The Saudis

Standard

Excerpt: There is no question that Trump is unusually protective of the Saudi government even for a U.S. president, but I’m not sure that it is as inexplicable as all that. Like other anti-Muslim figures in his party, the president has a special regard for the Saudis because they are as anti-Iranian as he is. Perhaps more important for Trump is the fact that his son-in-law has cultivated a relationship with the Saudi crown prince. It was no accident that Trump’s first foreign trip as president was to Riyadh. Kushner was instrumental in persuading Trump to go there. Trump’s reflexive backing for the blockade of Qatar shortly after that visit was another result. The connection between the two princelings likely accounts for a significant part of U.S. foreign policy during the first three years of Trump’s presidency.

We should assume that the extensive pro-Saudi and pro-Emirati lobbying efforts that have been working overtime in Washington during this same period have contributed to the president’s almost comical subservience to the interests of these client states…

We are daily becoming aware of the extent of the administration’s corruption, and we still do not fully know the role of foreign money and influence from these countries in shaping the administration’s policies. If a president consistently puts the interests of another government ahead of American interests, there is probably something else going on beyond extremely bad foreign policy judgment. Trump’s absurd pro-Saudi bias is not inexplicable, but it is still in need of a fuller explanation. The rest of the answer is more likely found in lobbying and the president’s family and business ties. Whatever the full explanation turns out to be, the ever-closer embrace of the Saudis has been a disaster for U.S. foreign policy, the people of Yemen, and the stability of the region.

 

What Explains Trump’s Twisted Embrace of Saudi Arabia?

Here are a few of the comments on the Daniel Larson blog:

Bumbershoot: This Business Insider headline makes a nice point: “Trump said he has ‘no financial interests in Saudi Arabia.’ But his businesses have made millions from the Saudi government, and the crown prince gave his New York City hotel a huge boost.”  Gee, I wonder why he likes Saudi Arabia so much?

TheSnark: Follow the money. Except that it is hard to do as Trump refuses to release his tax returns or any business records.

Me: Trump’s political agenda is “Make Trump Great Again”. Without a doubt, Trump’s primary motivation is money. He’s undoubtedly dreaming on Trump Tower Riyadh–yesterday, today and tomorrow. I’m 110% positive there will be one in the near future (…along with Trump Tower Moscow).  The fact that the Saudi’s are anti-Iran is a bonus to Trump supporting neocons: a fringe benefit for prostituting themselves so.

SidFinster: The *really* funny and ironic part is that if they want evidence that Trump is working on behalf of foreign governments, there is loads of evidence out there in plain sight. He doesn’t even try to hide it.  You need look no further than Israel and Saudi Arabia.

It’s as if Melania were trying to catch Donald cheating with Vladimir at the office across the street. Because the known facts don’t support her theory, Melania comes up with an absurdly elaborate and bizarre plot involving multiple body doubles, fake credit card receipts issued by a non-existent bank, the Polish Mafia, and a supposed secret Twitter code that Donald uses to communicate with his alleged lover. Also, to make it work, not only does everyone from Barron to Mike Pence’s dog have to know about this scheme, they are assisting in the coverup.

Melania works herself into a lather “connecting the dots” concocting a conspiracy theory that would put the 1961 John Birch Society to shame, and ignoring all the evidence that obliterates her theory.

Meanwhile, if she wants to see Donald being unfaithful, Mistress Bibi and Mistress Salman have the chains and whips and bondage gear on full display as they make Donald perform the most obscene and humiliating sexual services, all right out there on her own kitchen table in front of Melania and everyone else, and with video footage to boot.

Reid: As others have mentioned, it’s mostly about money, without a doubt. But let’s not forget the other important thing to Trump: you can be sure that they flatter him and know how to work him.

Have We Been Lied To About Afghanistan?

Standard

Excerpt: I got so mad that I had to quit reading not long after the paragraph above. We have lost about 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, and sustained about 21,000 casualties of war. (Not to mention all the dead innocent Afghan civilians, and the dead and wounded troops of our NATO allies.) We have spent altogether almost $1 trillion on that country. The Afghan officials stole a fortune from us. We never knew what to do there. And every one of our leaders lied about it. Lied! All those brave American soldiers, dead or maimed for life, for a war that our leaders knew that we could not win, but in defense of which they lied.

It’s the Pentagon Papers all over again. You know this, right.

Trump is negotiating now with the Taliban over the possibility of US withdrawal. The story says US officials fought the Post in court over these documents, and have said most recently that publishing them would undermine the administration’s negotiating position. I don’t care. Tell the truth, for once. Let’s cut our losses and go before more Americans die in this lost cause. Poor Afghanistan is going to fall under the tyrannical rule of the mullahs. But if, after 18 years, a trillion dollars, and all those dead and wounded Americans, we couldn’t establish a stable and decent Afghan regime, it’s not going to happen.

If any of my children want to join the US military, I’m going to go to the mat to talk them out of it. I do not want them, or anybody’s sons or daughters, sent overseas to die in hopeless countries in wars that we cannot win, and shouldn’t have fought, but kept doing because of bipartisan Establishment foreign policy delusions.

Our Lying Military, Our Lying Government

 

Here are a few comments on the latest blog from Rod Dreher:

SidFinster:  The squandering of blood and treasure, fighting a pointless war that benefits nobody but the financiers, contractors, arms manufacturers and generals, all while the politicians and generals proclaim that victory is just at hand, we can’t turn back now, – all this reminds me of nothing so much as a smaller scale WWI.

Tony: Trump wants us out of Afghanistan, but Iran is a different story. He’s sending more troupes to Saudi Arabia to defend the Saudi’s from Iran, how is that disentangling from the ME. I think the Saudi’s Wahhabism, basically the same as ISIS practices, is the most dangerous religion in the word today and they are busy exporting it to the rest of the world. I really think Trump is a false prophet, a lying prophet, who serves first himself.

SidFinster in response to Tony: If Trump wanted us out of Afghanistan (or Syria, or Saudi Arabia, or whatever) he need only give the order.

Loetzen in response to SidFinster: If he did that, they’re remove him from office. That’s what the ongoing Russia, Ukraine, etc. impeachment-of-the-week threats have all been about: toe the party line, or we’ll dump you for someone who will.

Disqus: Didn’t vote for Trump – but: He has attempted to stand up to the elite establishment intelligence-military-arms manufacturing complex and start cutting back the forever wars. Everyone attacks him for this–establishment Republicans, Democrats, State Department, Military, Intelligence, Media–everybody. The attacks are immediate and intense. He is almost always forced to pull back. He seems determined to keep trying, but, as is evident, they will do anything it takes to stop him.

Edward: Could not agree more Rod. And if my nine year old son comes to me in nine years and tells me that he wants to join our military I would tell him that I could not support it.

Paul: I’m not even surprised. We got used as human fodder for the military industrial complex.  Let’s be real: no one cares and nothing will get done about this. It’ll get swept under the rug. And next time, there will be similar “outrage” but no one cares and nothing will get done. That is how DC works. They just fuel the machine with poor kids who are willing to die in order to escape poverty. It was our only way out…. Meh. There is no justice.

CollinReid: This was one of Obama failures as after Bin Laden, he should have claimed victory and left Afghanistan. Unfortunately this is like Vietnam nobody wants to lose a war but Afghanistan is small enough it is under the radar. (In terms of Nixon unpopularity, the Vietnam war did not help during Watergate crisis.)

Frankly, this is what Trump does best. He just simply claim victory, and withdraw the troops and then we let Fox News continue hailing the Chief. Literally that is Trump’s biggest strength!

Adamant: I spent 4 years in the USAF, and I told both my sons if they ever try to enlist I’m going to hit them in the knee with a blunt object so they can’t serve. I’m about 80% sure I’m serious.  There is a mother somewhere in America whose son is going to be the last soldier/marine/sailor/airman to die for this fiasco. Think about her the next time some d*** politician tries to sell you on a war.

#SilentNight #OriginalGerman

Standard

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright

Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight

Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing ‘Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

 

The ‘Victimariat’???

Standard

Excerpt: It is beyond absurd to claim that “religious liberty” is a code word for “preserving white Western heritage” — but framing the matter in terms that offend the victimariat — like the “proletariat” in Marxist-Leninist philosophy, the class on whose behalf, and through whose agency, society must be revolutionized. If “religious liberty” can be safely written off as a code word for “white supremacy,” then progressives (and former Evangelicals who for some reason feel a need to put distance between themselves and their former commitments and friends) don’t have to think about it, only emote…

An important lesson to learn from this incident, and the Thornbury one, is how progressives twist language to justify (to themselves and others) doing highly illiberal things. Progressives don’t have to take religious conservatives seriously when they talk about religious liberty, because they’re really talking about white supremacy. Progressives don’t have to permit the performance of a play not because they are censoring material that offends someone, but because they are looking out for the “safety” of students. This allows the cowardly administrators and professors to lie to themselves about what they did, and what it says about their own lack of commitment to academic freedom and free speech.

Dictatorship Of The Victimariat

 

Here are a few comments on the Rod Dreher article that I find most interesting:

Cross Tie Walker: They are simply posing as offended. I doubt few of these people ever really take offense personally. It’s an act.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t serious in deploying their insincerity. They are deadly serious, especially en masse.

JonF311: Given that the play wasn’t mandatory why couldn’t the snowflakes have stayed away from it. Win-Win for everyone.

Cestusdai: There are 320 million people in the USA. Some are bad people. Some are racist. Out of that many there are bound to be some. However, it is not all pervasive. I have never seen it. I think I heard the n word once way back when I was a kid. Even then it was not considered to be a nice word. Now just disagreeing is “racist.” Which means racism doesn’t mean anything other then “shut up.”

Joanis B: The administration, i.e. bureaucracy (including accountancy), probably thought the Ku Klux Klan element to the play created a sufficiently serious possibility of provocation to unstable elements on and off compass to not make the play worth showing (after all, this is still the America of Columbine, Virgina Tech, fatal Charlottesville tiki torch march, etc.). Was the play censored? In strictly legal terms, I’m not qualified to assess, though it certainly seems that way following common parlance. However, the cause of the administration’s censoriousness is probably more complex than they’re willing to admit (i.e. bureaucrat/legal conservatism and prudence), and it may well be that they thought giving their decision a Social Justice slant would make their lives easier and the bureaucratic/legal censorship pill go down easier (after all Social Justice is supposed to be the new lingua franca of college campuses in the US, supposedly aligning bureaucracy and student body in a universal common cause fight).

Arclight: College appears to be an extremely expensive daycare for the emotionally fragile these days. I realize most students at schools like this are normal and just shrug their shoulders and go on with their day, but it’s unbelievable that administrators cave to would-be victims. I honestly don’t think they would pay any real penalty for it other than some sit-ins and poorly made signs by kids who almost certainly wouldn’t decide not to re-enroll. What needs to happen is for a critical mass of figures on the left to refuse to play along – those of us on the right can complain all we want, but that’s validation of these tactics for the woke.

#VultureCapitalism #Conservativism

Standard

Excerpt: Sidney, Nebraska. Headquarters of Cabela’s. Cabela was quite profitable, but Paul Singer’s hedge fund saw a potential for profit. Singer bought a stake in Cabela’s, and forced it to merge with Bass Pro Shops. Singer doubled his money in one week, making about $100 million.  Cabela’s closed its Sidney headquarters. It was the town’s main employer, and lost nearly 2,000 jobs. Property values collapsed. People who could leave, did. Those who couldn’t are now living in the ruins of what was once a good town.

Cabela’s was profitable. It was not a distressed business. But Paul Singer, a billionaire three times over, saw money to be made there, and swooped in for his fortune. To hell with the people of Sidney, Nebraska.

At the end of the segment, Carlson says he reached out to Ben Sasse, one of Nebraska’s Republican senators, asking for a comment about what happened to Sidney. Sasse said nothing. Carlson said in researching the story, he found not one public word from Sasse about the fate of Sidney. But he did find that Sasse got the maximum contribution possible from Singer for his 2014 Senate run.

Tucker Vs. Vulture Capitalists

 

There were many, many comments on the Rod Dreher article.  Here are just a few:

PW: There isn’t a single candidate for major office in the US that opposes free market capitalism. Literally no-one is calling for the abolition of private property or the nationalization of major industries. In fact, the last time an industry was nationalized, it was under a Republican administration (airline security).  You’re letting your mind get clouded by category errors if you’re seeing scary socialists everywhere but don’t want “crony capitalism”. That’s literally the focus of the economic left.

Ed Man responds to PW: Even if you were right, it wouldn’t matter and that’s exactly the problem. The policies of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren guarantee an ever-escalating “creeping” of state intervention into the economy. As their policies fail or their benefits become diluted or offset by the trade-offs, the easy solution will be to double down and create even more policies that involve government control of the economy.

Also, the Republicans never “nationalized” the airline industry. Regulating something on the basis of safety and security isn’t the same as nationalization. That’s like saying the automobile industry is nationalized just because there are safety standards in place governing the construction of cars. That said, between 1938 and 1978, the airline industry was subsidized by the federal government, giving it power to regulate fares (this is why airfare was so much more expensive back then). Guess who was president in 1938 when this policy was implemented?  FDR.

Coyote the Clever: Globalism is the inevitable result of free market capitalism. If you’ve managed to stop globalism, then congratulations, you’ve put together restrictions that by definition have made your markets not free. And in creating those restrictions by allying with big business rather than the working class, you’ve just made another kind of crony capitalist system, via authoritarian capitalism.  You can have free markets and globalism, or you can have closed markets and cronyism. That is the trade off you make under capitalism. Either way, the working class is harmed immeasurably.

The only way to really stop globalism without harming the American worker is to center companies around the American worker in a syndicalist system where they have the power to vote out executives and control their pay, making things like outsourcing an impossibility and controlling wages.

Russell: If “socialism” means “the nationalization of the industrial marketplace and the abolition of all personal private property,” then there is not only not a single socialist running for president, there are barely any socialists anywhere in the U.S., and I speak as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America who hang with these folks all the time. The invariably corrupt and corrupting nature of markets under the rule of finance capital–which is, thanks to globalization, what “capitalism” usually cannot help but point towards on the planet Earth, circa 2019–is the target of socialists, not the elimination of markets themselves. Yes, of course, I know socialists who want to impose state-run collectivism on every industry; you probably also know conservatives who want to stone homosexuals to death. To define everyone who uses a label solely in terms of the most fringey use of a label (as I will sometimes say to Rod in other contexts) does not serve discourse well.

MPC: It’s far better that the country decide that Singer and his sort are the problem, than that white people, black people, Latino people, Christian people, gay people, men, women, etc etc ie 100% of the country think that their next door neighbor is the problem. Identity politics keeps the plebs shooting each other while the elites accumulate ever more power. White, black, Christian, LGBT, whatever shade, identity politics is cancer and is paralyzing us to the inherent danger of concentrated power in a republic.

For those that don’t want socialism, nothing would be more tempting to an actual socialist movement than a massive centralization of power in a culturally distant group of Paris or Petersburg or Caracas-equivalent elites. Their pockets may be deep and their fortresses well built, but the fury of a dispossessed populace is not easily turned aside. The greed of the elites swallows up all power in to themselves, making absolute and unchecked control by the revolutionaries inevitable once they have seized it. There are Robespierres and Napoleons and Stalins and Maduros and generations of long recovery before the heirs of the revolution finally wise up to the problem of too much power in too few hands not turning out any better when it’s their hands that hold it.

Temp Anon: You’re fond of saying – on religious liberty grounds – that you don’t necessarily like voting for Republicans, but at least they don’t hate you like the Democrats do. What this highlights is that the Republicans (and Trump) do hate you, just for different reasons.Trump and the Republicans will do Sydney, Nebraska’s over and over again if it means that a couple of hedge funds get another 1% annual return on their funds. The Democrats might put a local baker out of business if he won’t sell a cake to a gay couple. The Republicans will wipe out the entire town if it makes one of their rich donors a little bit richer.

JLS: Oh please, Singer gives more to Republicans than to Democrats, which makes him an outlier on Wall Street which overwhelmingly gives more money to Democrats. Singer made his investment in Cabela’s during the Obama administration, so how is Trump to blame?

Coyote the Clever (second comment): How long are they going to be church people Rod, when their town is turned to dust, and the only jobs available to them only offer them a living wage if they work 80 hours a week? Economic issues are social issues. If you want to know why the family is breaking down, look at how the unions that supported them broke down. If you want to see why people aren’t going to church, see what decision fatigue capitalism is overloading their brains with.

Gauis: Mr Singer is not a conservative. His economic position is neoliberalism. His foreign policy position is neoconservative. His social/ cultural position is liberal. His not a Christian and does not support Christian values. He does not support traditionalism in any form. He is part of the Uniparty and would likely love a Bloomberg or Hillary as president.  He is a predator on American society. His sociopathic policies are killing the host for short term gain. And he is typical of the oligarchs who are allegedly conservative.  And he is the type of “Republican” who owns Conservative Inc. And why many Consevatives refuse to give credit to “conservative” pundits anymore.  No open borders. No endless wars. Yes to antitrust enforcement. Yes to taxing the rich. Yes to national health care. Yes to tariffs. Yes to free speech and religious freedom. Yes to American nationalism and America First.

Lee in WV: I think you are right that the best way for the GOP to expand their tent is to do so with populist economic policies. The thing is that our partisanship is so complete that a party is defined as much by being against what the other party is for as for being for their own policies. Healthcare is a perfect example. Obamacare was based on Romneycare and yet the GOP ran *Romney himself* with a top plank of “repeal and replace”. It was seriously incoherent but that didn’t matter. As it stands now, it appears that one of the top points on the GOP 2020 strategy is to yell “SOCIALIST!!!” at and about Democrats whenever they mention any sort of economics.

Amadeus: Singer is basically the kind “Republican” that Trump was a “Democrat”. An opportunist that would do and say about anything to make a buck.

Sean: The only people who will take power whether economic or political, away from the Paul Singers of the world are not the Right. The Right will salute and say ‘yes sir!’ every time their economic betters tell them what is Right and Proper. Because the Right ALWAYS defends hierarchical power, no matter how destructive that power is to the cultural/social things the Right claims to defend in it’s attacks on it’s enemies.

Laclan: So the high rollers are screwing the holy rollers. Hasn’t this always been the plan? But if you give lip service to the latter, throw them a few crumbs now and then; they will always come running. Pitiful. So don’t wait for this to change. God save us.

 

Generational Wokeness???

Standard

Excerpt: It doesn’t seem to matter what efforts we parents take to get our kids to like us. Our progeny inevitably go through a phase, hopefully a short one (though at times life-long), in which they perceive their parents as clueless and backward, worthy of scorn and derision. Ironically, as the above WaPo exclusive suggests, the 1960s antipathy towards all traditions—nuclear families, religious faith, patriarchy—has fostered a socio-cultural paradigm that now questions even the “traditions” of the secularist progressives. Unfortunately, this mentality leads not back to conservatism, but towards even greater extremes: more extreme sexual liberation, more extreme feminism, and more extreme suspicion of any vestiges of traditional American society.

Thus in our age of “female empowerment” do many girls argue that the objectification of their bodies isn’t something to be protested but rather “a form of power they want to claim,” according to psychologist Lisa Damour. It doesn’t matter that this objectification has facilitated a billion-dollar pornography industry connected to human trafficking, degradation of the human person (both the performer and the viewer), and disastrous addictions. These girls have been instructed since youth that their empowerment and self-actualization—epitomized in this case by getting to “experiment,” “be creative,” “express oneself,” and show off one’s “confidence” and “aesthetic”—trump all other concerns.

Woke Parenting Eats Its Own

 

Here are a few of the interesting comments on the Casey Chalk article:

Selvar: One thing I’ve noticed–at least when it comes to online spaces and subcultures–is that young men tend to rebel against their boomer parents toward the far-right (i.e. the Alt Right, 4-chan, and the manosphere “Red Pill” ideology) while young women tend to rebel toward the far-left (I.e. third wave feminism, identity politics, and social justice ideology). This pattern can also be seen in the vast polling gender difference among young men and women in support for Trump. Add in declining rates of marriage, childbearing, and family formation, and men and women begin to function more like two separate, somewhat mutually hostile ethnic groups than anything else.

Haywood: I was standing in line at the coffee shop and a young woman in front of me was wearing a t-shirt that said “SOCIAL MEDIA BABY”. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked her what is meant. She replied that she was proud to be the a member of the first generation of Americans that were raised by social media and not their parents, that their parents world view was all wrong and had gotten us into the mess we are supposedly in, and that the Social Media Babies were going to be the ones to set things right. If you read your history its easy to see why authoritarian movements always use young people as their foot soldiers. They will happily march their fellow countrymen into boxcars, all while screaming “the future belongs to US”.

Thinking Man’s Moderate: Oh, look. Another wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth that the youth are careening down a path to oblivion. Just like the boomers said about gen x. Just like the greatest generation said about the boomers (remember communes and LSD? That was the boomers). Just like every generation says about the one it begets. Spare me.

LorenTrit: The 1960’s youth rebellion was against being used as cannon fodder in Vietnam. We also marched to end racial segregation in the South. Maybe today’s youthful rebellion is just because of aimless and stupid parents. God knows, there is no shortage of those.

Lynn responded to LorenTrit: And to that I add the feminist rebellion had real issues as well, including no right to a hearing by peers in court, since women rarely served on juries, and such things as no right to credit in our names or credit cards. Just to name a few. Those battles were fought and won, but like punch drunk boxers, some still fight phantoms. When “unconscious bias” becomes your complaint, you’re not going to be taken seriously by thinking people. However, you will be taken advantage of by political forces who need useful idiots.

Dave: As the progressive father of a woke, dynamic, kind, and energetic 18-year-old girl who is engaged in the world around her, I wonder whether letting her wear crop tops will be her ultimate demise. She’s very happy and doing quite well in school, but will that belly button drive her into the seedy underworld of addiction and porn?