Category Archives: Iraq

Pray For Longtime Friend And Mercer Reader James Huggins

Conservatism, COVID-19, Ilana Mercer, IlanaMercer.com, Intelligence, Internet, Iraq, Paleolibertarianism, War

Please pray for my longtime reader and dear friend James Huggins. A member of my American family, really.

James was diagnosed yesterday with COVID-19, among other serious ailments that come with age.

As with so many seniors, COVID was likely contracted in a nursing facility.

I love James and I am moved to tears—humbled—that he urged his kids to contact me as soon as he was hospitalized, so as to keep me in the loop. We are usually in regular contact on Facebook, which he joined at my urging. We had messaged about a month or two ago, and I had been worrying about James since he fell silent.

Over the years, my column has proven a good litmus test for drawing quality people to me. And James was one of the first to hound me mercilessly on WND.COM, in the early 2000s, for what he believed was my misguided anti-war stance. (Archive here.)

But so bright and free a man is James (“I’m cleaning my guns on the kitchen table,” he would email), that he quickly came to the philosophy of freedom, which precluded much of the Republican Party’s politics, and certainly Bush’s war.

After we had had one of our arguments about Bush’s war, James once wrote, at WND, that he’d rather go up against Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guards than confront Mercer. So enamored was I of the man’s good-natured, Southern flare—idiom and humor—that I urged James to contribute to BAB.

James soon became a regular and valued contributor to my Barely A Blog. Regrettably, BAB’s thriving Comments section was closed, at the urging of one Christy Kiltz, an arrogant web-developer to avoid. (This Oregonian, and the coven of tantrum-prone witches that huddled at her office, generally got irate when their client dared to politely reject their ugly designs and rotten, shrill advice. Apparently, a client’s role is to comply with the girl gurus. (Kiltz, moreover, has the audacity to call herself a guru of coding, when she could not even convert a PHP archive to WordPress for me. A real guru did it in a matter of  days.) Sadly, however, Kiltz was successful in intimidating me into closing “Comments.” (“Spam,” you know.) At the behest of this unpleasant and errant brander and developer, I lost the readers that frequented the site daily. With my blog closed to Comments, I also lost valued, daily contact with James Huggins.

Here are some of his BAB blog posts:

Letter of the Week: In Defense of Coulter

In Defense Of David Koresh.” [Well, of course.]

This bright, funny and fabulous granddad deserves—and must have—many good years ahead. Join me in praying he gets them.

 

Andrew Sullivan Forgets How He ALSO Once Policed Uniformity. Iraq, Andrew?

America, Argument, Bush, Conflict, Constitution, Free Speech, Iraq

What Andrew Sullivan, a fine essayist, says in this one paragraph of his latest piece, “Is There Still Room For Debate?,” is profound. It concerns the manner in which adherence to ideology is policed in America (and it is):

In America, of course, with the First Amendment, this is impossible. But perhaps for that very reason, Americans have always been good at policing uniformity by and among themselves. The puritanical streak of shaming and stigmatizing and threatening runs deep. This is the country of extraordinary political and cultural freedom, but it is also the country of religious fanaticism, moral panics, and crusades against vice. It’s the country of The Scarlet Letter and Prohibition and the Hollywood blacklist and the Lavender Scare. The kind of stifling, suffocating, and nerve-racking atmosphere that Havel evokes is chillingly recognizable in American history and increasingly in the American present.

The new orthodoxy — what the writer Wesley Yang has described as the “successor ideology” to liberalism — seems to be rooted in what journalist Wesley Lowery calls “moral clarity.” He told Times media columnist Ben Smith this week that journalism needs to be rebuilt around that moral clarity, which means ending its attempt to see all sides of a story, when there is only one, and dropping even an attempt at objectivity (however unattainable that ideal might be). And what is the foundational belief of such moral clarity? That America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start,

Funny thing, however: I well remember, early in the 2000s, how Mr. Sullivan, together with the likes of David Frum (see my “Frum’s Flim-Flam” ), scolded and almost silenced those who objected to the invasion of Iraq. Well, I was certainly exiled from polite political company, around about then.

From my “PUNDITS, HEAL THYSELVES!” (May 29, 2004):

Thomas Friedman, Christopher Hitchens (undeniably a writer of considerable flair and originality), George Will and Tucker Carlson (both of whom seem to have conveniently recanted at the eleventh hour), Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Mark Steyn, Max Boot, John Podhoretz, Andrew Sullivan – they all grabbed the administration’s bluff and ran with it. Like the good Trotskyites many of them were, once they tasted blood, they writhed like sharks. Compounding their scent-impaired bloodhound act was their utter ignorance of geopolitical realities – they insisted our soldiers would be greeted with blooms and bonbons and that an Iraqi democracy would rise from the torrid sands of Mesopotamia.
Their innumerable errors and flagrant hubris did not prevent the neoconservatives from managing to marginalize their competitors on the Right: the intrepid Pat Buchanan and his American Conservative; the quixotic Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. of LewRockwell.com, and Antiwar.com. (Plus this column, of course). Unfortunately for America, there hasn’t been a horror in Iraq that these prescients did not foretell well in advance.

Confess, Clinton; Say You’re Sorry, Sullivan” (2007):

Senator Hillary Clinton and neoconservative blogger Andrew Sullivan share more than a belief that “Jesus, Mohamed, and Socrates are part of the same search for truth.” They’re both Christians who won’t confess to their sins.

Both were enthusiastic supporters of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, turned scathing and sanctimonious critics of the war. Neither has quite come clean. Both ought to prostrate themselves before those they’ve bamboozled, those they’ve helped indirectly kill, and whichever deity they worship. (The Jesus-Mohamed-and-Socrates profanity, incidentally, was imparted by Sullivan, during a remarkably rude interview he gave Hugh Hewitt. The gay activist-cum-philosopher king was insolent; Hewitt took it .)

I won’t bore you with the hackneyed war hoaxes Sullivan once spewed, only to say that there was not an occurrence he didn’t trace back to Iraq: anthrax, September 11, and too few gays in the military—you name it; Iraq was behind it. Without minimizing the role of politicians like Clinton, who signed the marching orders, neoconservative pundits like Sullivan provided the intellectual edifice for the war, also inspiring impressionable young men and women to sacrifice their lives and limbs to the insatiable Iraq Moloch.

The latest policed orthodoxy Sullivan expounds on and wishes to be able to debate openly is, “That America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start, that, as Lowery put it in The Atlantic, ‘the justice system — in fact, the entire American experiment — was from its inception designed to perpetuate racial inequality.”

Obviously incorrect.

Another of those Big Lies guarded across the spectrum, left and right, are the lies about America’s mandate around the world, borne of its exceptionalism: The Big Lies undergirding the destruction of Iraq (supported by Republicans like Sullivan) and Libya (brought about by Democrats like Hillary Clinton).

These are typical American truisms which need shattering, too. Mr. Sullivan, in his defense, did apologize for his role in the destruction of Iraq (after the fact).

* Image courtesy John @John89325183

I’m No Lockdown Fan, BUT Matt Labash Won The Day On The Science

COVID-19, Ethics, Iraq, Logic, Republicans, Science

All the points and math covered by Matt Labash, below, are discussed in my home, but never shared on larger platforms. There is no point. Rightists (check) are expected to follow the Republican party-line and say anything to back The Leader. Unsuited to obedience, this writer didn’t think like a Republican on Iraq, fatalities and invasion. And I won’t do it with COVID.

On March 5, I wrote “Unmasking Statist, Socialist Propaganda About ‘Face Masks’”. This was a full month before the CDC and WHO (so-called experts) reversed their asinine illogic on so basic a prophylactic measure as a mask. This negligence cost thousands of lives.

Imagine if my column, predictive for 20 years, was in the WaPo, instead of the lick-spittle establishment piffle currently littering that and other op-ed pages.

As young men died like flies for nothing in Iraq, the Republican establishment celebrated “mission accomplished.” None of its followers in the media mentioned the obscene loss of life. Anyone who did, suffered a fate equivalent to being cancelled and de-platformed today.

Thus, Matt Labash, whom I appreciate, is wasting his time.

From “The big debate: is lockdown wrong? May 26, 2020“:

* “the US has lost 100,000 people in roughly two months. (That number will rise again as soon as I’m done typing this sentence.)”

* “‘no more deadly than a bad bout of the seasonal flu.’ Not in our parts. Our very worst flu season of the last decade was 2017-18, which resulted in 61,000 deaths. And it took an entire flu-year to kill that many people.”

“In April of this year alone, COVID was responsible for 58,705 deaths. So we essentially had the equivalent of the worst flu year in recent history, in just one month. So far this month, with just two-thirds of it passed, we’ve had 37,829 more deaths. And that’s just as of this writing, something I will likely say a lot, because the death knell keeps ringing. (Remember when I said 95,058 people had died several hours ago? Now we’re up to 96,354.) Ask any doctor who has treated it, and that’s the meanest sonofabitch ‘flu’ they’ve ever seen. And they’re not usually worried about dying themselves when treating the common flu. They’re scared to death of COVID-19.”

These aren’t my numbers. These are the numbers.

*”America’s leading killer, according to the CDC, is heart disease. Or at least it was heart disease. It’s responsible for one out of every four deaths. Good for around 647,000 deaths a year. In just one month, as previously stated, the coronavirus killed 58,705 people. Heart disease, on average, kills 53,916 people per month. So this virus that none of us knew existed six months ago, is now killing more people in our country per month than does our reigning champion killer, heart disease. And heart disease, unlike COVID-19, isn’t contagious. No matter how you slice it, no matter how bad the unemployment rate is, no matter how many other unintended consequences result from the lockdowns (all of which we can debate, but plenty of which I concede straightaway), that’s a lot of dead people.”

* “As for co-morbidities? Two of the three leading co-morbidities named in COVID-designated deaths are obesity and hypertension. That’s right: fat people with high blood pressure. Guess what? That describes half of America. Almost literally. Nearly 40 percent of Americans are considered clinically obese. And about 46 percent of adults have high blood pressure. Probably more, now that at least one out of every five adults are currently unemployed.

As for COVID being an old person’s disease, ask your own fine Prime Minister [Boris Johnson]  (who I’m actually a big fan of) about that. It nearly killed him. And he’s 55, not 85. With no known underlying conditions, unless randiness and dipsomania count.”

*”The Asian Flu pandemic of 1957-58 is thought to have killed 70,00-116,000 Americans. COVID-19 is already long past 70,000, and since it’s now at 98,750 deaths and counting — still dispatching well over 1,000 people a day on most days — it will likely surpass the Asian Flu’s upper estimate within about two weeks, probably sooner. And it’s made short work of that many people in roughly two months, keeping in mind that the US had only just reached its 1,000th death mark on March 25.”

* “Another big boner was the White House’s decision to scotch its own reopening guidelines, because Emperor Stable Genius preferred a rosier model than the gloomy predictions of epidemiologists. According to the Washington Post, he preferred a model hatched by adviser Kevin Hassett, an economist by trade, who predicted ‘deaths dropping precipitously in May, and essentially going to zero by May 15.’ Someone ought to point out to Kev that we’re running well behind schedule.

“As for free’n’easy Sweden, invoked nearly as often as DeSantis’s Florida for its miracle curative COVID powers (hate to be a turd in the punchbowl, but just a few days ago, Florida saw its highest number of new daily cases since April 17) , the mythology doesn’t hold up. While Sweden’s population is less than twice that of its Scandinavian neighbors, Finland and Norway, it has seen 13 times more deaths than Finland, and 17 times more than Norway. Perhaps Sweden was relying on Kev’s model, too.”

* Spain and Italy both test at a higher per capita rate than we do. Yet Spain’s death toll among diagnosed cases is 10.1 percent. Italy’s is 14.2 percent. And while I respect your skeptical (or sceptical) propensity to ask some tough questions, I wouldn’t rest easy if I were you, either. The UK’s current death rate among identified cases is a whopping 14.1 percent.

Again, any honest accounting of what has or hasn’t been worth doing should also factor in the unfortunate realities you highlight — from deaths of desperation to the financial ruin caused by businesses being required to shut down. These are not small concerns.

However, I’ve found it difficult, when sparring with skeptic combatants, to get an honest accounting out of them when clocking just how lethal the virus that precipitated the lockdowns is. There is some very hard denial going on in that camp.”

“Are all those in the let-‘er-rip school really OK with 14 out of 100 people who are diagnosed with COVID dying from it? Or would they pretend that’s not dangerously deadly? Seems a lot higher chance than getting struck by lightning.

If that’s the conclusion they’re coming to, they might have already developed something like emotional herd immunity.”

*For a little historical context, this not-very-deadly, slightly-more-robust-equivalent-of-the-flu, as many of you skeptics have it, has now come just 16,000 or so deaths shy of the entire American death toll in World War One. If the current clip holds, we’ll easily lap that by early to mid-June. At least World War One took a good year-and-a-half to wreak that kind of havoc (since America didn’t enter the war until 1917). But COVID-19 will have done it in a little over two months. Still…nothing to see here, folks! Don’t believe your lying eyes, believe the seroprevalence projections!”

*”Virology 101 tenets — which nine out of 10 or so epidemiologists seem to concur with — dictate that if you keep uninfected people away from infected people, there are fewer infections. This was widely practiced during Spanish Flu a century ago, it’s not a new concept. It is also known as ‘common sense.’ Fewer infections mean fewer deaths.”

From “The big debate: is lockdown wrong? May 26, 2020.”

* Lockdown Courtesy Spectator, USA

UPDATED (4/18): Con Inc. And Their Vintage Neocon, COVID Culpability Theories

China, Communism, Conservatism, Critique, Culture, Democracy, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Ethics, Iraq

Without fail, American pundits and pols, especially Con Inc., apply to COVID the same theories of culpability that have undergirded U.S. invasions of backward people in the Middle East: It’s the Chinese government, not the people. Free the Chinese and they’ll show their Jeffersonian propensities and their capacity for enlightened self-interest (not to mention a cuisine less craven and cruel).

What I wrote in 2006 about Iraqis applies in spades to the Chinese and their culpability for COVID (I’ve substituted Iraq with China):

“The government of [China] doesn’t stand apart from the governed; it reflects them.”—ILANA (November 6, 2006)

We’re accustomed to the Dysnified depiction of neocons or neoliberals intent on interventions that damage America. Accordingly, a noble Chinese people, a freedom-loving civilized nation, was set up by their scheming government.

Look, the Chinese government is no good, but the people get the government they deserve. My guess is that, if anything, the Chinese government here is likely covering for the people’s despicable habits. These caused previous epidemics and have brought us the coronavirus.

Here are the excellent points published in my friend Christopher DeGroot’s journal, The Agonist:

Rightists were happy making bat eating jokes and mocking the “filthy” Chinese back when Covid was an Asian problem. But now that it’s become an epochal event, only the grandest of explanations will suffice. Surely Covid was cooked up in a commie mad scientist’s lab, or perhaps in the lair of a genocidal James Bond villain like Ernst Blofeld or Hugo Drax. But a bunch of common Chinese selling wild animals in a stinking, filthy market slum? A bunch of scummy gluttons who take pride in the fact that they’ll eat anything that moves, and they’ll eat it raw? These people ravaged the world, just by eating animal testicles and anuses? No way, man. Next you’ll tell me that the entire course of history was nearly altered by a college dropout failed songwriter who wanted to impress a dyke actress.

 

* Image: Asia’s Busiest Wet Markets Courtesy Jo-Anne McArthur

UPDATE (4/18):  RNA doesn’t lie. Dr Fauci rejects claim that disease escaped lab.

Dr Fauci also rejected a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab.

The precise origins of the novel coronavirus are still unknown, leading some to question whether it was developed by scientists in a lab.

However, Dr Fauci said studies of the virus’ genome have strongly indicated that it was transmitted from an animal to a human.

While speaking at the daily White House press briefing Dr Fauci was asked if COVID-19 was “man-made” and may have originated in a laboratory.

He said a study by a group of evolutionary virologists examined the genome sequences of the coronavirus and other bat viruses that evolved.

Dr Fauci said: “The mutations that took to get where it is now is totally consistent with a jump from a species to an animal to a human,” he said.

However there are some in the Trump administration, including the president, who are investigating the claims.

MORE.