Putin, Trump, and False Moral Equivalence

February 6, 2017

Regardless of what the President says, there is no moral equivalence between the US and Putin’s Russia.

International Liberty

Back in the 1980s, I would get very agitated when folks made excuses for brutal communist regimes by asserting that the United States also did bad things. This “moral equivalence” argument is now being recycled by Donald Trump, who basically excuses Putin’s brutality because America supposedly isn’t in any position to throw stones.

Here’s the interview, set to start at the point where Trump discusses Putin.

This is wrong. Absurdly wrong.

Though let’s start by acknowledging that the United States is far from perfect. Our history includes black eyes such as slavery, mistreatment of native populations, incomplete legal rights for women, internment of Japanese-Americans, Jim Crow laws, persecution of gays, and other sins.

Even today, we have plenty of bad policies that restrict human liberty, often exacerbated by examples of thuggish actions by government.

But, at the risk of sounding jingoistic and patriotic, the United States began with a…

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We have no idea why the guy yelling “Allahu akbar!” attacked the Louvre

February 3, 2017
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Vive la France!

So, a maniac wielding a machete decided for some unknown reason to attack the Louvre in Paris yesterday. Sadly (for him) he made the unwise choice of charging armed French soldiers. Sadly (for us), he was only wounded when the predictable thing happened and said assailant of unknowable motives wound up with several holes in him

Darn.

The article includes this paragraph, which contains no clues as to why this man would want to attack one of the focal points of Western culture:

While French officials have not expounded on their determination that the attack was “terrorist in nature,” police have said the suspect shouted “God is great” in Arabic during the incident.

Yeah, that’s a tough one to figure out. smiley thinking

Remember, folks: They’re still trying to kill us.

via Jim Geraghty’s “Morning Jolt” newsletter

PS: I haven’t time to write a longer post explicating why this jihadist fruitcake would do something so suicidal, but, if you’re interested, I suggest starting with Surah 9:111 of the Qur’an and working from there.


[Pearl Harbor] Seventy-five years ago today

December 7, 2016
"FDR asks for a declaration of war"

“FDR asks for a declaration of war”

On the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt delivered this speech to a joint session of Congress:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

You can listen to FDR giving the speech here. (Real media file.)

Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the US. Four years later, Mussolini had been executed by his own people, Hitler had committed suicide, and Germany, Italy, and Japan were under occupation.

Today’s lesson: It’s not a good idea to make us angry.

(Reposting of an old post, somewhat edited.)

Today in History: the Battle of Tours

October 10, 2016

Today is the 1,284th anniversary of the Battle of Tours, at which a Frankish army under Charles Martel (“Charles the Hammer”) defeated a Muslim invasion from conquered Spain. Tours marked the high tide of the Islamic advance into Western Europe, though raids along the Mediterranean coast would continue for several centuries, and Islamic armies invading from the East would almost a thousand years later reach the gates of Vienna.

As I like to say, the current jihad is just the latest episode in a very old war.

RELATED: Historian Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent chapter on the Battle of Tours, which he refers to as “Poitiers,” in his book “Carnage and Culture.”

(A re-posting of something I wrote on an earlier anniversary)


Italy’s Fiscal and Demographic Death Spiral

July 5, 2016

An overly generous welfare state combined with demographic decline. There’s a recipe for national collapse.

International Liberty

European economic analysts are paying too much attention to the United Kingdom and too little attention to Italy.

Yes, the Brexit decision is important, and the United Kingdom is the world’s 5th-largest economy so it merits attention to see if there are any speed bumps as it escapes from the slowly sinking ship otherwise known as the European Union.

But one of the other passengers on that doomed ship is Italy, the world’s 8th-largest economy. And if the UK merits attention because of uncertainty on its way to a brighter future, then Italy should be getting five-alarm focus for its festering economic crisis as it descends into chaos.

Part of that crisis is quasi-permanent stagnation, as illustrated by this map showing changes in per-capita economic output since 1995.

To state that Italy is the slow student in the class is an understatement. There’s been a two-decade period with…

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(Video) Who’s more liberal on abortion: America or Europe?

May 23, 2016

The answers may surprise both conservatives and Europhiliac progressives alike:

Weird Related Fact: Here in the state of California, a minor can have an abortion without parental notification and consent. A legal adult, on the other hand, fully able to vote, sign binding contracts, and serve in the military, cannot buy a pack of cigarettes until he or she turns 21. Not sure what that says about us, but it can’t be good.


Brussels massacre: Your periodic reminder that they’re still trying to kill us

March 22, 2016

Fatwa this!

Brave knights of Allah waging jihad fi sabil Allah –“jihad for the sake of Allah”– bravely struck the Brussels airport and a subway station in Belgium this morning, killing at least 34 innocent people, wounding over 100 more.

But it’s a Religion of Peace, dontcha know?

A series of coordinated terror attacks in Brussels Tuesday have put Belgium on its highest threat level alert and sparked the U.S. Embassy there to warn American citizens in the city to shelter in place.

Multiple explosions targeted two locations in Brussels Tuesday morning. Two blasts struck a departure hall of Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one occurred at the Maelbeek subway station.

The subway station is close to the offices of the European Union in central Brussels. At least one of the attacks is believed to have been the result of a suicide bomber.

Officials have confirmed that at least 31 people were killed in the attacks and 187 injured. Belgian media reports have indicated that the death toll has been elevated to 34.

“The level [of] threat in Belgium has been raised to 4 (maximum alert) with special emphasis on transport hubs, airports, stations, and nuclear plants,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said Tuesday.

Authorities have shuttered the subway system and closed the international airport in the wake of the attacks. Reports later Tuesday indicated that the Belgian nuclear plant close to the country’s border with Germany had been evacuated.

The attack came in the wake of the shooting and capture last week of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris massacre of last November. A social media channel linked with ISIS has hinted at responsibility for the attack, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

Regardless, Belgian authorities have a lot of questions to answer about how this could happen. I’m not minimizing the challenges security services face –figures given by the head of the UK’s MI5 several years ago were mortifying, and intelligence agencies have to get it right every time, while terrorists have to be right only once — but still one has to ask how jihadists carrying explosives got past airport security. What weakness or flaw did they spot? Did they have inside help? The Belgian people and bereaved families will no doubt be demanding answers.

It’s also a somber reminder to us that, no matter how much we’d like to ignore the world outside our borders (whether America’s or the EU’s), that world will not ignore us. Despite one major party obsessing over electing the first woman president (solely because she’s a woman) and the other seemingly hell-bent on nominating a reality-show star, both of whom are utterly unqualified for office, we are still very much the targets in a very old war. The threat posed by the jihad is deadly serious, and the world needs an American president just as serious and who has a sober, realistic approach to his duties.

Meanwhile, good hunting to Belgian and European authorities as they hunt down these maniacs’ accomplices.