Life During Wartime

In an earlier time, and not that distant a time, statements like these coming from Congressman Jerry Nadler would make him sound like a crack pot, and a dangerous one.  Now?  It’s considered normal discourse.

“This growth in extremist ideology is echoed in an epidemic of violence and intimidation directed at our health care professionals, teachers, essential workers, school board members and election workers…”

Ah yes those school board members under attack from those domestic terrorists, formerly known as concerned parents.

Since the Reichstag Fire that January 6th has become, we’ve seen more and more attacks from the government on these “extremists.”  Exactly what way they are extreme is never really defined, but hey, you’ll know them when you see them.

The American Experiment has taken a huge pummeling this year, and the routine demonization of large swaths of the American people shows no signs of easing up.  In fact, I don’t think it’s going to.  Eventually all of those wrong sorts of people are going to fall under the eye of Sauron, and boy, you don’t want that to happen!

But first, you have to recognize the problem, something the normie right stubbornly refuses to do. Although first I suppose I should define what I mean by “normie” right.  Others may have their own definitions, but I view them as the conservative establishment that doesn’t recognize how warm the temperature of the cannibal’s pot is getting that they find themselves in.  Although they hate Trump, they’re shy of being never Trumpers, and some may have voted for him, through hot tears.  But they agree that Trump was a disaster for the Republican Party rather than the wakeup call he really was.  Most importantly, they don’t really think things are getting worse.  Sure, there is a pendulum, things swing back and forth, but it always swings back.  Democrats are in charge now, but they will overreach; are overreaching, and it will swing back to the Republicans.  Nothing ever really changes.

But…ask them if it would ever be possible for a Republican to win a 49 State victory like Reagan had in 1984 and see how they hem and haw.  Deep down, they know things are worse, but they can’t quite admit it…

Which brings me to Rod Dreher, a conservative columnist at The American Conservative.  Dreher is Catholic, culturally conservative, and feels the need to qualify almost every article with a comment about not liking Trump or not being a Trump fan.  We get it; you are still trying to have establishment bona fides. Like many establishment conservatives, he has been working overtime to try to ignore what his lying eyes (and ears) are showing him every day. But when your business model is dependent upon believing lies, sometimes there is a crack in the cognitive dissonance and you get moments like this:

“Longtime readers will know that I used to not only defend NPR, but used to celebrate it, despite its liberal bias. I really liked public radio. But after Trump’s election, NPR rushed hard to the Left —[After?  Not for decades?] and became unlistenable. I used to turn it on all the time when I was in the car, but it started making me so mad I would either listen to podcasts or drive in silence. Understand that I have been a fan, and sometimes a donor, of NPR for decades, even though it’s significantly to the Left of my own politics and cultural beliefs. I was not even a Trump fan [obligatory, “I’m not one of those people moments]. Still, the obsession with race, gender ideology, and immigration — all of which was talked about exclusively from a radical-left point of view — was deeply alienating.

Today I was in the car driving back from Jimmy John’s, and I turned on NPR. There was a locally produced news show that had a feature about “pregnant people” and their “fetuses.” I finally got so angry I turned it off. Nothing new about that. But the thought that came into my head this time was that I had been listening to the radio of an occupying power, and I was sick of it. Again, I get that this is an ultra-bourgeois right-wing moment — middle-aged fat conservative rages at NPR in his Honda! — but something had flipped slightly in my usual rantiness. For what I think was the first time, I began to regard these people — the ruling class that runs NPR and all the institutions — as people who despise normal people so much that they are trying to colonize our culture.

As an aside, I’m also one of those rare creatures, the right wing NPR listener, but the network does seem intent on purging the few remaining ones like me.  Every time I cut on the damn thing all I hear about is intersectionality, pronouns like “they” being used to obfuscate, rather than describe gender, and various degrees of oppression.  News?  What’s that?

But this is the key statement, “But the thought that came into my head this time was that I had been listening to the radio of an occupying power, and I was sick of it.”

So belated congratulations to Rod Dreher for finally figuring out where he is in relation to the country’s rulers.  And I think it’s important for everyone on the right to realize where we fit in.  We are living under occupation.  Act accordingly.  This isn’t 2010 where you can put on your tricorn hat and show up at a protest to shout “Let’s Go Brandon!”  You do that today and you can expect to be surveilled by the FBI and possibly end up on the no fly list and have your bank and credit accounts closed.  Go viral on twitter for doing it, and you can find yourself fired.  After all, what company wants to explain why they are employing an “extremist?”

In a historical sense, there is nothing unique about this.  Entire generations have grown up under occupation or its equivalent.  Hell, just ask any African American growing up under Jim Crow.  Sure, you could be a rabble rouser and come to a likely bad end, or you could just keep your head down and try to live your life as best as you can. That’s crucially important if you have children.  You have an obligation to keep them safe, and not have their lives ruined because their parent wanted to make some sort of futile point.  As I mentioned back in January, deplatforming is proceeding apace, with no signs of slowing down.  So why attract attention, jumping up and down letting them know where the Kulaks are?

It’s a bitter pill to swallow.  I know; I get that.  But I don’t have a better solution and I do have a family.  Things are fast moving and things could change for the better, but until they do, I don’t have a better strategy for weathering the storm until a little daylight can break through.

When Treason Gets Applause

As a declinist, who views the slide of the United States into some sort of banana republic third rate power more or less inevitable, even I can be shocked once in a while.  And that shock came from the excerpts of the soon to be released Bob Woodward & Robert Costa book, Peril. There are a lot of so called “startling revelations” on the attempt by JCS Mark Milley to undermine then President Trump, but of course the real kicker is this October phone call by Milley:

“General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

Now after Milley’s stupid “white rage” comment in front of a congressional committee, I already knew he was an idiot.  And after his shepherding our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, I knew he was an incompetent. 

What I did not know was that he was also a traitor.

Apparently this is breaking news to the left, but if you make contact with a military opponent with an offer to provide important military information, such as news of an attack, then you’ve committed treason.  But don’t take my word for it.  Try the Constitution.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

I’m no lawyer, but “adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort “certainly sounds like calling them up and promising to warn them of any impending American attacks sure sounds like treason to me.

Of course, none of this may be true.  I don’t consider Bob Woodward as having the most stellar record, and the easiest defense available to Milley is simply to declare that Woodward made it up.  But curiously, Milley hasn’t responded to these charges.  You would think an accusation of treason would draw  outrage.  Certainly if someone was claiming I was a traitor, I would want to deny it in the strongest terms.  But maybe Milley’s legal counsel is offering different advice.

Of course Milley isn’t going to ever face charges.  Something has radically changed in our military, our government, and our population to rule that out. There seems to be no interest from the military side not only on the treason angle, but the much more obvious Article 94 (from the UCMJ).

 I’ve spent a few days on line arguing with the usual lefties about this issue, and the general consensus is that Milley is a hero for defending the country against Orange Man’s dastardly plan for thermonuclear war, and if Milley had to bend a few rules, so much the better.  All of these crazy arguments  that the left (by which I mean the establishment) have been making are being made from the idea that the original crime is simply being Trump, and anything done in opposition to Trump is therefore both moral and legal.

Of course, after spending days on cable TV and in the opinion pages of major newspapers arguing that sometimes the military needs to protect us from elected civilian government threats, particularly if those threats are from an orange mean-tweeter, those arguments just don’t vanish, they become part of establishment’s positions.  It’s too late to overthrow Trump in a military coup, but after you’ve made the intellectual argument that it’s A-OK to do just that if the threat is large enough, that changes the background of what’s acceptable and what isn’t. 

In other words, so long “norms.” Now, I’m old fashioned enough that I believe that the military should be subordinate to the elected civilian leadership.  However what has become increasingly clear during the past week is that is an old fashioned idea.  One can easily envision a future scenario in which an elected GOP President is replaced by the Joint Chief of Staff for reasons, and CNN and the New York Times Editorial page would applaud the saving of our democracy

9/11 20 Years Later

I don’t know if I could have imagined in my wildest nightmares where we have found ourselves 20 years from 9/11.  Certainly Afghanistan looks very much like it did 20 years ago, after a two decade American interregnum that for a moment in history tried to remake a tribal, Islamic country into Switzerland, minus the chocolate.  It was a massive disaster of course, and our departure from it made worse by a senile President, and useless military officers whose war plans included joining the board of this or that Defense contractor, but never actually winning an actual war.

Now that’s decadence.

Of course 20 years ago it all looked so different; frightening and unknowable.  I remember where I was, as does almost everyone of a certain age.  I was at my office at work, working away with my headset in, listening to the Howard Stern Show.  Stern was a much bigger deal then than he is now.  Now he’s on satellite, richer, and plays it a lot safer, but at the time he was a regular on morning airwaves nationwide, and many of us got our first taste of something going off the rails by listening to his show

The first plane could have been an accident, still a major story, but after the second plane hit, no one was really entertaining the idea that it was an accident.  It was terrorism surely, but by whom, and why?

Our office was one in which most of the workers, unless engaged in meetings or training, were heads down at their desks, almost all listening to their own headsets.  People started to look worried, got up to go over to the cubicle of friends, “did you hear…”  There was a lot of calling friends and family.  In my case, my wife called me.  She had missed work to take our son to the doctor and on the way back was also listening to Stern.  However she thought it was a stupid radio bit.  After she got home and cut on the TV, she saw it was not.

Meanwhile at the office, work was pretty much shot for the day.  People were frightened; I was frightened. I remember my boss cutting on one of the TV’s in a meeting room on to a news channel and people would wander in, to watch as much as they could take, and then wander out again.

Of course, being in the Reserves, I knew that I would be called up sooner or later, and later turned out to be about 2 months later. And that occupied the next 22 months of my life.  I appreciated the support I received from my company (I’m still employed by them) and my family.  My wife told me to return with my shield or on it, which rather quickly wore off once the reality of the separation sank in. But all that sacrifice lead to what exactly?

The jihad goes on.  America is still the biggest enemy, but one that’s shown it can be beaten, as it was in Afghanistan. We did get Bin Ladin, but we didn’t get jihad.  It’s still out there.  We did a lot of damage, and we did quite a lot to disrupt the leadership of the various Islamic terror groups, which probably damaged the ability of terrorist groups to replicate their success of 9/11.  But the jiahd remains, and we’re much weaker than we were 20 years ago.

But I think the biggest damage inflicted was the damage we inflicted on ourselves.  Twenty years ago, we were a confident superpower; a hyper-power it was said.  Hardly anyone thinks that now.  We squandered our blood and treasure on Iraq and a morphed mission in Afghanistan.  We turned on ourselves, got woke, and proceeded, bit by bit, to dissemble our history, culture, and sense of being a people. The superpower that steeled itself for a long conflict twenty years ago, is now a former superpower, spent and just waiting for the actual little push needed to prove that we no longer have ability to accomplish things (as if the incompetent pullout from Afghanistan didn’t already make that clear to the world).

If I were Muslim, I would be hard pressed not to look at the last twenty years as a victory of Allah over the American infidels.  Americans challenged Allah, and destroyed themselves.

Kabul Spoofs Saigon

Gee, this looks familiar…

Something, something…Saigon?

No matter, it will come to me. Besides the stunningly retro Kabul evacuation images I was very much of two minds, and two hearts about the stunningly swift fall of the US supported Afghan government and the placement of the new (again) Taliban one.

On the one hand, I supported leaving Afghanistan.  I supported it when Trump proposed it (and the National Security establishment went crazy) and I supported it when Biden executed it (and the National Security establishment went quiet).  In my view, the war was lost, and had been lost for a long time.  There was no path to what I would call victory.

On the other hand…I despised that my country was, once again, facing a humiliating defeat.  For all of our technology and superior military, we were beaten by primitive tribesmen who herded goats by day and by their persistence, defeated the most powerful military the world has ever seen at night.  More than half the world is cheering tonight at that, but I’m mourning.

President Biden’s stupid arrogance in a press conference last month is coming back to bite him, but this is a defeat for the entire country, not just that of sundowning grandpa Simpson.  Biden’s stupidity didn’t make me angry; his stupidity was baked into the cake, but NPR did.

But not for the reasons you may think.

I happened to turn in to NPR Friday evening on the way back from doing errands and caught this interview with former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, also a former commander of US forces in Afghanistan.  I urge you to read or listen to the interview in full (available at the link).  One of the things I noticed is that in usual NPR interviews with establishment figures, the interviewer “questions” are really prompts to allow the establishment figure to deliver their talking points.  I’m not sure that happened this time.

DAVID PETRAEUS: Good to be back, Audie. Thank you.

CORNISH: What is your reaction to kind of the collapse of the Afghan army in the face of the Taliban in so many of these provinces?

PETRAEUS: Well, it’s disastrous. It’s tragic. But sadly, I tend to think that it was somewhat predictable. And I noted months ago that when we pulled out our 3,500 troops that led the coalition, 8,500, to go home – and perhaps most importantly, just at the time that we were withdrawing the air support on which the Afghans always relied, we also withdrew about 18,000 contractors who were there to maintain the sophisticated U.S.-provided helicopters and planes that provide the resupply, additional forces, air medevac and close air support, all of which are critical, especially when your forces come under attack simultaneously in multiple locations in a huge country that is very mountainous and has very limited ground lines of communication, decent roads

I immediately became curious.  There was no plan to replace the 18,000 contractors with Afghan nationals?  Contractors should have been a temporary solution to get locals trained up to take over the maintenance. Why was there no plan?

CORNISH: …Were you saying that there was no way for the U.S. – was – you were in charge – right? – of supporting the training and building up of this force? Did you know that it was not capable of surviving a U.S. withdrawal?

PETRAEUS: Well, we weren’t contemplating a withdrawal when I was doing this. We had 150,000 coalition forces when I was privileged to command, U.S. and all other forces in Afghanistan.

CORNISH: What were you contemplating? Did you think there would be an indefinite sustained presence?

I congratulate the Nice NPR lady for actually asking a good question. The answer?

PETRAEUS: No, not at all.

This is a lie by the way.

CORNISH: But are you saying all of this is – this has all happened after you’ve left? Like, what responsibility do you bear for how this is playing out now? Was this ever a mission that could have been successful?

PETRAEUS: Well, I think you have to understand that you could never win in Afghanistan.

OK full stop, because this is important.  “You could never win in Afghanistan.”

So what the hell was the military doing there all these years?

CORNISH: We heard from the White House saying today that they would be focused on doing that. And I think – in the time left, I want to understand this. You are – it sounds like you’re saying that this was always militarily impossible to win. Now that the Taliban have momentum on the battlefield…

PETRAEUS: But you could manage. There’s a huge difference.

Manage. 

As I pointed out earlier in the interview, when Nice NPR Lady asked Petraeus if there would be an indefinite sustained presence, he replied, “No, not at all.”  But here he’s admitting that an indefinite sustained presence was always the plan, they just never told anyone.

And that’s when I got really angry.

It’s obvious to me that the decades of having generals come to Capitol Hill to ensure us that things were improving, and things were getting better was really code that we’ve achieved stability and it can only be maintained by a consistent US military presence. I know Congress in its silliness is too busy investigating a riot by MAGA folks, but if they were interested in investigating a real crime they should investigate all of the generals who’ve testified under oath that Afghanistan was doing just fine instead of not doing at all.  In my opinion, these guys have lied to Congress and have committed felonies.  Although something should be done about this, sadly, nothing will be done about this. Because doing nothing in the face of this kind of corruption is the thing that declining nations do; nothing.

At The Bottom of the Slippery Slope

RIP Freedom of Speech-born 1776- Died 2021  Snuffed out with Barely a whimper

From the New York Post:

White House press secretary Jen Psaki casually confirmed on Thursday what skeptical conservatives and some civil libertarians have been suspecting for years: that the world’s biggest speech platforms take direction from the government in choosing what content to suppress, amplify, or remove.

“We are in regular touch with social media platforms” about COVID-19 related misinformation, including misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine,” Psaki said. “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook.”

So the government is running an operation in which the pick out Facebook posts they don’t like, notify Facebook, which happily deletes said post.

This is a startling admission. It was backed up by a 22-page “health misinformation” guidance issued by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in which he urged the social media platforms to “impose clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies.”

Interesting.  I didn’t know that one of the jobs of the Surgeon General was to censor Facebook posts.

And from the last honest leftist:

“This is the union of corporate and state power,” wrote reporter Glenn Greenwald on Twitter, one of the classic hallmarks of fascism.”

Well that’s one way to put it.

Not that this wasn’t all that hard to predict; which of course I did back in February.  Quote from a most esteemed source, namely me:

We’ve come a long way from the 1970’s, when the ACLU defended Nazi’s (actual Nazi’s, not simply Republicans walking too close to an antifa riot) and their right to march. Nothing like that would happen today.  The heart and soul of the left now belongs to the book burners and the censors.  Antifa protested a bookstore selling a book that.exposed Antifa.  Squad member Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bugeyes) suggested some version of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to “figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation…”  Well that’s just what we need, the government determining what disinformation and misinformation is. But now that the Harris but also Biden administration is in place, the fight against the First Amendment can really get started.

And so it has.

Still no Aliens, and There Never Will Be

The long awaited government report is finally out there.

Government report can’t explain UFOs, but offers no evidence of aliens

A new intelligence report sent to Congress on Friday concludes that virtually all of the 144 sightings of unidentified flying objects documented by the military since 2004 are of unknown origin, in an extremely rare public accounting of the U.S. government’s data on UFOs that is likely to fuel further speculation about phenomena the intelligence community has long struggled to understand.

The Pentagon, assisted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, found no evidence to indicate that they mark a technological breakthrough by a foreign adversary, or that the objects are of an extraterrestrial origin — though neither explanation has been ruled out in what has been described as a preliminary assessment that lacks sufficient data.

Not exactly a surprise.  Although to true believers this was a crushing disappointment and likely a retreat into conspiracy, that the US government has alien ships, bodies, and so on, hidden away in Area 51 or that warehouse where we keep the Ark of the Covenant.  However if you look, there is plenty of skepticism of even the 144 mystery sightings are really that mysterious.  Scott Adams has done a great, almost off handed debunking of many of the UFO claims, and if you look, you can find other debunking sites and videos.

As a kid, I would have been excited and hopeful that aliens actually existed and were frequent visitors to the coolest planet in the Milky Way: Earth.  However as an adult, I’ve (mostly) put away childish things, and it makes more sense that we’re alone in the cosmos.

But what about the vastness of space?  What about all of those planets?  What about the Drake Equation?  Although a fun way to engage in conversation, the Drake Equation is meaningless when all of the values are unknown.  My skepticism is pretty simple and boils down to this; we’ve advanced pretty far in our understanding of biology; “life” as we know it, but we can’t create it from scratch in the lab. That’s a trick we should have mastered decades ago if it was a simple and inevitable process of natural forces. That suggests that “life” may be a totally off the wall, once in a zillion occurrence. How that would happen I don’t have a clue, but since we can’t replicate it, we can’t estimate the odds of it occurring elsewhere no matter how many planets in the universe are in the Goldilocks zone.

There may come a time that we are able to replicate it experimentally in a way that could occur naturally, and at that point I’ll reconsider my position, but right now, I feel pretty safe in thinking that we’re alone in the universe.

When it comes to China, the GOP isn’t Trump’s Party

The worldview of the left in examining the right makes it almost impossible for the left to understand what is going on with the right in general and the Republican Party in particular.  I spent much of my online arguing time this week arguing that the GOP is in no way “Trump’s Party,” and have been engaged in an opposition to Trump throughout his Presidency and now post Presidency.  My left leaning opponents just could not grasp that.  “But, but Liz Cheney…”  It’s difficult to get these knuckleheads to understand that the GOP talks a good game in public, since their voters are still Trump-centric, but in reality, they are the same establishment garbage party they’ve always been.

On that note, there was a great article in American Thinker about the recent Epoch Times story about the GOP senate reverting to its pre-Trump roots and voting to reduce tariffs on Chinese goods.  First the Epoch story:

Senate Adopts Amendment That Slashes Tariffs on Hundreds of Chinese Imports to US

An exasperated Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted his frustration late Thursday after the Senate on a 91-4 vote adopted a measure that cuts U.S. tariffs on hundreds of products imported from China.

“The ‘China bill’ now reduces tariffs on hundreds of products made in #China. Why would we cut tariffs on China in a bill to improve American’s ability to compete with China? And only @HawleyMO, @TomCottonAR @BernieSanders, and I voted against it. #Strangebedfellows,” Rubio said in his tweet.

Just a few minutes before that tweet, Rubio tweeted a segment of his floor speech from earlier in the day in which he passionately told Senate colleagues the national security safeguards in the bill to protect U.S. technology research are inadequate.


Get that? The only senators who stood up for America were Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio…
…and Bernie Sanders. I have to give Bernie props on this one.

The American Thinker article boils down the right question, but doesn’t grasp the answer:


Why would the Senate make it easier for China to flood American markets?

I can understand why the Democrats voted for the amendment. They’ve long since sold out to China, from Biden on down. One only has to look at their desperate efforts over the past year to protect China from any criticism or the slightest hint that it might have had a hand in creating and spreading the Wuhan virus.

What I cannot understand is why the Republicans proposed this amendment and then so enthusiastically voted for it.


The answer of course is that since there are no fears of Trump vetoing this, or tweeting about individual senators supporting this nonsense, it’s back to business as usual; not by  little, but by a lot.  It’s as if Trump had never been there.

Prediction Update; now with even more predictions!

I want a do-over!

In my 2020 Predictions post, one of the predictions was that President Trump would face a second impeachment.  Well, I counted that as a missed prediction since there was no second impeachment …in 2020, but almost immediately into the New Year, guess what?

We had a second impeachment.

Now technically, it didn’t happen within the 2020 calendar year, but it was so close, mid-January; how can this not be an accurate prediction?  And therefore I have declared it so!  My 2020 prediction score is now 6 out of 8 predictions, giving me a grade of 75%.  That’s a solid gentleman’s C, so I’ll take that.

So while I’m updating my predictions, I thought I would gift a few bonus predictions.  These are just off the top of my head but let’s see..

 

The Derek Chauvin trial begins this week.  Chauvin, is charged with killing the sainted George Floyd (PBUH).  Watching the video, I came to the same conclusion that the rest of the country did, Chauvin murdered Floyd.  But then the autopsy was released showing a fatal amount of fentanyl in his system, and I had to reconsider my priors. Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.  I don’t know which charge is going to stick, but in spite of the autopsy results, I’m confidently predicting that Chauvin will be convicted on one of those three charges.  If you were on that jury, would you want to put you and your family’s life in danger by adhering strictly to the evidence?  Would you want to be responsible for setting off new rioting?  Chauvin is getting the shaft on this one.

In economic news, I think we are facing a future stock market crash and real estate market crash, within the next 18 months.  I do have a criteria that I use to determine this, which I’m keeping close to the vest for now, but handle your investments with this in mind.

Also a little far afield, but I’m predicting that the Republicans, as hopelessly messed up as they are, take back a majority in the House of Representatives in 2022.  I know it’s a little early for that, and if HR 1 passes, all bets are off, but right now it’s about the only national level place the GOP can win.

The National Guard Becomes the Praetorian Guard

Sometimes the speed at which the Republic is collapsing surprises even me, and I’ve been an American Declinist from way back.  In Part 3,468 of American Decline:

Guam National Guard marches to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office after blunder referring to territory as foreign country

Members of the Guam National Guard marched to the office of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after the Republican referred to the United States territory as a foreign country during the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Guam Rep. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas and members of the Guam National Guard visited the office of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after she falsely called the U.S. territory a foreign land,” the Hill tweeted.

Now on one level, this is a political stunt against an ignorant congress critter.  On that level, ha ha, very snarky.  But the level of it that bothers me is that the Guam Representative could request from military commanders troops to participate in a partisan political exercise, and they acquiesced for the purposes of marching troops down to a Congresswoman’s office in order to intimidate her.  Maybe the next time someone from Congress criticizes the military they may find a platoon of troops lounging on their car, or bivouacked on their front lawn.

Just a stunt ha ha.

Nothing against the Guam National Guard soldiers who participated in this; I’ve trained with some Guard guys from Guam, and came away impressed.  But the idea that their commanders would look at this as an OK thing for their troops to participate in is troubling.

Taken in isolation, this could just be a one off situation that slipped through the cracks, but it’s not; it’s part of a pattern.  Last week the military, which can’t seem to win a 20 year war in Afghanistan, decided to pick an easier target by going after Fox host Tucker Carlson.  Tucker was mocking the new gender and identity initiatives, as well as policies to place pregnant female military members in combat situations, all for the purpose of either equality or equity (I can’t recall which- Maybe both?).  But like the Taliban, Tucker was able to land a few punches on the military which ended up embarrassed and had to apologize for using official twitter accounts to criticize Tucker Carlson.  Maybe I’m wrong on this, but I cannot recall if the military, through official channels, has ever criticized a member of the media before.

But this is all new territory and this is not nearly the worst of it.  This was reported just a few months ago.

Retiring diplomat says defense officials misled Trump on troop count in Syria

US defense officials routinely misled President Trump into believing the American troop count in Syria was a lot lower than it actually is, a retiring US diplomat said in a bombshell interview this week.

“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” James Jeffrey, US special representative for Syria engagement, said in an interview with Defense One.

In October 2019, Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria — a decision controversial among lawmakers, defense officials and diplomats.

Pentagon officials convinced the president to leave approximately 200 troops behind to protect oil fields in the country’s east that were at risk of falling under ISIS control, Jeffrey said.

However, the real number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the 200 Trump agreed to leave behind, Jeffrey said, with some officials putting the number as high as 900.

“What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,” Jeffrey told the publication.

So senior military leaders not only disobeyed an order from the Commander in Chief, but worked at deceiving him as to what they were doing, so they could conduct a secret foreign and military policy totally unmoored from its constitutional leadership.

What to make of all this?  The military is, for all practical purposes, working for and part of, the “Deep State.”  That’s not a term I’m comfortable using, but it’s hard to draw any other conclusion than that the military no longer considers itself bound to any sort of constitutional authority.  They are only obeying a Commander in Chief if it’s their Commander in Chief, one whose goals already align with theirs.  This makes me sadder than I can express, since I spent many years of my life in service to my country; a path I can no longer recommend to anyone in this age we’re living in.

W.E.B. Du Bois vs Barrack Obama

Last year for Black History month I wrote a post that was a bit more entertainment related, but promised I would do something serious later.

Now is later (whut?).  Anyway…

W.E.B. Du Bois was born shortly after the Civil War to free Blacks and for the times, lived a fairly integrated middle class life in Massachusetts.  Needless to say, going to an integrated school and playing with white friends growing up wasn’t common for young Black kids at the time.  He coined the term “talented tenth” and was a very early voice in pushing for full integration and equal rights.  Naturally enough, things didn’t work out for him and became a socialist and moved to Ghana.

But before that he, as someone who was about as “privileged” as an African American could be at that time, fully accepted the culture he was raised and educated in; a Western one.

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of [the] stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. 

-W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk

Du Bois clearly saw himself as a Western man.  He had a BA in History from Harvard, did post graduate work at the University of Berlin where he traveled Europe extensively, an returned to the US to get a PhD from Harvard.  He saw no incompatibility between being a Black man and embracing the Western canon.

Compare that to another prominent and privileged African American who many decades later, came to a different conclusion.

For three weeks I had traveled alone, down one side of the continent and up the other, by bus and by train mostly, a guidebook in hand. I took tea by the Thames and watched children chase each other through the chestnut groves of Luxembourg Garden. I crossed the Plaza Mejor at high noon, with its De Chirico shadows and sparrows swirling across cobalt skies; and watched night fall over the Palatine, waiting for the first stars to appear, listening to the wind and its whispers of mortality.

And by the end of the first week or so, I realized that I’d made a mistake. It wasn’t that Europe wasn’t beautiful; everything was just as I’d imagined it. It just wasn’t mine.

-Barrack Obama, Dreams From My Father 1995

Class, compare and contrast the differing views of Western culture by two prominent African Americans.  Du Bois, who spent his adult life during probably the most racist period in American history, regarded himself as part of Western civilization.  While Obama, who spent his adult life in an America in which Du Bois’ wildest dreams had been realized, saw himself as an outsider to Western Civilization.

What to make of this?

First of all, in 2021, is there even a single African American public intellectual who would say, “I sit with Shakespeare?”  Is there one who would say, “I summon Aristotle and Aurelius?”

I would say that’s unlikely.

I’ve always felt that the Western canon was open to all races if they chose to accept it.  That doesn’t seem to the trend however.  As noted in The New York Times Magazine, Princeton classicist Dan-el Padilla Peralta, wants to cancel the classics because “Systemic racism is foundational to those institutions that incubate classics and classics as a field itself.” 

This idea of burning down the idea of Western culture doesn’t even make sense in its own terms.  It’s not like African-American scholars are rushing off to Africa to sup at the table of African language, history, art, or culture.  No, they want their own victimization studies that do nothing but demonize what is actually their very own culture.

None of this is sustainable, and it gets loonier as time goes on.