Friday the 13th in Paris

November 17, 2015

“The influence of the (Islamic) religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.”  –  Winston Churchill

Islamic fanatics struck another blow for cynicism last Friday night in Paris; wholesale and gratuitous slaughter in the name of some sanguinary Muslim god. History teaches few lessons these days.

We say “Muslim” god because most other religions forsook ritual religious slaughter centuries ago. Indeed, the nearest historical comparison is actually political. Before contemporary jihad, the Nazis were the last imperial movement to use industrial scale pogroms to underwrite an ideological message. Ironically, the EU now opens its borders to religious fascism, more virulent than the political strain that led to the Holocaust and associated carnage of WWII. Angela Merkel and the European Union do the ironic walk of shame here.

Alas, any distinction between politics and religion in a Muslim context is now moot. Politics are mostly religious in the Ummah and dystopic religion seems to be the only relevant politics permissible in much of the Muslim world.

Indeed, the irony is compound. The most egregious exporters of religious hate and sharia bigotry are putative EU/American “partners;” or allies; i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Arabia, and Persia. Withal, Europe and America are fatally impaled on the horns of the Shia/Sunni dilemma – by choice. Judeo/Christian tolerance now has all the earmarks of a suicide pact. Body counts, as Stalin prophesied, are now just another statistic.

Indeed, Islam today is both sword and shield.  Terror strikes and then retreats to sanctuary under a burka of global religious immunities. Somehow the larger bovine Muslim majority has no moral or civic responsibility for terrorists, passive aggressors (nee moderates), or those unassimilated and indigestible Muslim refugees. The EU and America are paralyzed by guilt and restraint that has no meaning for Muslim shooters and bombers. The new law of international war is now made by religious zealots while the “best” in the West assume the defensive crouch of infidel catamites.

In the after-orgy of post-Paris apologetics, few western leaders dared to mention Islam, Islamism, or the global jihad. The enemy is still the undifferentiated local, militant, terrorist, or criminal as if the ideology or motive that binds them all doesn’t matter. In the not too distant past, the threat was atomized as local phenomena like Black September, Fatah, Hamas, al Qaeda, or Boko Haram. The flavor of Islam du jour at the moment is ISIS or the Islamic state.

No matter the body count or venue, Europe and America refuse to recognize jihad as a global Islamic assault. And as with the Charlie Hebdo atrocity, the best response that Francois Hollande and France can muster now is a karaoke Marseillaise, a knee-jerk hymn to irrelevant if not discredited notions of liberté, égalité, and fraternité.

Fey responses to terror are now routine in the West. Call it cultural appropriation. Summary executions are accepted by Islamist butcher and infidel victim alike. Atrocity has been routinized, now hallmarks of 21st Century practices in the East and tolerance in the West. Suicide bombers and their victims are joined by the same moral vacuity. The former have no moral compass and the latter are loath to exert any prudence.

Excuses are epidemic. Bernie Sanders on the looney Left actually believes that global warming and ISIS are wingmen. The Sanders pronouncement is of a piece with team  Obama’s flawed assessments where ISIS has been described as the “junior varsity.”

Exaggerating a threat might be a no lose hedge but underestimating an existential threat can be fatal. Just ask Paris.

Maybe Parisians should build a monument to terror too as New York and Washington did after the Saudi Muslim attack against lower Manhattan and the Pentagon.  Appeasement, withal, seems to be the new deterrence.

For those with the attention span to notice, global Islamic terror is the most obvious symptom that globalization is not working. Democratic civility and “one-world” comity are not ascending stars, especially in the Muslim world. Societies that venerate 7th Century absolutist monoculture or cult prophets are impervious to fact or reason – much less democracy.

With the possible exception of Kurdistan and a few of the former Soviet Muslim republics, the Ummah is morphing into universal dystopic theocracy.

The quest for Islamic monoculture is facilitated by three trends: a weak or indecisive West, dishonest assessments of the threat, and a generation of leaders in the West who fail to appreciate or defend the virtue, indeed, superiority of their own culture. Indeed, of the three, the most pernicious is the last, the notion that all cultures and religious beliefs are morally equivalent.

Culture is the synergistic interplay of positive national values which allow independence, civility, cooperation, tolerance, and peaceful productivity. None of these virtues can be attributed to most of the Muslim world today. Indeed, much of the Ummah is a cesspool of human depravities. Friday the 13th in Paris is just one of too many examples.

Days before the latest Paris slaughter, the President of the United States declared unequivocally that ISIS had been “contained.” Here again we have another triumph of false hope over experience. The White House, the Pentagon, and the American Intelligence Community still treat Islamism as a public relations problem to be “managed” largely with hyperbole, wishful thinking, and domestic mendacity. The Islamists win in places like New York, London, and Paris because they understand that real victories in real wars war come from the barrel of a gun not the mouths of fools.

Huntington was correct; the “clash of civilizations” is here. If the latest Muslim massacre in France does not underline that clash, it’s difficult to imagine what kind of losses or atrocity might have to be endured to convince the West.

Immigration, nonetheless, is not the only Trojan horse in the Muslim kit. The pathologies of Islamic culture are well recorded at the expense of women, children, ethnic and non-Muslim minorities. Alas, there is no single Islamic Trojan horse; the phenomenon today is more like a diseased herd at full gallop. Allahu akbar!


This essay appeared previously in the Small Wars Journal, November 2015.



Truth, Noise, and Politics

October 28, 2015

Truth is a tough nut, both fruit and seed. Few people want to shuck their own nuts or work hard enough to discover truth. As with nuts, we usually like someone else to do the work, the shelling. Thus truth, for most, is received wisdom. We are inclined to believe what we hear (hat tip to Goebbels) or believe what we hear most. Truth as a rule is what we believe, correct or incorrect. True or false beliefs are equally difficult to undo or overcome. Belief is a virtual hermaphrodite too; it often serves both sides of an argument.

The received wisdom conundrum is aggravated by the signals/noise enigma. Signal truth is often buried under layers of noise: emotions, passions, bias, frequency, and volume. Between received wisdom and ambient noise, facts often fail to be consumed no less germinate. Political truth, especially before an election, is similar to the leaf litter under an oak tree. Almost all acorns are infested by insects, purloined by rodents, or simply rot in the shell. Few nuts ever become trees.

Alas, signals and noise are endemic in all modern societies.  Nevertheless, signals missed still have grave consequences.

Roberta Wohlstetter’s prophetic analysis of the warning failure at Pearl Harbor is an example of how the message, or truth, gets lost in ambient noise.  Ms. Wohlstetter’s excellent volume was confirmed again by General Mike Hayden, the National Security Agency, and the Bush White House on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The Saudi/Arab surprise attack on America was the worst Intelligence disaster since Pearl Harbor. Adding insult to injury, Saudi elites were spirited out of the US after the attack and NSA director General Mike Hayden, USAF, was promoted.

The 9/11 disaster confirms Hegel’s aphorism too, “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.”

Political truth is the most elusive. The ambient noise of a political campaign is tsunamic. Modern media might be the biggest noise makers in history, businesses driven by the internet, buzz, trends, likes, polls, profit, controversy, hidden agendas, prurience, voyeurism, partisanship, and often just common venality or banality. “If it bleeds, it leads” is both a literal and figurative truth for American journalists in print, on the net, or on the airways.  Titillation and musterbation are the true north and true south of modern communications arts.

Given a choice between information and entertainment, both media and their marks usually take the low road.

Small wonder then that journalists, politicians, and Muslim clerics are the biggest stake holders in the global trust default. Among the three, over ninety percent of readers and viewers do not trust journalists. A trust score in the single digits is a little like a charity flush in a public toilet – another noise that changes nothing.

It is no accident that Islamic jihadists take special delight in gory public executions of journalists.

The ambient noise around the two leading candidates in the 2016 US presidential race provide illustrations of how difficult it is to separate signal from noise, separate true belief from spin.

Hillary is less of a cipher because no one expects either of the Clintons to tell the truth; not their party, not the Congress, nor the courts, nor their supporters. Like a Santa Claus wife, Hillary’s mendacity is impervious to judgement, an amnesty probably underwritten by partisanship and consistent Christmas tree politics. Mrs. Clinton, like her husband, is an icon for women, urban cliff dwellers, minorities, a host of dependents, and other special pleaders.

Few care what Hillary believes either. After four decades in the public eye, all truth might be inconvenient, irrelevant, and unnecessary in a Clinton household – or administration. Hillary’s candidacy says more about contemporary American values than most sensible folks would like to admit.

Donald Trump on the other hand is a study in contrast. Where Hillary is evasive, Trump’s candor is brutal. Beliefs are often used like a cudgel.  Indeed, Trump is often characterized as loud, insensitive, transitory, boorish, rude, and offensive. These are some of the nicer things said about the Republican frontrunner.

Indeed, with the media, what Trump says is often lost in how or to whom it is said. The conventional wisdom among the political establishment, right and left, is that a chap like Trump is “temperamentally” unsuited for the presidency. He says what he thinks and that will not do in a culture where appearance is lodestar.

Hillary might be taken at face value, but the Trump signal is buried under noise, all the hysterical histrionics necessary to obscure his message. Two examples from the Trump repertoire tell the story; the George Bush kerfuffle and the immigration imbroglio.

Truth and the Bush dynasty

As a general proposition, the truth about the Bush dynasty is threefold. George Bush senior made Clinton possible, Junior made Obama possible, and Jeb Bush might make Hillary possible.

And yes, a sitting president, like a ship’s captain, is responsible for what happens on his watch. Bush junior owns 9/11 – and the all pandering precedents set in concrete after the Arab attack. Examine Bush era verbiage and policy that sought to excuse Arabs, Islamism, or Islamo-fascism, now manifest in the Islamic State! There’s not much difference between Bush era Muslim policy and ongoing Brennan/Obama appeasement cant.

In eight years, George Bush failed to get Osama bin Laden and he did not make the world a safer place either;  not from Islamism – or for very long.

The truth about Intelligence remedies under Bush is worse still. Like his predecessors, he simply threw money at the warning problem and hoped for the best. Spray, pay, and pray is what cynics inside the Beltway call it.

The truth about NSA, as an example of failure, is that it is, simultaneously, too big to fail and too big to succeed; in short, a mismanagement of talent and national treasure at a time when both are in short supply.

The Intelligence problem was never data collection, NSA’s charter, in any case. The problem was, and is, honest analysis, telling politicians the truth, things they don’t want to hear, and truths especially about phenomena like Islamism and jihad.

Indeed, Edward Snowden is walking, talking testimony to NSA’s inability to deal with institutional and external national security threats.  Ironically, the Intelligence business, like public education, is one of those many federal sinecures that reward failure. With federal programs, failure is likely to precipitate promotions and a funding windfall. Reform is usually an orphan.

Trump says you pay to play in politics. Indeed! Once elected, you also get to pay back with other people’s money.

Truth about immigration

Trump is brutally correct about immigration also. Migrants are both criminal and national security problems today. A fourth of the American prison population originates south of the border. And those numbers do not include Mexican born felons still at large midst millions of illegals.

A state without borders or controls is just another place, not a country.

The migrant problem in Europe is illustrative, more cultural than humanitarian crisis. There is little in contemporary European experience with refugees that merits imitation in America. Unfortunately, Europe and America have ceded their sovereignty to NGOs and the United Nations on the migrant issue.

After fifty years of Muslim wars, battlefield commanders are still unable to distinguish friend from foe, “moderate” from terrorist or jihadist. The US State Department, NGOs, and the United Nations have little inclination and virtually no capability to vet large numbers of Muslim migrants.

Racist motives attributed to Trump have no basis in fact. In the interests of sanity, security, civility, and national sovereignty, migrants must get in line, use the front door, or be gone. The alternative is for America to become a multicultural basket case like the European Union.

If the Peace of Westphalia is to be washed away by open borders, that sea change should come from consent not a tidal wave of Muslim migrants.

One final truth

All politicians make promises. Trump wants to “make America great again.” Hyperbole aside, there’s more than a kernel of truth in such sloganeering.

Since the 1960’s, America has undergone a cultural revolution, values like sweat equity, independence, and achievement have been forsaken in favor of excuses, tolerance, and dependency. Indeed, success is demonized. Donald Trump is a living example.

“Children” are now subsidized by government until 30 years of age.

Cultural erosion is not limited to social dependencies or criminal subcultures. Cabinet level satraps, federal department heads, and Pentagon generals all thrive on a performance model where success or victory is rare and failure is an acceptable norm.

Personal and departmental failure has become another beneficiary of intemperate tolerance. Indeed, failure is subsidized in programs like defense, veteran’s affairs, Intelligence, and public education, just to name a few. Incompetence is the only perennial bipartisan issue inside the Beltway.

Most of the rap against Trump is ad hominem at best, political penis envy at its worst. He is successful, rich, much married, and he has the courage to go where few politicians dare venture. With Trump’s critics, the hard nut of truth is indigestible.

If Trump’s message, his signal, is that the Oval Office should stop rewarding personal and institutional failure, he will have disinterred the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.

“You’re fired” is a message not heard in Washington since the Korean War.

Lincoln understood the value and virtue of performance. The first Republican president did not tolerate incompetent subordinates who could not deliver success or victory. In his time, Abraham Lincoln was an outsider. He made America great again. He made the industrial revolution that followed possible too.



This essay appeared in the American Thinker and the New English Review.

It’s a DINO

October 16, 2015

The first Democrat Party debate was everything we hoped it would not be, a boring coronation. Alas, Mrs. Clinton literally shouted the competition off the stage. She bitch- slapped the boys with the usual Clintonista talking points: gun control, health care, feminism, piñata politics, and Trump bashing.  The selling of baby parts did not come up. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders flew in formation suggesting that they would finance new initiatives by taxing the rich. No news here.

Calling the Clinton/Sanders appearance a “face-off” gives hyperbole a bad name. The NY Times predictably tried to put lipstick on a pig by categorizing the Tuesday séance as a “sharp debate.”

Sanders said nothing that would challenge Hillary on any significant issue. Indeed, Bernie actually came to Hillary’s defense on the private server/email fiasco. By evening’s end Hillary was probably asking herself: “Why am I on the same stage with these clowns.”

Mrs. Clinton’s performance is probably a polished preview of her impending congressional testimony, a real confrontation that, alas, is likely to have similar consequence. The only men likely to be more fey than professional CNN journalists are the faint hearted professional politicians on Capitol Hill.

There were no hard ball questions on foreign policy either, Benghazi or the blatant mendacity that has followed. There were no tough questions about domestic policy or husband Bill, what role he would play in Clinton III. The Media might get personal with Trump, but they dare not with Hillary

Anderson Cooper proved to be a more than adequate ally as a CNN southpaw, throwing soft balls from the left at the Left all evening. Indeed, when asked how she would be different from Obama, Mrs. Clinton actually admitted that she wouldn’t be different. She promised more of the same – only farther to the left. Indeed, Jim Webb, the only voice of reason on the stage, looked out of place, an oddball, a single digit turd in the usual cocktail of liberal promises.

The most telling moments of the evening were when Hillary mentioned gender, several times in fact. When asked about dynasty, or being a certified insider, she retreated to her sex. Asked how she would be different, she chortled: “Who could be more of an outsider than a woman?” With that rallying cry, Mrs. Clinton ran up the genital and victim Jolly Rogers on the same Democrat halyard.

It’s official now. Just as Obama played the melanin card, Hillary is running on her vagina. A “first” is a terrible thing to waste.

The opening democrat debate was not novel, informative, revealing, controversial, confrontational, noteworthy, or even entertaining.

Call it a DINO, a debate in name only.

Trump’s Trump

October 2, 2015

Donald Trump is a piece of work even by New York standards: tall, white, loud, brash, entrepreneurial, successful, rich, ruthlessly candid, well-dressed, and fond of heterosexual women. He has married at least three delicious ladies in fact. Trump has five children and seven grandchildren. Indeed, his progeny are well above average too, smartly groomed, photogenic, and successful to boot.

As far as we know, Donald does not have any tattoos, piercings, unpaid taxes, or under-aged bimbo interns. He is not a drunk or a junkie either. Trump projects and enterprises probably employ more folks than the NYC school system – or the United Nations.

You could say that Trump is living the life, not the life of Riley, but more like big Daddy Warbucks with a comb over. “The Donald,” as one ex-wife calls him, is not just living the American dream. Trump is the dream – and proud of it.

You could do worse than think of Trump as upwardly mobile blue collar. He is the grandson of immigrants and the product of Long island, a Queens household, and a Bronx education. The Donald survived the Jesuits of Fordham University for two years before migrating to finish his baccalaureate at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

When readers of the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books speak of “the city”, they are not talking about the Queens or the Bronx.  Growing and schooling in the blue collar boroughs gives Trump a curb level perspective, something seldom found in Manhattan. Or as any “D” Train alumnus might put it, Trump has “a pretty good Bravo Sierra detector.”

So what’s not to like about Donald Trump? He doesn’t just stay in four star hotels. He builds them. He doesn’t just own luxury condominiums. He makes them. He doesn’t just own historic buildings. He restores them. He doesn’t just eat at the best restaurants. He creates them. He just doesn’t belong to the best country clubs, he builds those too.

And Donald Trump, unlike the Manhattan/Washington fantasy Press and every Beltway political pimp, doesn’t just pay lip service to a bigger and better economy, he creates micro-economies every day.

The only thing we don’t know about Donald Trump is why he would like to immigrate to the District of Columbia.

In any case, the merits of entrepreneurs like Trump might best be defined by the character or motives of his critics. Trump detractors are for the most part “B” list politicians, ambulance chasers, and a left-leaning Press corps that lionizes the likes of Nina Totenberg, Dan Rather, Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell, and Brian Williams.

If the truth were told, most of Trump’s critics are jealous, envious of his wealth – and they loath his candor.  Donald might also be hated for what he is not. Trump is not a lawyer, nor is he a career politician who lives on the taxpayer dime. Trump is paying for his own campaign. Bernie, Barack, McCain, and Kerry could take enterprise lessons from a chap like Trump.

Unlike most government barnacles, Trump can walk and chew gum at the same time. He knows how to close a deal and build something. He is a net creator, not consumer, of a kind of wealth that provides “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for Americans – real jobs not feather merchants.

Today, Trump has nothing left to prove. Yet, success has allowed him the rarest of public privileges, an electoral pulpit and the courage to speak his mind. Alas, truth is not necessarily a political asset in a socialized democracy.

Indeed, the erstwhile presidential candidate stepped on his crank recently by suggesting that Mexico, already exporting dangerous drugs, cheap tomatoes, and even cheaper labor, was also exporting violent felons to the US.

Truth hurts! Trump’s rude candor is underwritten by nearly half a million illegal felons in American jails. Coincidently, events have conspired to support Trump’s take on Mexican dystopia with the El Chapo Guzman jailbreak and the murder of Kathryn Steinle by Francisco Sanchez.

Senor Sanchez sported a lengthy criminal record and had been deported on four previous occasions. San Francisco, a “sanctuary” city, failed to honor existing warrants and released Sanchez from jail just before he blew Kathy Steinle away.

As serendipity would have it, Trump then went to Phoenix on 12 July and gave a stem winder to a sell-out crowd on the subject of illegal immigration. Senator John McCain was not pleased to have Donald on Arizona’s front lawn and intemperately called Trump supporters “crazies.” Trump returned fire saying that McCain was no hero.

Here again Trump cut to the quick, pointing out that no one qualifies as a hero because he was shot down or captured. Indeed, being a hostage in North Vietnam is not necessarily heroic either. McCain is thought by some to be a heroic because he refused to accept an early release.

In fact, the Hanoi parole offer was a ruse, a Hobson’s choice, designed to embarrass McCain and his father at CINCPAC.

If McCain took the parole and abandoned his fellow POWs, he would have shamed his father and been ostracized by shipmates. Indeed, had John McCain not been the son and grandson of famous, and victorious, Pacific Command flag officers, no one would have noticed him then or now.

Few of the demagogues who have come to John McCain’s defense could name any of the 600 Vietnam-era POWs other than McCain. McCain is famous today because he, like John Kerry, has parlayed a very average Vietnam military service into a three decade political sinecure.

We know of 50,000 Vietnam veterans that might be more deserving than John McCain. Unfortunately, they died in a war that generals couldn’t win and politicians couldn’t abide. A body bag seldom gets to play the “hero.”

McCain is no political hero either.

He is famously ambiguous on domestic issues like immigration. He is also a Johnny-come-lately to Veterans Administration rot which has metastasized as long as McCain has been in office. On foreign policy, McCain is a Victoria Nuland era crackpot, supporting East European coups, playing cold warrior, and posturing with neo-Nazis in Kiev. McCain pecks at Putin too because the Senate, like the Obama crew, hasn’t a clue about genuine threats like the ISIS jihad or the latest Islam bomb.

To date, Trump has run a clever campaign. He is chumming, throwing red meat and blood into campaign waters and all the usual suspects are in a feeding frenzy. McCain, the Press, the Left, and the Republican establishment all have something to say about “the Donald.” It is truly amazing how cleverly Trump manages to manipulate the establishment.

If you are trying to sell an idea or a candidacy, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Who knows where the Trump campaign goes? For the moment, he has scored direct hits on Mexico and McCain. With El Capo on the loose again, every time a toilet flushes in Sinaloa, Mexican garbage is likely spill out in Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that the Left Coast could survive without cheap labor, pistileros, meth, coke, heroin, or weed. Necrotic immigration and its byproducts are ready made targets for a gunslinger like Trump.

Trump is no bigot. He probably employs more Latinos and Blacks than Enrique Peña Nieto or Barack Obama. In his own way, Donald Trump is both immigrant and POW, a refugee from Queens and still a prisoner of Wharton. “The Donald” is the dude, the guy with babes and a role of Benjamins that would choke a shark. He is the wildly successful capitalist that some of us love to hate.

Before democratic socialism, success and effectiveness were measures of merit. It doesn’t take much insight to compare Trump’s various enterprises with federal programs. Public education, banking oversight, public housing slums, poverty doles, veteran’s fiascos, internal revenue hijinks, and even some Defense Department procurement programs are consensus failures. The F-35 “Lightning” fighter is an illustration, arguably the most expensive single DOD boondoggle in history. Pentagon progressives seldom win a cat fight these days, but they still spend like sailors.

If and when Trump fails, he is out of business.

In Trump’s world, failure has consequences.  In contrast, Washington rewards failure with better funding. Indeed, generational program failure is now a kind of perverse incentive for Beltway politicians and apparatchiks to throw good money at failed programs.

The difference between Trump and McCain should be obvious to any fair observer; Trump has done something with his talents. McCain, in contrast, is coasting on a military myth and resting on the laurels of Senatorial tenure.

Any way you look at it, Donald Trump is good for national politics, good for democracy, good for America, and especially good for candor. If nothing else, “the Donald” may help Republicans to pull their heads out of that place where the sun seldom shines.


The author had two tours in Vietnam as a junior officer and subsequently served as command Intelligence briefer in Hawaii where he updated CINCPAC, John McCain’s father, on POW matters.



Vetting Hillary

September 16, 2015

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”  – Virginia Woolf                    

The coronation of Hillary Rodham as presidential nominee for 2016 is proceeding apace if the debate schedule provides any evidence. The first Democrat “debate” is scheduled for 13 October. So far there are only two and a half candidates, so the events might best be called the Hillary and Bernie hour.

With only five debates scheduled,  a coalition of the usual network suspects is in line au gauche starting with CNN in October and ending with PBS in early Spring.

Fillers between the progressive network bookends include ABC, CBS, NBC, and Univision. Rumor has it that Dan Rather, Brian Williams, and Chris Matthews might come in off the bench if needed. Indeed, J. A. “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera could pinch hit for Univision should Mrs. Clinton stub her toe on illegals, anchor babies, crime, or Mexican drug culture.

Still, there are now a few doubts about Hillary’s nomination and more than a few questions about her electability. Nonetheless, short of a criminal indictment, she will probably make it to the Democrat debates.

In the spirit of the transparency so often promised in the Obama era, the following list of voter questions for Hillary are recommended to media panelists. Given the sympathies of the interlocutors, however, there is no expectation that these questions will be asked or answered.

 On Women’s Issues

Mrs. Clinton:

Your husband’s staff created the neologism “bimbo eruptions” to describe Bill’s affairs at the Arkansas State House and the White House.  If “bimbo” is a fair characterization of your husband’s lady friends, what would you call a woman who tolerates, enables, or excuses a philanderer?

Do you think elected officials should risk the dignity of high office or the integrity of security officers (State Police and Secret Service) to solicit or exploit naive and vulnerable girls?

Perhaps you are aware that the Secret Service has been used as cover for sexual escapades of former presidents that include Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and now your husband.  Will that practice continue if and when a woman becomes president?

Will your husband have female interns as helpers or assistants in a Hillary Rodham White House?

Do you still think a presidential dalliance is a private matter, therefore protected, behavior?

If extra-marital sex is a private or protected behavior, should lying about such affairs before a grand jury be considered perjury?

Has your husband’s license to practice law been restored in any state?

By any fair assessment of recent history, your husband and Huma Abedin’s spouse are serial predators and/or serial flashers respectively. What role will these men have in a Hillary Clinton campaign or White House?

If Donald Trump’s rhetoric is abusive, how should we describe your husband’s, or Anthony Wiener’s, actual behavior with women?

Are Bill and Tony “ill” in some clinical sense or are there larger moral, character, or judgement issues in play with these men?

Do you or your husband still believe that you are victims of a “vast right wing” conspiracy?

On Foreign Policy

Mrs. Clinton:

In the Obama era, the Israeli PM came to the US on more than a dozen occasions. During the same period, President Obama traveled to Israel once. Will isolation and sanction of Israel continue in your administration?

What do you think of the BDS movement or any boycott of Israel for that matter?

Do you believe that Obama era hostility towards Israel has contributed to the rise of antisemitism and attacks upon Jews globally?

Women are still abducted, abused, bought, sold, traded, raped, stoned, mutilated, and beheaded; especially by American “partners” in Arab and Muslim states.  What specifically, besides rhetoric at the UN, have you or your predecessors at the State Department done to help abused women abroad?

Do you think that Russian nationalism is a bigger problem than Islamic imperialism? Isn’t the former a local problem and the latter a global threat?

Do you think NATO expansion in Europe is a good idea?

How, specifically, does Russophobia or a resuscitated Cold War serve American interests?

Russia and Israel have been isolated and sanctioned in the Clinton/Obama era. Why are there no comparable sanctions for the host of Muslim nation states (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are examples) that supply jihadists to kill Americans, Jews, and Christians in the name of God and Islam?

Do you think Russia’s Putin is a bigger threat to America   than Mexico’s Guzman or the Islamic State’s Baghdadi?

Do you remember your now famous victory dance in Libya after the summary execution of Gaddafi? What responsibility are you willing to take for the Libyan collapse and subsequent Benghazi atrocity?

Do you still consider ongoing events in North Africa and the Levant an “Arab Spring” or a “Jasmine Revolution?”

The Obama administration is signing agreements instead of treaties with repressive Islamic theocracies, pariah states like Iran? Is an “agreement” more enforceable? How will this work in a Clinton White House?

If the nuclear “deal” with the ayatollahs is designed to insure or prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, can you explain the “insurance” provisions in detail?

Some have suggested that any agreement with Iran is a game of “kick the can.” As President, what is the Hillary game plan to deal with any Persian recidivism?

UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s world view has been described charitably as “humanitarian” intervention and elsewhere as imperial democracy – aka “regime change.” How would you characterize a decade of botched US interventions?

How do you reconcile values like national “sovereignty” and US schemes to undermine regimes in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and elsewhere?

As president, will you formally recognize the Armenian genocide in Turkey?

You must be aware by now that American aircraft and weapons are being used by Turkey to kill Kurds in Iraq and Syria? How do you justify NATO attacks against our one reliable Muslim ally in the Levant?

Has NSA done a formal security risk assessment on your use of “private” servers while you were Secretary of State?

As a cabinet officer, how does your personal convenience trump national security?

Couldn’t NSA or the Intelligence Community provide copies of your “personal” server emails to the FBI and Congress?

Will you make such a request, to DCI James Clapper, in order to put this matter behind you?


On Domestic Policy

Mrs. Clinton:

Do you consider drug felonies non-violent crimes? If drugs destroy individual lives, imperil families, neighborhoods, and communities; how is any of this “non-violent?”

Do you favor amnesty and/or early release for so-called non-violent American drug lords?

Donald Trump has proposed to build a barrier on the Mexican border to control illegal immigration. What is your plan to control illegals?

Mr. Trump also claims that Mexico is exporting criminals to the United States. American prisons now house nearly 400,000 felons who were born in Mexico, indeed, as much as a third of the American prison population. If facts matter, prison demographics support Trump’s claim. Is Mexico exporting crime and felons to America?

The world’s most notorious and homicidal drug lord, “El Chapo” Guzman, has had a least two anchor babies in Los Angeles. Do you think the wives or girlfriends of Mexican felons should have the same rights as legal visitors and legal immigrants?

Do you consider Guzman a “violent” drug offender?

American debt and deficits have reached record highs under Mr. Obama. If we can assume “growth,” as a solution, is off the table for the near term, what’s your plan?

Do you ever consider restraint or austerity as a solution to profligate spending?

Can you name two failed federal programs, or Federal departments, that you would cashier in the name of reform or cost effectiveness?

Why is increased funding the knee-jerk solution to all ineffective or failed federal programs? When government rewards failure, what is the incentive for change, improvement, or reform?

Do any federal programs ever have an expiration date?

The Obama administration has invested treasure and the First Lady’s prestige on pre-school, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack programs. The most expensive public school system in the world, especially in urban areas, is pretty much a consensus failure and more than half the food served in public schools now goes in the trash.  What is your solution for such incompetence and waste?

The police seem to have become the enemy in the Obama era. What is the more important problem here, social pathology in minority communities or law enforcement in those troubled neighborhoods?

Can you tell me how many black men, women, and children were killed by other black men in 2014?

If not, could you tell us the 2015 homicide rate, and the race of perps and victims, in Washington, DC alone this year?

Isn’t the District of Columbia, after all, President Obama’s back yard?

Why isn’t the nation’s capital, of all American cities, an urban role model for the rest of America?

Do you think the District of Columbia should be a state?

                      One last personal question

We would like to end a personal note, Mrs. Clinton, if you don’t mind. Have you or your husband ever considered yourselves role models for youngsters who might aspire to careers in politics or public service?

Thank you and good luck.


Key words:

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Huma Abedin, Anthony Wiener, Samantha Power, Donald Trump, James Clapper, El Chapo Guzman, CNN, NPR, NSA, Israel, Russia, Secret Service, and Univision.


Europe Surrenders

September 15, 2015

“It’s often safer to be in chains than to be free.” – Franz Kafka

The cuckoo is one of the more interesting migrants in the animal kingdom. It spends part of the year in sunny Africa, but nests and breeds in Europe. Cuckoos appropriate the nests of other birds to lay eggs. The lark or dove in turn does not recognize the egg threat and even feeds the cuckoo chicks after they hatch. Eventually, the larger aggressive cuckoo chicks either evict or kill any host offspring.

Brood parasitism features several related behaviors; egg mimicry, egg or chick evictions, or once the cuckoo chick is established, nest fratricide. Still, no cuckoo ever becomes a chickadee.

Some critters were born to political metaphor. The hawk, the dove, the eagle, the snake, the rat, the elephant, and even the jackass are familiar. Given the Muslim migration out of Africa and the Levant, even genteel bird watchers see the social or Darwinian implications of mass migrations, avian or human.

“I must confess here that I thought of foreign Muslim clerical fanatics in England receiving social security payments even as they call for the destruction of the society that pays them. We are horrified, it is true; but all the participants in the scene are acting only according to their nature.”

Nature indeed! Is it the nature of Europeans to be passive victims? Is it the nature of Muslims to be religious/cultural predators? Bamiyan, Palmyra, and the ongoing Christian genocide within the Ummah might be probative here.

What we have, as Luke’s jailer might have put it, is a “failure to communicate,” two cultures with radically different political, religious, cultural, and moral values.  All the while, Europe clings to multicultural illusions even as their “union” is undone by a monoculture on the move. Islamic aliens flee Muslim lands as political “refugees” travelling, ironically, under an umbrella of enlightened Judeo/Christian indulgence.

Open border is to “union” in Europe as kefir is to ice cream.

Refugees from what? Shia theocracy? Sunni fascism?  Surely Arabs and Africans are not fleeing the Ummah or Islam, the “religion of peace.” Why do the faithful go west, to the lands of infidels?

Where is the Arab League (22 Arab states) or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (57 Muslim states) midst the greatest refugee crisis since WWII? What is Malaysia and Indonesia doing about Muslim “asylum seekers?”  In Arabia alone, more than half of residents are non-citizen guest workers. Why not replace infidel “guests” in the Emirates with besieged brothers from North Africa and the Levant? Why should there be national “quotas” for Muslim refugees in Europe or America and none for the 57 nations of the Ummah?

Why is there is no discussion, no demand, that Islam care for its own? Why is there no call for Muslim or Islamic “moral” responsibility? The absence of any significant Muslim players in the migrant crisis puts a stake through the heart of any Islamic claims to moral equivalence.

Muslim North Africa, Arabia, Malaysia, and Indonesia are the most prominent human traffickers (nee slave traders) in the modern world. If Islamic flight is necessary, why not deliver economic migrants to those world class human rights abusers as a kind of poetic justice?

Alas, the human flood tide is well beyond the gates of Vienna now. Indeed, contemporary migrant/refugee flash mobs have secured more of Europe overnight than Islam ever achieved through force of arms in previous 1400 years. Europe is now a weak consortium of barren nests, ripe for colonization.

Europe’s open borders are the best thing to happen to Islam since Saladin.

Apologists tell us that the modern Muslim tide is no different than any other historic migration, a value added. The East, the Ummah, and the swordsmen of al Qaeda and the Islamic State know better. The “refugee” or migrant gambit is the quintessential economy of force strategy, the wisdom of crowds if you will.  If terrorists are the passenger pigeons of fear, a mobile mass movement might be the vanguard or base for a 21st Century caliphate in Europe.

Luther, Darwin, or Marx might have argued that our natures compel us to do what we must. Alas, the specter of Mohammed now literally walks across the EU to victory – across a Europe without borders. Western cultural tolerance is hoisted on its own petard.

Secular democracy was ever vulnerable to ethnic or religious coup.

The siege of Europe might not be directed by any central Muslim authority, but such direction is not necessary. Imperial Islam has a tailwind from Christian guilt and Liberal moral relativity – and no restraints like tribal, religious, or national accountability.

For Washington and Brussels, Islam is an archipelago of immature cultures, like that in Lord of the Flies, child-like societies anointed with ideological, political, and moral immunity. Indulgence, alas, is the godfather of all social pathology.

Guilt, responsibility, and penance for Muslim pathologies are, unfortunately, the new “white man’s burden,” a political purgatory that Brussels and Washington wear like a hair shirt. The West does not expect the East to care for itself. And the East, for the most part, is content with culture corrupted by oil, wealth, ignorance, tribal fratricide, and theology.

The yeast in this toxic batter is Islamofascism, swordsmen the likes of Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and the Islamic State. The cutting edge of Islam is the ugly end of mercy for passive apostates – as well as a harbinger of what is to come for inert or naïve European and American infidels.

The best evidence of cultural or political depravity is often anecdotal. In the same week that Austria fell, the American Press was obsessed with: rented Pandas at the National Zoo, Hillary’s email, homosexual marriage in Kentucky, deflategate in Foxboro, and an Arab invasion of the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown.

Yes, while Europe watches a Muslim migrant/refugee/asylum seeker nightmare walk across Europe, “King” Salman Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia rented the entire 222 rooms of a 5-star hotel in Washington, DC for his court over the long Labor Day weekend.

The chances that Abdulaziz or Obama would do anything “morally responsible” about the latest Muslim exodus was about as good as the Saudi entourage going to Ben’s Chili Bowl for a kosher dog. As the Muslim Right partied with the American Left in Washington, DC, Europe was smothering under a host of fakirs on foot.

Small wonder then, that both the ayatollahs of Persia and the imams of the Islamic State have the decadent, if not ripe, plutocrats of Arabia in their crosshairs too.

Any further discussion of the moral responsibility for the chaos in the Ummah is probably moot. The West can’t even agree on the language to describe the threat. Words like terror, terrorist, Islamist, or Islamofascist are proscribed. The Islamic State is variously called ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh.  Washington and Brussels can’t admit to themselves that international jihad now has a home field advantage.

The Islamist “minority” shibboleth is dying too slow to save Europe. As Vienna submits, can Berlin, Paris, London, and Minneapolis be far behind?

The exodus circus is the latest front in another skirmish the West has no intention of winning. Muslims on the move are variously described as migrants, economic refugees, or asylum seekers. If allied generals are incapable of distinguishing friend and foe on the various Muslim battlefields, any notion that rear echelon diplomats or NGO apparatchiks will be able to separate an immigrant, a refugee, or a deadbeat from a terrorist 5th column is ludicrous.

Open borders and unlimited undocumented are now euphemisms for despair. Withal, the Ummah has carte blanche to export their problems; ethnic, religious, and political pathologies to Europe and beyond. Compassion has been weaponized.  The Quisling strain of social democracy has seduced Europe again.

When all is said and done, the European Union is surrendering in slow motion.  What Hitler could not do with German panzers, Mohammed is doing with cuckoos in walking shoes and backpacks. Over time, the European Union might well change its name to the Obama Caliphate.



Originally published in American Thinker and the New English Review


Too Much from Too Few

June 22, 2015

“It’s easier to bleed than it is to sweat.” – Flannery O’Connor

Cultural milestones are seldom recognized until long after the fact. Some seminal events languish in obscurity until consequences insist that the past be parsed for tripwires or tipping points. Causality is seldom obvious and often muddled by politics over time, especially if the subject is cultural pathology.  The search for answers or the origins of social problems is more like watching bridges rust than it is like finding a eureka moment.  As with bridges, no one seems to care too much about erosion until edifices start to fail. Inertia is the constant companion of all structural decay in engineering, science, and society.

The inertia problem is compounded by culture. In America, values such as positive thinking and rationalization (or excuses) coexist to produce a kind of stasis. On the one hand, a problem solving ethic might drive social engineering at home and intrusive foreign policy abroad.  On the other side of the equation, excuse making, like multi-culturalism and political correctness, often inhibit correctives or meaningful reform. Protecting cultural, religious, or ethnic  sensitivities has displaced candor as a civic virtue.

Programs and institutions follow policy. Effective or not, all programs develop a clientele or political constituency, a permanence that may have little to do with original purposes. Good intentions alone, unfortunately, are often good enough to ignore falling bridges or failed policy.

Serial defaults often create a host of new problems. Funded failures often become institutional vampires, oblivious to extinction. Indeed, political and military careers are made by creating, not reforming, fixing, or ending ineffective projects and programs.

American Military Decline

American military art/science (strategy, operations, and tactics) is a modern example of an institution in decline. The United States had a long tradition of military success from the Revolutionary War through World War II. The slide may have begun with the Korean War where that outcome might be described as ambiguous. The Vietnam War was a decade-long controversy at home and abroad. All those small wars in the Muslim world since can only be described as serial failures. Modern American military history is characterized by intervention and regime change gambles that are littered by the debris of military fiasco.

Single point failures, military or otherwise, can be beneficial, an opportunity to learn.  All institutions progress through trial and error. Serial failure, however, is often the slippery slope of cultural decay. Low expectations beget bad habits. With enough practice, habits become culture. Correcting a single mistake is routine. Changing a military culture of failure, in contrast, is a generational task.

Losing now seems to be chronic for team America. Some brilliant operational or tactical episodes might be cited, but taken collectively; nothing midst the Muslim small wars of the past six decades suggests strategic success. Indeed, words like war, to say nothing of “victory,” are seldom used today by politicians or generals. Withal, the world is not a safer place today either. Freedom and democracy are not ascendant. Winning on the battlefield seems to be permanently off the military table.

What happened?

Arguably, the US Armed Forces are some of the best trained, disciplined, and equipped fighting units in the world. Tactical excellence occasionally pays dividends at the operational level. Strategic competence, however, is a void.

Since the end of the Cold War, American politicians and generals seem to be lost in a strategic fog. Absent an existential threat like the Soviet Bloc, American military assets, treasure, and young lives have been squandered on a series of small wars where the conflicts are ephemeral and undeclared whilst objectives, or measures of effectiveness, are unclear. Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya, and Yemen are just a few examples where military interventions made matters worse.

Small wars today seem to have little or nothing to do with existential national security and everything to do with domestic politics, political expediency, or the transient crisis of the moment. Force commitment is reactive and ephemeral, not strategic. There is no over-arching vision or objective like “Containment,” to say nothing of expectations like victory. Stated goals and missions are trivialized with meaningless euphemisms like humanitarian concerns, training, “nation building,” or “stability.”

The worst of neologisms might be the so-called “war on terror,” a pleonasm that misfires on three counts.

America has been agnostic since 1948 if the subject is war or Islam. War and jihad is the Muslim perspective, not the American view. Indeed, official US rhetoric relegates Islamic angst, attacks, and terror to common criminal activity, not acts of war. And the rhetorical war on “terror,” the tactic, makes as much sense as declaring “war” on perennial social problems like ignorance, drugs, or crime. War at the Pentagon, National Security Council, and the State Department today is more likely to be an attack on language not Muslim militants. Real combat is regularly obscured by the politically correct burka of political euphemism.

The word “terror” is actually most useful as budget Viagra. No matter the state or federal agency, if you can work words like “terror, radical, or extremist” into your mission statement, funding largesse is assured. Using a word like “Islamist,” on the other hand, to describe the actual threat, is a non-starter at any echelon.

Treating 60 years of terror, anti-democratic barbarity, and a host of small wars as isolated criminal acts with local motives may explain why America and Europe are losing the global conflict with imperial Islamism.

The slow slide into what can only be described as strategic miasma probably began with end of universal conscription in America and the advent of the “all-volunteer” force. Tipping points are always speculative, if not anecdotal, but the cost and consequences of “professionalizing” the American military is now a study in social pathology.

All-volunteer drift

Creating a volunteer force was never about the draft. Conscription in its various incarnations over the years was always controversial, yet effective if military results are a measure of merit. From the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War, and up to WWII; American military expeditions were usually victorious. Conscription was never popular but it worked when it was needed. The Vietnam War changed all that.

The end of “universal” conscription precipitated a storm of cultural, social, and strategic blowback. In fact, the Nixon/Kissinger initiative didn’t just end the draft, it ended military service as we knew it. The civic virtues of shared sacrifice and national obligation went out with the bathwater of political expediency.

If the truth be told, eliminating the draft in 1973 had little to do with national security either and everything to do with domestic politics. The military draft was a political bone thrown by the American Right to the American anti-war Left.

The gambit worked. With the end of the draft, the anti-war movement collapsed. Ironically, scions of the 1970s anti-war counterculture, John Kerry at the State Department is an example, now lead today’s charge into indecisive small wars, regime change schemes, and an assortment of ill-advised interventions justified as counter terrorism.

Alas, a permanent professional standing army was, and still is, at odds with American tradition, just war theory, and everyday common sense.

The founding fathers were justifiably skeptical about standing armies and thus gave Congress the power of the purse, limiting Army funding to two years.  And philosophers frequently argue that ease of misuse is a sign that (any) theory is flawed and ought to be scrapped. “Ease of misuse” is surely a hallmark of American counter-terror theory and tactics since 1973.

The real fly in the ointment of military art as practiced by the Oval Office and the Pentagon today is common sense or pragmatism. In all of this, Congress and both major political parties have been cheerleaders at worst or spectators at best. If the subject is troop deployments, congressional restraint has been AWOL since the Nixon era.

[Personalizing military pathology is a risky business. Nonetheless, the Armed Forces, like any other human institution is the sum of personal integrity – or its absence. Here we might be remiss not to mention several human resource symptoms like Admiral Jeremy Boorda, General David Patraeus, General Michael Hayden, General Martin Dempsey, General James Clapper, Major Malik Hasan, Sergeant Robert Bales, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, and Private Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning. The latter is about to be transferred to a more congenial prison where he/she can undergo sex change therapy at taxpayer expense.]

Disastrous or failed strategic military outcomes of the last 50 years speak for themselves.

The domestic social, or pragmatic, consequences of military malpractice in the all-volunteer era, however, fly under the radar. Chronic “misuse” pathologies now produce record levels of disabled, alcoholics, drug abusers, PTSD victims, suicides, homelessness, welfare dependencies, retention/recruitment problems, and Veterans Administration abuses.  Many of these social costs could be attributed to repeat deployments, a phenomenon unprecedented in American military history.

No one at the strategic tier seems to ever ask if we are asking too few to do too much for too few good reasons. If every citizen benefits from national security, shouldn’t all beneficiaries have some skin in the game?

The all-volunteer army has created a chasm between the combat veteran and the population served. That chasm gets broader with every reckless military intervention or deployment. If national defense is a subset of national security, then every citizen, every family, and every institution that enjoys the benefits of safety and democracy should share the risks and costs. If war is necessary, then so is conscription.

Truth is, in America, if not all republics, there are more votes to be had from grifters, deadbeats, and reluctant conscripts than there will ever be had among earnest volunteers. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it best: “Without conscription, war is just an abstraction.” The all-volunteer force makes it too easy for politicians to rationalize deployments without fear of consequence at the ballot box.

The great virtue of universal conscription was that risk and sacrifice was shared and personal; in short, a prudent restraint on use abuse. Without universal personal risk, feckless politicians and venal generals get a free hand, to play fast and loose with lives – and national reputation.

When was the last time you saw a flag officer or a politician in a body bag or a wheel chair – or waiting in line for a pill at a VA hospital? Paradoxically, there is less tolerance for casualties with volunteers than there was with draftees. The solution, according to some thoughtful analysts, is social justice.

“Bring back a draft that starts conscription at the top of the social ladder. Or establish recruiting appeals that will garner some share of privileged youth. Otherwise the all-volunteer force will be an ineffective instrument in any time of war or even in peacekeeping, unless the instance is virtually casualty-free.”

American military deployments today are hardly casualty-free, nor are they effective, just, or justified, if results and outcomes matter. For the moment, the draft and conscription is settled law.  Alas, the ship of state may have to hit an iceberg before any new conversation about service, sacrifice, and American military success begins.


This essay previously appeared in American Thinker and the New English Review.



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