JABO

August 30, 2019

“I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven’t tried that for a while. Maybe this time it’ll work.” – George Carlin

A hero, according to most accounts, is a person distinguished by courage or character. Heroes are often elevated as role models, ideals noted for their abilities or special achievements.

A hero might simply be a character too, in literature, theater, or film. Some heroes might be heroines too, but now that sex is rhetorically irrelevant, any notions of gender might be fraught with hazard.

If we go back far enough, heroes were sometimes thought to be endowed with God-like or even immortal qualities. With ancient heroes, divinity was not beyond the pale.

We are, today, brought back to earth by any large sandwich, also called a hero.
Given the vagaries of the English language, a single word often covers a waterfront of meaning, sublime to ridiculous.

The nature of heroes has changed too. Noble has been usurped by venal. Internet heroes provide the best examples; punkers, celebrities, menopause rockers, comic book characters, sensational criminals, body art billboards, suicides, addicts, and kittens with a thousand “views” provide just a short list.

Somewhere between the Bay of Pigs and the Tonkin Gulf, the everyday American hero morphed into some kind of comic book fakir, a drunk, a junkie, a celebrity suicide, or a semi-literate, tattooed, over-paid chef or athlete.

The highest grossing film in Hollywood history is now a cartoon populated by men and women in spandex. And they still call cinema “art.” A feature length cartoon might be art in the same sense that a “graphic” novel is literature.

The age of perpetual adolescence dawned with the internet and that sun has yet to set.

I got to thinking about heroes the other day whilst doing an internet search on my high school, and the first article to come up told me that a principal at Cardinal Hayes HS in the Bronx had been caught down-loading gay porn at school. The culprit was a defrocked Christian brother. I was not surprised to hear of the principal’s hobby, given what appears to be a universal penetration of the Catholic clergy by a legion of fey predators.

Father Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town, once told us that there was “no such thing as a bad boy.” By all accounts, he could never say as much about Catholic clerics.

Priestly corruption has probably been with us since Saul of Tarsus became an apostle. Nevertheless, the precipitous decline of the modern church is something of an unprecedented freefall. By any measure, there is a leadership vacuum at the Vatican and in the College of Cardinals.

When asked about the connection between homosexual pedophilia and Catholic clergy; the Pope responded “who am I to judge?” Indeed, you need to sue an archdiocese now to get bishops to do the right thing when priestly child abuse is the issue.

The moral tone of any institution is set at the top.

Maybe I am a victim of age or nostalgia, but it seems that the ethical timber of Catholicism is smoldering, that fire at Notre Dame in Paris may be prophetic, an omen. Modern church problems just seem to keep metastasizing under all those clueless red hats.

Before college, my personal experience with the church was something very different.

Back in the day, seems every Irish family had a priest or nun in their wood pile. Ours was Father Ed Reynolds, a gentle soul who had found his vocation after his brother was killed towards the end of WWII. Father Ed taught at Cardinal Hayes before my time, a day when every instructor was either a Christian brother or a diocesan priest.

Ed Reynolds never missed a holiday, a christening, a confirmation, a graduation, a marriage, or a funeral for fifty years with the O’Grady sisters and all their married incarnations; Donovans, Varleys, Hickeys, Watkinsons, and Olmsteads.

As a kid, I thought that our family was Father Ed’s parish. In the real world, Ed Reynolds went from the south Bronx to Wall Street, ending his career as a Monseigneur, pastor of St. Peters on Barkley Street, ministering to those “one-percenters” we may assume.

Ed Reynolds was a hero in our small circle, a chap who lived and inspired traditional notions of family, loyalty, and service. Clerics like Reynolds were family sized icons who often rubbed elbows with larger-than-life crusaders like Farther Stanislaus Jablonski, the storied Dean of Discipline at Cardinal Hayes HS, paterfamilias for generations of Catholic, blue collar New Yorkers.

Nevertheless, back then, we kids called our disciplinarian “Jabo.”

Then, as now, the south Bronx was a tough neighborhood, a sierra hotel as Donald Trump might say. In its heyday, Hayes was host to 2,500 rough necks from all boroughs. You could call such an assembly a critical mass of adolescent Catholic testosterone.

Jabo was the top cop at Hayes. He literally patrolled the Grand Concourse, in search of undisciplined Hayes men.

If Jablonski saw a tie at half mast, he was likely to seize the cravat and yank it up to the Adam’s apple for emphasis. If some poseur had a cigarette behind his ear, Jabo might smack it off with a meaty hand.

He didn’t care about the smoking, he cared about attitudes.

A tie at half-mast or a cigarette behind the ear was too Hollywood and thus proscribed. With Jabo, cool was not a thing. There was, however, a Slavic logic behind those idioms of restraint, call it community or “broken window” policing. Jablonski believed that mastering small matters of discipline allowed a character of self-control to develop.

For Jabo, you had to learn to follow before you could ever hope to lead. Stan Jablonski’s second job was as chaplain to the NYC Fire Department where discipline was a daily matter of life and death.

Jablonski addressed his teen charges as “mister,” believing that calling boys men, and the sheer force of his will, would make it so. Any boy running afoul of Jabo found no court of appeals at home. If Jabo said you were remiss, that judgement was final.

Jablonski had a jail too, the stadium seats in the gym. For miscreants, detention hours were 3 to 5 PM. We called it “jug,” for reasons lost to me now. Maybe it was the alliteration, Jabo’s jug. In winter, doing time in the jug meant you had to navigate the highways and byways of the south Bronx in the dark, not exactly a walk in the park then or now.

Before and after class hours, you might find Father Jablonski, black robes blowing in the wind, astride the median strip of the Grand Concourse, scouring the pavement on either side of the road for slackers. Between the subway and the school house: jackets and ties only, no jeans, no tee shirts; no smoking, no spitting, no noise, no chewing gum, no girls, no horseplay, and no loitering in front of any business establishment.

Yankee Stadium was an exception, the Bronx bombers and Hayes habitués were neighbors a few blocks removed. In the Jabo era, air conditioning was an open window. On a clear cool day, if the wind was right, you could hear the roar of the crowd when Yogi or Mickey put one into the bleachers.

The seventh inning stretch and the 3 PM school bell often coincided when the Yanks were at home. After school, if you ran, you might get to see the end of a game for free if the gate ushers were in a good mood.

Picture a warm spring afternoon, a kosher Sabrett hot dog with kraut, a cold Coke, and Mantle on deck. For a kid in the Bronx, such memories were like Brother Larkin’s India ink – indelible.

A “dean of discipline” like Jablonski would be an anachronism today after Big Apple restraint and self-control embarked for the left coast with the Dodgers and Giants. Given the indiscipline of those who might fill restraint roles today, words like self-control seem quaint.

Nevertheless, back then, we kids called our disciplinarian “Jabo,” but never to his face. The Dean was six foot four, maybe more. Legends like Jabolonski seem to get bigger with time. He wore a perpetual scowl like a Kabuki mask.

If your chosen profession is policing, it helps to be large and menacing.
In my experience, Hayes men only went to Manhattan for two reasons, graduation from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and the annual Saint Paddy’s Day parade. The latter was a mandatory formation; there was no drinking or puking in the Hayes ranks. Jabo hovered along the line-of -march like a big black bird of prey.

Some of us never made it to 5th Avenue for graduation; George Carlin for example. George was a victim of Jabo’s nuclear option. He was kicked out of Hayes on disciplinary grounds. Father Jablonski was a wise guy’s worst nightmare.

Jabo was fond of saying that “smart ass” was not an occupation. He was wrong in this. Carlin went on to become, arguably, the best comic and social critic ever to come out of New York.

Hayes has less than a thousand students today, mostly minorities. The Jabo days were salad days, more students, more diversity, and a sprinkling of celebrities-to-be like Regis Philbin, Martin Scorcese, and of course, George Carlin.
Philbin graduated a decade before me. Scorsese was a year behind me and Carlin would have graduated the year I began had he not been expelled. Most of us knew those guys by reputation, eventually.

These were days before cocktails or highballs became diseases, before pot became an appetizer or a tax/ revenue stream.

Jabo and George were joined by their scorn for political correctness. Jablonski didn’t care what behavior was allowed at home. At Hayes, it was Jabo’s way or the highway. Likewise, Carlin was as likely to skewer a liberal poseur as he was to take down a conservative crank.

Stan Jablonski sought to make us examine our behavior, just as George Carlin sought to make us examine our beliefs. In their respective domains, both were Bronx heroes, special men, larger than life.

In the end there was even denouement. When Monseigneur Jablonski retired, Carlin spoke at the event. By then a star, George didn’t come to say “look at me now” or “I told you so;” he came to honor the priest who expelled him from school, a tough cleric who dedicated his life to helping boys become men.

That’s what real men do.

My last memory of Hayes was the day we graduates-to-be stood in a long line at the bookstore to pick up our class rings. Ring day was a big deal. At some point, a hush descended on what had been a boisterous jostle of seniors.

Such moments were familiar to us all, a dark presence was nigh.

Jabo strode into view and addressed the mute hallway. “I hope that all of you take more than a ring away from your last four years.” He then walked straight at me and smiled. “Congratulations, Donovan,” he said, “we didn’t think that you would make it.”

I was struck dumb. In four years, I had never seen the man smile. In four years, he had never called me anything but “mister.” If Jablonski knew you by name, that was seldom a good thing.

As Jabo parted the waves of seniors for seas unknown, I realized that the other party in “we” was Father Ed. Ed Reynolds and Stan Jablonski had collaborated to get me into Cardinal Hayes High School. Surely, it was not my grades in grammar school.

I was one of their long shots. Their faith was about to pay off.
Faith, like courage, often has nothing to do with the divine or celestial. Cousin to trust, faith is often just the investment we are willing to make in another human being.

Amen.
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G. Murphy Donovan usually writes about the politics of national security. He lost that ring, class of ’59, playing left field up at Pelham Bay Park two days after he left the Hayes bookstore. Reward for return of same still stands.

Key words:
Rev. Edward Reynolds, “Jabo,” Rev. Sanislaus Jablonski, Saint Peters (Barclay Street), Cardinal Hayes High School, George Carlin, Martin Scorsese, Regis Philbin, the Bronx.

Images:
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SUPER BOWL FAILS

February 19, 2019

 

“The lady doth protest, too much, methinks.” – WS

 

Surely the Super Bowl game itself wasn’t a fail; if you like defense and fourth quarter suspense.

What’s not to like about the New England Patriots, America’s team it seems. Tom Brady and Jules Edelman, just as twelve follows eleven, littered the playing field with Los Angeles jockstraps. The Rams only put three points on the board. The Edelman performance alone kept the LA offense off the field. The city of angels had no answer to the 2019 Belichick defense and the now hirsute Edelman.

The “goat” and “squirrel” up in Foxboro might be the best offensive duet in football.

Tip of the hat too, to the New Orleans Saints who should have been in Atlanta instead of the Los Angeles Hams. Sometimes, poetic justice is the only justice available. Or maybe some of those playoff zebras actually work for team Las Vegas.

Surely Gladys Knight wasn’t a fail. Her rendition of the national anthem was poetic, the highlight of the secular entertainment. No-anti cop twerks or screeds from Gladys and nobody took a knee. Bravo! At least one super talent overcame politics in 2019.

The half-time show, in contrast, featured a slacker, a cracker, and a rapper. When you got past the “who are these guys” mystery, you are left with Adam Levine looking like the “D” Train rattling through the south Bronx. If you’re that insecure, Adam, you might want to keep your clothes on.

The only thing that tramp stamps and skin graffiti ever say is “look at me.” Body “art” and IQ numbers are usually inversely proportionate too as a rule; personal tats and stats that you might not want to feature on national television.

The big fail on Super Bowl Sunday, however, was literally commercial – and pathetically political. Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post bought Tom Hanks, and a five million dollar ad spot, to tell the sporting world about the virtues of Bezos era journalism.

Alas, virtue signaling usually says more about predicate than object. And Jeff’s new domicile inside the Beltway swamp says as much about his politics as you need to know.

Democracy doesn’t “die in darkness,” Jeff. Democracy, like marriage, dies from neglect and insincerity.

In 2019, home town Bezos, has 16 unsolved homicides already, all black, on the books. There were 4,141 violent crimes in Washington, DC last year, 160 of those were homicides too, up 38 percent over 2016. DC homicide is trending up again in the New Year. Yet, the Washington Post buys a 5 million dollar advert on Super Bowl Sunday to lament the loss of a single Arab stringer in Turkey.

Good grief!

The Sunni world has been loping off heads since Mohamed was an altar boy. Are we to wax indignant about mindless kills only when the victim is a sometime employee of the Post?

If perspective were toilets, the Bezos Post could be a sewage treatment plant. The question that the public should ask about Bezos and the Washington Post is the same that should be asked of any public figure.

If your wife can’t trust you after 25 years of marriage, why should readers?

Bezos was recently hoisted on the philander petard by a colleague, the editor of the National Enquirer. Jeffry now claims that any graphic coverage of his marital sleaze is “blackmail” or “extortion.”

Trump is fair game, but Bezos is not?

Are we now supposed to believe that the world’s richest political partisan on the American left is just another victim?

Bezos underlines the deficits, not the assets of contemporary fish wrap when he or the Post buys a Hollywood doxy like Tom Hanks as a propaganda shill. Hanks is a contagious Hollywood liberal who apparently, like his colleagues, will say anything if the price is right.

The Bezos commercial is an egregious example of sanctimonious thought policing; a practice designed to obliterate boundaries between reporters, entertainers, politicians, and Madison Avenue shills.

If American journalism, especially the Washington Post, was about fact, objectivity, or truth; it would be obvious in practice. There would be no need for paid propaganda. Lady Gertrude had it right the first time; insincerity is not elevated by repetition – not even when it swirls clockwise in the middle of the nation’s capital – or a Super Bowl.

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The author writes often about the politics of national security.

Key words: National Football League, Super Bowl commercials, Washington Post, District of Columbia, National Enquirer, journalism, Tom Brady, Tom Hanks, Adam Levine, Jeff Bezos, NE Patriots, and LA Rams.

Images:

https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/12/14/11/3B5E7DD300000578-4032472-Adam_s_Day_Off_On_Tuesday_hours_before_The_Voice_grand_final_it_-a-44_1481716458620.jpg

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CREDIBILITY

October 26, 2018

“Truth is always strange, stranger than fiction.” – Byron

Assumptions are the bed rock of everyday belief. Truth, alas, is also a function of belief. Different words yes, but as a practical matter, truth and belief is often the same thing.

Take the Christine Blasey Ford narrative for example. Her story floats on a raft of dubious premises:

  • “She” must be handled with kid gloves.
  • She is a presumed “victim.”
  • She is an assumed “survivor.”
  • Her politics, her motives are immaterial
  • Her drug or alcohol habits are off limits
  • Only medical history that supports her story is relevant
  • Her age or profession is irrelevant
  • Her social life is off limits
  • Her marriage problems are off limits
  • Her selective memory is “credible”
  • Male interrogators cannot be fair
  • She must be taken at her word

Without objection, little of the cover provided by such assumptions applies to the accused, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Indeed, Brett, apparently, is not entitled to any of the usual presumptions of innocence granted to a female accuser like Ford.

Indeed, even before the Senate hearing began, Kavanaugh was convicted of being white, male, Republican, Catholic, and conservative by a rabid media.

Withal, beyond sex-based immunities and hippocampus psychobabble, Ms. Ford left several large questions unanswered. The first is drugs. Did Ford have any chemical assistance on the morning of her laid-back testimony? Clearly, Kavanaugh did not. He was a hot steaming pile of righteous indignation after lunch.

Mellow or not, there were several other vacuums in Ford’s narrative. Of specifics she could only remember three. They laughed, they were drunk. She, in contrast, consumed precisely “one” beer.

Then there was the “two-door” trauma that apparently triggered the dry hump flashback in Ford’s couple’s therapy. She claims that recovered memory compelled her to argue for two front doors in her recent home renovation.  Apparently, a 35-year-old beer bust grope compelled her to insist on two exits for safety in middle age.

The most likely explanation for two front doors on any single family dwelling is “duplex.” Two front doors in any renovated house signals “rental unit” or a second income, not safety.

Given the timing of the alleged incident in puberty, and the big reveal at menopause, an honest analyst might see both narratives as hormonal fictions. Yes, a research psychologist like “doctor” Ford should know that true experts often dismiss “recovered memory” as a “false remembrance generated by outside influence.”

Some Americans believe that the Cold War was the primary cause of climate change, nee “global warming.” Rhetorical excess and blarney are the parents of hyperbole. Both partisan and propagandist must reinvent language and history to make a case for all things dubious.  When fakirs and fake news fail, repetition takes up the slack.

Ms. Christine Blasey Ford flew east from her left coast Palo Alto airy a few days ago at the eleventh hour to ruin Brett Kavanaugh’s life in front of a national audience.

She claims that Justice Brett ruined her as a teen 35 years ago. They were both minors at the time (1982?). He is accused of an alleged dry hump and a grope session at some unidentified teen beer bust inside the Beltway.  He was 17, she 15. You might wonder what a 15-year-old, pubescent, Holton-Arms debutante in a bathing suit was looking for at a 80s Beltway beer bust anyway. But that’s another question yet to be asked.

With the advent of the Me-Too fad, slut shaming is out of the question. Nonetheless, given the back story, Christine’s narrative sounded like she had an encounter with Bill Clinton or Charlie Rose not Brett Kavanaugh.

Ms. Ford’s contemporary claim to fame lies with left coast academic/pharma sinecures in the California psycho-babble industry. She is a registered Democrat cum academic, cum pharmaceutical consultant with distinct feminist activist bona fides.

Pardon any redundancy.

Withal, we are assured that her belated accusations are motivated by “civic duty” not politics. Still, all of her intermediaries, including counsel and political sponsors, are radical Democrats.  We are assured that her last minute allegations, about a man she hardly knew, are apparently a function of a “hippocampus” (her words) that only remembers enough facts to smear, but not enough facts to indict, convict, or convince.

If Ford is a genuine victim, you would think her hippocampus might have tried to bag Kavanaugh years earlier as he served in the White House and on the appellate bench in Washington, but that’s another question yet to be asked.

Ford was treated with kid gloves before, during, and after her recent minutes of fame. Kavanaugh, in contrast, was pummeled like a punching bag. Under fire, without a chemical crutch, the judge became a sniveling wreck.

If you compared the Ford/ Kavanaugh testimony at the Senate side-by-side, the contrast was jarring. Chrissy was bong mellow and Brett looked and sounded like a refugee from a mugging. Ford was so laid back and composed that it was hard not to think that she might have had a hit of something that morning.  Kavanaugh, in contrast, looked like he could have used a pill or a highball at lunch.

Apparently, queries about Brett’s beer drinking and temperament were fair game throughout the interrogation, but Chrissy’s pharma or AM buzz were questions never asked.

There’s no evidence that anyone at the mystery beer party on the unspecified date in 1982 ever tried to prevent Chrissy from leaving the unspecified house in Preppieville. In fact, she did leave. How or with whom she cannot say.

Let’s assume that beer, a dry hump, a grope, and the laughter were all real.  A grope is not rape. A hand on a mouth is not murder. Ridicule is not assault. Even if we account for four decades of feminist inflation, those imagined charges of attempted rape or murder are either hysterical pubescent flashbacks or mid-life phantasms.

Emotions, dare we say hysteria, do their worst at the hormonal bookends. Alas, the damage is done. Real victims are again less credible. Ms. Ford becomes another footnote on the left.  Kavanaugh becomes another permanent pariah on the High Court.

The Ford/Kavanaugh drama was never about either. It was all about Donald Trump. Having lost the latest round of Trump hate, the media has dumped Ms.Ford and moved on to the Kashoggi soap opera and pipe bomb drama, another false flag hoax.

Withal, America is the real victim of fake news. On a downward spiral, we are again less than what we were.

At a minimum, we will need a new word for credible.

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TRUMP TWICE?

May 2, 2018

 “Behind every great man is a surprised woman.” – Maryon Pearson

The day before the last presidential election, my wife and I drove from Washington, DC to the eastern shore of Maryland. Inside the Beltway, we saw a few small Hillary signs but not as many as you might expect near a town where Democrats are monolithic. Outside the Beltway, there were no Clinton signs. Trump adverts, in contrast, out in the sticks, were ubiquitous and billboard large. Two years hence, we drove south this time into Virginia and noticed that many rural Trump signs were still up. We even saw “Reelect Trump” buttons at a farmers market. Two years in, working America seems to get, or appreciate, something about Trump that dependent, or should we say liberal, America does not.

If you read city newspapers, watch television, or live in mom’s basement with an iPhone; you might never know that Donald Trump actually has a constituency. You would never know that many folks, beyond the urban cloister, do not see Trump as an ogre. You would never know that the Trump regime puts some porridge in the pot.  Hapless spin and bias of media pundits and pollsters didn’t matter much before the last presidential election and still doesn’t seem to matter today.

Achievement, however, still matters!

Reporters, talking heads, and pollsters persist, nevertheless, still trashing Trump. Indeed, the “dump Trump” movement, right and left, might now be a case of bias metastasizing into bigotry. Excess offends most where it matters most; midst the open spaces, open minded, and the “undecided” voters.

Call them “swingers,” if you must.

Trump’s most virulent critics, if nothing else, are consistently oblivious to national sub-rosa sentiment. Political autism on the robotic left is trending. Keith and Pocohantas are waiting in the wings to succeed Bernie and Hillary. If clueless were clams and spuds, the Democratic National Committee would be chowder.

Trump’s critics have created the very monster populist they so deplore. Strawman indeed! Meanwhile, fair play still matters to open minds, flyover country, swing votes, that fickle middle.

Beltway heartburn on the far right is chronic too, as Trump keeps making noises about “draining the swamp” in Washington; a signal threat to entrenched deep state denizens at DOD, State, Justice, and the Intelligence Community. Trump is the first politician in modern times to suggest that the deep state might actually be the “creep state,” a privileged sty where entrenched, unelected, tenured, self-interested porkers rule indefinitely.

Reduced to essentials, the Trump revolution may be about real democracy, that eternal struggle between the elect and the select. Trump’s critics are a Cobb Salad of timid drones and media camp followers who see Trump as a threat to unelected, tenured power, a threat to federal honey pots and sugar teats.

These days, to put it bluntly; the Civil Service, the Foreign Service, and security services are apparently half truths. A hostile deep state appears willing to destroy democracy in order to save it, denial in fact and in deed.

We hear many complaints about Trump’s taxes, business dealings, and personal finances. Compared to Uncle Sam and Jenkins Hill, the Trump Empire is a model of fiduciary, budgetary, and fiscal rectitude. If Congress were as good at managing the public purse, we might all be living large in cribs like Mar-a-Largo.

For socialists, Trump is a primal threat. Ideology matters most to fanatics. Just as social democrats and globalists were getting over the loss of Stalin, Mao, Castro, Heidegger, and Coco Chanel; along comes Hillary riding in Bill’s shade. Trump didn’t have much of a hand to begin with, but apparently a predator’s wife isn’t the ace of hearts either.

For the American left, Donald’s sins are too numerous to catalogue, yet in the interest of balance we should mention a few. Trump is rich, well groomed, white, successful, much married, sexually active, and fertile. He might wed often, but he supports his children and ex-wives in style. He doesn’t drink, snort drugs, smoke weed, sport tattoos or piercings, wear a man bun, or play Lotto. In short, Donald Trump has all the baggage of success that envy loves to hate.

But let’s be candid, the Donald is still a bit of an odd canard. He comes to high office by way of Queens, Wharton, condo sales, serial wives, game shows, beauty pageants, casinos, and hutzpah. His political chops are more than slightly irregular, but at the same time, very, very New York.  Nothing succeeds like excess. Trump’s civic deficits are many too; he’s not a shyster, not a professional politician, not an orator, not a Bezos bozo, nor is he an accomplished ass kisser.

A Trump Tweet or press conference is often like a bizarre trap shoot. On any given day, he might take out a pigeon – or blow off one of his wing tips. Like no other politician in memory, Donald Trump has weaponized candor. After three thousand years, he had the hutzpah to call Jerusalem the Jewish capital! Talk about brass. Trump’s saving grace with sub-rosa voters may his willingness to butcher the English language and any sacred cow in the public square.

Back in the day, in the east Bronx, I ran with a mug in the same Fordham neighborhood where Trump spent two years in college. My chum was never as wealthy or educated as Trump, but just as arrogant. Tommy D was one of those kids who swaggered like a much larger animal. He didn’t necessarily look for fights, but they seemed to find him anyway. He once clocked a masher on a bus, and then got jumped by four more for his trouble.

Tommy wore his mangled nose like a bent badge of courage. He wasn’t bigger or stronger than other mutts, but he wouldn’t stay down either, he just kept coming, no matter the odds. He intimidated most comers because he never quit. With Thomas, round two was always a certainty.

Hard to know whether Trump was ever that kind of hard case growing up in Queens, although a stint in military school followed by two years at Fordham in the Bronx may explain his moxie. He does love a good fight. Trump will put a rhetorical fist on your snot locker at the drop of a hat.

If we can milk a cliché for a moment; it’s not the size of the dog in a fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Trump is a happy warrior. He is willing to take on the fatties and the fatuous. Critics underestimate his appeal to the every-day poll troll, folks that fib to Pew or Nielsen. Trumpsters, like swallows, fly under the radar.

Sub-rosa support for Trump is a new guilty pleasure.

Thus far, Trump is smarter and more agile than his critics. He is unpredictable and unprecedented, yet his madness has method. For Zuckerberg zombies, an app like Twitter is just another adolescent ego toy. For Trump, Twitter allows the White House to set the table daily at dawn, before critics can brush their teeth or find their panties.

All politics may be local, but all politicians are about personality. Trump is larger than life – and Pocahontas too. Not necessarily a good man, but possibly a great man. American politics has never seen a Presbyterian like Donald Trump. Were he to get hit by a Tesla tomorrow, his time in office will still be historic.

Trump’s great strengths are the excesses of his enemies and the stupidity of his haters. Rosanne Barr gets it. Few other do. Trump thrives in the mystic middle. He doesn’t have anything to lose or gain, except reelection. For the gainfully employed, the harried taxpayer, and all good souls taken for granted; a dollar-a-year man at the top is simple math – and poetic justice.

Trump again in 2020?

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Images:

http://www.eagletribune.com/news/some-mothers-excited-others-fearful-about-trump-win/article_1b044fde-7f07-5e6d-bbd1-5c87e2f6f809.html

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/Rockland-Maine-Trump-Signs-City-Ordinance-Issues-445811443.html

Key Words; Trump, Rosanne, presidential politics, fake news, swing voters, and 2020 election.


Color and Cliterature

February 15, 2018

“There are three “musts” that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.”  –  Albert Ellis

 

Branding is everything if you are in the “activist” business.

More than a few bizarre brands are trending these days. Black Lives Matter and the Me Too (aka Times Up) movements come to mind. The first arrived with a melanin predicate and the second rides a wave of estrogen angst. Hyperbole, hysteria, and hypocrisy joins the two at the hip.

Black murder rates, nationally, are largely driven by mayhem in liberal (Democrat Party) sinecures like Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Baltimore, and New Orleans. For the most part, American blacks kill other blacks. The number of African Americans killed or injured by white racists or white cops is statistically insignificant compared to the number of blacks maimed by home boys.

Mark more irony. Only one of four murders in places like Chicago ever get solved.  If black lives matter, they seem to matter little to other black Americans – or liberal, white urban politicians either.

Rap and hip-hop icons seldom cooperate with cops, insuring that abysmal closure rates are a permanent certainty. Biggie Smalls takes a bow here.

Three of four or more urban gun slingers are still cruising in a hood near you. Gun violence is worst in liberal cities where gun control laws are draconian.

Blaming cops for social pathology in African American neighborhoods is a little like blaming rest room/bath house sex and AIDS on Ronald Reagan.

The Me Too blame game suffers from similar confusion and contradictions. Such movements are propelled by ego, self-pity, and envy; not facts, data, science, or social justice. The “tell” for both memes is in the titles.

Shouldn’t all lives “matter?” Shouldn’t blue lives matter? Shouldn’t white lives matter? Shouldn’t junkie lives matter? Shouldn’t gay lives matter?  Shouldn’t  jihad  victims matter?

Withal, shouldn’t behavior matter?

How does skin shade, and not behavior,  have more to do with who gets help, goes to jail, who lives or dies in a liberal city? If the subject is social justice, as opposed to special pleading, then the movement might better be called “behavior matters.” Alas, personal responsibility is seldom in the mix when the subject is urban American racial, sexual, or cultural mores.

The problem with tropes is that too many, like tattoos, have evolved into stereotypes. The scabs are dry now. Behavior is, if we are honest, the mother of all stereotypes.

All of which brings us back to that other conversation, the Me Too crowd, the so-called “fourth wave” of feminism.  Me Too and “me” millennials are sisters from the same litter. Note the emphasis is on “me,” not we or thee.

If you chose to emphasize the “too” part of the argument, you can’t help but ask where sisters have been for the last hundred years. Or better still, girls, where was the distaff left when Bill was getting a Monica and Hillary and a liberal press was trashing Billy’s chippies as bimbos?

Say what you will about Donald Trump, America dodged a real bullet with the collapse of Clinton’s second act. If contemporary feminists didn’t have double standards, they wouldn’t have any.

Take Megyn Kelly, formerly at FOX, now flashing her primaries for NBC News. Early on, she entertained her press colleagues with a slut strut and photo ‘spread’ in Gentleman’s Quarterly. Later she made headlines as Donald Trump’s sex inquisitor in the 2016 primary debates. Trump couldn’t believe he was being grilled about sexism by a cheesecake veteran.

Voters couldn’t believe it either. They elected Trump anyway.

Listening to Megyn whine about Donald was a little like listening to a Boston archbishop pontificate about pedophilia. Such is the moral banality of the feminist wing of the American left.

More recently, the feline feeding frenzy caught up with the media boys club with a vengeance. Notable casualties included creeps at PBS, CBS, NBC, and FOX. The most notorious were Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer.

Infamous because both are ‘sandwich anchors,’ newsboys usually squeezed between two almost-famous newsgirls. The wrap for Charlie Rose at CBS This Morning was provided by Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell. Over at NBC’s Today, Matt Laurer was flanked, most recently, by Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.  Laurer has had a virtual harem of vapid second ladies over the years.

The typical host sandwich at network news has man meat in the middle with distaff salt and pepper on the sides.

When decades of hanky panky finally castrated Rose and Laurer recently, lady co-anchors across the land were faking orgasms and throwing high fives – and pleading ignorance like campfire girls.  For decades, apparently, not a single lady side-kick at CBS or NBC had a giblet groped, had a fanny pinched, or saw Charlie’s or Matt’s schlong.

Not just hard to believe. Simply impossible to believe.

The likely explanation for such vacuity is stupidity, cupidity, cowardice – or brain damage. Yet, the network party line for passive poseurs is that these gal pals are real “journalists” – victims too if you believe in tooth fairies.

You cannot claim to be a serious journalist and still claim not to have seen or heard of Charlie’s Johnson or Matt’s Willie at one time or another. Like Harvey out there in the land of fruits and nuts, media mashers are serial perverts, trashing and flashing a host of marks for decades.

Twas a bit of a jolt then, at ABC, when Brian Ross was caught conjuring fake news with his pants on. Ross now joins another Brian, erstwhile anchor (now posturing at MSNBC), on the fakir walk of shame. Brian Williams got canned for inventing a self-serving yarn about combat heroism.

The most righteous creep kill was National Public Radio’s Garrison Keillor, a major scalp for hypocrites and victims alike. Ever unctuous Keillor and the Washington Post got hung out for defending Barney Frank in print.

To be sure, the Keillor /Post collusion is consistent with a paterfamilias tradition. Iconic editor Ben C. Bradlee at the Post was notorious for conjugating with the help in the 60s and 70s when he wasn’t fronting for John Kennedy’s lechery, the Democrat Party, or the FBI.

Here’s a thought for journalists everywhere. If you wife can’t trust you, why should readers trust you?

One wag famously described Ben’s third mate, Sally Quinn’s contributions to writing as “cliterature.” Quinn is an exemplar of how far a woman can get in Washington by merging regularly with an aging married liberal oligarch.

Deep throats indeed!

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Science now has a name for ‘me too’ egoism, careerism, or adolescent selfishness. The clinical community calls it musterbating. Yes, that spelling is correct.

Musterbation is, as irony would have it, a homophone homonym; in short, indulging yourself  by other means; “me” and “must” posturing as mandates.

The neologism was coined by behaviorist Albert Ellis. According to Dr. Ellis, musterbation is a series of unrealistic expectations or “shoulds” that the egoist imposes on self – and those around them. Musterbation is not to be confused with aspiration.  Should is a demand not simply a desire.

The mustabator is at once self-absorbed and judgmental about the world around them. Neither facts nor experience are relevant to the activist bound by self-serving rigid expectations of the cruel work outside the womb.

For the musterbator, introspection or reflection is impossible, personal and social problems are always someone else’s fault. “It’s your behavior, not mine, that is the problem,” might be their mantra.

Black Lives Matter and Me Too activists are now musterbating in unison. Both fail to see their behavior as relevant to social pathology. Whitey and “the man” is the excuse for BLM. Covetous men or an oppressive patriarchy are the culprits for Me Too mustabators. Courage in both cases is lacking because hindsight is not the same as a stout heart.

BLM excoriates a small, largely innocent demographic; cops. Me Too cuts a wider swath, demonizing men in general, nearly half the population. The two have much in common.

Hypocrisy is a hermaphrodite.

And yes, Ms. Winfrey; time is up. It’s time for professional victims and celebrity whiners, male and female, to grow up and act like adults.

Catherine Deneuve speculates that the Me Too fad is driven by man hate. Bingo!

Speaking of acting, black skirt feminism was a thing at the Golden Globes this year. Ironically, Hollywood press shills honored the lives of Katherine Graham, Ben Bradlee, and Carl Bernstien. Graham was a weak corporate enabler at the Washington Post, while Bradlee and Bernstein were flagrant womanizers. Bernstein cheated most prominently whilst his wife was pregnant. Heartburn anyone?

Adding insult to irony, black skirt prima donna Meryl Streep is the star vehicle in two films that now have   turned two of journalism’s most notorious cheats into national icons.

Indeed, if egoists and special pleaders must do anything, they must take responsibility for their behavior at the moment of truth. Then we can all get on with judging Louie CK, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly, Sally Quinn, and Senator Pocahontas.

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The author usually writes about national security, only occasionally wandering onto the minefield of social scrimmages.

Tags: Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Times Up, Washington Post, National Public Radio, the Golden Globes, Ben Bradlee, Carl Bernstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, CBS, NBC, and ABC

 

 


WHITE MEN IN BLACK

September 16, 2017

Iconoclasm on the Left

A few years after the Martin Luther King riots of 1968, I was driving through Harlem in upper Manhattan. At several traffic lights I was greeted by a corner chorus of “right on man, Chocolate City.” Perplexed at first, I soon realized that the raised fists and the shouts were for my District of Columbia license plates. The salutes were for DC, the nation’s capital, in those days a rare majority black town.

When you drive through the former riot corridors of DC today, the ironies of the once proud “Chocolate City” are overwhelming. The District of Columbia is no longer a brown town.

African Americans are no longer a voting majority, forced by gentrification to migrate to PG County in Maryland. On the DC side of the river, white flight has done a U turn on U Street.  Blacks in DC are now displaced by white yuppies, gender benders, and Millennial camp followers. Still, the District remains a government plantation; a one-party, one-employer town where liberal political monoculture is the culture.

Faces on the street may have changed since the King assassination, but the face of politics is unaltered. DC is left, liberal, and Democrat. Indeed, the party of segregation and Jim Crow still rules. Liberals, still have leg irons on DC voters, good news for pink and white carpetbaggers, not so much for native folks of color.

The District has the most expensive, dysfunctional, self-segregated school system in the world; a black unemployment rate that is twice the national average; a disproportionate number of blacks on welfare; and a drug subculture that guarantees a black penal population that hovers close to 50% of the general population. Barrios, slums, and associated crime in black DC may not be as bad as Chicago, but such urban comparisons are redundant.

Withal, the nation’s capital, like most liberal urban sinecures, is still run by plantation elites; a Democrat Party nomenclatura where control, identity politics, and associated dependencies are the chains that bind.

Ironically, Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln, have never elected a mayor or city council in the District of Columbia. The Lincoln legacy deficit is not the only irony in the District. The face of political arson and public mayhem has changed dramatically too.

Black rage has been displaced by white riot.

If you see a hood, a mask, a Molotov cocktail, or a torch on the streets of DC these days, the punk behind that black balaclava is likely to be a left-wing white male.

The difference between black and white rioters is geography.  Black arsonists in America do their worst in their own neighborhoods whilst white thugs travel far and wide.  White men in black, white millennial punks for hire, are fixtures now at rallies, town halls, and street demonstrations nationwide. Recent riots at UC Berkeley and University of Virginia in Charlottesville are probative.

The race of rioters or public agitators is seldom reported with candor in press coverage. In Baltimore or Ferguson, photos might speak for themselves. In places like the University of Virginia or the University of California, the white face of mayhem hides under a black hood – apparently with immunities.

Alas, the politics of rioters is more significant than race.  Minorities riot for grievance, often legitimate. White liberals riot for ideology. Ironically, the face of campus riot is underwritten by subsidized students, tenured faculty, or unemployed graduate debtors. Campus is the hothouse for politicized left-wing louts.

As poetic justice would have it, the unemployed or unemployable college graduate is the new face of liberal irony.

Hard to believe that a pricey degree in hip hop, globalism, or gender studies is not fungible on main street or Wall Street. The irony of hobby scholars whining about college costs or student debt today is justice in deed and fact.

Alas, liberal angst has now turned to nihilistic iconoclasm.  Art, culture, history, and statuary are in the cross hairs. Parallels between Islamic iconoclasm and the American variety are too obvious to ignore. The former seems to be a role model for the latter, tactics and uniforms included.

Radical Left and Islamist Right seek to obliterate history, by force if necessary. The American Left seeks to destroy the very icons that the Democrat Party created during Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and 300 years of apartheid.

The stench of liberal hypocrisy in America today might gag a maggot. Pictures are worth a million Instagrams. The collage below features Antifa and ISIS villainy side by side. The chap at upper right is Jihad John, the Brit executioner who did his worst with a butcher knife. The gal in the middle represents ISIS envy Hollywood style.

Fascism is distinguished from all other “isms” by the need for coercion. When violence is the instrument, foul winds usually blow from the Left. Communism, National Socialism, Jim Crow, and Islamism are all strains of the same coercive history. Battles against Nazis and Reds may have been won in the 20th Century only to have the war lost to “democratic socialism” and Islamic fascism in the 21st Century.

In the wake of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, the German government took the unprecedented step of shutting down the Internet hub for radical Antifa organizing in Germany: “the most influential vicious platform for far-left extremists.” Five hundred cops were wounded in the July riots.

The fake news industry is mute or agnostic on parallels between Islamic and leftist terror.

No surprise either that the fake news fakirs often sympathize with iconoclasts, religious and political.  Social, broadcast, and televised media now spin similar narratives. Riot on campus, or in the streets, is attributed to kook cliques on the right – or Donald Trump.

Even internet cash cows like PayPal are getting into the act, attempting to silence on-line conservatives who dare criticize domestic terrorists or Islamists. When Daniel Schulman purges anti-Islamist conservatives from Internet commerce, what’s next; VISA cards for Hamas, Master Cards for the Taliban, and American Express cards for ISIS?

Hate, intolerance, and institutional violence on the Left is much more threatening than the occasional quack parade on the right.

The most vicious alt-left false flag organization with global reach is Antifa, a group that claims to be anti-fascist but openly identifies itself with violence, terror, and ISIS. The Antifa uniform of choice mimics the American KKK and ISIS, where black hoods are the new white.

The aging and largely flaccid American Klan is now only a curiosity compared to the tumescent Antifa, global nihilists afflicted with testosterone poisoning. Organizations such as Black Lives Matter may be anti-cop, racist, or prone to arson; but at least they have the courage and common decency not to mimic Klan or ISIS uniforms.

Oddly enough, even the Cable News Network sees “anti-fascist” fascists for what they are. Advertised Antifa  affiliates include ISIS, Hezb’allah, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council, and Occupy Wall Street to name a few.

White washing Islamist atrocity from internet news is the latest obscenity sponsored by Silicon Valley crowd.  By purging photos, videos, and Islamic critics, Internet thought police on the Left Coast seek to bury all electronic or video evidence of terror and war crimes in the Ummah. The idea that billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, or any Facebook clones, should police the global net for the Left is another sign that money and morons are not necessarily mutually exclusive. .

The only censors that might be more partisan than Uncle Sam would be the Silicon Valley aristocracy. Social media, print journalists, broadcast shills, and gangsters like Antifa, unfortunately, share the same identity politics. For the Left, if you’re not a socialist at home and a globalist abroad, you must be a racist, supremacist, or nativist. Any idea that isn’t politically correct must now be beaten, literally beaten.

The most recent icons from the American Left are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders was undone by a rigged primary. Call it the desserts of self-hate.

Mrs. Clinton was then torpedoed by liberal dynasty fatigue. Ballot box failure is taken now to the streets. More ominous still is the toxic merge of the global left, Antifa for example, with the Islamist right.

If tactics are effective enough, they always have the potential through operational success to become strategy. To date, violence and terror has worked well for Islamic fascists.  Now jihadists have found an ally in the infidel camp. Ironically, the revolutionary left in Europe and America, seem oblivious to the fact that most of the guns, and votes, are still on the right side of politics. The NRA might take a bow here.

Violence is like drugs. Junkies always need more; until one day, the big hit is the last. The suicide bomber, the ideological arsonist, and the political stoner are thus cut from the same cloth. Bad ends for all are often inevitable.

Tradition and civil discourse, if nothing else, represents stability. The American left seems to be oblivious to prudence and moderation. Bill Clinton’s wife provides the best example.

Hillary, like her Party, while admiring herself in the glass, is still incapable of reflection. For forensic details, read What Happened, a deer in the headlights autobiography, coming soon to a book stall near you. If the question in the title needs to be asked; Mrs. Clinton, Democrats, and the American Left still don’t have a clue.


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The Business of Small Wars

August 7, 2017

“Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” – Lenin

Once upon a time wars had beginnings and ends, official declarations of active combat followed by official treaties of truce or surrender.  Indeed, words like victory and defeat had meaning in another era. Enemies had names too, names that identified empires, a region, a religion, a nation/state, or even race; names like Greeks, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings, Saracens, Mongols, Protestants, Catholics, Turks, Germans, Italians, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese and more recently, the Vietnamese.

In the past, wars had goals and intended consequences too. All that changed with the advent of the 21st century.

The face of war is no longer ethnic or national and surely not religious. Indeed, the only “enemies” that might be flogged with nationality are Russians, occasionally the Chinese if you speak quietly enough.  Oddly enough, Europeans and Americans are not at war with either Russia or China. The West is, however, at undeclared war in more than a few small venues, at war with Islamists of several stripes. Small wars with Sunnis predominate while the proxy war with Shiite Iran is garnished with nuclear potential.

Still, only Russians are routinely patronized or slandered as belligerents; indeed, sanctioned with penalties for behaviors more characteristic of Washington than Moscow. Few if any Muslim autocracies are burdened with draconian sanctions no matter how badly they behave.

Withal, Americans routinely interfere with foreign elections, create clandestine provocations, sponsor coups, and violate national sovereignty on a global scale from Latin America to Eastern Europe to Africa to the Middle East and on to South Asia.  By last count, since 1945, the United States has sponsored soft or hard coups in no fewer than 55 sovereign states, a fourth of the countries that make up the United Nations. Ukraine and Libya are the latest American sponsored coup casualties. Still we are led to believe that Russia is the primary threat to global comity.

Indeed, we are told, by folks who should know better, that clandestine and overt imperialism is a Slavic gene. Genetic authorities like General James Clapper, erstwhile DNI, have said as much about the Russians.

[In the world of real accounting, Russians and the Chinese are the fiduciary or budgetary logic for first world wars that no one in the West intends to fight. The Russians are necessary to justify proliferate Pentagon spending on big ticket weapons systems. Concurrently, the US Department of Defense and affiliated contractors now provide arms to friend and foe alike in various Muslim small wars.]

Throughout, war in the Ummah is cloaked in euphemism. Real or active hostiles, mostly Muslims these days, cannot be specified by race, sect, or nationality as if none of these things mattered. Race and ideology only seems to matter if you are a Russian strawman.

Ideology apparently doesn’t matter in small kinetic wars with third world or “developing” countries, especially if toxic belief is some metastasized variant of Islam.

Changing Muslim “hearts and minds” apparently doesn’t cover primal practices either: behaviors like child abuse, misogyny, harems, slavery, pedophilia, or the beheading of apostates and infidels. Putative US “partners” like Saudi Arabia, and lesser Arabian potentates, still sponsor international terror and domestic rituals like throat slitting and stoning. Human rights atrocities in the Ummah are routinely ignored or romanticized in the name of culture or religious moral equivalence.

Mohammed, the Koran, and Islam are not merely beyond reproach or criticism. The sacred troika has been stricken from public political debate of any sort. Seems only Muslims are qualified to judge Islamic crimes. All public discussions of bad actors are now cloaked with code words like “extremists, radicals, or militants.”  Obvious ties to Muslims and Islamic ideology do not seem to matter.

The faith and the ethnicity of even the worst Muslim madmen are literally unmentionable.

Somehow, any Islamist fanatic who behaves badly is not a true Muslim either. Europe and America are not at war with Arabs, Persians, or Muslims no matter the obvious ideological, national, or ethnic affiliations of bomb throwers or jihadists.

The politically correct view of a fourth of the world’s population is that Islam is an ideology of “peace,” no matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Believing that the jihad is a peace movement is another triumph of hope over experience. Moral equivalence is the now the burka of criminal immunities.

Allied science and Intelligence, presumably fact based disciplines, seem to be useless for peeling the Muslim onion. Indeed, candid analysis of historical or contemporary Islamic ideology or behaviors is, at a minimum, risky business.

The difference between Islam and the rest

All the great challenges of war and peace are moral, imperatives, as Emanuel Kant might say, to choose between right and wrong. Inclination, purpose, and ideology, unfortunately, have little to do with correct choice. Morality is duty.  Correct behavior, even in war, is an obligation, ironically, only for those who believe in rationality – and civilization.

Kant provided Europe with the best metric for defining true civilization.  Civilization is a cultural requirement to distinguish between can, could, and “should.”

The chasm between Islam and the West is this difference between ethics and morality. Ethics are imposed or external rules for conduct. Morality is a personal choice based on reasonable experience and evolved principles of right and wrong.  Historical hat tip to Erasmus, then Kant.

Thus we can appreciate how Islamic behavior might be “ethical” under Koranic dictates and still be abhorrent to non-Muslims, cultures with more evolved moral sensibilities. Islam is about religious ethics and rules, a culture largely governed by external mandates, not logical choices or conscience.

Therein lays the rub. Reason, logic, morality, and derivative legal traditions of the Greco/Roman/Judeo/Christian culture are not necessarily the stuff of imperial Islam. Indeed, the rise and colonial success of Islamism starting in the 7th Century could be seen as a reaction to the perceived decadence of neo-classical civilization. Absolute Islam was, and still might be, the antithesis of the evolved liberties, freedom, logic, reason, and the science of classic, Judeao/Christian, and post-Moriscos Europe.

The Roman Mediterranean littoral, a decaying empire, was ripe for the taking and you could argue that that struggle has continued in fits and starts for the last fourteen centuries. The so called “Dark Ages” between the rise of Islam and the European Renaissance was the price that history paid, in part, for original Islamic cultural recidivism.

History always moves on two axis, forward is as likely as backwards. Apologies to Hegel, Marx, and Fukuyama.

The iconoclasm of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda today speaks volumes about how many Muslims, in tradition and practice, think about non-Islamic cultures, especially Jews. In general, tolerance and diversity are not Islamic virtues. Muslim ideological and military jihad is a tradition with deep roots in world history.

The quest for “caliphate” today is a replay of earlier religious globalism, now run amok on an unprecedented scale.

The recidivist strain of Mohamed’s vision is dominant in Arab Islam; indeed, the motive behind many small wars and global terrorism today.  In fact, the evidence that recidivist Islam is financed by wealthy Sunni Arabs, and to a lesser degree by Shiite Persians, is now overwhelming.  Inspired by a seminal Persian religious coup in 1979, similar theocratic politics have spread like a virus in the Sunni world.

Still, apologists will argue that American and European imperial or colonial interventions and associated misadventures in the Muslim world energizes or stimulates the global  jihad. There is probably some truth in all of these explanations.

So where does all of this leave us?

If the ethics of institutional Islam are incompatible with the evolved moral and legal traditions of European culture, what is the state of play? Clearly, the West is not winning the kinetic battles, those small wars and the more elusive “war on terror.” American generals now openly admit to failure on both fields of battle.

Yet, the same EU/NATO nexus that huffs, puffs, and expands to confront a manufactured Russian threat trembles before the Islamic 5th Column in Europe and most of the religious small wars in the Ummah. Faced with Islamic imperialism or Islamic terror, the EU and NATO are paper tigers.

 Business as usual

More ominous still is moral and legal decay, where evidence suggests that Euro/American values are themselves metastasizing, becoming more alien, more like the toxic ethics that sustain Islam. Surely immigrants are a very large toe on the EU and NATO cultural scale. Nonetheless, the real sea-change seems to be in American willingness to throw prudence and law to the winds in several venues which now include Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

  • After two decades or more of warfare in South Asia, drug war lords and the Taliban are more prosperous than ever. Afghanistan might now officially be designated a narco state where culture has been reduced to chronic pedophilia in Kabul and drug addled theocracy in the countryside. Unlike the Soviets, American generals can’t see the wisdom of cutting losses with Afghan “partners” in yet another Great Game where America now loses in slow motion.
  • Syria goes from bad to worse. US regime change policy has now morphed into outright invasion and intervention. There is no legal or moral basis at home or abroad to send American troops or aircraft into a sovereign country like Syria. The proxy fight with Russia, an invited guest in Syria, has now become a bizarre variety of nuclear chicken. The political class in Washington, right and left, seems to be itching for a fight with Russia. Syria is likely to provide the pitch.
  • Since the execution of Saddam Hussein, Iraq has been transformed from a Sunni dictatorship into a dysfunctional Shia client state. Without US troops, air support, and logistics, Iraq is sure to fall prey to the religious and ethnic divisions that have been exacerbated by three consecutive puerile wars in as many decades. If and when Americans leave, Iraq will probably be sliced and diced by the sectarian and ethnic warlords that now litter the landscape in the Levant. Iraq and Syria now have Libya potential.
  • The Emirates have always been a rare mix of decadence, religion, and absolutist duplicity. On the one hand, Qatar hosts the largest US military base in Arabia. On the other hand, Qatar is now ostracized and sanctioned for its support of terrorists abroad. Anti-Qatari recriminations are led by Saudi Arabia, which is a little like watching pigs wrestle over the garbage. Qatar’s real offense is Al Thani apostasy . The royal family in Qatar is a little too cozy with Turks, Persians, and cheeky Shiites.

Uncle Sam is working both sides of the street in Qatar; at once chastising the Al Thanis for underwriting Islamism while sweetening the jihad pot with $15 billion worth of American made F-15 fighters.

Concurrently, the Pentagon is selling Saudi Arabia all the legitimacy that oil money can buy. The new Saudi military aid package tops $350 billion, a whopping windfall for American defense contractors. All the while, Riyadh is the principal exporter of neo-fascist Wahhabism, the darkest side of Sunni political theology. Lest we believe that the House of Saud will use US weapons to fight Islamist terror, think again.

At the moment, Saudi Arabia is using British and Americans advisors and weapons to bomb Yemen, the most desperate nation on the planet, back to the Stone Age. The great Yemini sin is Shiism. They are not sufficiently Sunni.

Beltway rationalizations for arming the Islamist enemy are beyond cynical. Apparently, with victory off the table, Pentagon and Defense nabobs believe that jobs and arms sales are acceptable substitutes. When the threat is not “existential,” why not make a few bucks off both sides in all those small and “long wars?” Conflicts have become revenue streams.

Concurrently, Washington has inserted itself into the bottomless pit of the most intractable religious schism in recorded history. The Muslim tilt was bad enough, now America is throwing in with the worst of Sunni sectarians. Europe is already caught between a rock and shellshock, the need to suppress an Islamist 5th Column at home whilst keeping the Sunni jihad abroad at bay.

Surely the West wallows in a strategic vacuum, but military malaise now transcends operational competence and strategy. American generals haven’t had a coherent plan to resolve these matters since Jimmy Carter was a plebe. Military stasis is compounded now by political vacuity, deficits in the moral realm. Islam has been granted moral equivalence by fiat, a flawed assumption that Muslim political ideology and praxis is no better or worse than any other religio/political code of ethics or behavior.

The moral evasion here suggests that the Islamist proselytizer is no different than a Quaker or a Methodist preacher who might sport a beard, caftan, and headgear. Equating all religions, or any religion, with Islam creates a civic hazard that is validated by barbarous evidence on a daily basis.

The lawless ethics of modern political Islam is now mimicked by politicians in Brussels and Washington. Strategic vacuums have been filled by a suicidal business ethics where Europeans and Americans seem willing to sell the rope with which Muslim jihadists will hang the West.

Money talks while common sense walks.  A culture that cannot find true north on its moral compass is bound to be devoured by history.

Islam and its adherents are accountable for neither belief nor action. The fusion of church and state is at the heart of the Muslim dilemma. If the West is to win the war of ideas in the “clash of civilizations,” it needs to worry less about the ethics of tactics and more about morality of strategy, the hazards of  “business ethics” becoming a default setting – at home and abroad.

Any kid in the East Bronx knows that the big dog on the block sets the tone for the neighborhood. The example is set at the top in all cultures large and small. America is still the big dog in the global pack.  Uncle Sam needs to raise his game, set some boundaries in the marketplace of ideas – and the business of small wars.

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