The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates

From Mark Steyn, on Paris and other things.

As I write, Paris is under curfew for the first time since the German occupation, and the death toll from the multiple attacks stands at 158, the vast majority of them slaughtered during a concert at the Bataclan theatre, a delightful bit of 19th century Chinoiserie on the boulevard Voltaire. The last time I was there, if memory serves, was to see Julie Pietri. I’m so bloody sick of these savages shooting and bombing and killing and blowing up everything I like – whether it’s the small Quebec town where my little girl’s favorite fondue restaurant is or my favorite hotel in Amman or the brave freespeecher who hosted me in Copenhagen …or a music hall where I liked to go to hear a little jazz and pop and get away from the cares of the world for a couple of hours. But look at the photographs from Paris: there’s nowhere to get away from it; the barbarians who yell “Allahu Akbar!” are there waiting for you …when you go to a soccer match, you go to a concert, you go for a drink on a Friday night. They’re there on the train… at the magazine office… in the Kosher supermarket… at the museum in Brussels… outside the barracks in Woolwich…

Twenty-four hours ago, I said on the radio apropos the latest campus “safe space” nonsense:

This is what we’re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.

Almost. When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

With his usual killer comedy timing, the “leader of the free world” told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning, America” this very morning that he’d “contained” ISIS and that they’re not “gaining strength”. A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by ISIS slaughtered over 150 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb to within a few yards of the French president.

Visiting the Bataclan, M Hollande declared that “nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable“: We are going to wage a war that will be pitiless.

Does he mean it? Or is he just killing time until Obama and Cameron and Merkel and Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull fly in and they can all get back to talking about sea levels in the Maldives in the 22nd century? By which time France and Germany and Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands will have been long washed away.

Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world

Source: The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates :: SteynOnline

Not much to add to what Mark says here, yet anyway. But there is this:

Waiting for the Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

C.P. Cavafy

Whittle, Cruz, and Polls

Bill Whittle on Ted Cruz and media bias.

You know that may explain something. Have you noticed, as I have, that in the age of Obama, we conservatives/Republicans (whatever, whichever, and don’t forget right libertarians either) can’t seem to win a national election, but we have something like 75% of the state legislatures, most of the governorships, and everything else? Could this be the effect of the media’s completely unbecoming (and beclowning) love for Obama? I think it might be.

We’ll see, if the presidential candidates can manage to quit thinking that they can ingratiate themselves with the hostile media, and play through (around, over, and under) them, to the people, we may see both the demise of some very rotten edifices and a fresh new breeze in politics.

Frankly I have no problem with biased press outlets, they always have been. Don’t believe me? Look into the election of 1800. Our problem today is that they are all biased one way. Nor does it help that they are catastrophically wrong, unAmerican, anti-Christian, and a few other things, not to mention very, very intolerant.

I think this may very well be connected as well

For the most part, with some notable exceptions, the polls have been pretty accurate predictors of presidential and midterm elections. That was until the recent midterm elections in the United States in 2014. While they predicted the GOP would pick up some senate seats with an outside chance, if everything went right, of taking over the Senate, none of the polls predicted the tsunami wave by the GOP in not just winning the senate easily with room to spare, but also with big gains by the GOP in the House of Representatives and in pickups in the state houses and governorships.

The reliability of the polls was questioned by some, but not by many as you could say one election, as big as it was, do not the polls make. But then you had a couple of big foreign elections that were missed by the pollsters and missed in a huge way.

In March of 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party won in a landslide victory, and re-elected for an un-precedented 4th time Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister, that no poll showed would happen. In fact, every single poll in Israel just days before the election had Netanyahu and Likud losing and losing in a big way.

Then in May of 2015, you had polls showing that in Great Britain there was a very tight race for Prime Minister with a good chance the Conservative Party was about to be thrown out of power. What happened, a huge win for the conservative party and re-election of David Cameron as Prime Minister.

So, beginning with the 2014 Midterm elections, and continuing with major elections in Israel and Great Britain in 2015, the polls have been not just wrong, but not even close to predicting the correct results.

You might conclude that it shows you can’t rely on the polls in a major general election not just in the United States but around the world. No, that would be the wrong conclusion. That is one of the secondary conclusions you might surmise from this downward slide of accuracy by major pollsters but not the correct one.

There is one common thread that those variances of what the election results showed with the polling results before hand. In the United States midterms, and in Israel, and in Great Britain, the pollsters were wrong and wrong in a big way, all in one direction. Their polls were all off in determining the strength of the conservatives [party’s/individual candidates] in those countries and in overstating the strength of the liberals [party’s/individual candidates]. Could that possibly be just an amazing coincidence or indicative of skewed polling results that we will be seeing in future elections? Fool us with one bad polling result, shame on you. Fool us with 3 bad polling results, and we still believe in you, shame on us.

Source: Reliability of General Election Polls Continue Downward Slide In One Direction.

Do you follow my reasoning here? Again we have a business based and linked to both the national governments, and the corrupt press, who pays their bills. Yes, there are new difficulties in polling, such as so many people no longer having landline telephones (and others). But while that could well affect accuracy, one would expect it to effect it in both directions, but that’s not what we’re seeing, is it? It’s always favoring the more liberal (American sense) candidate, and never the more conservative (Classically liberal). And so as it becomes an increasingly inaccurate tool, something will have to change like, I don’t know, real reporting, maybe!

Friday Round-up: Freedom and Leaders

All you need to know about why this week’s debate was utterly useless.

Anybody surprised at NBC’s conduct? That what I thought.

Speaking of elections-

The Free World Has Lost Its Leader

From Dan Hannan.

The free world has lost its leader. In the absence of a vigorous American foreign policy, Canada’s Stephen Harper supplied his own. For the better part of a decade, he energetically championed Western interests. He was serious about fighting terrorism, keen on free trade and prepared to deploy proportionate force in defense of freedom.

His defeat in last week’s Canadian general election will be felt far beyond that sparse, chilly country. When other Western leaders fretted about Israel’s 2006 Lebanon war, he gave his full backing to the Jewish state. When others dithered over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, he led international condemnation. Obliged to meet Vladimir Putin at a summit meeting, he was admirably curt: “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: Get out of Ukraine.”

Source: The Free World Has Lost Its Leader

This is superb. It is also the most important article here, if you would understand how America got to the ugly place that we are now.

“Anatomy of a Juggernaut,” By Bradley C. S. Watson

The subtitle of Paul D. Moreno’s new book, “The Twilight of Constitutionalism and the Triumph of Progressivism,” is the thrust of a growing body of revisionist scholarship on the Progressive movement. Moreno adds a valuable historian’s perspective to this scholarship, which is associated largely with the “Claremont school” of political science. He notes the central conceit of twentieth-century American history: the triumphalist portrayal of an ever-expanding national state, one that would finally offer authentic liberty—freeing individuals not only from inequality but from the reactionary idea that human nature itself imposes permanent constraints.

Moreno suggests that the Obama presidency has brought this Progressive narrative squarely before the bar of public opinion. Enduring doubts about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” conjoined with concerns about unprecedented levels of government spending, have shown that older notions of constitutional limits still animate at least some citizens. They demand a full hearing for constitutional arguments long after the political classes gave up on such arguments—nowhere better captured than in former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s dismissive response to a question about Obamacare’s constitutionality: “Are you serious?” she asked, with an incredulous laugh.

Our current situation, says Moreno, is that we occupy a “twilight zone between constitutional and unlimited government.” The political philosophy of the Founders is alive, if on life support. They were neither laissez faire libertarians nor statists, but constitutionalists. Their arguments are echoed today by Americans who believe that the US Constitution has a fixed meaning that binds political actors, a meaning that is informed by a moral and political philosophy anterior to the writing of that document. This view allows that a genuine common good exists, even in the face of considerable individual freedom—and that the government is bound to respect and pursue it. Under this older view, “class legislation” cannot be tolerated.

Moreno begins by considering the “old regime” left by the Civil War Republicans, who embraced the Founders’ constitutionalism even as they adopted Hamiltonian mercantilist economic policies in the midst of the American industrial revolution. He points to the postwar demobilization of the Union Army as evidence of Republicans’ commitment to the Founders’ idea of minimalist federal power. He further argues that the Republican revival of the “American System” of Hamilton and Henry Clay, “based on protective tariffs, banks, and internal improvements,” was largely within antebellum constitutional understandings.

Source: “Anatomy of a Juggernaut,” By Bradley C. S. Watson

A Heroine for our Time

Even as she held tightly to Islam, something was happening to Ali, thanks to her new English-language and reading skills:  She was exposed to a world of ideas that contradicted what she was learning through the Qu’ran about man’s subjugation to the Qu’ran’s rules and about women’s subjugation to man. Dickens (especially Oliver Twist), Alcott, and even Nancy Drew exposed her to the idea of an individual with free will, one who freely makes choices for good or ill – but that are his choices.  Even Nancy Drew was an inspiration, with her lauded brave and intrepid (albeit still feminine) spirit.

Armed with this growing intellectual arsenal, Ali began to ask the “why” questions that a repressive society cannot tolerate: Why must I be treated this way? Why don’t we celebrate individuality? Why do we force people to behave in a certain way when free nations achieve greater things?  Why are women subordinate to men?

Bookworm on the greatness of Ayaan Hirsi Ali via Ace

Russia and Iran Moving to Corner the Mideast Oil Supply?

In the Middle East, it is time to follow the money. To me,  Steve Chambers makes all the sense in the world here. Russia is at best, a regional power, as we’ve discussed many times here. Jessica, with her usual common sense, reminded us in  The Rules of the Great Game, that those rules have not been suspended.

In addition, as Jess mentioned, Europe is critically dependent on Russian oil. They literally can’t afford to offend Putin overmuch. In large measure, North America can fix that, but we’re not working on that either. Sadly, Europe will in large measure pay the price for our shortsightedness, unless we suddenly decide to export oil again. (that bill has passed the House, likely will pass the Senate, and as usual for something in the interest of Western Civilization, Obama says he’ll veto it). Here’s some of the article:

It looks like Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs are preparing to corner the world’s oil supply – literally.

Last May I wrote on this site that Iran was in the process of surrounding the Saudi/Wahhabi oil reserves, along with those of the other Sunni Gulf petro-states.  I added that, “Iran’s strategy to strangle Saudi/Wahhabi oil production also dovetails with Putin’s interests.  As the ruler of the second largest exporter of oil, he would be delighted to see the Kingdom’s production eliminated or severely curtailed and global prices soar to unseen levels.  No wonder he is so overtly supporting Iran.”

We’ve now seen Putin take a major, menacing step in support of the Iranians by introducing combat forces into Syria.  Many analysts argue that he’s doing this both to protect his own naval base at Tartus and as some sort of favor to the Iranians.  Are those really sufficient inducement for him to spend scarce resources and risk Russian lives, or does he have bigger ambitions in mind?  Given the parlous state of Russia’s economy, thanks in very large part to the recent halving of oil prices, he must relish the opportunity now presented to him, in an axis with Iran, to drive those prices back to prior levels.

The Iranians, for their part, must welcome this opportunity as well, for two huge reasons: first, when sanctions are finally lifted, thanks to their friend in the White House, Iran’s oil production will only aggravate the current global excess oil supply, reducing their cash flow (although they will still repatriate the $150 billion released by the nuclear deal).  They and the Russians must both be desperate to find a way to prevent further oil price declines.  And second, Iran’s mortal sectarian enemies and rivals for leadership of all of Islam are the Saudi/Wahhabi clan, so the prospect of simultaneously hurting them while strengthening themselves must seem tremendously tantalizing.

Source: Articles: Russia and Iran Moving to Corner the Mideast Oil Supply

OK, obviously disrupting the Arab oil supplies will trow a large spanner in the works of the world’s economy, as it drives oil prices to record highs, China, the US, and Europe all have fragile, and perhaps brittle economies, and yes the ‘refugees’ (even if they are legitimate) already are threatening Europe.

But as so often, North America has the solution, here’s a bit more from the article:

So, Putin and the ayatollahs have powerful motives to corner the world’s oil market and therefore the US and the rest of the world are facing an enormous risk.  The horrible pity of this is that the US could easily demonstrate the futility of the Russian-Iranian axis trying to take the world hostage with Mideast oil, simply by opening up our surface deposits of oil shales in the Rockies.  As I showed in this analysis last March, these resources could make Mideast oil irrelevant.

The US’ surface oil shales are completely different from the deep shales that are accessed through directional drilling and fracking and that grab all the headlines; the deep shales are a mere side show in terms of reserves.  The surface shales hold up to 3 trillion barrels of oil versus about 50 billion barrels of tight oil accessed by fracking.  The total global proven reserves of oil are 1.6 trillion barrels, and the Canadian tar sands have 1.6 to 2.5 trillion barrels (although they’re officially listed at 175 billion barrels, which are incorporated in the global total).  So, the US and Canada together essentially can triple the global supply of oil, and at prices in the $60-75/barrel range.  Meanwhile, Mideast reserves are about 800 billion barrels – half of Canada’s oil sands, perhaps less than a third of the US surface shales.  The world no longer needs the Muslim oil.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the Rockies surface shales sit on Federal land, and while George W. Bush opened up those lands for development, Obama rescinded that policy.  These reserves now sit almost entirely idle.

As with any petroleum deposit, these surface shale reserves can’t be turned on with the wave of a wand.  But they can be opened for development with just a pen, and not even a phone.  For the protection of this country, and the good of the world, our current president should immediately open these reserves for development, with great fanfare.  If he will not use our military to protect our interests, he should at least use our economic weapons.

And so, once more, if the author is correct, as I think he may be, Russia is badly overextended, North America, the United States and Canada, hold the fate of the West, in our hands. But will we do what is necessary, as we always have, or will we play a violin concerto while Western Civilization burns.

We’ll see, but given the timing, I’m not very optimistic.

The Real House Leadership Crisis

john-boehner-generous-with-taxpayer-moneyThe real source of frustration with House leadership is that they’ve given up the power of the purse. They need to get it back.

The big news of the past few weeks is the House Republicans’ revolt against John Boehner, who is being forced out as Speaker of the House, setting off an odd scramble over who can avoid taking his place. (The latest person to not want to be Speaker is Paul Ryan.) On social media, the running joke is to compare Speaker of the House to other jobs nobody seems to be able to hold: number two man in al-Qaeda, Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, drummer for Spinal Tap.

The leadership battle is driven by a sense of inchoate frustration at the House leadership’s inability to achieve much of the right’s agenda, despite being given majorities in both houses of Congress. […]

So long as Obama and the Democrats can use a government shutdown as a credible threat, they neutralize House Republicans’ power of the purse. And so long as that’s the case, the House GOP can’t do anything substantial. They’re reduced to pleading, “We can’t do anything until we have the Senate,” and then, “We can’t do anything until we have the presidency.” And eventually the Republican base and the Tea Party types get fed up and conclude that Republican leaders never really wanted to do anything in the first place, that they’re just marking time before they can go to K Street or Wall Street and cash out. (Which is partly correct.)

Source: The Real House Leadership Crisis

The reason that the House was given the power of the purse is that it is the chamber that is most responsive to the people, well in theory anyway, K street and Wall Street weren’t quite as important (maybe) in the founder’s time. But there were other pressures.

The power of the purse is the power to burn it all down. It came to the House of Representatives from the House of Commons, who in practically living memory of the founders had used it to not only incite the English Civil War but even to end the Monarchy. Their problem was that they only had Cromwell, not Jefferson and company to put it all together again.

But it takes leadership, and guts, and a vision of not how things are, but of how they could be, and vision is pretty rare in all generations. And visionary leadership is probably not the best way to get elected to the Congress or to a leadership position in the Republican (or Democratic) party. And it surely won’t get you a cushy job with a lobbyist when you’re done either.

That’s pretty much the problem though.

Why Our Commanders Look The Other Way During Child Rape

w7044This is important

The revelation that our generals expect Americans solders to allow screaming young boys to be sodomized and not stop it is simply the latest manifestation of the utter moral bankruptcy infecting the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

The problems with America’s military—which has now failed to win three wars in a row against backward fanatics whom the nineteenth-century Brits would have handily dispatched to hell in time for tea—are not merely budgetary. You can’t buy real leaders, leaders with strategic competence and moral courage. Aging equipment, while a problem, is nothing compared to the incompetence and moral cowardice of our military’s senior leaders.

Note the term “moral cowardice.” Many of these generals are decorated combat veterans who would gleefully charge an enemy machine-gun nest. But that physical courage in the face of the enemy does not translate into moral courage in the face of politicians and social justice warriors. It’s disheartening to see officers with Combat Infantryman badges and silver stars sheepishly nodding along with the lies of the coddled liberal elite.

There are fine generals—I served under many. But enough are not that the ranks are demoralized and the best and brightest future leaders are abandoning military careers, not because they don’t want to serve, but because they know it will be difficult to succeed unless they likewise abandon the principles that propelled them toward service in the first place.

You Can’t Just Blame Obama

It would be too easy to blame Barack Obama. As commander in chief, he is responsible for everything those under his command do or fail to do, and his political agendas and bizarre social engineering priorities, enacted by the eager band of loyalists he has promoted into the senior ranks over more capable warriors, have little to do with fighting and winning. Without a media interested in holding him to account for the dreadful performance of the military since his inauguration, Obama has a free ride.

Source: Why Our Commanders Look The Other Way During Child Rape

That follows from one of the themes we have always spoken of here: personal responsibility.

But, lest you think I’m simply enunciating a diatribe against the top echelon of our officer corp, I’m not. It’s endemic in our society. It applies to every electrician who says “it’s in the plan”, to every person who says “it’s not my job”, to every person who sees a problem and walks away. It’s the reason we have safety rules that protect idiots while making the actual job nearly impossible.

In business we call it careerism, it’s what happens when we look at a problem and decide it might mess up our promotion, if we try to fix a problem, or horrors, someone might accuse us of political incorrectness. You know like saying women are not the same as men (not inferior, they’re not, just different). Political correctness is very often the enemy of common sense. The important thing to remember is that common sense once was common because it is objectively correct, even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

In the church, it’s often called clericalism, and it is both pernicious and corrosive. Trying to live correctly according to God’s will is difficult enough with good guidance from the clergy, it’s nearly impossible if said clergy is trying above all to keep their job, not doing their job.

When I was young and around some military guys, they called it “seeing stars in your eyes” (and on your shoulders). From what they said it most often happened to colonels (and sadly even more often to those colonel’s wives). It did not, let us say, contribute to good order and discipline, for all the reasons that Kurt and I have both said. The difference in the military is that it literally can (and often does) cost lives. it seems to me that it has moved up the rank structure now, it seems to be a persistent infection of the flag ranks, which is also true in business. I’m not saying there is no reason for it, one merely needs to look at Brendan Eich to understand that.

But in our system, it is too important to leave untreated, in any area, and we are not treating it; in the military, in business, in the church, or academia, or anywhere, really.

And until we do, we will not progress. And think about this, as well, as you start to think about who you support for president, in either party. Much of the cure is always leadership, there are good people out there, but they can easily run on the rocks in a culture that usually denigrates telling it like it is, rather than what we wish it was.

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