February 27, 2010

Why didn't I think of this?

Barack Obama wants the 9/11 ringleader, KSM, tried in a civil court in New York. Now he's been forced to re-consider the venue, but treating foreign terrorists like constitutionally protected US citizens remains dogma for our Harvard Law School philosopher kings.

So where's an appropriate venue?


February 24, 2010

Flashing amber, crossroads ahead

Present-day America is neutral at best towards its allies:
The Obama administration’s decision to remain neutral in the dispute between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands is a shameful decision that will go down very badly across the Atlantic. As The Times has just reported, Washington has point blank refused to support British sovereignty over the Falklands, and is adopting a strictly neutral approach.
Writing as a British husband and father of Americans, here's the deal: I don't care if Obama betrays my country. I don't want his approval, nor Hillary Clinton's, nor the approval of the rest of the clowns who represent America today. But it does behove other Americans to support Britain against the likes of Argentina and Venezuela. So Palin, Romney, Limbaugh, Beck and other decent Americans who are naturally focusing inwards right now, speak up when it matters. If not, then you lose people like me.

In 1956 America betrayed Britain, France and Israel over Suez while we waged war against the Arab nationalist, Nasser. That betrayal became a deep psychological motive for many British conservatives to pull away from America and creep towards the essentially anti-American EU. That tension was the deepest motif of Thatcher's struggle in the Conservative Party and led directly to her political downfall as she was stabbed in the back by the likes of Heseltine and Howe.

My opinion doesn't matter, but if you lose me, you lose many British conservatives and will find yourselves weakened even after you recover from your current sickness. I do not speak of the British governing class, they are mostly as bad as yours. This is more important.

A more emotional view from the author of "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People".

British politics

A General Election looms, so naturally the press is full of demeaning stories about politicians (all true). There's a labyrinthine meme about Gordon Brown as bully. 'Bullying' is the new black in un-pc vices, often in the eye of the beholder, and so a deliciously malleable accusation for modern witchfinders. Since the witchfinders are usually Nu-Labour apparatchiks, it's apt that Brown is on the receiving end of strongly sourced charges that he hits his flunkies and pushes secretaries around. His answer is to go all weepy in a cringeworthy, humanising interview with Piers Morgan. It is sad, but what kind of scumbag uses such personal grief to win votes ? But this reconstruction from Taiwan almost makes me want to vote for him. If he socks Obama between now and May, then I will.


I don't know why I am ashamed by Obama's insults to the Dalai Lama; I'm not even American and he's equally contemptuous to my country. But I am.

Maybe the Dalai Lama is the wrong religion. Maybe Obama wants to appease China. Probably both.

Altho the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, can be a bit of a twit on political theory, his holiness and symbolism exceed those of any other living leader despite having the Nobel Peace Prize. Americans who see their President treating him with disdain may weep to recall that the Dalai Lama holds the Congressional Gold Medal....like George Washington. It makes me angry to write it, but the Dalai Lama would be the last to take offence. He'd see it as no problem or Obama's problem.

The mystique of the Dalai Lama in the psyche of adventurous boys of my generation is hard to overstate. 'Seven Years in Tibet' by Heinrich Harrer is a sensational story guaranteed to make a boy head for the mountains; I stress the book not the movie. In part it deals with the moment when remote Buddhism met modernity and modernity's monster in the attic, communism. That tragedy is personified by this man whom Obama puts out with the trash.

When one day Obama is awarded the Nobel Prize for Phoniness and the Prize for Narcissism and the Prize for Appeasement, let there be added a Nobel Prize for Gracelessness. Then let the medal's mould be smashed.

Sherpas are Tibetan Buddhists who emigrated across the Himalayas to Nepal 300 years ago. Their strength, bravery and sense of fun were qualities I read about as a boy and found to be real when I first climbed in the Himalayas. As a palate cleanser here's a picture of my friend, DaGombu Sherpa, in front of the Everest massif:

February 21, 2010

It's been a good week for....

...George Will:

It's striking to me how the pundits I like best, George Will (Oxford, Princeton) and Charles Krauthammer (Oxford, Harvard), reject Sarah Palin as not smart enough, inexperienced, policy light, whereas another very smart pundit, Mark Steyn, is pretty pro-Palin, like me, while reserving some judgement, like me.

How come?

Well it's obvious what George and Charles have in common. They're both dry, cerebral, irreligious, disabused, fluent, efficient in word and thought and I like that. Steyn and Adams are both Marks, they both have curly hair, they're both playful with words and both educated at English public (ie private) schools. Neither Mark went to university; Steyn was a disc-jockey at 18, Adams took a Classics Exhibition to Cambridge at 16, then changed his mind and hitch hiked off to an improbable future. I postulate that George and Charles simply can't get past their academic bias in judging Palin, whereas the Marks have a broader band experience of the whole world, especially of self-made achievers, and can sense excellence in Palin for which Oxford/Harvard types have narrow band receptors. That excellence is courage, "the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others" as pointed out by by another English public schoolboy who didn't go to university.

Comment on Will's terrific CPAC speech:

And here's some Steyn:
Governor Palin is not merely..."all-American", but hyper-American. What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew? As an immigrant, I'm not saying I came to the United States purely to meet chicks like that, but it was certainly high on my list of priorities. And for the gun-totin' Miss Wasilla then to go on to become Governor while having five kids makes it an even more uniquely American story. Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy.
Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are more or less the same age, but Governor Palin has run a state and a town and a commercial fishing operation, whereas (to reprise a famous line on the Rev Jackson) Senator Obama ain't run nothin' but his mouth. She's done the stuff he's merely a poseur about. Post-partisan? She took on her own party's corrupt political culture directly while Obama was sucking up to Wright and Ayers and being just another get-along Chicago machine pol..
Governor Palin has what the British Labour Party politician Denis Healy likes to call a "hinterland" - a life beyond politics. Whenever Senator Obama attempts anything non-political (such as bowling), he comes over like a visiting dignitary to a foreign country getting shanghaied into some impenetrable local folk ritual. Sarah Palin isn't just on the right side of the issues intellectually. She won't need the usual stage-managed "hunting" trip to reassure gun owners: she's lived the Second Amendment all her life. Likewise, on abortion, we're often told it's easy to be against it in principle but what if you were a woman facing a difficult birth or a handicapped child?
I kinda like the whole naughty librarian vibe.

February 19, 2010

On Mick on Palin

This is a short riff on Mick's fine summary of Sarah Palin's prospects a couple of posts ago. I agree with most of it, but let me point up where I differ:

1. Polls that show a heavy preponderance of opinion against her qualifications aren't worth the paper of the pollsters' contracts with the liberal clientele whom the polls are designed (literally designed) to please; it's too far out yet, yes she's still learning, simple polls in match-ups against Obama show her in the ball-park with Huckabee and Romney and she's far more experienced on the national stage now and is battle hardened. Above all she connects. I'll say it again: she connects.

2. Not only would Obama lose against Palin, I assert, but he'd lose against Levi Johnston. Almost the entire political spectrum gets it that Obama is not Presidential timber and, contra Mick, incumbency is a ball and chain right now not a booster rocket.

To put it another way, Obama is a dead parrot:
Owner: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!
Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?
Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.
Mr. Praline: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour 
ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.
Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.………
Mr. Praline: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e 
rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

3. Mick doubts that Palin can "distinguish between a viable strategy and a half-baked idea". Well maybe, but she's been a successful sportswoman, businesswoman, mother, wife, mayor, governor, author and public speaker on the national stage. Also she's a real American and has American values that are both right and timely. She gets it and she connects. So that's a start.

Mostly I'm with Mick on all this, but the relevant comparison isn't with Obama, it's with Romney. As I said before, my heart says Palin, my head says Romney/Palin. I really like Romney and Scott Brown's endorsement of Romney at CPAC yesterday is beyond price. Romney's speech was pretty good too. But America is at a crossroads and history is moving very fast now. It may yet be that Palin is the transformative leader for the time, tho Romney be more competent, more "qualified".

February 17, 2010

"I see him as the kind of guy whose conscience would be bothered if he moved to the center"

When the history of these times is written, primary sources will get the attention they warrant. Many conservatives view Obama's background as irrelevant now that the election is over. I don't, since it should impact the 2010 elections and the willingness of Republicans to do business with him. Moreover his actual and attempted appointments imply that his beliefs haven't changed:

1 minute version

15 minute version

Long version (I'll listen in the car), seems interesting:

The living dead

The sight of Obama hectoring Chief Justice Roberts and the openly dissenting Alito at the State of the Union address still lingers. Roberts and Alito are as impressive, learned and sincere as Obama is opportunist, narcissist and callow. The Supreme Court is balanced 4-4 liberal-constitutionalist with Kennedy swinging, but dressing to the right. The liberal Stevens (89) will probably retire in June, but the liberal Ginsburg (76) is thought to want to stay on at least another 7 years, health permitting. Ginsburg's stance must appal liberals since then a conservative successor to Obama would lock in a constitutionalist majority for a long time. But now that the Democratic Senate majority is in question from November this year it becomes vital to persuade Ginsburg to retire toot sweet. She understands the stakes, but, boy, would it be delicious were she to stay on. Stripped of affirmative action, mass abortion and judicial activism in the Supreme Court, the Liberal Project would be in trouble. Remember, reader, had McCain won the Presidency, then the prospect of the left-wing collapse would be dubious. Sometimes it's better to lose.

The 5 oldest Senators (ages 85-92) are all Democrat. The oldest Republican is Jim Bunning (78) who will not contest this year's election. Is zombieism part of the liberal psyche?

February 14, 2010

Grumping about language

I added this to Mick's post on Anatreptic about the use of French in the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics:

Less than 1/6th of Canadians self-identify as ethnically French, but they have successfully conducted a parasitic racket against the rest of the country for several decades with the connivance of the political and media classes. The same parasitism is used by Francophones in Belgium and the EU, but the scale of Quebec's achievement is most impressive. I tend to agree with De Gaulle, 'Vive le Québec libre!', that is let Quebec secede. Of course it doesn't because that would end the lucrative racket as well as all the bullshit of involuntary bi-lingualism.

On the point about Spanish, sure let Spanish be freely used everywhere in America (and Urdu in London) except where funded by taxes, ie all government. If the ATM forces me to press a button to transact in English, that's fine as long as I have a choice to change to a bank that wants my business more. Let there be a free market for language.

In fact English is the language of freedom. It's the most expressive, most unruly, most adaptable, most omnivorous, most mongrel of languages with the untouchable advantage of Shakespeare. For the most part we think and dream the thoughts to which our languages pre-dispose us and English itself may be why we are still free (sort of). The threat isn't Spanish or Mandarin but Newspeak and the corruption of language and thought by terms such as 'diversity' or 'abuse' or 'appropriate' or 'tolerance' or 'hatespeech'. Therapyspeak is one gateway drug for Newspeak, but there are plenty. The weapons of freedom in this crucial war are English and the Internet. Keep English sharp and the Internet unruly.

A link to "Politics and the English Language" is called for.

Geography lesson

Manchuria is a historical name given to a vast geographic region in northeast Asia.

Investor's Business Daily:
…..nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Investment Act has been spent on wind power.…..nearly 80% has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines…..at least China is a real place, as opposed to the phantom ZIP codes and congressional districts in which the administration has claimed to have created jobs….The irony is we leave vast reserves of job-creating domestic oil, coal and natural gas locked up as we sacrifice our economy to the Gaia, the goddess of climate change, something China has wisely refused to do.

If the Obama administration were actually trying to damage our economy, it is not clear that it could do a better job.

February 10, 2010

The view from my window

The forecast is continuous snow until Al Gore cries "uncle". Oh dear, I'm booked to fly from Newark to London tomorrow.

Morning rant #9, bet on America

The past year points to a bright future for America. The country has been sick for decades, maybe since Calvin Coolidge. Its sickness is the enormous government tapeworm digesting enterprise into the whole crap sandwich of debt, tax codes, bought votes of public employees and welfare dependents, affirmative action and and and. Kill that tapeworm then America will thrive. But the worm is deeply entwined and it takes maximum pissed-offness for the productive voters to get angry enough to yank it out.

If Obama had been a cleverer politician like Tony Blair, say, then liberalism would persist maybe to the point of killing its host. In Britain the 'Conservative', David Cameron, will probably be PM by May. He sees himself as the heir to Blair. He personifies the triumph of liberalism. He is a soi-disant conservative who buys into the liberal theology of EU membership, Warmism, imposed 'diversity', nationalised health and most of the other bollocks. Cameron probably doesn't believe that stuff any more than he believed the conservatism he used to espouse. He just thinks he's more likely to get elected by the BBC/Guardian brainwashed swing voter. Meanwhile many ideological conservatives are likely to vote for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), both from principle and in dreams of a hung Parliament where call-me-Dave is dragged to a populist anti-EU stance.

Anyhoot Obama's move to control the last remaining facets of free enterprise has provoked America's immune system to produce antibodies sufficient to fight the underlying sickness. And it only took 12 months. That says America's immune system is in good shape and that says America has the best political culture providing it's sufficiently provoked and providing there exists the internet. Indeed the internet may be as big factor in America's recovery as Obama's provocations. I've been saying for a while "Better Obamanism then renaissance than McCainism then decline."

What this rant is rambling up to is that America will boom in the near future. The strongest indicator of health is how a body deals with sickness and these 12 months show that America is the healthiest kid on the block. Try hosting a Tea Party in China. So roll up, roll up, fill your boots with the Dow Jones Index at 10,000!

Pre-socializing America

I've written in favour of George Bush for his personal quality and his political bravery. The hobgoblins of the left invented a demon called Bush for a scapegoat, so its a public service to defend him,


I must link to Michelle Malkin's "Things I don't miss about George W. Bush" for a cold shower. The phrase "pre-socialized the economy for Obama" will linger.

February 08, 2010

The other Superbowl ad

I rented this product for a week last year and thought it was wonderful.

February 07, 2010

“I’d rather be ruled by the first 100 names in the Boston telephone directory than the Harvard faculty"

In a recent post, Bah! Humbug! for buddhists, I wrote:
This has been a low, dishonest year in American politics. To Nile Gardiner's neat ranking of Obama's 10 worst foreign policy blunders, I'd add this shining turd of appeasement - cancelling his meeting with the Dalai Lama 'to keep China happy'.
Obama appeased China ahead of the Copenhagen Global Warming Jamboree and got America predictably dissed there. Now that the Chinese know for sure that the assistant-law-lecturer-in-chief is weak, they're raising the stakes against the next scheduled meeting with the Dalai Lama so when it takes place, there will be a breach with real consequences instead of a merely diplomatic breach if Obama had adopted Bush's practice from the off.

This stuff is so elementary. But not trying the 9/11 mastermind in downturn Manhattan is a no-brainer, you'd think; saying 'corpsman' instead of 'corpseman'; '57 states'; bowing to foreign kings; endless self-reference.....look, can anyone think of one smart thing this guy's initiated? One?

The cod psychology of a weak leader is that after rejection by tyrants they've hugged and purred to, then he over-compensates. That's the danger with Obama. He'll get into a tactical stand-off when it's much harder for an adversary to back down without loss of face. Result, the tactical stand-off ends as strategic defeat for America led by a poseur.

February 04, 2010

Quiz time

As US/China relations implode, name a single country with which America has better relations than under Bush. Sudan, maybe? Ok name 2. Note, the UN is not a country.

February 03, 2010

Damn Photo Competitions!

I compare the winning shot and runner up shot in last week's Daily Telegraph photo competition, theme 'Bridges',  with images found by a quick search on Flickr to show that the winning shots are familiar treatments of famous scenes:

My shot of London Bridge that should have won!

I did win a couple of weeks ago to my surprise with the theme 'Tall'.

Dissing Las Vegas

The remarks of the Las Vegas Mayor, Oscar Goodman, should be heeded. He's a defense lawyer who represented the most notorious mobsters in Vegas and appeared as himself in Casino. I've just ordered his biography, Of Rats And Men. If he says "You're a real slow learner", a wise man will take notes:

The Reality Distortion Field

February 02, 2010

Fly me to the moon

The moon from our garden in NJ a couple of days ago:

JFK told Congress in 1961:
Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take.

Toby Young writes:
A couple of years ago, my best friend Sean Langan was kidnapped by the Taliban while making a documentary for Channel 4 in Pakistan. During his three-month ordeal he was interrogated by his captors many times and he was often surprised by what they wanted him to confess to. One subject they kept returning to were the moon landings. They refused to believe that America had put men on the moon and, again and again, they tried to browbeat him into admitting that NASA’s programme of manned space flight had been an elaborate hoax.
Why did this matter to them? Sean’s theory is that the moon landings are clear evidence of the superiority of everything the Taliban are opposed to — of reason over revelation, of democracy over theocracy, of science over superstition. In its original conception, NASA’s Apollo Programme was supposed to be an advertisement for the superiority of America to the Soviet Union — a Cold War propaganda exercise — but in the eyes of these Islamist terrorists it also served to discredit America’s current enemies. Their response was to insist the moon landings hadn’t happened.
The Constellation Programme could have been all that and more. Yet Obama, in his wisdom, doesn’t see the point of it. To me, this encapsulates the difference between JFK and Obama. When it comes to putting men on the moon, JFK said, “Yes we can.” Obama, in yesterday’s budget proposal, said, “No we can’t.”