Free Markets, Free People

Cold War

Thought police – you can only grieve in an approved way

So, Steve Martin mourns the passing of Carrie Fisher in his own way.  Okay.  His problem?  He put his thoughts up on Twitter.  What he said was the following: “When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher she was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well.”

Not the most articulate tribute, but it certainly was heartfelt and moving.  A tribute to someone who had become a friend.  And someone to whom he was attracted at a younger age because he saw her as unsurpassingly beautiful.

Apparently that’s just a horrid way to feel and certainly verboten when it comes to expressing those feelings.  The feminist thought-police were up in arms over this harmless good-bye and fond memory.  The castigated Martin.  Excoriated him.  He deleted the tweet.  You can’t even express your mourning now except in a politically approved method.

I’ve been an Anthony Bourdain fan since I read his book “Kitchen Confidential.”  And I’ll tell you something, he’ll eat anything.  I’ve watched him eat some stuff that, yeah, not going near my stomach.  Anyway, I was reading a short bit of an interview he did with Reason and found him sounding quite a bit like Camille Paglia discussing today’s left (Bourdain is a self-identified liberal):

I hate the term political correctness, the way in which speech that is found to be unpleasant or offensive is often banned from universities. Which is exactly where speech that is potentially hurtful and offensive should be heard.

The way we demonize comedians for use of language or terminology is unspeakable. Because that’s exactly what comedians should be doing, offending and upsetting people, and being offensive. Comedy is there, like art, to make people uncomfortable, and challenge their views, and hopefully have a spirited yet civil argument. If you’re a comedian whose bread and butter seems to be language, situations, and jokes that I find racist and offensive, I won’t buy tickets to your show or watch you on TV. I will not support you. If people ask me what I think, I will say you suck, and that I think you are racist and offensive. But I’m not going to try to put you out of work. I’m not going to start a boycott, or a hashtag, looking to get you driven out of the business.

The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now.

I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good. Nothing nauseates me more than preaching to the converted. The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left—just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition—this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn’t change anyone’s opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us. We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible. I fear that is not at all what we’ve done.

Indeed.  He gets it.  He also is the type of liberal that is interested in the debate.  The conversation.  Finding out about the other half.

You’ll likely find this amusing as well.  He nails what sunk the left in this last election as well as perfectly characterizing Bill Maher:

Bisley: A few years back you were on Real Time with Bill Maher and part of the discussion was about people living inside their own bubbles. What do you think of Bill Maher?

Bourdain: Insufferably smug. Really the worst of the smug, self-congratulatory left. I have a low opinion of him. I did not have an enjoyable experience on his show. Not a show I plan to do again. He’s a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble. And he is in no way looking to reach outside, or even look outside, of that bubble, in an empathetic way.

Precisely.  That’s one of the major reasons they lost and it is also why they were absolutely shocked when they did.  The hope, of course, is that they’ll continue as they have been.  I’ve  seen, by their actions and words, no indication that they’ve figured this out yet.

The idiot-in-chief has decided he’ll make the world situation even worse in his last few days in office by screwing over a ally and rekindling the Cold War.  Completely out played on the world stage, this is all he has left:

President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 presidential election.

The measures, taken during the last days of Obama’s presidency, mark a new post-Cold War low in U.S.-Russian ties which have deteriorated over Ukraine and Syria.

Allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed efforts to intervene in the U.S. election process by hacking mostly Democrats have made relations even worse.

So this is the response to “alleged” hacking?  Talk about reacting to fake news, this takes the cake.  I wonder how many diplos will be returning to the states in the next few days.

And then what?  Yeah, trust me, he hasn’t thought that far ahead.  But that’s nothing new, and besides, he can go on permanent vacation in a few weeks and leave this foreign policy wreck to Trump. Nothing but useless provocation.  But hey, don’t think that’s the last you’ll hear of him.  You can count on the “expert” in foreign affairs weighing in quite often from the golf course over the next 4 years.  Another negative is the man has no class.  Well done, Mr. Obama!

By the way, did you know Central and South America is a hotbed of activity for Muslim extremists?  Yeah, you wouldn’t because, if you were a thinking person you might put two and two together and see border security as a priority.  That would go against the leftist agenda and narrative.  Judicial Watch, however, is on the job:

Latin America is a hotbed of Islamic terrorism where groups like ISIS and Hezbollah operate freely and raise large sums of money to finance terrorist activities in other countries, mainly the United States, according to a new report released by Spain’s Defense Ministry. “Latin America represents an important region for Islamic radicalism because conditions enable the free, almost undetectable, movement of their members throughout the region,” the defense document states.

And:

Earlier this year Judicial Watch uncovered State Department records confirming that “Arab extremists” are entering the U.S. through Mexico with the assistance of smuggling network “cells.” Among them is a top Al Qaeda operative wanted by the FBI. The government documents also reveal that some Mexican smuggling networks actually specialize in providing logistical support for Arab individuals attempting to enter the United States.

But, you know, nothing to see here. It is just “children” who want to enter the US and are looking for a chance to better themselves.

Bah.

~McQ

New Cold War? About Those Improving Relations With China …

I certainly wouldn’t put much confidence in the claim that relations have improved between the US and China.  In fact, despite Obama’s claims, it appears they’re much worse.  Recent actions by the US have riled the Chinese to the point that they’re being anything but subtle about their feelings and certainly not  keeping those feelings out of state sanctioned publications.  According to the UK’s Sunday Times, 55% of Chinese agree that “a cold war will break out between the US and China”.

What has spurred this turn of events?

The finding came after battles over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, climate change, internet freedom and human rights which have poisoned relations in the three months since President Barack Obama made a fruitless visit to Beijing.

You’ll most likely remember how the administration touted the visit as one which significantly improved out relations with China. Apparently the administration was the only one which saw it that way:

During Obama’s visit, the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, claimed relations were “really at an all-time high in terms of the bilateral atmosphere … a cruising altitude that is higher than any other time in recent memory”, according to an official transcript.

The ambassador must have been the only person at his embassy to think so, said a diplomat close to the talks.

“The truth was that the atmosphere was cold and intransigent when the president went to Beijing yet his China team went on pretending that everything was fine,” the diplomat said.

In reality, Chinese officials argued over every item of protocol, rigged a town hall meeting with a pre-selected audience, censored the only interview Obama gave to a Chinese newspaper and forbade the Americans to use their own helicopters to fly him to the Great Wall.

President Hu Jintao refused to give an inch on Obama’s plea to raise the value of the Chinese currency, while his vague promises of co-operation on climate change led the Americans to blunder into a fiasco at the Copenhagen summit three weeks later.

Diplomats say they have been told that there was “frigid” personal chemistry between Obama and the Chinese president, with none of the superficial friendship struck up by previous leaders of the two nations.

And, if you can believe it, it has gone downhill from there.

An independent survey of Chinese-language media for The Sunday Times has found army and navy officers predicting a military showdown and political leaders calling for China to sell more arms to America’s foes. The trigger for their fury was Obama’s decision to sell $6.4 billion (£4 billion) worth of weapons to Taiwan, the thriving democratic island that has ruled itself since 1949.

“We should retaliate with an eye for an eye and sell arms to Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela,” declared Liu Menxiong, a member of the Chinese people’s political consultative conference.

He added: “We have nothing to be afraid of. The North Koreans have stood up to America and has anything happened to them? No. Iran stands up to America and does disaster befall it? No.”

Apparently they’re on to the new but unspoken motto of the Obama administration “speak a lot, but do nothing”. What is being sensed by these military leaders in China is weakness. And such weakness is never left alone or ignored in international politics – it is always, in some way, shape or form exploited. While some may see this as nothing more than saber rattling, knowing the Chinese, it’s much more than that.  It signals a significant change in our relationship:

Chinese analysts think the leadership, riding a wave of patriotism as the year of the tiger dawns, may go further.

“This time China must punish the US,” said Major-General Yang Yi, a naval officer. “We must make them hurt.” A major-general in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Luo Yuan, told a television audience that more missiles would be deployed against Taiwan. And a PLA strategist, Colonel Meng Xianging, said China would “qualitatively upgrade” its military over the next 10 years to force a showdown “when we’re strong enough for a hand-to-hand fight with the US”.

Chinese indignation was compounded when the White House said Obama would meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, in the next few weeks.

“When someone spits on you, you have to get back,” said Huang Xiangyang, a commentator in the China Daily newspaper, usually seen as a showcase for moderate opinion.

If that’s the moderate opinion, you can imagine what the more hawkish among China’s opinion makers are saying.

This is what happens when amateurs play at foreign policy and those they’re dealing with sniff out weak (or non-existent) leadership. As I mentioned quite some time ago, 2009 would be a year of relative calm as other nations took the measure of the new administration and what they could expect. Once that was done, 2010 would most likely be the year when they’d act – and frankly, given this from China, it’s most likely not going to be a pleasant year for US foreign policy.

Oh, and if you think China is willing to back the US on new sanctions against Iran – as the administration has been claiming – I’d be willing to take that bet and give odds that no such backing will ever be given by China.

~McQ

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