Friday, November 20, 2015

A T. rex Girl Named Sue

Sue is the name given to the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on permanent display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.  The 67-million-year-old fossil remains were discovered in 1990 in western South Dakota by Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist, and the skeleton was named after her.  The Museum says it is the “largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.” 

The skeleton was subject to various disputes over ownership, and at one point it was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Ultimately ownership was awarded to the American Indian on whose land the fossil was found, and in 1997 a consortium of buyers led by the Field Museum purchased the skeleton for over $8 million.  At 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hip, Sue has been on striking display in the great hall of the Field Museum since 2000.  Kudos to the Field.  Sue is a wonder to be seen. 
Photo by author; November, 2015
R Balsamo

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hillary Clinton the Naked Liar on Islamic Terrorism

Coming days after Muslim terrorists killed 129 people in coordinated attacks in Paris and after the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, Hillary Clinton said this today in New York City in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations (link):
Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism
"Nothing whatsoever," Clinton says.  Reports the Daily Mail:  “Clinton instead referred repeatedly to 'radical jihadism' as a global scourge, but didn't explain how the concept of jihadism is consistent with [her] notion that adherents of [Islam] are uninvolved."

Everyone by now knows that in the Koran there are passages that promote peacefulness as well as conflicting passages that urge Muslims to commit violence against non-believers (jihad).  Individual Muslims decide which path to follow.  One can acknowledge that the vast majority of Muslims in the world live decent, peaceful individual lives while also recognizing that there are many Muslims who read the Koran as a guide to violence.  Everyone knows this.  Muslim terrorists can and do recite those Koranic verses that prescribe their actions.  The head of the Islamic State, the Muslim terrorist organization most in the news these days, has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad.

The only real solution is for peaceful Muslims to reform Islam from within by expurgating the violence-promoting parts of the Koran and later texts, combined with world-wide aggressive suppression of, and not apologies for, Islamic terrorism.  Appeasers and apologists of violent Islam serve to undermine any Muslims seeking an Islamic reformation by insisting that there is nothing wrong with Islam itself.     

Frankly I do not understand what Hillary Clinton seeks to gain from such a ridiculous statement that everyone knows is a lie.  She certainly knows it is a lie.  Perhaps she spits forth such lies, not only because she is an inveterate liar just for the sport of it, because she gets a sense of power, a perverse frisson, in uttering bold lies that everyone around her accepts as a sign of her power.  She is the empress with no clothes, but in her version of the morality play even she knows she is naked.      

R Balsamo

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reflections on the Devolution in France

The Islamification of Western countries, particularly in Europe, is for some people of ethnic European heritage, exhausted and culturally disorientated by the conflicts of the Twentieth Century, a cultural expiation, for others a desired cultural transformation, and for yet others a craved-for cultural suicide.  I for one am very enamored with Western culture and the Judeo-Christian ethic (not to be redundant) and would like to see them stick around for a great while longer. 

Of course there’s a long history before the most recent “setback,” as Barack Obama of the Democrats has described the recent Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds more.  Liberals blame much Islamist terrorism on George W. Bush, their all-purpose bogeyman.  In fact, exhibiting uncanny prescience before George W. Bush actually became president, Islamist terrorists reacted to his anticipated arrival with the 2000 USS Cole attack, the 1996 Khobor Towers bombing, the 1993 WTC bombing, and the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombings, to name but a few. 

In 570 A.D, and even in 632 A.D., the Levant and Egypt were primarily Christian with large Jewish populations, centuries before the Crusaders felt the need to go east; one wonders what happened to all those people when warrior horsemen from Arabia stormed in.  In 732 A.D., Charles the Hammer and his Frankish crew, who didn’t know Mecca from Medina from Marrakesh, not all that far from Paris managed to fight off an Islamic invasion of northern France .  According to some recently-unearthed texts written at the time by a man named Obamus, the Islamophobic Franks brought it all on themselves.  

The only solution is for sensible Muslims firmly rooted in the twenty-first century to reform Islam from the inside, forcing it to accept Western principles such as separation of church and state, full civil liberties for everyone including women and homosexuals, and equality for all under fair and consistently-applied law. 

This conflict has a long history with apparently a long way to go.  By accepting into Europe what promises to be hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants with no sense of Western values to add to the growing, self-isolating Muslim communities already there, European leaders are ensuring that life for most Europeans will get much worse before it gets much better.

R Balsamo

Saturday, November 14, 2015

German Leaders Want More “Tolerance” After Muslim Terrorist Attacks in Paris

Given the great wars of the twentieth century, I can understand the ambivalence some Germans apparently feel toward Western culture and even the notion of nationalist ethnicity.  I can also understand, although it seems a deeply misguided fantasy, the desire, given the low birthrate among ethnic Germans, to import young Muslims from the Middle East to supply the workforce that will, it is hoped, support older ethnic Germans in their declining years.  But I am increasingly surprised to see just how strongly some German leaders, popularly elected, want to fundamentally transform their country.

In response to the large-scale, multi-focal Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris yesterday that killed well over one hundred people, this is what the two top German leaders had to say (link):   
“Many people are now searching for protection and security in Europe,” said [German] Vice Chancellor Gabriel.  “We cannot now let them suffer because they come from the regions from which terror comes to us.”  The chancellor [Ms. Merkel] herself didn’t directly address the migration issue in her comments on the Paris attacks.  But she promised that Germany would respond to the attack in accordance with its values—including “respect for the other and tolerance.”  “Let us respond to the terrorists by living our values in confidence and strengthen these values for all of Europe—now more than ever,” Ms. Merkel said.
Faced with the growing threat of Muslim terrorists in the midst of her people, Merkel wants ethnic Germans to double down on their tolerance of others.  Nary a word about expecting the Muslim migrants now arriving in waves to better tolerate and integrate with their German hosts, and nary a word about hunting down terrorists to better protect the German people.  At some point, though, I expect that for most Germans their cultural and ethnic self-loathing will reach a limit and that biologic impulses of self-preservation will kick in.  But the longer this process of cultural transformation goes on, the uglier it will be when the Germans and the other Europeans reach that limit.  Merkel should think some about that.

R Balsamo

Friday, November 13, 2015

Laudable Pus at Amherst College

I'm delighted to read of the outbreak of yet another skirmish in the liberal fascist attack on Western culture, a development I think can only help more adults realize the excesses of modern American liberalism and the usually low-profile hollowing-out of values that has been going on for years beneath the floor boards.  Now maybe the infection is beginning to come to a head, and laudable pus has burst out at Amherst College in the People's Commonwealth of Massachusetts

A large gaggle of neo-fascist student groups there has just issued a bold set of demands (link), many of which require various adults to issue groveling apologies for the usual litany of alleged errors – racism, sexism, homophobia, cis-sexism, species-ism, failure to provide unlimited free hot cocoa with free delivery on cold days, failure to properly separate plastic recyclables by percentage of polyethylene, etc.  The campus adults on the receiving end of these demands are certainly almost all, if not all, hard core liberals themselves.  The revolution eats its own.

Special bile is hurled at brave, dissenting Amherst students responsible for the “All Lives Matter” posters, and the “Free Speech” posters that stated that “in memoriam of the true victim of the Missouri Protests: Free Speech.”  The student fascists demand that the school "alert" the poster hangers "that Student Affairs may require them to go through the Disciplinary Process if a formal complaint is filed, and that they will be required to attend extensive training for racial and cultural competency."

The required stint in a reeducation camp is right out of the communist playbook and one of my favorite parts: "extensive training for racial and cultural competency."  The merits of Western culture, the Judeo-Christian ethic, and the American Constitution won't be part of that curriculum.

These fascist student groups are now working on a salute and debating whether their uniform shirts will be brown or black.  All good stuff – let this culture fight see more of the disinfecting bright light of day.

R Balsamo

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Obama's General Motors To Import Chinese Cars

Not long ago, American automaker General Motors (and Chrysler as well) was effectively bankrupt.  Fearing a standard restructuring bankruptcy legal process that would have preserved the company while negating all of its existing contracts, including those with labor unions, Obama and the liberals shouted the lie that a restructuring bankruptcy would spell the end of GM and all its factories and would open a void that would be filled by more foreign-made cars.  Instead, in the early heady days of his presidency, Obama strong-armed GM into a pre-packaged essentially fake bankruptcy process that preserved all the unreasonably rich and dysfunctional union labor contracts and effectively gave a piece of the company to the unions for free.  By the time the confiscation issue, specifically involving Chrysler, reached the Supreme Court years later, the Court effectively said that he process was wrong and illegal, but nevertheless accepted it as a fait accompli, just as Obama and the Democrats knew they would.  GM, now once again a public company, is still burdened with those union contracts.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports today:  "General Motors, fresh off agreeing to a new union contract that is expected to drive up its U.S. labor costs, plans to become the first major auto maker to sell Chinese-made cars in the U.S."

Schadenfreude:  "Pleasure derived from someone else's misfortune."  

R Balsamo

Click on the "Automobile Companies and Politics" link below to see all posts on this subject and previous commentary on Obama's confiscation of GM for benefit of the Democrat-controlled unions.

Campus Skirmishes in the Culture War

Skirmishes in the Culture War have broken out at Yale University and the University of Missouri at Columbia, and the intolerant neo-fascist protestors are winning.  They're reminiscent of the Red Guard student thugs in China some years ago.

Mario Loyola writes about these developments, and the apologetic show trials that result:  "To submit to tyranny — to offer groveling apologies like the university officials have done at New Haven and Columbia, like dissidents making forced confessions in Stalinist show trials — is not only grotesque and shameful, it contributes to the problem."  Link

At Yale, a liberal teacher was surrounded on campus by a threatening student mob and yelled at by the now-infamous Yale Screaming Girl when, breaking with liberal orthodoxy, he had the temerity to defend the principle of freedom of expression in choosing Halloween costumes.  He quickly folded and has issued a groveling apology.  James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal commented on the story and in closing quoted an apposite passage from 1984, Orwell's novel of a dystopian future:  “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”  Link

R Balsamo

Prison for Non-Liberals on Global Warming?

Much of what passes as modern "liberalism," a set of political values that represent the opposite of the true meaning of the term ever since the progressive, authoritarian left stole it, is really a new-age religion.  It has its dogmas and its rituals.  It also has the urge to burn heretics.  A new poll says over 25% of Democrats would like to see those who do not believe in anthropogenic global warming to be prosecuted under the law and imprisoned.  Prosecuted under exactly what law, one might ask; the law against having any belief liberals don't like -- that law.  And no doubt imprisoned until the non-believer recants in a public show trial and suffers through a long "course of study" at a reeducation camp.  Link

The term "liberal fascism" describes these impulses very well.

R Balsamo

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans on Film

Today is Veterans' Day, and it seems worthwhile to list some of my favorite film portrayals of the valor and sacrifices and successes of American servicemen.

American Sniper – the story of brave and dedicated American soldiers fighting against vicious, fanatical, nihilistic Islamist warriors during the Iraq War.

Tears of the Sun – a team of Navy Seals undertakes a dangerous goodwill rescue mission in Africa.

We Were Soldiers – the harrowing account of one of the early battles in the American Vietnam War.

Go Tell the Spartans – Bert Lancaster leads a small force holding out against the Viet Cong.

Platoon – American soldiers fight to survive in Vietnam.

Pork Chop Hill – A brave American unit fighting the Chinese communists in the Korean War.

Band of Brothers – The masterpiece 11-hour treatment of the Stephen Ambrose book about a unit of the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles, in the European Theater of WW2, made pre-911 by Spielberg before he later devolved into the anti-American moral equivalency state-of-mind.  

A Bridge Too Far – Epic treatment of the Allies' failed Operation Market Garden initiative in 1944 Europe, aimed at penetrating into Germany itself.  

The Bridge at Remagen – War-weary American soldiers fight toward the Rhine River in early 1945 and ultimately capture the last remaining bridge into Germany.

Saving Private Ryan – The story of a special mission behind German lines in northern France in the days immediately after D-Day.

The Big Red One – The story of a squad of the 1st Infantry Division as it fights across North Africa, Sicily, and France in WW2.

The Battle of the Bulge – Epic adaptation of the American resilience in the face of the German Army's last gasp in the West during WW2.

Miracle at St. Anna – The story of four black American soldiers caught behind German lines in northern Italy late in WW2 fighting to keep themselves and local villagers alive, a story not over until it explodes into a modern murder mystery.

Fury – A recent film about an American tank crew late in WW2, very good until its unrealistic and contrived grand finale shootout.

Sahara – An isolated motley group of Allied soldiers with a single Sherman tank led by Bogart battle thirst, heat, and the Germans in the North African desert during WW2.

The Enemy Below – An American destroyer chases a crafty German submarine in the North Atlantic in WW2.

U-571 – An American submarine crew fights to save themselves, the German submarine they captured and are stuck in, and a secret decoding machine in the North Atlantic in WW2.  

Memphis Belle – A B-17 crew's harrowing bombing missions over Germany.

The Bridge On the River Kwai – A lone cynical American serviceman witnesses the descent into madness and treason by British officers in a Japanese prison camp, escapes, and reluctantly returns to set things right.

Midway – The story of the great naval air battle six months after Pearl Harbor that spelled the beginning of the drawn-out end of the Japanese navy in WW2.  

Objective Burma – American soldiers create havoc behind Japanese lines in Burma.

The Pacific – The Spielberg-Hanks treatment of Americans in the Pacific Theater in WW2, that remains compelling viewing despite its lapses at times into the Anti-American moral equivalency point of view.

The Great Raid – Army Rangers on a mission to rescue American prisoners in a brutal Japanese POW camp in the Philippines late in the War.

The Lost Battalion – A outnumbered group of American soldiers trapped behind enemy lines fights off waves of German soldiers in the closing days of WW1.

What Price Glory – Ford directs Cagney and Dailey, not to mention Corrine Calvet, in a rousing story of an American infantry unit on the Western Front in WW1.

Gettysburg – The superbly told story of the greatest battle of the American Civil War.  The portrayal of the heroic 20th Maine and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain at Little Round Top is special.