Anniversaries

Seventeen years ago today the World Trade Center was hit. It was a disaster visited on us on the scale of Pearl Harbor, made worse because its victims were civilians. It was also an intelligence failure, the perpetrators should have been easy to catch, all were what we now call ‘known wolves’. Our government ignored the warnings.

And so began the so-called Global War on Terror.

Other than the Kabuki theater of airport security, and the invasion of American’s rights by our government, there have been two campaigns. One in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Neither has been successful, although Iraq came close before Obama ordered the big bug out.

But it has kept a lot of money flowing from the government to a lot of special interests. Seventeen years is a long time – if we can’t win a war against some 7th-century tribesman (and there are legitimate reasons why that is harder than a modern society) in that time, well, maybe we should just call it a day. We can always blow it up again when they get out of line.

No real shame in that. Alexander the Great couldn’t get it done, neither could the British Empire at its height, or the Soviet Union. It’s a quagmire and a money pit.

But six years ago, we saw the results of feckless leadership, we saw it in Benghazi.  Daniel John Sobieski wrote about it for American Thinker.

The arrogance of the man who lied to the parents of the Benghazi dead in front of their sons’ caskets as they were returned to the country they fought for is mind-boggling.  As he attempted to rewrite many chapters of his failed presidency in a speech at the University of Illinois, he called the accurate and documented reports of the criminal negligence of secretary of state Hillary Clinton and himself during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on our Benghazi compound a mere “conspiracy theory.”

Conspiracy theories don’t produce body bags, sir, but perhaps you don’t remember that night all too well because you spent the time four brave Americans were being killed under your command in Libya readying up for a Las Vegas fundraiser.

Kris Paronto, former Army Ranger and CIA contractor who fought with his colleagues on the roof of the CIA annex in Benghazi, remembers that night and tweeted his response to the then-president’s arrogant and dismissive ridicule of their sacrifice and your incompetence:

Benghazi is a conspiracy @BarackObama ?! How bout we do this,let’s put your cowardly ass on the top of a roof with 6 of your buddies & shoot rpg’s & Ak47’s at you while terrorists lob 81mm mortars killing 2 of your buddies all while waiting for US support that you never sent

Obama and Hillary had plenty of warnings that the security at Benghazi was woefully inadequate, that the compound was swimming in an ocean of terrorist training camps.  They ignored these warnings, and when the attack happened, they did nothing when a rescue mission could have been mounted.  Instead, stand-down orders were given to would-be rescuers, and following the attack, the infamous video lie was concocted and spread over the airwaves, with President Obama repeating it no fewer than six times in a speech before the United Nations.

Hicks, the last man to speak to Ambassador Chris Stevens, has exposed the video lie, documenting how he told Hillary’s State Department what was happening in real time that fateful night and how her State Department ignored warnings from Chris Stevens and others about the gathering terrorist storm and the woeful  lack of security.

Now retired, private citizen Hicks goes farther, telling Fox News Hillary Clinton broke laws while condemning four Americans to death at the hands of terrorists:

Just as the Constitution makes national security the President’s highest priority, U.S. law mandates the secretary of state to develop and implement policies and programs “to provide for the security … of all United States personnel on official duty abroad.”

This includes not only the State Department employees, but also the CIA officers in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.  And the Benghazi record is clear: Secretary Clinton failed to provide adequate security for U.S. government personnel assigned to Benghazi and Tripoli.

The Benghazi Committee’s report graphically illustrates the magnitude of her failure.  It states that during August 2012, the State Department reduced the number of U.S. security personnel assigned to the Embassy in Tripoli from 34 (1.5 security officers per diplomat) to 6 (1 security officer per 4.5 diplomats), despite a rapidly deteriorating security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi.  Thus, according to the Report, “there were no surplus security agents” to travel to Benghazi with Amb. Stevens “without leaving the Embassy in Tripoli at severe risk.”

Keep reading, there’s more at the link.

This is the action of at best, a feckless, but more likely seditious, if not actually treasonous government. This is the history of the so-called deep state, and why it must be rooted out. It is not American government as we have known it. I’m not sure what label to apply to it, but I want nothing like it in America.

It is the major threat to the liberty of America, and Americans.

Advertisements

Turkey Talk

A couple points about Turkey, first from  Monty L. Donohew at American Thinker.

When there is war, conflict, or instability, vulnerable human beings flee, seeking refuge in safer countries. […]

When there is war, conflict, or instability, vulnerable capital and wealth also flee. The “problem” of fleeing capital is different, however. Because capital and wealth are not as encumbered and physically restricted as are human beings, especially in the modern electronic age, capital moves far from the source of instability. Capital flight makes support of human refugees even more difficult, as capital often flees nations burdened with the obligation of support, nations in close proximity to the underlying cause of flight.

Unlike human refugees, who consume resources and capital, fleeing capital is welcome with inviting arms by safe havens. Capital and wealth must “go somewhere,” and if they land in the banks and markets of a particular nation, that nation reaps the reward of that investment.

Pretty much common sense to my mind, although it is anything but common these days.

And who is the strongest of all these days? I’d be inclined to say the United States, and it has the other advantages of being a known safe haven for money and people, with perhaps the strongest rule of law tradition in the world, the largest and most active markets, and by far, the strongest military (which it is strengthening) to back it all up.

Think some Turks (and Iranians, for that matter) are looking to get themselves and their money into America. Yep. Me too. And that also strengthens America, and against all comers.

Consider the many causes of the flight of capital in recent years. Are competing markets as strong and stable as they were seven years ago, and more importantly, are they as strong and stable as is the U.S. market? Capital is fleeing Canada. Capital is fleeing China (strange — people who command wealth get a bit skittish when several hundreds of their kind simply disappear). EU instability has caused capital to flee Europe (link behind subscription wall). Capital has flown from India. Capital has flown from Russia, although early indications are that new Trump sanctions may not encourage additional capital flight. Capital is fleeing Latin America. There are a multitude of examples, but the point is, too, that capital is not fleeing the U.S.

Not all capital flight winds up in the U.S., of course, but it’s safe to say that a good percentage is winding up here. Simple economics: more money chasing the same goods or investment opportunities causes prices to increase. With share prices high, companies can grow, expand, modernize, and invest. The investment increases the value of companies, generates returns for investors, and generates revenues for the U.S. government.

And this may well be where the conventional wisdom on tariffs and economics falls down, not my field, but it sounds rational, and people with money are usually somewhat rational.

Jed Babbin writing in The American Spectator also had a few things to say about the Sick Thug of Europe.

It [The Wall Street Journal] wonders why the United States, which usually intervenes to calm global markets, isn’t doing so to save Turkey from itself.

The answer is so simple that even the media ought to understand. Turkey, a NATO ally, has for over a decade treated us as an enemy instead of a friend. President Trump is beginning to return the favor. What Turkey has done, and Mr. Trump is starting to do, is all the result of the actions of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan who has created an Islamic quasi-dictatorship where a secular democracy once stood. […]

Erdogan’s New York Times article concludes that, “Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives. Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies.”

Erdogan has already done so. His alliance with Russia and Iran to save Assad demonstrated conclusively that he is no longer America’s ally. It is entirely inconsistent with Turkey’s obligations as a NATO member.

President Trump has, so far, neither knuckled under to Erdogan’s demands nor taken all of the actions that he could to force Erdogan to stop acting as our enemy. That may be changing.

The Turkish economy is in shambles, almost in as bad a situation as Iran’s and Venezuela’s. The Turkish lira fell in its value against the dollar by about forty percent earlier this year. Last week, Trump announced that he was doubling the tariffs on steel (to 50%) and aluminum (to 20%) imported from Turkey, which caused the lira to sink by another twenty percent and made international banks that hold Turkish debt very nervous.

I don’t need to add too much to that although you should read all of both articles, they are excellent. But Erdogan would be well advised that one of the quickest ways to ruin a nation is to attempt to tell the United States what to do. Even King George, a quarter millennium ago, found that to be a bit more than the British Empire could accomplish. That’s a history lesson Erdogan could contemplate to the benefit of his citizens.

“Well Roared, Paper Tiger “

And so the EU has passed a law prohibiting European companies from following the US sanctions on Iran. They’re so cute sometimes.

The sanctions target the use of US dollars in any transactions, as well as autos, civil aviation, coal, industrial software, and metals. The ones scheduled for November are more far-reaching.

According to Soeren Kern

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK openly admitted that for the EU the Iran deal is all about money and vowed to protect European companies from US penalties:

“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.

“The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with third countries [China and Russia] interested in supporting the JCPOA and maintaining economic relations with Iran.”

Well, as an aside, that’s a goodly share of the problem with the EU generally, it’s all about money, just listen to project fear in the UK compared to the love of Britain coming from leave. Greed is not the most important thing in the world. In any case, Most European businesses aren’t buying this horse dung.

The document, riddled with EU jargon, states:

“The Blocking Statute allows EU [economic] operators to recover damages arising from the extra-territorial sanctions within its scope from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorized to do so by the [European] Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union.”

In other words, the EU is prohibiting EU citizens and companies from complying with US sanctions and is authorizing EU companies hit by US sanctions to sue the US government for compensation in European courts.

In addition, European companies that do pull out of Iran without approval from the European Commission face the threat of being sued by EU member states.

Even the European press isn’t buying this nonsense. It’s a vanity project to show themselves they aren’t dependant on the US and guarantee their legacy. Well, Obama tried that, how did it work out?

Radio France Internationale (RFI), a French public radio service, said that the effects of the Blocking Statute would be “more symbolic than economic.” It added:

“The law would be more effective for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) doing business in Iran. For large corporations, the solution lies in negotiating waivers or exemptions with the United States. But such requests from France, Germany and the United Kingdom have already been rejected by Washington.”

La Croix wrote:

“Suffice to say that the implementation of this blocking law remains very hypothetical, as it goes into uncertain legal territories.

“Total, Maersk and Peugeot have already decided to leave Iran. Moreover, companies investing in Iran do not seem to believe much in the effectiveness of the regulation. The oil group Total, the ship-owner Maersk or the automaker Peugeot have already decided to leave. German group Daimler announced its withdrawal from Iran yesterday. These groups are more afraid of the US’s ability to implement sanctions than the EU’s wrath.”

In Germany, the public broadcaster ARD published an opinion article by Brussels correspondent Samuel Jackisch titled, “Well Roared, Paper Tiger — EU Defenseless against US Sanctions.” He said that the EU’s new policy was “logical, but largely meaningless,” and an attempt by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to “defend her political legacy.” He added:

“The EU can try to turn the tables on transatlantic relations, but in the end the US still comes out on top.

“The German export industry’s business with Iran may not be small at around three billion euros. However, the bottom line is that the same companies export 35 times as much to the USA. The EU is demanding that its largest corporations risk the entire cake for a few more crumbs.”

German public broadcaster ZDF wrote:

“The peculiar construction of the EU Blocking Statute remains: Ordinarily, regulations and laws prohibit something. For example, an anti-dumping law prohibits companies from price dumping in order to force competitors out of the market. But the EU Blocking Statute is a call to action: Do trade with Iran and do not let threats from the US president dissuade you!

The newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung quoted the Chief Executive of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Martin von Wansleben, who described the EU’s measure as a “helpless political reaction.” He said that its purpose was to show that the EU does not bow to US sanctions. For individual companies, he said, the blocking regulation has “no relevance.”

In Austria, Der Standard wrote:

“The Blocking Regulation is not an effective antidote to US sanctions, as the historical example suggests…. Although Washington should refrain from extraterritorial sanctions, the US market is too important for corporations to expose themselves.”

In Italy, Südtirol News quoted stock market expert Robert Halver of Baader Bank:

“Due to the US sanctions against Iran, German industry will not touch Iran. If you realize that German industry is doing a hundredfold business in America, you will not do business with Iran, because then sanctions against German companies will exist. Therefore, Iran is certainly going to bleed very heavily at the moment.”

As John Bolton noted:

“Now there may be some small European companies that continue to do business, but they will be insignificant,” John Bolton said during an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday. “Russia and China may continue to do business, but I don’t think they’re enthusiastic about this. They’re not going to be stepping up their efforts.”

Who’s out? These folks, for a start. Some familiar names there.

Daimler follows similar decisions by: Adidas (Germany); Allianz (Germany); AP Moller-Maersk (Denmark); Ciech (Poland); Citroen (France); CMA CGM(France); DZ Bank (Germany); Engie (France); ENI (Italy); Lloyds (UK); Lukoil (Russia); Maersk Tankers (Denmark); Oberbank (Austria); Opel(Germany); Peugeot (France); PGNiG (Poland), Renault (France); Scania(Sweden); Siemens (Germany); Swiss Re (Switzerland); and Total (France).

In other words, as both Bolton and the President have noted, you can trade with the US or you can trade with Iran. You can no longer trade with both. Pick one.

In one corner is a failed state, the world’s largest promoter of terrorism, and a country that appears to be on the verge of a revolution.

In the other corner is the world’s largest economy backed by the world largest military, which has guaranteed your freedom and security for generations.

You choose. Choose wisely.

 

The Week; Some things Never Change

We live in a time of change, but the essentials don’t

I live about fifty miles from North Platte, and you know, many of those who contributed to the Canteen during World War Two were from the surrounding communities, although likely the majority were from the city. I can remember people who told of getting up at 3 am to catch the train to North Platte, with their homegrown food (thus not subject to rationing) put in a full day greeting the troops, and returned home around midnight. Every day, from Pearl Harbor until well after VJ Day, never missing a day. All of it, the time and the food, at no cost to the troops or the government.

Returning to our regular programming…

International News

The financial section

No such thing as too much Hayek!

Wow! Just Wow!

Keep it clean!

Mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm as usual. And a few from Ace’s.

Well, It seems I’m being called. See you later, maybe! 😀

Telling England (and Europe) the Truth

Getty Pool

Well, the President is now in the UK, after lobbing some American truth grenades around in Brussels. They are needed, and he reflects, as usual, the view of the American on the street.

It is tiresome protecting people who disdain to protect themselves, let alone disregard their own vital interests to pander to corporatists and foreign powers. Yes, I am referring to the Nordstream pipeline whereby Germany spends many billions of dollars to import natural gas from Russia bypassing eastern Europe – which they, no less than the US, are pledged to defend. Although it is unclear how that will work with their seven operational aircraft, less than a hundred tanks, and less than 200,000 service people – less than the Weimar Republic was allowed.

It brings to mind an old American adage:

“We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”

But really, why should we? Someone said the other day that if Europe was owned by Disney, the sign would say “Yesterdayland”. It’s pretty much true, Europe as we have known it is a dying continent. It may be beyond help. In population, in economics, and yes, in military force.

The UK too tends that way, but not as much. It retains a robust memory of what it once was, and once one gets away from London, is still is, in large part, the land we all knew.

But its politics are broken, even worse than ours were after Reagan and before Trump. Corbyn’s Labour Party, much like the US Democrats, was once the party of unionized labor, now its politics often make Stalin look conservative. It is anti everything that most of us think good, not to mention anti-Semitic and anti-British, and anti-American. But it has largely put a spoke in the wheel of British governance, not because of what it believes, so much as the fear of the party by everybody else.

The Conservatives have slipped to the left as well. Jess often commented that Maggie moved the so-called Overton window to the right, and she was right. No more. The Tories make the US Republican establishment look positively conservative. Nor does it help that many British cannot seem to tell the difference between corporatist and capitalist.

Earlier this week, we looked at the current Brexit deal (here). In short what it does is make the UK a colony of the European Union – the worst of all possible worlds. It means being subject to the rule of one of the most corrupt groups in the world, without even (an ineffectual) vote in the proceedings.

UKIP (The United Kingdom Independence Party) which was the main driver that brought about the Brexit vote, more or less dissolved upon victory, with its former leader Nigel Farage going into radio and such. It seems to have thought its job was done, and the Tory government would carry out the will of the people clearly expressed. That was so optimistic as to be delusional.

It is now quickly gaining members (and the Tories losing commensurately) as what the May government has done sinks in, but it may be too late. There are two ways to forcibly retire the May government. Michael St. George details them here. Both are fraught with uncertainty.

Into this self-created mess, Donald Trump flew yesterday, doing his truth-telling act. He told the Daily Sun, the last semi conservative paper in Britain, that the Brexit deal outlined in the white paper leaves the UK subject to the EU (thus the BRINO moniker: Brexit in name only) and as such we will have to negotiate with the EU rather than the UK. In other words, the promised US-UK trade deal will likely be off. The obvious truth, but it rocked the island.

The President also said that he, like many British themselves, used to love London, but now avoids it. Sensible, since the current mayor, Sadiq Khan is doing his very best to make it still another multicultural ‘third world shithole’. He makes diBlasio look reasonable.

While this was going on, he had a very nice dinner at Blenheim Palace, where Churchill was born, and the gift of the nation to Sir John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, perhaps the greatest British general since William the Marshal.

Today, he will meet the Queen, which I’d guess he will enjoy, and she just might as well. She’s met every American president since Truman, and some reports say is also a Brexiteer (although as befits her job, a quiet one).

There are protests, of course, in London, encouraged by the Mayor, which have prompted both the US and the Japanese Embassies to advise their nationals to maintain a low profile this weekend. Well justified, yesterday it was reported that the former UK ambassador to the US was badly beaten in the street. The police claim it was a simple robbery attempt.

What Britain needs is a leader that the people can rally around. I, like many others, do like like Jacob Rees-Mogg, but question whether he’s up to the task, or even able to see it in its full dimensions. Trump also said last night that he thinks Boris Johnson would make a great PM. Well, Trump is a pretty good judge, although ‘great’ seems a bit far over the bridge, but in any case, do the Tories have the guts to even try to solve this mess? I have my doubts.

So, today it will be off to Scotland and then on to meet Putin.

Busy Week Ahead

So NATO meets next week, right after the Supreme Court nomination, and then Trump will visit Britain meeting with May and the Queen, then spending the weekend in Scotland before going to Helsinki to meet Putin. Quite the schedule isn’t it?

I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the NATO meeting. Just as much to hear what is not said as what is. NATO is unraveling, because Europe will not pay for its own defense, even a fraction of it, preferring to let Uncle Sugar do it.

Well, that is not so true for Eastern Europe, who mostly are trying, but Germany and France are simply useless these days, couldn’t mount a decent parade.

There is a report that the British government has forbidden President Trump from meeting with Nigel Farage, now that is cheeky, and if I was Trump, I’d make damned sure I did, but it’s a small thing.

What is not a small thing is Iran, Melanie Phillips has that story.

Britain and the EU regard the Iranian fanatics as people with whom they can to do business – both diplomatic and economic. But the only reasonable, moral and self-defense position is to regard them as a regime beyond the pale which must be destroyed.

No one wants war; the aim should be to prevent the terrible war that is almost inevitable unless the Iranian regime is removed. The best and most likely way to achieve this is for the people of Iran to rise up against it. […]

The result is popular demand for an end to the regime itself. In stark contrast to uprisings that have erupted in the Arab world, the Iranian demonstrators support Israel and the West. The Iranian regime regularly pronounces “Death to Israel.”

The protesters have been shouting instead “Death to Palestine” and demanding that the regime stops funding Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria’s President Assad and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Suddenly, what seemed impossible is now being talked about as a distinct possibility: that a regime which until now has been strutting across the region imposing increasing control may in fact collapse.

So what’s changed? In two words: President Trump. By withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal, he has changed the entire power dynamic within Iran and in the region. Now sanctions have been reimposed and are about to bite far more severely.

With tacit backing by both the US and Russia, Israel has been attacking Iranian military assets across Syria.

The game is now afoot to achieve what until now no one contemplated as a serious possibility: to pry Russia away from Iran and squeeze Iran out of Syria, thus smashing the fulcrum of Iranian power in the region. […]

Clearly, much remains murky and alarming about such a complex dance of deterrence.

America’s ultimate strategic goal, however, is clear: to weaken, stymie and ultimately destroy the Islamic regime in Iran.

Yet, incredibly, Britain and Europe are still attempting to support it. This weekend, the five powers still party to the nuclear deal – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – are meeting Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in Vienna to discuss how it might continue without US support.

This, even though earlier this week, six people were arrested in Belgium, France and Germany, including an Iranian diplomat posted to Vienna, over an alleged Iranian terrorist plot to attack an Iranian-opposition rally in a Paris suburb this weekend.

Britain, France and Germany may realize very soon that they will need to choose between trading with Iran and trading with the US. The State Department has threatened to punish sanctions violators, while major European companies such as Peugeot, Siemens and Total are reportedly preparing to halt their dealings with Tehran.

Both Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have made a point of telling the Iranian people that they have American and Israeli support and that the fight by the US and Israel is merely against the regime that oppresses them.

Quite. There is a real chance here, like the one that Obama ignored to rid the world of Iran’s odious government, and Europe is attempting to sabotage it. With allies like this, who needs enemies?

Melanie thinks much of this is down to anti-Semitism. It may be so, I don’t know, nor does it matter, really. It exists, and it must be dealt with.

I pay more attention to Britain than the continent as all know. It’s an unbelievably dark landscape these days, dissidents in jail for political speech, the will of the people subverted by the government with regard to Brexit, the government conspiring to demonstrate against the President of the United States, and divers horrid things.

American ideas about rights and responsibilities which we celebrated this week, almost all came from (no longer great) Britain, but they have been evicted from the ancestral home, no doubt for Muslim immigrants.

An entire century ago American troops were attacking Imperial German troops in France. Three times in the last hundred years we have kept Europe free. It’s a fool’s errand, they have no inclination to keep themselves free. Time to move to the east, or come home.

The time may well have come to write off Western Europe, including the United Kingdom. And yet, we often said much the same about Obama’s America. And you know, there are the same stirrings going on in May’s England as there were in Obama’s America.

Once again it was true here, as Kipling said

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good,
When the Saxon began to hate.

They were not easily moved,
They were icy — willing to wait
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the Saxon began to hate.

Their voices were even and low.
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not preached to the crowd.
It was not taught by the state.
No man spoke it aloud
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not suddenly bred.
It will not swiftly abate.
Through the chilled years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date
That the Saxon began to hate.

It was the undoing of Kaiser Bill, Hitler, Tojo, and the Soviet Union, and the Radical American left and I hear it stirring today in England. Or one hopes, anyway.

%d bloggers like this: