Saturday Sounds

I usually keep these light, as a break from the week of pointing out all the ills around us. In this case, though, I think every American should see this press engagement held Thursday by John Kelly.  I have never seen a better explanation of what goes on when our country loses a servicemember — the enormous institutional effort to support the family and to honor the fallen. Sadly, as the highest-ranking military officer to lose a child since 9/11, retired Marine General Kelly knows this process all too personally.  Even more sadly, he easily points out how little direct experience the press has with it by only accepting questions from reporters who have also been there.  Was that a political move?  Yes, but also a personal one.  And let’s not forget this was originally politicized by a Democrat who thought she had another way to bash Trump.  In reality, what she did was attack a president who had no obligation to make a phone call but chose to anyway.

Two parts of his statement are worth highlighting, because in them he expresses the frustration many in our military (including me, while I was serving) feel:

On the politicization of absolutely everything: “It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that call. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred.”

On the nation our military defends: “They volunteer to protect our country, when there’s nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest that selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate, but required.”

The entire video is worth your time and consideration.

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In summary…

Quite a number of headlines over the past few days while I’ve been away, enjoying some time offline.  As I caught up on some of the issues, it seemed appropriate to outline some of the recent developments.

As we all know, Robert Mueller has been appointed to investigate whether the Trump candidacy “colluded” with Russia during the 2016 campaign.  As part of that, Mueller is looking into the circumstances surrounding Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.  There were already questions about how impartial Mueller could be about the later, given his long personal and professional relationship with Comey.

Now it appears Mueller may have additional conflicts of interest regarding Russia.  You see, Mueller was Comey’s predecessor as head of the FBI.  During his tenure, the FBI had already discovered Russian efforts to influence the U.S.:

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

Despite having this information in 2009, the U.S. government approved in 2010 the purchase of Canada’s Uranium One (which itself controlled 1/5 of the U.S. uranium mining capacity) by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom.  As Investor’s Business Daily points out:

Does it seem strange that an American administration would OK the acquisition of 20% of America’s uranium resources by a hostile nuclear power? How could that be?

It only makes sense if you understand what else was going on, namely Hillary Clinton’s aggressive use of her State Department perch to raise money for the family “charity,” the Clinton Foundation. That Clinton used her office to the foundation’s advantage, there can be little doubt.

The Clinton Foundation took in some $145 million in contributions from Uranium One shareholders, much of it coming at about the time that deal won approval from CFIUS — the investment panel on which both Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder conveniently sat. Is that a coincidence? Or that the Justice Department waited until 2014, the year after Hillary left office, to take any action in the Russian criminal matters? Or that details of the Uranium One deal didn’t come out until 2015, the year Eric Holder left office? Was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “reset” with the Russian government in 2009 just part of a wider plan to enrich her own family foundation with Russian cash?

We’d sure like to know the answers to these and other questions. At the very least, there is a clear prima facie case to be made for an investigation into the pay-for-play behavior in the Obama administration.

So remember: when Democrats run around screaming “Russia, Russia, Russia,” it’s most likely an attempt at projection.  As for the Clinton’s “charitable foundation,” it’s clear there’s only one beneficiary: the Clintons.  They’ve made a career out of literally selling out the U.S.  For all Trump’s shortcomings (and they are many), he at least prevented Her Hillariness from being in a position to do even more damage.  It would be ironic if the investigation meant to hamstring his administration instead revealed many of the sordid details of the swamp Trump promised to drain.

Isn’t that convenient?

I ended yesterday’s post wondering if Harvey Weinstein will suffer any consequences for his decades-long abuse of women in Hollywood.

We may have our answer today:

Harvey Weinstein has reportedly fled the country to find help.

The producer is headed to a sex addiction rehab center in Europe via private jet, TMZ reported Tuesday.

A source, however, told the Daily News that he’s not leaving for rehab, but rather counseling.

“He needs his peace. He’s been hounded all week. He lost his company and his wife. What more can you lose?” the source said. “He’s got to go find peace.”

The report comes shortly after Weinstein’s wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, announced that she’s leaving her husband.

It doesn’t matter whether he went to Europe for counseling or for rehab — why was he allowed to leave the country at all?  With all the allegations that have surfaced the past week, it seems a little odd that he could just hop on a private jet and leave the jurisdiction of the United States.  Guess he’ll say hi to Roman Polanski while he’s there.

Once again, we see there are two tiers of law in this country: one for the wealthy and connected, and one for the rest of us.

Sir Hollywood the not-so-brave

It’s been decades since Tinseltown was content with just making entertainment.  No, today everybody has to have a message, an agenda and a cause, and these usually overshadow the actual business of TV and movie making (which is probably a large part of why very little worth watching comes out of there anymore).  The big names claim they have an obligation to speak out in support of others, to “speak truth to power.

Unless that power is someone like Harvey Weinstein.

The real story with Weinstein isn’t that an entertainment mogul has been revealed to have used his position to harass and abuse women in the industry.  Frankly, given the stories coming out of Fox News and elsewhere, that much is almost blasé.  No, the real story is why it took so long for this to be publicized.  Now that the dam has broken, it’s like more than half of Hollywood is saying “well, of course there was a problem.  Who didn’t know?”

In other words, when Weinstein was at the height of his power, nobody was speaking truth to him.  On the contrary, if allegations are true, a number of big names in the business were active enablers of his behavior.  Does anyone believe this is the only rock that needed kicking over?  Is it any coincidence that so many child stars (particularly those who work for Disney) seem to grow up and lose their mind?  If Congress can find the time to investigate the use of steroids in baseball, why can’t it find the time to investigate the toxic environment of Hollywood?

Probably because of the money involved.  Weinstein was a generous supporter of the Democratic Party and a very close friend of Bill and Hillary (whose judgement only appears more evil and self-serving by the day).  But money alone doesn’t explain it all.  Does anyone doubt if one or both of the Koch brothers were found in the same circumstances that the media would be demanding every Republican in Washington publicly denounce them?   So why hasn’t anyone brought Weinstein up with Hillary, who is still giving lucrative speeches well after her sell-by date?  Barack Obama, who seemed to be speaking as a shadow president during Trump’s early efforts to reverse his disastrous legacy, also seems strangely silent and out of sight.  He’s far from the only one who’s lost his usually overactive tongue.

It’s called partisan protection.  As Glenn Reynolds frequently says of the corporate media, “just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and it all makes sense.” There is so much overlap in the Venn diagram of Democrats, Hollywood and the Media that reporters risk being cast out of the bubble of their incestuous clan if they ask the difficult questions.  So much for “bravery:”

In the absence of personal risk, haranguing the powerful can be soul-satisfying, and sometimes it forges careers, but it isn’t brave by a long shot. Thomas More spoke truth to Henry VIII, and it cost him his head. Dietrich Bonheoffer spoke truth to Adolf Hitler and was hanged in a concentration camp. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spoke truth to the Soviet Union and suffered grievously for it. Stephen Colbert piddled on the president’s rug, and he’s been cashing big-bucks checks ever since.

See the difference?

The protection afforded Weinstein by his liberal enablers doesn’t stop at silence or the reluctance to make him the subject of standard late-night comedy roasts.  Donna Karan, a well-known fashion designer, was forced to walk back comments that perhaps Weinstein’s victims were ‘asking for it’ by the way they dressed!

Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.   To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?

If a conservative comments on how lasciviously many women dress today, it’s considered “victim blaming” by alleged Neanderthals.  But if such an examination is a way to help out a Hollywood mogul, it’s OK?  Is your head spinning yet at the audacious double standard?  Sure, Karan was pressured to disavow the statement, but the fact she made it shows it’s part of the toxic self-justifying entertainment industry’s environment. It’s easy for them to hold conservatives’ feet to the fire over standards.  It’s harder to do so for liberals, when it appears they have none other than the will to power.

The public has more reason than just simple decency and morality to be outraged. Hollywood derives tremendous benefit from tax breaks and government incentives to churn out their drivel.  In other words, cord-cutting or not We the People pay for this filth.  Just as the immature posturing of NFL players has caused some to look at the League’s anti-trust exemption and frequent use of municipal bonds to build their palatial stadiums, perhaps Weinstein’s downfall should cause America to truly confront the moral sewer that is Hollywood.  Public funding for both (including PBS) should dry up entirely.  Let them earn their profits by making edifying fare that Middle America actually wants, versus their tax-supported propaganda.

Final thought: what are the odds Weinstein actually goes to jail (versus some sort of high-profile “rehab”)?  Roman Polanski and Woody Allen after all, are still considered persecuted entertainers by many in Hollywood.  And there’s not exactly a tradition of holding Leftists criminally accountable these days (see: Hillary, Bill, Huma, Lois Lerner, Loretta Lynch, etc., ad nauseum).

Remember that, when Social Justice Warriors ask if we ‘normal Americans’ have any decency.  It’s called projection.  And they don’t really have the courage of their convictions when it comes to policing their own.

History is rarely black and white

One of the most obvious targets of multiculturalism over the past 40 years has been a reinterpretation of Columbus’ voyage to the New World.  Where Americans in the early history of our nation learned the rhyme “In the year of our Lord 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” today’s progressives take issue with every part of that statement.  Their reinterpretation might run something like “In 1492 of the Common Era, Columbus unleashed all the New World’s terror.”

Columbus was neither saint nor monster.  It’s a symptom of the culture wars we live in that people expect to subscribe solely to one of the two views above.  Perhaps only a descendant of both Christopher Columbus and Montezuma II can truly appreciate the mixed bag of results from that fateful voyage of discovery:

History has some truly evil people. Columbus is certainly not one of them. Most often, history is not made up of perfect people and evil ones, but of complex people who must be understood in context.

What is happening at the hands of Columbus’ detractors is political, not historical. As his direct descendant and namesake, I should know.

Two cultures meeting for the first time in 1492 was no easy thing, but blaming Columbus for everything that went wrong hides the truth about him and about those who followed him. It also obscures the great things that the countries of the American hemisphere have accomplished.

What is lacking in the anti-Columbus narrative is any sense of history or of nuance…

Those who now question Columbus conveniently ignore the fact that slavery, cannibalism, warfare and even human sacrifice all existed in the Americas before he even sailed.

The modern Columbus points out that today’s generation has a difficult time understanding how religious faith permeated European society in the early 1500s.  Thus it is difficult for the modern “don’t judge” generation to understand the reaction of Europeans to seeing towers of skulls adorning Aztec architecture, or the bloody sacrifice of scores of natives by Aztec priests.  There was no sense of moral relativism at that time — or for centuries afterwards.  What the natives were doing was simply wrong by the most basic understanding of the Spaniards’ moral foundations.  So “civilizing” natives became a driving force in colonialization — as well as a rationalization for cruel behavior on the part of some Europeans, who took it as a license to abuse the “savages.”

This rationalization for abuses is rightly criticized today.  But it leads frequently to another error: assuming that the abuse of the natives means that their culture was somehow more noble than that of their sometime European tormentors.  This overreaction leads some today to whitewash the history of the precolumbian Americas. It’s not hard to detect this at work in the arts, when a prominent Hollywood production can be entitled “1492: Conquest of Paradise.”

Despite Disney’s Pocahontas singing about painting with “the colors of the wind” or the obvious parallels to the native experince in blockbusters like Avatar, the New World of 1492 was not some sort of New Age pantheistic utopia.  Such things simply don’t exist on earth.  Only the rejection of the Christian worldview (which sees all of creation as fallen and flawed — even the Western Civilization that was once known as Christendom) can lead to such a romanticization of indigenous life.  Yes, the arrival of the Europeans meant much of that way of life was lost.  But unless we’re arguing for a return of human sacrifice to one-up the current revival of tattoos, it’s hard to see that as a bad thing.

The truly sad thing is that so many of those today who focus on what was lost take little to no time to think about what was gained as well.  Representative government was unknown in the Americas before the Europeans arrived —  and it further developed and prospered in the incubator of the New World.  Even the poorest in the hemisphere today largely enjoy a standard of living higher than that of their ancestors (though you wouldn’t know that by the rhetoric of the Marxist-inspired Bolivarists who have wrecked Venezuela without any help from Columbus). By focusing on the admitted excesses of the post-1492 story, the tale of the very progress the progressives claim to seek is lost. Instead, grievances are nursed and divisions maintained.

Who benefits from that?

Evil finds a way

UPDATE: British authorities insist the incident blockquoted below was a “traffic collision” and not a terrorist attack.  I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, though it should be noted Western governments are quick to deny terror links whenever possible.  The main point of the original post, however — that would-be terrorists are hardly limited to firearms in their choice of weapons — remains a valid one.

It appears a would-be jihadist in Britain has provided a helpful (if painful) reminder that even if the U.S. were to overturn its Second Amendment and ban firearms, it will not lead to the utopia some proclaim:

Several people have been injured after a car mounted the pavement and mowed down pedestrians outside the Natural History Museum in London this afternoon.
A man was pinned down by security guards and arrested by police in the heart of the capital’s museum land in Kensington.
Hundreds of terrified tourists fled the scene as the black Toyota careered into a sign before ultimately crashing into a crowd of as many as 10 people as it hit into a silver car, according to witnesses.
Dramatic pictures taken at the scene show guards holding down a man covered in blood with rubble strewn across the road.

It wasn’t the rock that killed Abel.  It was Cain.  I take no joy in pointing this out, but it’s a little hard to accept the constant criticism of U.S. constitutional rights by Europeans when they’re not exactly living in violence-free zones themselves:

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