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Roger L. Simon

We Need a Wartime Consigliere

December 16th, 2014 - 11:13 pm

You’re just not a wartime consigliere, Barry. Though don’t tell her I said so, neither is Hillary.

Only a day after we watched pundits and commentators bend over backwards and do cartwheels to inform us the events in Sydney were not about Islam but about one deranged individual, the mass murder of school children in Peshawar occurred, an act reminiscent of Pol Pot at his worst with a soupçon of Dr. Mengele. Our considerate and sophisticated State Department rushed in to reassure us that this was the work of the Pakistani Taliban, not the Afghani Taliban with whom the Department is trying to make some sort of deal as the U.S. troops exit that country. Never mind that these Taliban said this was only a “trailer” and that there was more to come, or as our buddy Richard Fernandez put it so succinctly, “Who cares about mere beheadings anymore? That’s so yesterday.”

No, the Department has moved on to its more important work, badgering Israel. In that they are joined by the Europeans, who are falling all over themselves to recognize a Palestinian state in the Security Council. The U.S. normally vetoes this nonsense, but not our John Kerry. He is playing it coy, saying he hasn’t seen the details yet. Or maybe he wants to wait to see if the North Koreans blow up our movie theaters first.  Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is in an orgy of recrimination for so-called torture techniques they all signed on to in the first place. It’s a nightmare. U.S. foreign policy in the Obama-Clinton-Kerry years has turned into a bad revival of The Rocky Horror Show. We might as well get it over with and hand our country to the Taliban and ISIS. After all, they’re not Islamic.  Our president told us.  So they’ll be tolerant of other religions, even atheists.  Yes, they have some problems with women, but our feminists will set them to rights, after they get rid of Hirsi Ali.

Oh, wait a minute.  The Taliban and ISIS are Sunnis.  That wouldn’t be fair — especially with all the time we’ve spent negotiating with the nice Iranians who are Shiites, as we know.  We have to give them something. I know they get a bomb, but that’s not territory. That’s just potential territory, after the fallout clears.  Maybe we should also give them Chicago. They have the kind of draconian laws that might cut down on the Windy City’s murder rate. And they actually do torture there — the real kind. Forget waterboarding. That’s for kindergarteners in Iran. Google Evin Prison. And while we’re at it, we can send Dianne Feinstein over there.   She can do a report.

Yes, we’ve got a great foreign policy in this country.  Just ask Putin and Medvedev.  They’ll be glad you did because they’re kind of gloomy these days over the price of oil.  But never mind, they’ll find a way back.  Maybe they’ll take a few Baltic states — all those good seaports.

Sounds bad, huh? Tough times ahead for good old Western Civ.  Well, I wouldn’t worry about it. They’re not teaching that stuff in our schools anymore, so nobody knows what it is.

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Did Edward Snowden Hack Sony Pictures?

December 14th, 2014 - 9:58 pm


It’s admittedly unseemly to be writing about sleazy Hollywood while glancing, as I am, at the live YouTube stream from Sydney, reporting on the Martin Place hostage situation.  But permit me to enjoy a little schadenfreude while I still can.

Many of us who have spent even part of our lives working in the film industry, particularly those who have committed the unpardonable sin of not adhering religiously to the orthodox liberal line, cannot but grin at the release of the hacked emails from the bosses of Sony Pictures. We were right all along about these self-described liberals and progressives and now we have proof — they are pond scum.  They are about as liberal and progressive as Attila — not that those words mean anything anyway.

They’re also racist, but forget about that.  It’s hardly surprising.  What is surprising is that they are clueless.  They don’t know what the average ten-year-old nerd knows — never write anything online, especially in email or text message form, that you expect is any way to be confidential. Digital writing is indelible.  If you want to say something private, you’re better off with India ink than email.  And if you really want to be secure, do what al Qaeda does — keep it face to face.

At this point a fair percentage of the English-speaking world and probably beyond is familiar with the hacked material from Sony. And now the unkindest cut has been revealed — the hackers have stolen the script for the next James Bond. (Well, maybe that’s not so unkind.  Maybe they can explain the plot to us.  The last few Bond films have been pretty inscrutable.) Not to mention …


ABC 24 Sydney is reporting three of the hostages have escaped.  I just watched the footage of them running out.  Puts all this Hollywood nonsense in perspective.  This is the real world of Islamic terror we have all been experiencing for well more than a decade and seemingly will never be without. But the movie industry has yet to really grapple with the long and serious war we are in in any depth.  Even Zero Dark Thirty didn’t tell us much.  And as I wrote in City Journal this week, Clint Eastwood’s foray into Iraq this year, American Sniper, didn’t do much for me either.  No, getting inside our modern heart of darkness has been too much for the liberal mind.

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What Dianne Did

December 11th, 2014 - 8:15 pm

The dust is far from settled regarding the condemnatory Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of so-called torture with terror detainees. CIA Director John Brennan is disputing the report’s claim that those enhanced terror techniques were worthless and netted no information, while Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein insists that her report is correct. Former DCIA Michael Hayden and, not surprisingly, Dick Cheney had weighed in on Brennan’s side the day before.

My first thought was that this was all much ado about nothing.  We have been hearing the same arguments about waterboarding and the like for the last six — or is it ten — years with the same people lined up pro and con. None of it is very new, although Feinstein and the media are pretending it is.  Moreover, the release of the report was clearly timed to distract from the embarrassing appearance of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber before Congress.  It also was rushed out before the new Republican Congress can deep six it after they are sworn in next year.  (They had a point.  No Republicans or, more importantly, CIA operatives who actually participated in the actions in question were interviewed for the report.)

All this is SOP in heavily politicized Washington, as was Feinstein thinking about her and her Democratic cohorts’ “legacies,” although a fair number of them (Pelosi, etc.) were fully aware of the CIA’s techniques from the get go and never uttered a peep against it at the time. Again, the standard hypocrisy.  Also at play here was a bit of vengeance on Feinstein’s part.  Her committee’s computers were apparently hacked by the CIA, nervous about what was being said about them, possibly with some justification.

And, while we’re pointing out the obvious hypocrisy, nothing could be more obviously hypocritical than the Obama administration that putatively abhors torture employing drones that simply murder enemy combatants and often a host of innocent people who happen to be nearby into the bargain.  Wouldn’t you rather be waterboarded?  Nobody dies being waterboarded.  In fact, it’s designed so you won’t.

But still I put this all down to the usual liberal roundelay with Dianne Feinstein competing against many of her ilk for “Moral Narcissist in Chief,” until I heard an outraged Dennis Miller on the radio Wednesday.  He was treating this report as if it was the end of our country as we know it — and he had a point.  His reason:  who would join the CIA now knowing your own government doesn’t have your back?  And we need the CIA more than ever in the covert struggle against the likes of ISIS, Iran, al Qaeda, North Korea, China and Russia.

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When I first read that Hillary Clinton said we should have “empathy” for our enemies, my first thought was — is she senile?  Who is she talking about?  Empathy for Hitler?  Pol Pot?  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?  Surely if we only empathized with the ISIS leader a bit more, they wouldn’t be slicing off as many heads or placing as many women in sexual slavery, not to mention shooting large groups after having had them dig their own mass graves, Nazi-style. All that business about global jihad and caliphates and “see you in New York” would go away with a little sympathy.  (Cue Mick Jagger.)

Yes, I know sympathy is often defined as “feeling for” someone and empathy “feeling into,” but let’s not get bogged down in minor distinctions.  It’s hard for anyone with basic morality to have empathy or sympathy for ruthless transnational mass murderers motivated by extreme religious fanaticism.  On Fox News Sunday, even Hillary’s normally complaisant supporter Jane Harman seemed repelled.  George Will rose to her defense (sort of) by explaining Hillary’s peculiar word choice by saying Clinton employed “gaseous new-age rhetoric” about respect and empathy.  True enough, and witty, but I suspect it’s more than that. Why would her mind even go in that direction?

Hillary, as most know now, is not a master of the English language in general  She misspeaks herself frequently or simply reacts, as in the “what difference does it make?” outburst about Benghazi. In this way she is following in the footsteps of Bush 43 and Obama, neither of whom could be mistaken for Demosthenes, although Obama had some Greek pretensions in his scenic design preferences.

Bush stumbled with words because of  weak linguistic facility he often joked about.  For Obama it was something considerably worse, almost always to do with deception.  He frequently lies and almost never speaks with candor, so ultimately the normal reaction is to tune him out, as most have at this point.

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November 30th, 2014 - 11:02 pm


2016 is the Republicans’ to lose. That doesn’t mean they won’t. They seem to be able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with remarkable ease, especially in presidential years. But they start this time with a big advantage. Liberalism, to paraphrase the late Preston Sturges (he was referring to chivalry), is “not only dead, it’s decomposed.”

Liberalism n’existe pas — and almost everybody knows it. It is completely out of ideas. Obama was the last gasp of a dying ideology. All they have left is some pathetic and teetering identity politics. That is why the Democratic Party was so flummoxed over the last few days over the words of their stalwart Chuck Schumer, when he criticized the risibly titled Affordable Care Act. The New York senator said his party (and Obama clearly), rather than trying to reform healthcare, should have concentrated on improving the state of the middle class. But crucially, Schumer didn’t say how. That’s because in his ideology, there is no more how. It’s all been tried and shown to be useless or, worse, destructive of the people it pretends to be helping. At this point, we no longer need Gertrude Stein to tell us there’s no there there. It’s over. As Edward Luce wrote in yesterday’s Financial Times:

As it stands, whatever coalition is expected to carry Mrs Clinton over the finishing line is likely to result from a calculated process of addition. In politics, winning is ultimately about ideas. In the absence of new ones, Mrs Clinton’s bridge to the White House looks rickety.

The Democrats have been reduced to the party of the rich elite (George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Hollywood, Jonathan Gruber-types, edit al.) and the party of the poor exploited by those elites — a lethal combination that takes society exactly nowhere. In essence, they are the party of racism and sexism — that’s about it. Oh, and climate change. There’s a winner for you.

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That the photograph of Walter Duranty — the New York Times Moscow correspondent who deliberately whitewashed Stalin’s 1930s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians and won the Pulitzer for it — still is on the newspaper’s wall of fame with their other prize winners is apparently no aberration. The New York Times has no moral center. In fact, it’s despicable. On November 24, they published the home address of Officer Darren Wilson.

By now most of America knows who Wilson is — the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer exonerated for the murder of Michael Brown, the supposed 6′ 6″, three-hundred-pound “gentle giant” who was reportedly on his way to college, but it turns out was holding up convenience stores and trying to grab Wilson’s gun and bashing him in the face all while the officer was sitting in his police car. We also all know the reaction of some of the angrier members of the Ferguson community and those omnipresent “outside agitator” dime-store anarchists to the grand jury announcement — cars torched, minority businesses burned down, looting, gunfire, freeways blocked, etc., etc. A lot of out-of-control mayhem from L.A. to NY with racial hatred fanned at every turn. The NYT apparently doesn’t give a shit (excuse the French, but it’s merited). In the midst of all this, they print Wilson’s address. It was to them “all the news that’s fit to print.” Who cares what might happen to the cop and his family? He’s just a cop, after all, and a white one at that. Definitely not a member of the elite — not bon type, bon genre. (Maybe someone should do a country song — “Two thousand miles from Zabar’s.”)

So much for that newspaper. They’re cancer.

Not quite cancer but pretty bad is Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri. Not only did he attempt to prejudge the case, calling for Wilson’s head like some minor league Robespierre months before there was any evidence, but then, on the night of the grand jury announcement, after having brought in the National Guard, he goes completely AWOL and doesn’t use the Guards at all, leaving the poor store owners of Ferguson to fend for themselves, not to mention the police. Everyone got to watch the results on TV.

Peter Kinder, the vice governor of Missouri, wants to know what happened. Why no Guards, when they were all set to go? Did the word come down from the White House or the Department of Justice to keep the Guards out? Nixon didn’t answer, just accused Kinder of playing politics. (At least he didn’t play the race card, but that would be hard, white man to white man…. although it’s possible.) So we don’t know… yet.

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Iran: Obama’s Biggest Failure Fails Again

November 23rd, 2014 - 6:33 pm


Among the many lies and failures of Barack Obama, ultimately the most dangerous, the most lethal for humanity, is his meretricious and pathetic pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran. In negotiation, Obama and his minions have been treating the mullahs as if they were the leaders of Denmark, even to the point of sending fawning multiple mailings to Ayatollah Khamenei, as absurd an approach as it is asinine.

If Obama really wanted a deal, he would have gone about it in a very different manner, strengthening sanctions rather than weakening them, treating the mullahs as the autocratic religious fanatics that they are.  What Obama seems to want instead is the appearance that he seeks to deprive Iran of the bomb, not the actual result. (He may even want the reverse, unconsciously or even semi-consciously.  That would be more in line with his anti-imperialist views.)

Sunday evening, a day in advance of the conclusion of this round of talks, the AP is already reporting the “shocking” news that U.S. negotiators are floating yet another extension to the Iranians.  The Wall Street Journal similarly posted “No Iran Deal Seen by Monday” later in the evening.  This is such a predictable end to the hapless negotiations I imagine London bookmakers wouldn’t even have offered a hundred-to-one against it, maybe not a thousand to one.  Betting on the West would have been like betting on a horse with two broken legs and heart condition. It is clear the Iranian leadership is getting precisely what they wanted yet again — more time to build a bomb and improve their nuclear delivery capabilities, including ICBMs, which have no other use other than for nuclear attack. (Note for those who still think this is all about Israel.  The Iranians do not need ICBMs to reach Israel.  They would be for other purposes.) Meanwhile,  the Iranians continue their work on the plutonium-producing Arak facility and on stockpiling low-enriched uranium in oxide form.  Undoubtedly, they are up to a whole lot more than that we don’t know about.  They allow the IAEA to see exactly what they permit and nothing more.  Everything is under their control — or at least the ayatollah’s control.

One of the more interesting passages of the WSJ report is as follows:

U.S., European and Iranian officials said they have made progress over the past year in negotiations that have crisscrossed the world from Oman to New York. But Obama administration officials increasingly are questioning whether Iran’s most powerful political player, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has empowered Mr. Zarif and other negotiators to make the necessary concessions for a deal. Mr. Zarif has repeatedly said he’s empowered to negotiate but that Mr. Khamenei is the ultimate decision maker.

Just now they are questioning this?  It would have seemed elementary from the outset to anyone paying the slightest attention to how  the Islamic Republic of Iran works and  always has since 1979 without interruption.  Only a narcissist like Obama could think otherwise, think that his force of personality could overcome Khomeinist Shiite ideology.

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Oh, Jerusalem

November 18th, 2014 - 9:56 pm


What to say about the latest round of Islamo-carnage in Jerusalem that hasn’t been said thousands of times before? Golda Meir made it all clear in her famous 1957 speech at the National Press Club in DC: “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

In other words, basically never. The hate culture of the Palestinians — and almost all Arabs — is so deeply imbued it’s hard to imagine it ever changing. After this recent incident, they danced in the street with hatchets and gave each other candy.

Lots of people have tried to make peace with them. The supposed war-monger Ariel Sharon uprooted his own people and gave the Palestinians Gaza. We all know what happened. Then prime minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians the peace deal of the century. They walked away.

The reason is obvious. The Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution and never have. And not just Hamas with their infamous charter urging the death of all Jews, even Jewish trees (whatever that means) — all of them. Well, not absolutely all. There must be one or two somewhere who really want to share the land with the Jews. I just don’t know who they are. Nobody does. Certainly not Abu Mazen, who started his career writing a Holocaust-denying thesis in Moscow, or Saeb Erekat, who by now must have a Swiss bank account to rival George Soros.

Besides the failure, since 1948, to even recognize the existence of a Jewish state on any territory, one of the more revealing aspects of the putative peace negotiations is that the Palestinians [sic] have always refused to have a single Jew living on their land once they have a state, while there are some million and a half Palestinians [sic] already living in Israel. Palestine must be judenrein — Hitler’s dream realized.

Of course, we get not a peep from the Europeans about this. Instead, according to Haaretz, we get new secret plans from the EU to boycott those horrible settlements that allegedly are the root of all this evil. Only the Europeans, Peter Beinart, the fuddy-duddies at J-Street and some Brandeis professors could believe something so absurd. Maybe the latter American group can be added to the old black comic joke, more apropos than ever: “The Europeans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”

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Here we go again.  Ferguson…a place — let’s be honest — almost no one had heard of a few months ago…is once more going to be the center of the media universe.  All the usual suspects will be there — the tedious mega-reactionaries from MSNBC, the unwatchable bores from CNN, the wildly overheated conservatives from FOX — giving us wall-to-wall coverage of a sad but quotidian event that should have made, at best, the police blotter of the local paper.

A  cop shot a violent teenager who was attacking him in his car, loaded on dope. That’s national news?  Oh, I forgot.  The cop was white and the teenager was black? What if it was the other way around?  Wouldn’t even make that police blotter in a medium-sized city.  In that way it’s sort of like the umpteen black on black murders that permeate our urban landscape, so common but we never hear of even one on the nightly news.  Not interesting.  It’s as if those people never existed.  Talk about racism.  That’s the real racism, ignoring that and covering Ferguson.

Sorry, no Candy Crowley for those brothers.   Candy’s only interested when revolution is in the air and there is blood on the streets.  But as Gil Scott-Heron informed us way back in 1970, “The revolution will not be televised.” (Zo Rachel revised it later for PJTV — see above. ) Candy will not be there for the revolution.  She will only be there to cover for prevaricating presidents in foreign policy debates and, these days, if there is a revolution in the USA, it is not going to come from the left anyway. That’s over.  The left is too establishment to rebel now.  Too old-fashioned.  They can’t have a revolution against themselves, can they?

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‘Climate Change’ in the Land of Gruber/Obama

November 12th, 2014 - 10:04 pm

Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is “distressed” by the new deal on “climate change” (née ”global warming”) made between China and the U.S. on Obama’s trip to Beijing.

I know McConnell is from Kentucky and takes energy policy seriously,  but he should relax.  There’s about as much chance of this agreement being honored as I have winning next year’s Derby… as the horse.  The reason is so simple I will abandon propriety and put it in caps: NO ONE  BELIEVES IT!

And there are so many reasons for that I could fill several posts but I’ll give just a few.  You can add more.

1. Most Americans don’t think Obama tells the truth about anything, let alone something as controversial as climate. They just made that clear by voting him down in about 237 elections, if you believe Obama’s own assertion that his own policies were on trial.

2. No one really knows if “climate change” exists or, if it does, whether its danger is remotely worth the money to correct it, although we do know that “global warming” has not occurred for eighteen years and counting and there is, if anything, global cooling with record lows being set everywhere, the Antarctic ice cap also at record levels, etc.  (Yes, yes, climate is not weather, blablabla.  Climate is… anything you want to say it is.)

3.  Anyone who still believes in “climate change” is likely to be:  a. a profiteer (like the financial wizards who put together those “carbon exchanges” a few years back, making off with billions before they went belly up), b. a scientist looking for a handout,  c. a bureaucrat or official of a Third World country looking for a handout, d. an official of the UN (virtually the same as c),  e. a moral narcissist, preferably rich, who thinks he knows better than us idiots, scientific training not required (cf. Tom Steyer, this year’s George Soros wannabe),  f. a true-believing liberal camp follower of the sort that doesn’t care when Nancy Pelosi says you have to pass Obamacare in order to know what’s in it (this is the largest group), or g. a journalist blinded by panic about losing their job if they dare to tell even part of the truth or wander off the reservation.

How do the Chinese figure in all this? Since they break into practically every computer we own, we can assume they also read our newspapers and watch Fox News (maybe even MSNBC, Heaven help them).  Besides Obama’s being a lame duck who was clobbered in the last election, they are fully aware of his myriad lies and prevarications from “If like your plan…” to red lines in Syria.  No one trusts him, even members of his own party.

The Chinese therefore know any deal with Obama is just for show, meaningless.  But to make doubly sure, they arranged for the language in the agreement to say “intend” to reduce their emissions by such-and-such by 2020 — “intend,” the mother of all wiggle words.  (I “intend” to win the Oscar in 2016, even though I have not written the script yet.) Actually, the Chinese, as usual, did a brilliant job of using Obama for their own propaganda, knowing full well that he was desperate to be back in the news for something positive, preferably as far from D.C. as possible.

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