Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Japan Drones On!

Never sell Japan short. If most any other country its size had had a tsunami-earthquake-nuclear disaster like they had awhile back, it would probably be a permanent basket case. But they soldier on, despite their constitution's severe limitations on, well, soldiering. And of course when you think high-tech, you think Japan, when it comes to phones and cars and gadgetry in general, in which they manage to be at least six months ahead of everybody else at all times. But, given their imposed pacifism — understandable at the time, of course — somehow we don't think of Japan and military gadgetry.

But we should think about it now. This, from http://www.defenseone.com/

How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones

For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.

The country has positioned itself as one of the unlikely players in the escalating global race for military drones, a move that’s controversial both at home and abroad. A veteran Japanese politician even warned that the country’s re-armament looked like “a kind of pre-war revival.” The United States has aided Tokyo in its efforts to re-arm, deploying two unarmed Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones in May to a base in Northern Japan, which infuriated both China and North Korea.

Japan is now in a position it hasn’t been in for nearly 70 years, when it gave up its right to engage in conflict outside its borders. The country is engaged in a bitter dispute with China over a set of islands that sit on resource-rich sea beds that each claims as its sovereign territory.

Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and the implications for both global peace and commerce could be widespread.

Japan is not so quietly building a huge drone fleet

The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency.
Illustration: I couldn't fine a picture of an actual Japanese drone, so I used this gif of a drone-like Japanese weapon developed by Strike Witches (ストライクウィッチーズ Sutoraiku Witchīzu).

David and Goliath Need More Foreign Aid

The title's a joke. Some of the things I've posted lately have led some commenters to say that I'm pro-Israel. I'm not. Things I've posted in the past have gotten me accused of being pro-Palestinian. I'm not that, either. I'm pro-American. I think that American foreign policy — and that includes our immigration policy — should be based on our own American interests, you know, the way real countries run their foreign policies. You can't please everybody and shouldn't try to.

But I certainly have opinions about the Israel-Palestine situation, although it's none of my business. That's a valid point, you know. You can have opinions about the domestic situation in the house next door, but that doesn't mean you should intervene, physically or financially, in that situation. That's what "none of your business" means.

My opinion is that establishing Israel in the first place was a monumentally bad idea. The original idea was that the Israelis would drive all the Arabs out of the land they wanted to occupy, and nobody would care except the Arabs, and they're just a bunch of (insert belittling term here) anyway. Well, most of the Arabs didn't want to go, and didn't, and we have the present mess. As I quoted Vox Day saying the other day,

"The Jews have a right to their homeland, Israel. They also have a right to invade Gaza because they were being attacked; hundreds of rocket launches is a legitimate casus belli."

That, I think, is what brought in the accusation of my being pro-Israel. Well, I don't entirely agree here with Vox Day, at least not when the quote is taken in isolation, because it's also true that being shoved into a fenced-off ghetto and treated like subhumans by a conquerer is also a legitimate casus belli. If you think that's an extreme statement, you need to read up on the subject.

Both Israel and the Palestinians, you see, are concerned about their own interests, and don't care a whit about ours. To both sides, the US is just one big cash cow. And before you write in to tell me that Israel is a great ally of ours, do read what Vulture of Critique has to say HERE.

One of my first acts as President would be to write an Obama-esque executive order cutting off foreign aid to everybody, especially all the participants in the Mid-East slow-motion catastrophe. (And then Chuckie Schumer would call for my impeachment, and I'd send the Federal Marshals after him, yadda yadda yadda.)

What Athiest with a Gun writes about the whole affair is worth reprinting entirely:

What to do with Israel

Fred Reed has, in his imitable manner, pared a horribly complex issue down to a set of essential parts. I don't agree with his assessment of all the elements but I do think his conclusion sums up the problem:
All in all, it seems to me that Israel has gotten itself into a horrible situation, hated within, hated without, and hanging by a lobby. What can the Israelis do? Emigrate to New York? Undertake an absolutely horrific ethnic cleansing? Exercise the Antarctica Option? Spend all eternity ducking rockets and bombing neighbors? Live as herdsmen of unwanted Moslems that they have to avoid assimilating?
I don’t see a happy ending. Or any ending.
Read the entire thing at: Whither Israel?

I propose the Parabarbarian Final Solution.

Take some of the Federal land that nobody is using for anything useful and mark out an area equal to or larger than the size of Israel. Call it the "New Jewish Homeland" or some such then let any citizen of Israel immigrate and live there. Pretty simple.

Sure, there are a lot of details that would have to be worked out but, historically, every country that has sheltered the Jews has benefited from that practice. The Ashkenazim are, on average, more intelligent than other ethnic groups and they have a culture that values literacy, education and self-reliance. Instead of being a drain on the country they would represent a net benefit
Possible problems include:
  • American Muslims will resist the idea because they hate Jews.
  • A lot of American Christians will resist the idea because it will interfere with their longed for Armageddon.
  • Some (Most?) Jews may not want to Leave Israel.
In reality, the above problems may be insurmountable -- especially taken together -- but I still think it is an idea worth considering. It would probably be a lot better than Antarctica.

Atheist's solution reminds me of the situation in Michael Chabon's quirky alternate-history novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which I recommend to you. Actually, I think that, too, would be a bad idea. How about this? Let's take all the foreign aid destined to go to Israel and its playmates in Gaza and other Palestinians for the next few years, and instead of that, go shopping for some territory for sale elsewhere, like Atheist says, that's at least the size of present-day Israel. Maybe a nice big chunk of Brazil that the Brazilians aren't using. Maybe Tasmania. That's way big enough. New Zealand's South Island? Even bigger! Well, there are a lot of possibilities. Find it, buy it, call it חדשה לישראל, and then follow Atheist's plan. Just a thought. Like I say, it's none of my business.
Quibcag: Art by BluesKirby.

Thomas Berger Dead at 89

An underrated novelist has died. Thomas Berger, one of my favorites, is best known, I suppose, for Little Big Man, one of those rare examples of a very good book which was made into a very good movie. Both have a bit of the feel of Forrest Gump about them, to name something better known to most people, in that they're very picaresque — there's a good word for you.

I haven't read even half of Berger's output. I suppose my favorite so far is indeed Little Big Man, which, fans who don't know will be pleased to learn, was followed 35 years later by The Return of Little Big Man, which is a good read too. After those two, I suppose my favorite so far is Changing the Past, which is hard to fit into a genre. What Berger did in part, you see, was to try to write a good novel in every genre he could think of, and he pretty much succeeded.

If you're a fan of the novel, and haven't already done so, I recommend that you accumulate his books and put them on your to-read shelf.

His NY Times obit begins:

Thomas Berger, the reclusive and bitingly satirical novelist who explored the myths of the American West in “Little Big Man” and the mores of 20th-century middle-class society in a shelf of other well-received books, died on July 13 in Nyack, N.Y. He was 89.

His agent, Cristina Concepcion, said she learned of his death, at Nyack Hospital, on Monday. Mr. Berger lived in Grand View, a village in Rockland County, N.Y., where he had remained fiercely protective of his privacy.

Mr. Berger fell into that category of novelists whose work is admired by critics, devoured by devoted readers and even assigned in modern American literature classes but who owe much of their popularity to Hollywood. “Little Big Man,” published in 1964, is widely known for Arthur Penn’s film adaptation, released in 1970, starring Dustin Hoffman as the protagonist, Jack Crabb.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Nutty Is The New Normal

We libertarians are very much in favor of letting people do whatever damn-fool thing they like with themselves, though the more sensible of us stop short of encouraging self-destructive behavior. But no matter how permissive you get, there's always somebody out there pushing the envelope, or running it into the ground. It's not enough for the weird and crazy to be left alone (tolerance). That soon palls, and they want approval. They want to have pride parades and Affirmative Action. And they're getting all that. But now they want to be permitted to celebrated and applauded for propagating their weirdness and craziness and self-destructiveness by passing it on to innocent children. As in the Coy Mathis story.

And now, my favorite leftist, Robert Lindsay, reports on the latest (as far as I know) manifestation of this groovy new trend in child abuse:

Special Summer Camp for Little Boys Who Think They Are Girls


I don’t know how I feel about this. Am I supposed to feel good about this or something? I don’t feel good about this at all. In fact, I feel horrified. They’re all little boys, but some of them are very little boys. Like, 5 years old or younger. This camp shows them how to put on makeup, dress up like girls, walk like a girl, etc.

I suppose VV Putin simply thinks this sort of thing has gone too far. Who says he’s not right. Why is it that, in order to be on the Left, I have to be ok with something that seems frighteningly creepy and weird? Forget that. Social conservatism, here I come.
The left could use more people like Robert, who actually think about issues, instead of duckspeaking the party line.

Elsewhere, Robert comments on the adult version of all this, HERE, which, while idiotic, is at least only self-destructive. They are only humiliating themselves, and not abusing children. I hope.

The Democratic Line-Up, If You Can Call It That

Well, it's beginning to get a little rambunctious among the Democrats, what with Hillary looking more and more like an aging Lisa Simpson without a conscience. Speaking of Lisa Simpson, remember the episode where she pretended to be part Indian? And we know who that reminds us of, don't we? Which brings us to:

Oh, look, phony populist Elizabeth Warren backs the Export-Import Bank’s brand of corporate welfare
So, something hilarious happened. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who staked her claim in politics as anti-big business, anti-bank populist, was invited to join Heritage Action to take down the crony Export-Import Bank.

Well, Warren turned down the offer. Why? Because, despite her populist rhetoric, the Massachusetts Democrats is, apparently, totally down with the Export-Import Bank’s corporate welfare ways...

(Read it all HERE.)

And in still other news:

One Democrat who knows a thing or two about insurgent campaigns, former senator Gary Hart of Colorado, said he intends to huddle with California Gov. Jerry Brown at their upcoming Yale Law School reunion (Class of 1964) to chat about the possibility of Brown running for the White House.

“Don’t rule out my law school classmate,” said Hart, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1984 and 1988. “If you pay attention to his career, you see that he does very unexpected things.”

And, not to be out-Bolsheviked by Fauxcahontas, Bernie Sanders is making noises about running for President. Now that Russia gave communism up, and the Chinese are getting ambiguous, at least one superpower ought to have a Marxist President, right?

And then there's Joe Biden, and I can't think of anything to say that would be funnier than the reality of it all.
Quibcag: I don't know who the moonbeam girl is, but I found her HERE.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Israel and Palestine and Vox Day

In a recent post HERE, James Baker was quoted as saying about the Yugoslavia conflict years ago, "We don't have a dog in that fight." What an amazingly rational attitude. We haven't seen much of that in our foreign policy in my lifetime, and virtually none of it since the first Bush Administration. It's not terribly new. It started at least as far back as the Spanish-American war, when we had to "help" the Cuban people by freeing them of Spanish domination. In both world wars, we were told that we had to sacrifice American blood and treasure to rescue other people, and it's been a refrain in all our foreign adventuring ever since. Jimmy Carter even made it explicit when he called for a moral foreign policy, which is an idiotic concept when you stop to think about it. You can have a foreign policy that furthers American interests, or you can have a moral one, and while they might occasionally overlap, they usually don't, and a moral foreign policy is usually at odds with American interests.

I'm not going to do into the history of the Israel-Arab conflict, except to say that the whole idea of Israel, as it was implemented, was, as General Marshall said, a bad one, that would lead to nothing but trouble. And of course it has done just that.

But never mind how we got here, because here we are, and my attitude is that we don't have a dog in that fight. I can sympathize with the positions of both factions, and I find it all very interesting and illuminating, but it's none of our business. And one thing we don't need is to waste American lives and money trying to solve a problem that probably can't be solved at all, and if it can be, must be solved by the participants, because the only way to stop the conflict would be for some superpower to occupy the place and keep the peace. And nobody thinks that would be a good idea.

We also don't want the participant fighting it out here in the US. And right now, it turns out, it's being fought out in Paris, which should be a warning to us and a cautionary example of bad immigration policy. I wouldn't go quite as far as Vox Day does, and call myself a "Zionist," but I have no desire either to help defend Israel or help fight it. But I think Vox shows a very rational attitude that you should read and think about. This is from his blog HERE.

A hand overplayed

I think we can safely say that the world is now officially holocausted out, as more and more people across the West are unwilling to give Jews the benefit of the doubt when they cry anti-semite:
A new, unofficial report indicates that a Jewish doctor who claimed she was the victim of an antisemitic when she was thrown off of a JetBlue flight earlier this month was actually the aggressor in the mid-air dispute with a Palestinian woman who she said was a 'murderer' and that she probably had explosives in her bag.

The new report, which WPBF says it did not receive from the airline, Queens Doctor Lisa Rosenberg 'accused customer 9C of being a Palestinian murderer, and that her people were all murderers and that they murder children,' the station reported on Wednesday.

At the time of her getting escorted off the flight, on July 7, at an airport in Florida, Rosenberg told a local news outlet that she was called a 'Zionist pig' by the woman seated next to her.

In a phone interview with WPBF, the airline said that Rosenberg's version of events 'in no way reflects the report that we have.' In the unofficial report, a flight attendant described how Rosenberg 'went even further to suggest 9C had explosives in her bag and it would bring the aircraft down.'
In similar fashion, I noticed that both the French and British press have exposed Jews as the aggressors in the recent "street battles" in Paris, although you won't see this reported in any of the American newspapers, which inaccurately described the demonstrations as attacks and the subsequent attack of the demonstrators as a defense of the synagogue. But no synagogues were attacked that day; the various claims that two and three of them were attacked were confirmed to be false and there is video to prove it.
A group of 150 Jewish men were seen brandishing iron bars and cans of pepper spray as they clashed with Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris. Video footage of the clashes show the group chanting racist slogans as they roamed the streets. It came as President Francois Hollande warned that he did not want to see ‘the Israeli-Palestinian conflict imported into France’.

A still taken from the video shows dozens of men in Paris walking down the streets armed with chairs and other weapons, before clashing with pro-Palestinian demonstrators. Around 150 mainly young men were seen carrying weapons, like chairs, and chanting racist slogans as they went on the rampage. French Jewish groups have complained about an increase in anti-Semitism in recent months, with many accusing Muslim youths of targeting them.

But a video shot close to the Place de la Bastille on Sunday, and verified by police before being posted on YouTube, appears to show pro-Israel groups are also actively involved in clashes. In Paris, CRS riot police did not arrest any of the group, thought to be linked to the Jewish Defence League, despite them openly fighting in broad daylight. In the video, those amongst the group can be heard chanting ‘**** you Palestine’ as they smash up chairs and metal tables to be used as missiles....

Alexis Bachelay, a Paris MP for the ruling Socialist party, said: ‘There has evidently been a media manipulation about who really got assaulted. These are extremely serious facts that need to be investigated thoroughly by the police. It is not the first time that young French people of Muslim origin are stigmatised by the media. French people of Muslim origin should be protected by the law when demonstrating. They should not be attacked by radical groups like the LDJ’.
Having been falsely accused many times of anti-semitism myself for nothing more than refusing to assume that all Jews are innocent angels at all times and devoid of all human failings (and I'm probably one of the very few individuals who has been personally cleared of the charge by the Jewish Defense League itself), I have learned to be extremely skeptical of all assertions of anti-semitism presented without evidence. As with women with sexism and blacks with racism, crying anti-semitism has become the first resort of any Jew caught with his hand in a cookie jar.

That doesn't mean anti-semitism doesn't exist. That doesn't mean there aren't people who wish to kill Jews for any number of reasons. That doesn't mean that every last synagogue in France isn't going to be burned to the ground. But it does mean that one should no more accept the word of a Jew on the matter than one should accept the word of a woman that she has been raped. 

I am a Zionist because I am a nationalist. The Jews have a right to their homeland, Israel. They also have a right to invade Gaza because they were being attacked; hundreds of rocket launches is a legitimate casus belli. But they have no more right to Paris than the Arabs do, and the French would be wise to repatriate all of these bold defenders of their various homelands to let them fight it out there rather than in the heart of their capital city. Because it is patently obvious that neither side gives a damn about France.
Quibcag: The illustration is Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix

The Left and the Right

The left and the right in this country, roughly equivalent to the Democrats and Republicans, have few real differences other than rhetorical ones.  Both groups are supportive of ever more expansive government (the left emphasizes welfare purposes, the right law enforcement, but it's just a matter of degree in both cases), more taxes on everybody (the left just wants more without limit, the right wants increases to be maybe a little slower), gun control (the right usually say "reasonable" gun control while the left simply demonized guns and gun owners promiscuously), and more and more military adventuring abroad, and interference with other countries (the left wants to "help" everybody by overthrowing dictators in favor of other dictators, the right wants to increase American security by doing the same thing). When it comes to Wall Street, both groups do whatever Wall Street wants, and Democratic and Republican administrations are both full of bankers and "former" bankers.

But as the quibcag states, some people on the far left and the far right are actually searching for truth, instead of just compiling factoids to support their respective ideological dogmas. This is particularly true when it comes to the big money guys, who pull the strings in both parties and order around most of the talking heads. With enough people searching for truth out there, it's occasionally found, and truth is truth whoever discovers it. I'll listen to anybody who's really trying to get to it, whether he thinks he's a leftist or a rightist. That's why this blog quotes and reprints material from a wide range of ideological positions.
Quibcag: Ranma and Akane, of  Ranma ½ (らんま½), often at odds, find some common ground.