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Jack Ryan is Dead

November 4, 2019

Novelist, Tom Clancy, died relatively young at age 66 of heart failure. But he was fascinated by the military, the rush to develop advanced attack systems and the contest between the United States and the Soviet Union. Owner of a family-built insurance company, Clancy had the good luck to be born Catholic and benefited from a good education at Loyola University in Maryland where he was an English major.

Good literature buoyed him as his writing became a greater part of his life than his day-job. Utterly inexperienced with the business-side of writing, he accepted $5,000 in payment for The Hunt for Red October, but soon became a multi-millionaire.

One of his characters, Jack Ryan, is now featured in a Prime Video “Jack Ryan” series that, since Clancy is deceased, is “ghosted” to spec for the big bucks of international distribution. Series 2 in the streaming media version of “Jack Ryan” follows the usual decline of popular theatrical properties. Based in mythical Venezuela, much of the dialogue is in Spanish (a large market to be satisfied) with subtitles that are difficult to read. Interspersed are scenes with Clancy character “Jim Greer” who converted to Islam, thus appealing to the Arabic-speaking market. And there’s a German female spy to provide a love interest and, oh, Jack Ryan.

His complaint as he’s drafted into operations that “I’m an analyst” is betrayed by the physical build of the actor playing that role. No Harrison Ford of Patriot Games or Sean Connery in Hunt for Red October. This Jack Ryan is an unknown actor chosen for his beefy build and certainly not his looks. The streaming media Jack Ryan is a piece of the furniture in a greater enterprise called “Making Big Bucks.”

Jack Ryan without Tom Clancy is dead. Cause of death? Greed.

“Taki” Lives

November 3, 2019

It’s been seven months since I last visited something called “Takimag.com” and I was relieved to find that Panagiotis “Taki” Theodoracopulos was still alive and writing trenchant commentaries on life lived to the fullest.

I was relieved, since “Taki” was born in 1936 and has lived each day as if there were no more days to get laid or drunk whilst honoring his “ex” and his many male and female friends. Most of us first encountered Taki on the last page of each issue of National Review and I suspect he ventured onto the pages of his own magazine about the time that William F. Buckley, Jr. drew his last breath.

Takimag has been tarted-up by his daughter who clearly knows that her father needs guarding, but despite being a control freak, the magazine has a list of contributors to die for. Would that Bill Buckley had had a daughter! NR would be readable even after he was gone to his eternal reward.

Almost all his contributors are male–few women want to read even a word about the life of a rouéand only six of the strongest conservative women can be found on Taki’s list of contributors including Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Couto,  Marion Edwyn Harrison, Paula Young Lee and Jeannie DeAngelis.

I think I like–admire is a word for sissys–Taki because he’s a Greek and they are similar to Armenians, even half-Armenians who were born poor. There is something Armenian about a writer who refers to New York as “the big Bagel.” And, come to think of it, there are no Neoconservatives on Taki’s list of contributors. Greece paid a terrible price for being too near countries controlled by Marxists, so those ex-Trotskyites are not welcome at Taki’s magazine.

My one encounter with Taki occurred after I sent him a copy of Modern Age that featured a critique of Neoconservatives. I got to the office late and checked my voice mail and I heard a foreign voice thanking me for the issue. I immediately dialed back, but there was no access to Taki’s telephone. Had we spoken I would have invited him to lunch in the Big Bagel.

College Teaching as Entertainment

November 3, 2019

Getting to become a college teacher once was a way to pursue intellectual interests, enjoy work and have sufficient income to raise a family. About half a century ago, many who wanted to teach in College became aware that there were few opportunities to become employed as a college teacher and ideological warfare against traditional scholars and scholarship became intense.

Still, some made the effort, earned a postgraduate Ph.D. degree and found a job. Now they’re old and inattentive to what their students think of them.

One way to find out–if they were interested–is to read “reviews” of college faculty posted online at  https://www.ratemyprofessors.com

I did that for some very good scholars that I know and, in most cases, was disappointed. They are terrific scholars but most do not convey that achievement in their classrooms. I wonder if that matters, after all, good scholars write books and students can read them.

Of course, today attending college is so expensive, it is common to find that 20% of students don’t buy the required textbook! I guess they assume they can get by just by taking good notes. That becomes difficult, if your professor is not a good lecturer.

It takes about five years teaching a subject to be able to walk into a classroom and speak to the topic in an interesting and extemporaneous manner. But, college teachers weren’t motivated to go into teaching in order to give fascinating lectures. Most college teachers prefer to write, not teach. And those who are renowned for their great lectures are seldom original thinkers. They simply love their subject and delight in talking about it.

So, students have a choice: seek substance or an entertaining experience.

Most seek entertainment–and “A” grades.

 

Presidential Foreign Policy Mistakes

November 3, 2019

Only Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, among recent Presidents, brought extensive experience and interest in foreign policy, and though Nixon made few strategic mistakes, he failed to understand that his principal foreign policy advisor, Henry Kissinger, was skeptical of the ability of the United States to win in a contest with a totalitarian USSR.

Kissinger just lacked the common sense and optimism of his fellow American citizens.

And both Kissinger and Nixon were “Internationalists” who sought resolution of conflict in “international” law, organizations and agreements.

Gerald Ford wasn’t in office long enough to make mistakes in foreign policy, but had he not been defeated, Ford would share the Kissinger/Nixon policies. Jimmy Carter, also an “Internationalist” could not bring himself to take decisive action and assured the  survival of Islamic radicals in Iran. Bill Clinton involved us in Bosnia–of all places–and George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush made mistakes with respect to Iraq for which we’re paying a blood price today.

With no government experience and only a showman’s marketing ability, President Trump brings no strategic views to American foreign policy, in the absence of which he utilizes a “Like” test.

If a leader “likes” Trump, he’s a friend.

Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Erdogan of Turkey, Xi Jinping of the PRC, and Putin “like” Trump and are “strong” which, for a President who admires strength, is a plus.

Three years into Trump’s first term, our principal adversaries–Russia, the PRC and Iran–have sized-up this President’s weaknesses and are preparing to advance their national interests.

Russia will seek to occupy Ukraine, the Mullahs in Iran will exploit their ability to control supplies of oil and the PRC will weaken America’s ties to South Korea, take control of the Republic of China on Taiwan and plot revenge against Japan for what they did to China in World War II.

If we ask, whom can we turn to for a better, strategic, foreign policy, the answer is no one.  We’ll simply have to take our lumps as we have since Pearl Harbor, Korea and Vietnam and respond as best we can.

I Can’t Read the Washington Post

November 1, 2019

When living in northern Virginia from 1983 to 1996, and before that in Washington, DC, I subscribed to the Washington Post. The Post was politically liberal but, so were Presidents Clinton and Obama and the other “Internationalists”– Bush 41 and Bush 43.

In fact, two years ago they all had a group photo taken.

Today, reading the Washington Post is painful, so biased is its “journalism” under Post editor, Martin Baron.  Unlike another media mogul, Jeff Zucker, who politicizes the “journalism” of CNN, Zucker is a Harvard graduate in American history.

Martin Baron went to LeHigh that is generating many Progressive “journalists” that we find at MSNBC and CNN. Michael Smerconish and Stephanie Ruhle at MSNBC went to Lehigh.

If any LeHigh graduates work at National Review, The American Conservative, or the Washington Examiner, please stand up. I’d like to know who you are.

LeHigh University is located in eastern Pennsylvania in the hamlet of Bethlehem adjacent to Allentown. There’s a regional airport nearby, but most will get there by car from New York City or Philadelphia. Allentown’ residential housing is modestly priced, so many who work in New York will commute from Allentown. It’s a trying experience, but it beats the cost of an apartment in Manhattan. If I’m not mistaken, FoxNews reporter, Peter Doocy, lived in Allentown with his Dad, Steve Doocy, before they “made it.”

Lehigh University’s “Journalism” major, with the exception of emphasis on “Environmentalism,” is pretty straightforward and requires each student who majors in journalism to write for the undergraduate newspaper. Journalism at LeHigh isn’t subsumed into a Department of Communication as it is at many universities.

So where do LeHigh graduates get their Leftist-bias?

Usually by looking at a university’s “Mission” statement you’ll find some clues. Not at Lehigh where the mission is straightforward and right out of a handbook for “Liberal Democracy.” That means that LeHigh is “open,” not closed, like Jerry Fallwell’s Liberty University.

So why am I literally disgusted by the daily “news” assembled by Martin Baron at the Washington Post?

Perhaps LehIgh’s high cost is a reason? In the range of $60,000 a year, LeHigh’s tuition is on the very high end of tuition for an undergraduate diploma. That may explain why LeHigh’s catalog doesn’t just tell us how much it costs. That’s not “transparent,” of course, which is a “value” of good “Journalism,” but it beats coming out with it and saying, “To go to LeHigh you have to be very wealthy.”

So, maybe rich kids start out being “open” and “accepting” and carry a feeling of guilt with them because they know they’re very different. That explains “white guilt” which burdens most political Liberals.

I’ll keep digging and let you know what I find, but here’s what I suspect: all of the “better” colleges and universities are “Liberal.” Allan Bloom, who taught at Cornell when that college was besieged by radicals, explains why America’s colleges corrupt the youth.

 

Our Nation’s Future–the Dark View

October 31, 2019

Charles de Gaulle, president of France’s Fourth Re[public, resigned from office in 1946 because, he believed, France was ungovernable. Twelve years later in 1958, the French National Assembly brought him back to govern France’s Fifth Republic.

The United States is entering a period of political instability like Post WW II France, but without the leadership of historic men like de Gaulle in France, Churchill in England and Adenauer in Germany.

The election of Donald Trump was the beginning of our travail and will not be repaired as easily as did France repair itself–within 12 years.

We citizens of the United States will remember this era as our “Hundred Years War” during which we may experience civil war, military rule and, hopefully, after damage done to America by abolishing the Electoral College, we will return to a diminished plebiscitary regime, that is, at least, a form of representative government.

When may that recovery occur? If we’re lucky, within not less than fifty years.

Lori Loughlin’s Revolt

October 31, 2019

I’ve been a college teacher and president of an accredited university and I learned that American higher education is corrupt or even more corrupt than the used car business. At least when you buy a used car, you are watchful of deception, lies, and false claims. In American higher education the same deception. lying and false claims are common practice.

So, I’m tolerant of what some wealthy parents did in order to enroll their students in prestige programs. On the receiving end of some bribes were college coaches willing to take payment for admitting “athletes” to their teams who wouldn’t have met ordinary standards.

Putting Felicity Hoffman in prison was an outrage considering the offense and a commensurate sentence of a fine of $30,000 and hundreds of hours of community service.

I’ve got a “funny” name somewhat like Federal District Court Judge Indira Tallwani, but I’m beginning to think that Indira brings values of class warfare to her bench other than those we normally expect in a Federal Court. Ms. Hoffmann pled guilty and expressed remorse, but  others have chosen–as is their right–to fight conviction.

Today we heard from another [former] federal prosecutor with a funny name–Neama Rahmanithat actress Lori Loughlin’s children could be charged for complicity in bribery of her mother and father, Italian designer Mossimo Giannulli. Berserk Federal Prosecutors like Judge Tallwani and, presumably, personal injury lawyer Neama Rahmani, want Ms. Loughlin to admit guilt and not fight a possible sentence of 40 years in prison!

What? Everyone is innocent until convicted, or has Judge Indira Tallwani forgotten that American higher education once gave her a break? Why not Felicity Hoffman and Lori Loughlin?

What exactly is this Judge trying to prove? Is she not aware that Lori Loughlin is becoming a symbol of a revolt by everyday Americans against federal power? Shame on Judge Tallwani and shame on the Schools of Law who “educate” Federal judges like her! She brings discredit to the principle of the Rule of Law.