Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | June 6, 2015

Bruce/‘Caitlyn’ Jenner and the collapse of the Western mind

Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker." (Image via bigthink.com)

Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker.” (Image via bigthink.com)

There is no way to write comprehensively about a subject this big in one post, and I won’t try here.  I want to just highlight a few points that have struck me forcefully this week, as the spectacle of media fawning over Jenner – whom I will call XY Jenner – unfolds before us.

The first and most basic point is that we have a body of empirical knowledge that tells us XY Jenner is a human male, and that he cannot be made female.  If one day we will have the ability to manipulate DNA in such a way that that is possible, we don’t have it today.

The concepts of “gender,” and nature-vs.-nurture, are meaningful ones.  But the evidence of our eyes, and the sum total of our shared knowledge, tell us that male (XY) and female (XX) correlate powerfully with “man” and “woman,” to such a pervasive extent that there is no value for our lives in tossing that assumption aside. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | June 3, 2015

Tweets of the Day: Marie Harf slam-dunks critics of Obama’s Iran policy

Gravitas.

Gravitas.

One of the joys of the Obama administration is its hip, savvy web and social media presence.  The president has used Twitter a number of times to bestow on others – people, national monuments – the honor of being commemorated with images of him.  (See here and here, among others.)  He also performed in a social-media video – of himself, snapping selfies in the White House – as a way of encouraging social-media mavens to visit the Obamacare website, something no other high public official has done, as far as we’re aware.

Then there was Michelle Obama’s unforgettable tweet in May 2014, urging the Nigerian terrorist gang Boko Haram to #BringBackOurGirls.

As a foreign policy measure, that worked about as well as former State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki posing in March 2014 for a Twitter selfie, with a sign reading #UnitedForUkraine.  Her alternate, Marie Harf, posed with a similar sign at the time. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 31, 2015

Low-flying federal surveillance planes popping up over more cities

Cessna 182 N859JA over McLean, VA in July 2014. (Image: liveandietpie via imgur!, Reddit)

Cessna 182 N859JA over McLean, VA in July 2014. (Image: liveandietpie via imgur!, Reddit)

Just a few weeks after similar activity was reported during the Baltimore riots, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune has a story about unmarked small planes flying low-altitude surveillance patterns, in the middle of the night, over downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America.

Aviation buff John Zimmerman was at a weekly gathering of neighbors Friday night when he noticed something peculiar: a small plane circling a route overhead that didn’t make sense to him.

It was dark, so a sightseeing flight didn’t make sense, and when Zimmerman pulled up more information on an aviation phone app he routinely checks, he had immediate concerns.

The plane’s flight path, recorded by the website flightradar24.com, would eventually show that it circled downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America and Southdale Center at low altitude for hours starting at 10:30 p.m., slipping off radar just after 3 a.m.

“I thought, ‘Holy crap,’ ” said Zimmerman.

Bearing the call sign N361DB, the plane is one of three Cessna 182T Skylanes registered to LCB Leasing of Bristow, Va., according to FAA records. The Virginia secretary of state has no record of an LCB Leasing. Virtually no other information could be learned about the company.

Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 27, 2015

Ramadi’s fall has positioned Iran for a big score

Refugees from a fallen Ramadi clog the roadways outside Baghdad in May 2015. (Image: Corbis vis Newsweek)

Refugees from a fallen Ramadi clog the roadways outside Baghdad in May 2015. (Image: Corbis via Newsweek)

If you listen to the mainstream media, you probably think mainly that a superior force of Iraqi national troops abandoned the city of Ramadi to Islamic State 10 days ago – by implication, doing so in spite of U.S. support to the Iraqis and the battle.

As Americans were wondering “What happened?” over the past week, words uttered by Ashton Carter, the U.S. secretary of defense, came to seem like the answer.  His signature comment was to the effect that the Iraqis were unwilling to fight.

As a cherry on top, I heard (Tuesday evening) a news anchor on the local ABC affiliate chirp out the theory that Carter’s harsh assessment “may have prompted” the Iraqi government to mount its impending operation to retake Ramadi.  The implication is that the Iraqis had to be goaded into it.  Local affiliates don’t make up foreign-affairs news narratives on their own; this was undoubtedly fed to them by the staff at ABC headquarters. Read More…

(Image via Nader Uskowi, Twitter)

(Image via Nader Uskowi, Twitter)

When we left our story on Monday, the Iran Shahed was in the Gulf of Aden heading for the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, and was expected to arrive at Hodeidah, Yemen on Thursday, 21 May.  A U.S. military spokesman had encouraged Iran to have the ship offload its cargo in Djibouti and let the UN transport it to Yemen.  But the Iranians were having none of that.

By Wednesday morning, however, Iran had decided to allow the ship to be inspected by the UN in Djibouti, before it continued on to Hodeidah.  That is significantly different from what the low-level U.S. military spokesman — the only person who made an official U.S. suggestion — proposed. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 20, 2015

BREAKING: Russia cuts off major supply route for U.S., NATO in Afghanistan

Attack on a NATO convoy in the Khyber Pass, June 2014. (Image: EPA, Gullamullah Habibi via NY Daily News)

Attack on a NATO convoy in the Khyber Pass, June 2014. (Image: EPA, Gullamullah Habibi via NY Daily News)

Well, this is bad.  This is a real, no-kidding move against U.S. and NATO interests, one that could significantly increase the peril to our forces in Afghanistan.  It creates the potential for things to go south very quickly for NATO troops.

That, in turn, increases the likelihood of divisions within NATO over the alliance’s Afghanistan commitment.  The divisions could well affect NATO’s posture on the political conflict with Russia.  And assuming the Obama administration is passive and ineffective in the face of this latest move by Moscow, the alliance will find an existential crisis – at least the beginnings of one – inescapable.

The basic story is that the U.S. and NATO have relied throughout the Afghan operation on supply routes that run through both Pakistan and the former-Soviet republics of Central Asia.  In 2008, the route called the Northern Distribution Network, or NDN, was consolidated, with a portion of it running through the territory of Russia.  Russia has benefited from transit fees, along with the Central Asian ‘Stans, and has been content to hold in reserve the pocket veto she possesses by agreeing to let our supplies flow through her transportation network. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 19, 2015

Showdown looming off Yemen with sanctioned Iranian ‘aid’ ship

Iran Shahed, with stern decked out in Yemeni flags. Iranian flag flies from traditional position on center fantail. (Image: YouTube, Christoph Hoerstel)

Iran Shahed, with stern decked out in Yemeni flags. Iranian flag flies from traditional position on center fantail. (Image: YouTube, Christoph Hoerstel)

There are some important things to know about the Iranian cargo shop Iran Shahed, which left Bandar Abbas, Iran on 11 May and expects to get to the Houthi-held port of Hodeidah, on the Red Sea, on 20-21 May.  Iran claims the ships is carrying only humanitarian-aid cargo.

1.  The ship itself is on the U.S. Treasury list of vessels and shipping entities under sanction due to complicity in arms proliferation.

2.  We aren’t going to do anything about that.

3.  The Saudis have imposed a blockade on Yemen and are determined to prevent the importation of arms (i.e., from Iran to the Houthis) by air or sea. Read More…

(Image: AFP via La Stampa (IT))

(Image: AFP via La Stampa (IT))

Fueled by wire stories from AP and AFP, the mainstream media have been running with a headline that Pope Francis, during a meeting at the Vatican on Saturday 16 May, called Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas “an angel of peace.”

The problem: the pope did not call Abbas — aka the terrorist Abu Mazen — an “angel of peace.”

He did utter the words “angel of peace,” and he suggested that Abbas could or might be one.  In the context of the pope’s complete statement about the meeting, the implication was that Abbas could be an angel of peace if he resumed direct negotiations with Israel.

Why did Francis say the words “angel of peace” at all?  Because he was making a gift to Abbas of a medallion engraved with an image of the Angel of Peace.  The Vatican Insider feature of Italy’s La Stampa has this summary in its English version: Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 17, 2015

Why is Jade Helm 15 play spreading way out into West Texas?

Night jump by soldiers from Ft. Hood in an exercise in Ft. Bragg, NC. (Image: U.S. Army, Sgt. Jake Marlin, 11th PAD)

Night jump by soldiers from Ft. Hood in an exercise in Ft. Bragg, NC. (Image: U.S. Army, Sgt. Jake Marlin, 11th PAD)

As readers know who’ve been following LU coverage of the Jade Helm saga, I don’t believe the exercise is a pretext for invading Texas or violating U.S. law.

I do think it sets a bad precedent by putting U.S. soldiers in local communities, to hold an exercise that will involve running around on private and local public property. This is not something the American people should ever get used to or agree to accept. No training requirement trumps the importance of maintaining our non-militarized public environment. No training requirement, period. A non-militarized public environment in our communities was a core goal of the American Revolution, and has remained indispensable to our national understanding of liberty. It will never not be a latent threat to the conditions of liberty, for the military to treat civilian community spaces as available venues for warfare exercises. Read More…

Shell-leased rig Noble Discoverer in the Chukchi Sea. (Image: Royal Dutch Shell via LAT)

Shell-leased rig Noble Discoverer in the Chukchi Sea. (Image: Royal Dutch Shell via LAT)

As noted earlier today, the Obama administration on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell “conditional approval” to drill an Arctic oil lease off the coast of Alaska in the Chukchi Sea – a move that has environmental groups in a tizzy.

Shell actually gave up on its hopes of drilling in the Arctic a little over a year ago after a setback in federal court, and at the time, environmental groups and the media were satisfied that the situation made sense, given the administration’s well-known posture on environmental issues and energy.

The mainstream media have been silent this week on why the Obama administration, with its pattern of uniform and ruthless hostility to the fossil fuels industry, has given this approval.  Even the New York Times, which is usually able to mouth a narrative planted by administration officials, has offered no explanation. Read More…

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 262 other followers