Power Trip

I was driving past the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles this morning, which remains closed due on orders of the local government. The New Beverly is a revival house, owned by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, and, with no movies on offer, its marquee now features a tribute to the recently deceased actor, Chadwick Boseman, who played, most famously, the Marvel comic book hero Black Panther, in the eponymous 2018 movie. The marquee reads “Rest in Power,” a trendy twist on the familiar Rest in Peace wish for the recently departed.

You see that phrase more and more among the trendiscencti: “Rest in Power.” The Paramount Network titled a series about Trayvon Martin, the black teenager killed by a security guard in 2012, “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.” In July, the radical left-wing rag The Jacobin titled an essay about the recently deceased politician, “Rest in Power, John Lewis.” It says something, it seems to me, about the state of our culture.

“Rest in Peace” comes from the Latin “Requiescat in pace,” which has been found on Christian tombstones dating to the time of the Roman Empire. It reflects the hope that upon death, the Christian will find peace in the next life. It also reflects the Christian belief in life as toil and struggle, and that peace is best found in the afterlife.

“Rest in Power” twists this, wishing not for peace but for power. What a revealing twist this is, and reflects an adoration of power over peace. When the culture used to speak of power, it was often in reference to Lord Acton’s observation that “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Power was something to regard skeptically, and those with totalitarian power were abhorred.

But the Left – home of such totalitarians as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro – worships power above all else. And now that love of power is taking hold in the U.S.

It’s not clear to me how much power the atheistic Left thinks the dead can wield. Hopefully, their dead, like all the rest, have found peace, in which case, no power is needed.

And I’ll just add: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, rest in peace, not power.

Don’t Vote

The NFL kicked off its 2020 season, and amidst the crashing and crunching of helmets, the NFL implored me to vote. PSA after PSA, the NFL talked about how we should all do our part. It was all very feel-goody, and the players all locked arms for “unity” with those fighting for social justice. And it wasn’t just as a way of celebrating the opening game of the new season, either. All summer long on the NFL network, the viewer was constantly bombarded with PSAs about athletes speaking up for “change,” whatever that means. I doubt even they know.

Probably worth noting that the ratings were down double digits over last year’s opening game. And the crowd at the stadium, rained boos on the “uniting” players. The sports talkers feigned confusion as to why the crowd would boo such a gesture. I have a guess: why should we care one whit what these multi-millionaire athletes (Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs just signed for a cool half-bil), many of whom likely needed tutors to get past high school civics, have to say about politics?

And one more thing: what does the NFL care whether I vote or not?

Everyone should vote, we’re told by celebrities hoping to assure themselves they do Important Work, and it’s supposedly shameful only 60% of eligible voters voted. From Rock the Vote in the 1990s to the NFL today, we are told we need to vote. And politicians frequently propose new measures to make it easier to vote, and there are even some who argue voting should be available online.

Are these people nuts? Have they ever taken a good look at some of their fellow citizens? I wouldn’t mind if fewer people voted, to be honest. And by no means should voting be made “easier” or “more convenient.”

Everyone’s seen those staples of late-night television, where a “man on the street” interviews “average Americans.” And we all laugh, as these idiots can’t name the current Vice President, or find France on a map. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty fine if these dimwits stayed home on election day. If you pay so little attention to the news, you draw blanks when asked who lives in the White House, trust me, it’s cool if you sit this election out.

And likewise, if getting off your couch and making it all the way to the polling station a couple of blocks away is too much trouble for you, then buddy, take a load off and stay right there on the couch. The election will get on fine without you.

There’s a reason that many pet rescue organizations require that adopters pay a small fee to adopt a pet. They know when you invest in something, you take better care of it. When becoming a pet owner is too easy, the pets tend to suffer.

And if you can’t invest in an hour or two of your day to vote, you’re really not that invested in the vote. And the election – and eventually, the people – suffer.

Haven’t we all suffered enough this year already?

Success or Failure?

The Trump administration announced another foreign policy victory on Friday: after U.S.-sponsored talks, Orthodox Christian Serbia and its breakaway Islamic province of Kosovo, who fought bitter and bloody war in the 1990s, complete with crimes against humanity and war crimes tribunals, agreed to normalize economic ties, and Serbia agreed to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, while Kosovo and Israel both agreed to mutual recognition.

This comes on the heels of U.S.-led negotiations that saw the United Arab Emirates agreeing to recognize Israel last month,and provides another foreign policy boost for the Trump Administration as the U.S election draws near. The first direct flight from Israel to the UAE landed just last week, with the American delegation led by Trump’s advisor (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and NSA head Robert C. O’Brien.

Biden, on the other hand, who has been the Senator from Delaware since 1972, has been a disaster in foreign policy from the jump. Just ask former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who wrote in his memoir that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.

From opposing Vietnamese refugees settling in the U.S. in the 1970s, to supporting the Soviet Union-sponsored “nuclear freeze” in the 1980s, to opposing President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, to voting against Operation Desert Storm that liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s grasp in 1991, to supporting the Iraq invasion of 2003 but then opposing the Surge in 2007, to even opposing President Obama’s operation to kill Osama bin Laden, it is truly a remarkable run of bad and foolish decisions.

The Vietnamese refugee issue is particularly galling. After the fall of Saigon the influx of Vietnamese refugees, Biden argued the U.S. should ignore the plight of the desperate South Vietnamese who assisted the American war effort, even as the Communist North Vietnamese Army overran the south.

Many of those refugees would settle in Orange County, California, where your humble author would count some of these “boat people” as good friends growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, and, not coincidental to their treatment by Democrats, where the Vietnamese of “Little Saigon” would become a unique part of the Republican Orange Wall.

Forty-five years of failure against 3 ½ years of ever-growing victories. And the polls say this race is close?

High Road to China

Foreign policy hasn’t attracted much notice this campaign season, which is a shame, considering how interesting international relations have become. Aside from Trump’s truly historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and a potential normalization in Israel and Sudanese relations, developments in south and east Asia promise to convulse international relations for years to come.

China alone has rocked the world with its actions this year. Even worse than its initial blundering in the release of the Wuhan virus, those with eyes note how China shut down domestic flights while allowing international flights, fully aware they were spreading the virus. China’s tyrant Xi purposely spread the virus around the world, in an unparalleled act of what can only be called biological warfare.

Not content with devastating the world economy and the lives of millions, in May China revoked Hong Kong’s civil rights (which, truth be known, Hong Kongers only enjoy due to the residue of British colonialism).

And then in June China provoked a border skirmish with India in the Himalayas.

Meanwhile, and not coincidentally, India and the United States under the Trump administration have never been closer. Just this week an Indian media outlet reported that the U.S. and India were close to signing an agreement to share geospatial intelligence, an unprecedented deepening of defense cooperation between the two nations.

And to demonstrate resolve, in June the U.S. sent a destroyer, the U.S.S. Russell, through the Taiwan Strait. And just this week released a photo of a U.S Air Force KC1-35 tanker refueling a Taiwanese (U.S.-bought) F-16 fighter plane.

In other words, U.S. diplomacy is in overdrive countering the many threats and outright aggression of the Chinese Communists.

It would be interesting to hear what Biden thinks of all these developments, if the media ever gets the chance to ask him anything, and, if they do get that chance, if they would actually dare ask him.

After Anderson Cooper let Biden read his answers to him during a live interview, it’s hard to believe the media would challenge Biden with anything that doesn’t already have a canned response at the ready.

Just Words

The Biden campaign, planning for every contingency it seems, recently wargamed a situation where, in the event Trump won re-election, the entire West Coast would secede, and the public would wait to see what the military would do. Democratic insider John Podesta played the role of Biden in their scenario, and refused to concede, prompting the secession.

Secession is all the rage these days among the Left, which always seems to fester among the losing side in any election. (Which makes me wonder about all those polls showing Biden ahead.) Along these lines, just this past Thursday, NPR featured the author Richard Kreitner on its morning news shows, Morning Edition. Kreitner was pushing his new book, a history of American secessionism. Kreitner has previously written for the Nation and Slate and currently lives in Brooklyn, so I think it’s safe to call him a leftist.

Kreitner’s book purports to examine whether “it’s time to break up” the United States. Of course, Kreitner assured the listener, while he didn’t “want” states to secede, he also didn’t see why California should have the same number of senators as Wyoming. My way or the highway, essentially.

You hear this argument quite a bit among the Left, actually. The tyranny of the Senate. California has so many times the population as Wyoming, so why should they have the same number of senators? A cursory glance at some of Vox legal writer Ian Milhiser’s ravings will reveal similar sentiments.

Memo to the Left: California should have the same number of senators as Wyoming because California agreed to have the same numbers of senators as every other state when it applied to join the Union in 1850.

No surprise the Democrats put little weight in words. From Kamala Harris laughing off her earlier condemnations of Joe Biden’s sexual predations as merely the stuff of a “debate,” to Bill Clinton dancing around the definition of “is,” Democrats treat words as things to be twisted and manipulated, not to be backed up with conviction. Joe Matthews, a journalist for Zocalo Public Square, claimed on NPR that it was good that Kamala Harris had no conviction, because it allowed her to blow wherever “the wind blows.”

Words are supposed to mean something. To fewer and fewer Democrats, they don’t.

Statues of Heroes

(Note DTG:) This was the sample piece submitted by “Brian of the North” to sub for Juliette “Baldilocks” as she can’t write here till Jan 1st due to the AB5 restrictions in California till the end of the year. I thought it was good enough to post so here is your introduction to the latest member of our Magnificent Seven. If you like what you see let me know and we will, subject to the limits of AB5 as he is also from California, keep him as a regular after Jan 1st as well!

Chicago removed its last Christopher Columbus statues the other day. The statue had been on display in the City of Big Shoulders for 130 years. At least, in a nod to civilized behavior (remember that?), it was the mayor who ordered the statue removed, not the mob.

The mob, though was behind it, and objected that Columbus mistreated the indigenous people of the Americas, and so was unworthy of admiration. Columbus statues were also recently removed from or vandalized in Sacramento, Richmond, Providence, Pittsburgh, Miami, Boston, and, of course, Columbus. Along with numerous statues or monuments to Confederate soldiers, statues of Ponce de Leon and George Washington were also vandalized by the thoughtless mob.

The mob understands that statues represent a society’s heroes, those individuals the society has deemed worth remembering and literally looking up to. But what those brainless goons fail to understand is why Columbus, Washington, and de Leon are worthy heroes.

Heroes are admired for their accomplishments, not their failings. We understand people are imperfect. But we admire certain people for what they managed to accomplish, despite living in a world filled with the same idiots we all deal with every day. And while we should consider their failings, we should only to the extent those failings exceed the normal failings of humans of that era. Washington held slaves? Understood, but then, humans had owned other humans as slaves in a continuous line from that era back to the time of the caveman, so maybe that failing wasn’t so extraordinary.

As for Washington’s accomplishments? Let’s not turn this article into a listicle.

Likewise, Columbus’s failing of mistreatment of the indigenous people, while worth criticism, certainly was not so extraordinary to the era. And the indigenous peoples were no angels themselves, and mistreated others of different tribes in ways that would make Tarantino blush. But the accomplishment of sailing the Atlantic into the unknown, and finding the Americas, transformed Europe, transformed the Americas, transformed the world.

Society needs heroes – real life heroes, who accomplished big things in real life. By showing people what was possible then, we inspire people to dream what might be possible tomorrow. And by holding these heroes to impossible standards, we blind our own selves to that same inspiration.

You don’t think Columbus still inspires? Did you watch the Space X landing last weekend?