The Deep State and the Middle East

Interesting that the Americans will show this but not give out the name of the dog who was injured. I would have thought there’s lots to learn from the way the attack took place, but maybe not. If there is any overall lesson here is that the US remains engaged in the Middle East.

We amateurs in foreign policy nevertheless love to keep an eye on the world. I am a former student of Machiavelli and Hobbes, even taught them at one time in my career, so I’m in there with the best of them, like Greg Sheridan. So following from the killing of the leader of ISIS, we are again asked to listen to the words of the Deep State as reflected in Sheridan’s column today: Trump’s Mid-East retreat raises the threat of war. These are the words that appear in the middle of the page in the paper:

Trump often threatens Iran but it has become clear there are almost no circumstances in which Trump would act against it.

You could say the same about Obama, except for him you would have to remove the word “almost”, and then add the billions in cash flown in to get the Iranians to slow, not stop, their acquisition of nuclear weapons. So Greg, what’s the plan? What should America do, given all of this:

Iran has built huge conventional forces inside Lebanon through its proxy Hezbollah, which now has 150,000 missiles trained on Israel. Iran has huge influence in Yemen….

The threat of a serious war between ­Israel and Iran is growing. Even [Don’t you mean especially?] Trump would not stand outside a war which threatened Israel’s life.

It is possible that reducing US influence in the Middle East could needlessly lead to a huge Middle East war, which America would have to join.

Weakness is provocative.

It is all a worry, but what makes me worry more than anything else is the thought of a Democrat in the White House in 2021. Which side are you on, Greg, which side are you on?

And here is the Fox News report.

LET ME NOW ADD THIS: Trump’s Withdrawal from Syria Is a Foreign Policy Masterstroke. This is how the article begins:

In one deft move that doesn’t put a single American life at risk, President Trump achieved a regional solution to ISIS, undermined Iran’s capacity for foreign aggression, and disentangled the United States from an alliance of convenience that threatened to create major diplomatic headaches down the road.

Contrary to claims that withdrawing American special forces from Northern Syria will enable ISIS to resurrect itself, for instance, the arrangement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan merely shifts responsibility for the few remaining ISIS fighters onto Turkey.

The successful operation to take out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi only makes it even less likely that the terrorist group will reemerge.

As was once not said by Zhou Enlai [the modern spelling, apparently] about the French Revolution, “it’s too soon to tell”. As for the counter-factual, that we will never know outside of a parallel universe.

Even a bunch of spaced out zombies can outperform the government

You knew that already, but here’s some more evidence: The Ontario government lost $42M selling cannabis in the last year.

Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp. lost $42 million in the latest fiscal year, according to newly released public documents.

The provincial Crown corporation tasked with online sales and wholesale distribution of recreational pot reported revenues of $64 million for the year ended March 31, 2019.

However, Ontario’s consolidated financial statements show the OCRC, which operates as the Ontario Cannabis Store, racked up expenses totalling $106 million during the period.

The comments section on this post is filled with the same: What We Call National Health Care or Single-Payer Is a Crime Against Humanity. Think of this:

Sure. Let me relate a small story, indicative of what happens when government gets into health care:

Half of my engineering career was in Biomedical Engineering. In about 1989, I was the designated engineer for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at a top-ten teaching hospital.

My highest failure item was the fan motor for the infant incubators. I might go through a dozen in a week. Here’s the thing –

I could buy a replacement for that fan motor for $5 at Radio Shack. Except government and regulatory agencies mandated that I buy this product from an “authorized vendor.”

The cost of the motor from them? $225. That is forty-five times what it would’ve cost if I could have gone to Rac-Shack. Forty-five times the cost, for the exact same item.

So if you ever wonder just how you’re getting screwed by the healthcare system, well, there’s an example.

And now they want to manage the system that turns on the lights and heats our homes. Freezing in the dark is what comes next.

There’s a thickness on the left

Found at Powerline: under the heading, “Who is actually tolerant?” Comes with this remarkable chart.

And even this is an underestimate of the real divide since no lefty ever thinks to modify their views when in the company of someone on the right, while people on the right almost invariably do. Many on the left therefore really have no idea what people on the right think since most of them never allow anything to be said in their presence that will offend their political sensibilities. They therefore are less aware to the point of obliviousness whether or not they would shut people on the right out of their lives. Of course they would, pathetic numbskulls that they are.

But for a change of pace, this really made me laugh.

The American left’s resistance to a democratic order

This is by Caroline Glick: Trump, Israel and the Democratic Crack-Up. It is directed at the extent to which Democrats have become anti-Israel, but begins with more general observations that need to be pondered.

Until 2000, the peaceful transition of power in the wake of elections was a feature of American democracy that everyone took for granted. In 2000, the Democrats shifted. They refused to accept the election results in Florida that gave Bush his victory in the state, and through it, in the electoral college, until the Supreme Court ruled that the results were legitimate. Even afterwards, many Democrats considered Bush’s victory and his presidency illegitimate.

In retrospect, the Democrats’ refusal to accept the legitimacy of the 2000 election results marked the beginning of the party’s radicalization.

Since Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, the speed and depth of the party’s radical transformation has gone into overdrive.

The day after the election, Democrats coined a new term in American politics, “resistance.” Until then, the side that lost a presidential election was the “opposition.” But the Democrats don’t simply “oppose” Trump, they “resist” him.

The distinction is profound. An opponent recognizes the basic legitimacy of the person he opposes. A resister does not. The purpose of the anti-Trump resistance is not to offer an alternative path for governing. It is to nullify Trump’s presidency by among other things delegitimizing and dehumanizing Trump his family, associates and supporters. The resistance seeks to paralyze Trump’s presidency to prevent him from wielding the power of office and oust him from that office as quickly as possible.

To this end, for instance, the Democratic minority in the Senate has used procedural rules to slow-roll Trump’s appointments to senior positions in the executive branch and impede his ability to govern.

The resistance is not limited to the partisan arena. During the 2016 elections, and to an even greater degree in their aftermath, Democrats in the US media and in the federal government – particularly in the intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic arms of government — joined Democratic politicians in their efforts to nullify the Trump candidacy and later presidency. Like the politicians, they have used the power of their positions to undermine and subvert Trump’s presidency to foment his departure from office.

We saw extra-political resistance in action with the attempt by senior FBI, CIA and Justice Department officials to criminalize Trump as a Russian agent through the use of the Clinton campaign’s fraudulent “Steele dossier.” The senior federal officials used the dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele for the Clinton campaign as a means to open an investigation against Trump’s campaign and against Trump himself and then cause the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate their partisan-financed, false allegations.

As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote in his book Ball of Collusion which examines the Russia collusion investigation, the liberal establishment in Washington, “exploited its control of law-enforcement and intelligence to help Clinton and undermine Trump. This is a scandalous abuse of power.”…

Despite the self-evident absurdity of the basis for their impeachment drive, the Democrats are conducting hearings and taking testimony from federal employees in secret rooms, and barring their Republican colleagues from attending.

The media aren’t merely supporting this farce. They are taking a leading role in propounding it. Last week, the investigative journalism organization Project Veritas released recorded footage of CNN President Jeff Zucker instructing his top news executives to push the impeachment story in their programming.

A transcript of a meeting in August between New York Times editor Dean Banquet and the paper’s editorial staff revealed a similar obsession at the Times with advancing the anti-Trump resistance.

Where does this go? There has been nothing, absolutely nothing that has been done by Donald Trump that has been anything other than what those who voted for him expected him to do. This is not an attack on Trump. It is an attack on the democratic process itself.

Modern American politics

Three posts at Instapundit today. First this.

And then this.

DEMOCRATS ROUTINELY SIDE WITH ANTI-SEMITIC ARABS THESE DAYS: McConnell Senate Challenger Attends Dinner Hosted by Hamas-Linked CAIR.

And now this.

WAIT, ALL THE BEST PEOPLE TOLD ME HE BLEW IT: Trump Outsmarts Putin With Syria Retreat: Russia will soon find itself caught between Turkey and Syria.

If and when such a border fight develops, Putin will find himself between Assad and Erdogan. Whatever he does, he will wind up in that most vulnerable of Middle Eastern positions, the friend of somebody’s enemy.

As the big power in charge, Russia also will be expected to help its Syrian client rebuild the damage from the civil war. Physical reconstruction alone is expected to cost $400-500 billion. This is a bill Trump had no intention of paying — and one more reason he was glad to hand northern Syria to Putin.

Russia cannot afford a project of this magnitude. It’s possible that Putin expects EU countries to foot the bill — motivated either by humanitarian impulses or by the desire to forestall another wave of destitute immigrants. But this is wishful thinking. Faced with a potential influx of Syrian refugees, Europe is more likely to raise barriers on its southern and eastern borders than to invest in affordable housing in the ruins of Aleppo and Homs.

Erdogan’s loud threats to send refugees are likely to boost anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.

The purpose is not to convince but to destroy

There was a bit of comment on this article by Gary Saul Morson when it was released upon publication but I waited until my copy of The New Criterion arrived in the post before I read it. This article is a sensation that will make many things clear but also spook you about the kinds of people we are dealing with. It has the simple title, Leninthink which gives you no sense of what it’s about. It’s about what modern socialists really think and how they really operate. Their beliefs, whatever they are, represent an absolute moral standard. No argument, no discussion, no compromise. Mixed in with arbitrary random terror. This is some of it, but you need to read it all to get the sense of the mentality of the socialist absolute mind.

Lenin constantly recommended that people be shot “without pity” or “exterminated mercilessly” (Leszek Kołakowski wondered wryly what it would mean to exterminate people mercifully). “Exterminate” is a term used for vermin, and, long before the Nazis described Jews as Ungeziefer (vermin), Lenin routinely called for “the cleansing of Russia’s soil of all harmful insects, of scoundrels, fleas, bedbugs—the rich, and so on.”

Lenin worked by a principle of anti-empathy, and this approach was to define Soviet ethics. I know of no other society, except those modeled on the one Lenin created, where schoolchildren were taught that mercy, kindness, and pity are vices. After all, these feelings might lead one to hesitate shooting a class enemy or denouncing one’s parents. The word “conscience” went out of use, replaced by “consciousness” (in the sense of Marxist-Leninist ideological consciousness). During Stalin’s great purges a culture of denunciation reigned, but it was Lenin who taught “A good communist is also a good Chekist.”

This too helps to make sense of it.

When Mensheviks objected to Lenin’s personal attacks, he replied frankly that his purpose was not to convince but to destroy his opponent. In work after work, Lenin does not offer arguments refuting other Social Democrats but brands them as “renegades” from Marxism. Marxists who disagreed with his naïve epistemology were “philosophic scum.” Object to his brutality and your arguments are “moralizing vomit.” …

Compulsive underlining, name calling, and personal invective hardly exhaust the ways in which Lenin’s prose assaults the reader. He does not just advance a claim, he insists that it is absolutely certain and, for good measure, says the same thing again in other words. It is absolutely certain, beyond any possible doubt, perfectly clear to anyone not dull-witted. Any alliance with the democratic bourgeoisie can only be short-lived, he explains: “This is beyond doubt. Hence the absolute necessity of a separate . . . strictly class party of Social Democrats. . . . All this is beyond the slightest possible doubt.” Nothing is true unless it is absolutely, indubitably so; if a position is wrong, it is entirely and irredeemably so; if something must be done, it must be done “immediately, without delay”; Party representatives are to make “no concessions whatsoever.” Under Lenin’s direction the Party demanded “the dissolution of all groups without exception formed on the basis of one platform or another” (italics mine). It was not enough just to shoot kulaks summarily, they had “to be shot on the spot without trial,” a phrase that in one brief decree he managed to use in each of its six numbered commands before concluding: “This order is to be carried out strictly, mercilessly.” You’d think that was clear enough already.

No concessions, compromises, exceptions, or acts of leniency; everything must be totally uniform, absolutely the same, unqualifiedly unqualified. At one point he claims that the views of Marx and Engels are “completely identical,” as if they might have been incompletely identical.

They are cute in their base ignorance and stupidity and inane in their objectives, as with Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, but that is only because their power is limited. Like Morson, I grew up in a red diaper family and have learned to fear these people as the totaliarian mass murderers each of them potentially is. As he writes:

These and other disastrous Leninist ideas derived from a specific Leninist way of thinking, and that is what this essay focuses on. I know this way of thinking in my bones. I am myself a pink diaper baby and I remember being taught this way of thinking, taken for granted by all right-thinking people. Memoirs of many ex-Communists, from David Horowitz to Richard Wright, confirm that, more than doctrines, it was the Leninist style of thought that defined the difference between an insider and an outsider. And that way of thought is very much with us.

That last sentence in black is why this article is so important. I will end with his final para which again emphasises the point:

When I detect Leninist ways of thinking today, people respond: surely you don’t think all those social justice warriors are Leninists! Of course not. The whole point of Leninism is that only a few people must understand what is going on. That was the key insight of his tract What Is to Be Done? When Leninism is significant, there will always be a spectrum going from those who really understand, to those who just practice the appropriate responses, to those who are entirely innocent. The real questions are: Is there such a spectrum now, and how do we locate people on it? And if there is such a spectrum, what do we do about it?

There is no space to address such questions here. My point is that they need to be asked.

The political lessons of the Katie Hill event

This will disappear by Monday but it is interesting to follow. From the comments section on WHAT KATIE CAN DO, Katie Hill that is. From Powerline.

The job of the establishment media is to make mountains out of molehills and molehills out of mountains. Now we’re charging up a Hill and it ain’t San Juan. It’s Katie, and she’s knocked Ms. Omar/Hirsi/Elmi off the front pages of our leading papers…er…she’s competing for front-page status at the Daily Mail and New York Post…uh…well…OK, so nobody other than writers and consumers of bigoted blogs will notice, but among us it’s big news. The real story here (not the real photos) is vote harvesting and general election fraud that’s part of all our big-city elections and is running rampant in California. Has anyone seen the report from the voter-fraud commission that President Trump started up just after election? Oh, that’s right. The voter-fraud commission was shut down because there wasn’t any fraud and what little actually existed could be policed by the Our People’s Division of the Department of Justice. Has anyone noticed any investigation from our Justice Department? Any convictions?

This is one of the geniuses who originally lost in a gerrymandered Republican district but who ultimately ‘won’ when bags of ‘absentee ballots’ were discovered a week after the election. Did the Republiclowns sue or make any kind of a protest? Nope. And now we have this appetizing spectacle.

Democrats like Katie stole the midterm election using ballot harvesting, which allows third parties (even illegal aliens) to submit mail-in ballots. Democrat harvested ballots that were marked Republican were promptly shredded..? There’s a reason ballot harvesting illegal in 49 states.

My God Katie Hill has everything. Nudity, pot smoking, lesbian, wife swapping Nazis.

I think we may be at the point where even the Dem media should be able to openly admit that they treat stories/scandals about Dems 180 degrees different than about Republicans. It is so obvious, so out in the open, that they really should be able to admit that on the record. There is zero question that if this lady had an (R) after her name this would be front page, non-stop, above-the-fold “news,” together with endless “analysis.”

Ms. Hill and Ms. Omar (or whatever her real name might turn out to be) are simply the reminders of the truth we first learned when Billy Clinton became the poster boy for all things feminist, despite his obvious history of sexual abuse. The democrats are rank hypocrites and only use standards of morality when they can employ them to cudgel Republicans. So, long as their political representatives media personalities, or entertainment moguls.will vote for the Green Ordeal or publicly support the party line, like open borders, socialist pipe dreams, and gun confiscation; the progressives don’t care if they are serial rapists (Weinstein, Cosby, Lauer, Bill Clinton), child molesters (Polanski), incestuous fraudsters (Omar), or any other perverse category you can name.

The Democrat media and Leftist Twitter has already decided that Hill did nothing wrong because of “consent”. Reminds me of the Democrat media’s defense of Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior with Monica Lewinsky.

Bottom line: if you are a politician on the right, don’t try this yourself.

American political entertainment is without parallel

Here is a story, naturally from a non-American source, natually The Daily Mail, about Congresswoman Katie Hill which they title, “Shocking photos of Congresswoman Katie Hill are revealed as she’s seen NAKED showing off Nazi-era tattoo while smoking a bong, kissing her female staffer and posing nude on ‘wife sharing’ sites”. Aside from salacious, it is also illegal since she is cavorting with one of her staff members.

And then from the other side of the aisle, there is also this: Turns Out “Pierre Delecto” Approved Of Various Tweets Criticizing Republicans In The Senate, And Elsewhere. What the name “Pierre Delecto” means is unknown although there are suggestions, but what is know is that this was a secret (till now) twitter account held by Mitt Romney, who as we know once ran for president as a Republican. You can say he would have been better than Obama, but there is little else you can now say in his favour, other than because he lost, Donald Trump is now president.

American politics is a clown show, providing immense entertainment to the rest of us. Ancient Rome was known for its excesses but we’re right up there with the best of them. If it weren’t so serious you might find it funny.

A market-based success story

Australia does have as near as I can tell the best healthcare system in the world. The other three I know best are the Canadian, the British and the American and they are not as good as ours. To understand the reason it has turned out so well goes back to the early days of the Fraser government (some detail here). Whitlam had put in Medibank/Medicare which was a socialised public-servant run system like the English. Fraser having promised to end Medibank of course found he could not (see the fate of Obamacare for a recent example of how hard it is to remove a freebie), so made one small change. He allowed private insurance to continue with a private sector system sitting side by side with the public. So rather than it becoming socialised medicine – if Labor had had its way, our system would have ended up like the English with no private hospitals – we have and retain possibly the most private-sector-driven government-funded health-care system in the world. You want to go to the doctor, just go to any doctor who will take you in. Want to roll up at a public hospital, they will treat you for free. Private insurance will sometimes buy you a shorter queue and perhaps a better doctor, but will also help subsidise the public system if you are treated in a public hospital.

What has also made a major difference is that the amounts paid into private insurance bring additional funding into the health-care system overall. No central government would be able to tax to the extent needed to keep the level of funding as high as it is, where we have both the public and the private system working in tandem. And there should be no doubt that if the result of buying private insurance meant that for privately-insured patients to get treated in a hospital they would have to pay additional amounts to what they already have paid in the Medicare Levy and their private insurance, that private insurance would virtually disappear.

So to Richard di Natale and his nonsense tweet having been treated in a public hospital:

Yet another Medicare success story.”

He typically shows his incomprehension of what has made the Australian health care system work so well, and that is the free market inclusion. That as a member of the “elite”, he would in any case have had the best there is, even in the disastrous Cuban medical system which the left pretends is the model system but may provide its ordinary citizens some of the worst health care of any country in the Americas.

BTW that chap lying in bed in the photo above is myself having been in hospital for the last few days and having been under astonishingly excellent treatment since the end of September for what might have been a major problem but which now looks under control. My gratitude to the staff at the Alfred here in Melbourne, and let me also put in a special good word to Gigi (a South Indian name in case Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier come to mind). Really as thorough and comprehensive a treatment as I could have hoped for.