happen. From PowerLine.

It’s been a tedious chore to track the slow motion train wreck of Germany’s energiewende, or “energy revolution.” Climatistas here have long touted Germany as the model we should follow. Think of it a renewable energy uber alles.

Well there’s a problem, and you don’t even need to know German to get this headline from two days ago:

Benny Peiser (a German native) at the Global Warming Policy Foundation to translates.

Irregular and unpredictable wind and solar power is increasingly becoming a problem for Germany’s power grid. Utility company Tennet TSO spent almost a billion euros last year on emergency interventions to stabilize the national grid.

That’s what the company announced earlier this week. The costs were thus about 50% higher than in 2016 (660 million euros) and around forty percent higher than in 2015 (710 million). Tennet is responsible for the electricity supply in an area that extends from Schleswig-Holstein in the north to Bavaria in the south of Germany and accounts for around forty percent of Germany’s total area. In particular, Tennet is responsible for important north-south transmission routes.

The reason for the increase in emergency interventions is the rising number of solar projects and wind turbines in Germany. The share of renewable energy increased from 29 to 33 percent of the electricity supply last year. Wind and solar power are irregular and often unpredictable. This makes the network increasingly unstable.

But hey, anything to save the world, amirite? Well, perhaps, not so much.

German parties agree to scrap 2020 climate target – sources

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s would-be coalition partners have agreed to drop an ambitious plan to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, two sources told Reuters on Monday — a potential embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Negotiators for her conservative bloc and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) told Reuters the parties had agreed in exploratory talks on forming a government that the targeted cut in emissions could no longer be achieved by 2020.

As usual, it turns out to be “Anything to keep the cronies in power, so the gravy train doesn’t stop.” Business as usual, in other words, and the average citizen (German in this case) take the hindmost. Such lovely elites. As Steve asks, “How does one say epic fail in German?” His suggestion is Alles kaput. That works for me.

And that is exactly what offends me with the whole scam that climate change has become. There may have been some actual evidence back at the beginning that we do have an effect on the climate, but we’ll never know.

The whole thing has become a scam for statist government, universities more worried about a buck than intellectual rigor, and capitalists without the drive to deal with competition looking for corporate welfare. Who is the loser in this scheme? As always the mark, the sucker of the con, is the citizen, the fool who pays for all the private jets going to the conferences in Swiss ski resorts, who pays for building stupid windmills all over the place, and eventually sits shivering in dark, because the electricity is off (ask a Brit who remembers the seventies!). Likely to starve too since transportation costs will rise as well.

Welcome to their Brave New World.

Embassies and Spats

‘It’s a fortress, of course it is’: the new US embassy in Nine Elms, south-west London. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

I see the president has decided not to go to London next month to open the new US Embassy. Since it’s Donald Trump, it’s controversial. Of course, he Tweeted about it.

There is truth in that, it is sort of an out of the way location

The old embassy is just west of Soho on that map close to that big green park (that’s Hyde Park). The new one is across the River just about where it turns north. Westminster (where the UK government is) is in between. It’s not as desirable a location, although like anything in London (and environs) it’s ridiculously expensive. But the old embassy had problems, it’s a listed structure, and thus can’t be remodeled (easily anyway) and if you look at most current US Embassies, they tend to be a blend of King Ludwig and the Maginot line.

But because of that listing, the embassy isn’t really worth that much on the market, either. And so the new one is costing us about $1 billion. It’s a deal that stretches back to the Bush Administration. It doesn’t strike me as all that astute, either.

But, of course, this is 2018, and Donald Trump is president, so it has become political, on both sides of the pond.

It’s no secret that Trump and London Mayor Sadiq Khan are not particularly fond of each other, according to the Guardian, Khan had this to say,

“It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance,”

“His visit next month would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests. This just reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.”

Well, OK, but I haven’t noticed the President running from many fights lately, although he may have concluded (rightly, in my mind) that this is the wrong fight at the wrong time.

The Guardian also says:

British relations with the president hit a low late last year when May criticised his decision to retweet videos posted by the far-right extremist group Britain First.

Trump responded by tweeting directly to the prime minister that she should focus on tackling domestic terrorism.

The government was so concerned about his decision to share the videos that Britain’s ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, took the rare step of raising the issue directly with the White House.

Trump’s ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, subsequently insisted: “The president and the prime minister have a very, very good relationship. I know the president admires and respects the prime minister greatly.”

May’s government has been keen to strike up a close relationship with the Trump administration despite his erratic behaviour, because of Britain’s desire to strike a swift trade deal with the world’s largest economy when it leaves the European Union.

Trump has sparked alarm among diplomats by repeatedly entering into Twitter spats with key public figures, including the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to whom he recently boasted about the size of the US nuclear arsenal.

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. I doubt Trump is particularly enthused about the British government support for the Iranian regime either, particularly since it appears to be crass commercialism even by American standards, while protestors are dying in the streets. Nor is the increasing constriction of free speech likely to appeal to him. He may well also be wondering why she apparently has no conception of decision making and leading if so, he joins a lot of Americans, and Britons, for that matter, wondering about that.

I expect that it’ll work out, we’ve been through far worse, but it is sort of fun to watch the cousins spat.

The  Guardian also has a rather nice article on the new embassy itself. I rather like it. Rather than Ludwig the Mad and Maginot Line, it strikes me as more a Tower of London for the 21 st Century. Castles have improved a bit in the last 1000 years it seems. Although I suspect the Tower will outlive the Embassy, by quite a lot, Ravens willing.


The Week in Pictures, and a Tweet too!

Welp, this happened. From AoSHQ

Then this did.

Scott Dworkin’s Twitter bio reads:

Co-Founder @TheDemCoalition. #AMJoy on MSNBC Contributor. I help lead #TheResistance. Obama Alum.

About the normal of level of intelligence in the blue checkmark mafia. To be fair though, he wasn’t the only one fooled. We’ve gotten to the point that anything is credible if it supports your own views. Well, I haven’t, but the demonrats and never-Trumpers (BIRM) have.

I’ve got a feeling that Wolff’s book is just about as credible.

USS Al Gore

As usual, mostly PowerLine and Bookworm. Have a good day and a happy New Year. And yes, a Good Epiphany.

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