Star Wars has always been a leftie fantasy

Star Wars has always been a leftie fantasy, by Arthur Chrenkoff. The latest Star Wars movie is more nakedly political. But even the first ones were political too … which surprises many people.

CNN reports (spoilers alert): … ““The Last Jedi” seemingly dispenses with heredity as a primary concern. … most of those one-percenters earned their money from war profiteering — selling weapons to the First Order and Rebels alike — while subjugating and exploiting those around them. The pair’s escape also weaves in an animal-rights theme, as the two rebels liberate a creature used for a kind of horseracing entertainment. The beast eventually wanders off free, regaining its natural state.”

And all that’s even before analysing the “triumphant feminism” of “The Last Jedi” …

But “Star Wars” as a left-wing critique of the American society is hardly restricted to the latest instalment of the saga, as once again CNN recalls:

In 2005, many took dialogue in “Revenge of the Sith” as a not-so-subtle indictment of the Bush administration, starting with Princess Amidala’s observation as the Emperor expands his wartime powers. “So this is how liberty dies,” she says, “With thunderous applause.” Later, when the turned-to-darkness Anakin Skywalker confronts Obi-Wan Kenobi he warns, “If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy,” to which his former master replies, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” To many, the exchange vaguely echoed then-President George W. Bush’s pronouncements about terrorism.

Spoiler alert: liberty somehow survived the Bush Jr presidency, and the democracy did not die either to a thunderous applause or in darkness. …

This, perhaps, is a good time to recall that right from the outset, “Star Wars” was conceived as a still fashionable in the 1970s New Left critique of the United States and its foreign and military policies. …

George Lucas conceived the whole story as a science-fiction metaphor for his own times – the (small letter “e”) evil Empire is his own United States, and the heroes, the good guys that we, the viewers, are meant to root for, are the communist guerrillas.

The New Left “revisionist” historians of the 1960s and thereafter, of course, loved to refer to the United States throughout all its history, up to and including the present, as “the Empire”. Thus, according to the left-wing metanarrative, the American Empire was a quasi-fascistic, semi-dictatorial, highly aggressive and militaristic polity in the grip of “the military-industrial complex” and “the power elites”, suppressing dissent and subjugating minorities at home, while continuously invading poor Third World countries to crush their national aspirations in the interests of the American corporations and the American war machine. This is the Galactic Empire too, whether it’s in the 33rd century or a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

Just so you can’t possibly miss the point about how evil the United States is, the Galactic Empire’s trappings are meant to bring to your mind Nazi Germany, with its crisp uniforms and military parades – George Lucas channelling Leni Riefenstahl as a social commentary on his own country. No wonder it makes you root for the courageous Rebels and the brave Ewoks, whose low-tech (and ultimately victorious) battle with the Imperial forces on Endor, comes as close to a restaging of a Vietnam jungle battle as possible in a science-fiction epic. …

For the far (and often not so far) left, the United States is always the enemy, the monster, the bad guy, and so whoever confronts it and fights it – the enemy of my enemy – is the hero to be cheered on, whether Uncle Fidel’s Cubans, the Viet-Cong, the Sandinistas, or even the Arab insurgents. The United States, too, is perpetually on the brink of a fascist dictatorship, whether under Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan, George W Bush, or Donald Trump (in fact, pretty much every Republican president). The country in which the left live, work, and politic, is the source of all the evil in the world and not an example to be emulated by others. …

Like “Star Wars” itself, the left-wing ideological franchise is too emotionally lucrative to let go.

Reader Stephen writes:

I can’t watch the Australian national broadcaster (though I help pay for it), I almost never go to theatre any more as the subject matter is invariably unsubtle left-wing proselytisation (anything ‘edgy’ ‘brave’ or ‘political’ can only be left-wing).

All the movies are left-wing agit-prop – for open borders, same-sex romance (though they invariably deceitfully disguise that fact in the movie’s blurb) or some other lefty cause-du-jour. The newspapers are crap; tv is crap.

Pod-people espousing left-wing pap are everywhere. Even decent, common-sense, nominally right-of-centre folk, who don’t know that they are pod people, are espousing left-wing pap. The Borg is triumphant. It is so dispiriting.

Tory Government REJECTS Petition for a Free Speech Act

Tory Government REJECTS Petition for a Free Speech Act, by Jack Montgomery.

The British government has rejected a petition calling for a Free Speech Act and an end to laws against so-called ‘hate speech’.

“For several years now the government has been infringing people’s most basic rights to speak freely on matters, by deeming their speech ‘offensive’ or ‘hateful. and declaring that such speech, even online, warrants being fined or jailed,” the petition suggests.

“We demand the legal right to Free Speech, in an Act which will bring an end to the ludicrous notion that ‘hate speech’ and ‘offensive speech’ deserves people be imprisoned or charged … Ideas must be fought with other ideas, not with force.” …

The Home Office, led by Amber Rudd MP, responded on behalf of Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration as the Free Speech petition reached around 16,000 signatures — rejecting it out of hand. …

Critics have pointed out that, far from providing citizens with the right to freedom of expression, the European Convention on Human Rights in fact provides governments with the right to restrict freedom of expression on the flimsiest of pretexts, with the caveats concerning the protections of “morals” and “the reputation or rights of others” appearing particularly open to abuse. …

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that police forces increased arrests under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which makes it illegal to intentionally “cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another”, by up to 877 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

At the beginning of 2018, police in Northumbria even took the time to hunt down Facebook users for making “offensive” comments about Muslim grooming gangs.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Trump likes controversy, conflict less so

Trump likes controversy, conflict less so, by Gerald Seib.

He likes controversy, but he isn’t all that fond of conflict.

That might seem like a contradiction, but it actually isn’t. The distinction is important, and is woven through Mr Trump’s operating style during his first year in office.

He relishes stirring up controversy, and, in fact, believes stirring the pot advances his reputation as an outside agitator and improves his position by keeping adversaries off balance. But he usually keeps controversy at arm’s length, using his Twitter feed or offhand comments to attack and posture.

By contrast, when he finally comes face-to-face with both friends and foes, his actual positions are often less contentious and rigid than his public posturing suggests. His Twitter bark is worse than his personal bite.

Thus, he angrily withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, but then he walked into the very den of economic globalists at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week to say that he is prepared to negotiate a new version of it. He ordered the US out of the Paris accord on climate change, but told British interviewer Piers Morgan over the weekend that, thanks in part to the personal intervention of French President Emmanuel Macron, who, “as you know, I like,” he might rejoin the accord. …

He … complains openly about other aides, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the White House chief of staff, John Kelly. But he then promptly backs away and praises them, as if he had never whacked the hornet’s nest in the first place. When he wants someone to leave, he is more likely to drop hints he wants them to depart on their own, or have someone else send them overboard, than to fire them himself. …

Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a presidential friend. … “He often stakes out very extreme positions. He does this partly for rhetorical effort or to stake out a negotiating position. It’s worked for him in business so he’s applying it to politics.” … The problem is that the president’s allies and enemies alike, at home and abroad, have a hard time figuring out where bluster ends and reality begins.

House Intel votes to release controversial surveillance memo to the public

House Intel votes to release controversial surveillance memo to the public, by Alex Pappas.

The House Intelligence Committee on Monday evening voted to release a classified memo circulating in Congress that purportedly reveals government surveillance abuses.

The vote was announced to reporters by California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, who called it a “very sad day, I think, in the history of this committee.” The motion passed on a party-line basis, he said.

President Trump now has five days to decide whether he has any objections before the memo can be publicly released.

ast week, a top Justice Department official urged House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes not to release the memo, saying it would be “extraordinarily reckless” and could harm national security and ongoing investigations.

The four-page memo has being described by GOP lawmakers as “shocking,” “troubling” and “alarming,” with one congressman likening the details to KGB activity in Russia. …

Schiff said the GOP-majority committee also voted against releasing a counter memo written by Democrats. …

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that the committee’s Republicans had “crossed from dangerous irresponsibility and disregard for our national security into the realm of cover up” and “disregarded the warnings of the Justice Department and the FBI.”

Could be big. Looks like the “Nunes memo” is going to go public, and judging by the highly partisan voting it is going to be bad for the left. The Democrats have already started discrediting it and throwing mud at it.

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe Stepping Down Before the Memo is Released

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe Stepping Down Before the Memo is Released, by Kristina Wong.

According to Fox News, McCabe was “removed.” A source told the news outlet that this was the earliest date possible for the FBI to remove him and still leave him fully eligible for his pension. …

McCabe has come under scrutiny from congressional Republicans, who have questioned why he only recused himself from the Clinton email investigation a week before the election when his wife had received hundreds of thousands in campaign donations from a close Hillary Clinton ally.

McCabe was appointed FBI Deputy Director in 2016 by former President Obama, and became acting director in May 2016, after President Trump fired James Comey.

hat-tip Chris

It Begins: ‘Secret Empires’ Book Set to Rock Official Washington

It Begins: ‘Secret Empires’ Book Set to Rock Official Washington, by Rebecca Mansour.

The author who wrote Clinton Cash and sparked an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation is preparing to launch his highly anticipated investigative follow-up — a book that appears it will be every bit as explosive as his last.

While little is known about the book’s contents, five images on the book’s cover suggest that Schweizer’s next targets may include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Vice President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

According to the publisher, Secret Empires will expose vast corruption by top Washington figures who leverage their political power to enrich their family members and friends, often by helping grease deals with foreign entities.

The author of four major New York Times bestsellers, Schweizer has garnered praise from conservatives and progressives alike for his reputation as a nonpartisan deep-dive investigative journalist. Newsweek dubbed him “the wonk who slays Washington.” …

In 2013, Schweizer released Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets and sparked the resignation of Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ). Schweizer revealed that Andrews used $16,575 from his leadership PAC to jet he and his family to a lavish resort in Edinburgh, Scotland. …

Then in 2015, Schweizer sent shockwaves through Washington, DC, with the release of Clinton Cash. The book revealed that Hillary Clinton’s State Department, along with eight other agencies, approved the transfer of 20 percent of U.S. uranium and that nine foreign investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. …

Surprisingly, some of Schweizer’s strongest defenders came from the political left. Progressive columnist Eleanor Clift hailed Schweizer “an equal-opportunity investigator, snaring Republicans as well as Democrats.” And Columbia University Earth Institute Director Jeffrey D. Sachs said Clinton Cash was “compelling reading on how Bill and Hillary have mixed personal wealthy, power, and influence peddling.”

Drain the swamp.

hat-tip Charles

Riding a Wild Wind, Transatlantic Jets Fly Faster Than Ever

Riding a Wild Wind, Transatlantic Jets Fly Faster Than Ever, by Jack Stewart.

On Thursday, a Norwegian 787 [flying from Los Angeles to Paris] briefly hit … 779 mph for part of its trip, with a tailwind of 224 mph. And on Friday, yet another Norwegian plane used the jet stream to set a new speed record for a subsonic transatlantic crossing. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner went from New York’s JFK Airport to London’s Gatwick in 5 hours and 13 minutes. It beat British Airways’ 2015 record by three minutes and outpaced the standard crossing by half an hour. (The Concorde still holds the ultimate record among commercial aircraft: 2 hours, 53 minutes.)

So how does a standard Boeing jet carrying a full complement of passengers and luggage fly so fast? By taking advantage of a particularly vigorous jet stream, a current of air rushing from west to east, across the Atlantic. During Norwegian’s record-setting flight, that tailwind reached 202 mph and pushed a Boeing that usually cruises at 570 mph to 776 mph.

Airlines have long made use of the transatlantic jet stream to save time and fuel when flying from the US to Europe. “The airlines look at forecasted winds and they supply air traffic controllers with their preferred routing,” says Ian Petchenik, a spokesperson for FlightRadar24, which tracks flights all over the world.

17 Jan 2018, 0400 UTC. That rainbow in the middle marks wind speed, with red signifying the most intense part of the Jetstream.

The speed of sound at an altitude of 30,000 to 40,000 feet is roughly 670 mph. But Norwegian’s planes didn’t break the sound barrier. Those near-800-mph figures represent ground speed — how fast the aircraft is moving over land. Their air speed, which factors out the 200-mph wind boost, was closer to the 787’s standard Mach 0.85. (The older Boeing 747 can cruise at Mach 0.86, but is less efficient than its younger stablemate.) When talking supersonic, and breaking sound barriers, it’s all about the speed of the air passing over the wings, which in this case was more like 570 mph.

Dershowitz: I Wouldn’t Have Campaigned for Obama If I Knew About Farrakhan Pic

Dershowitz: I Wouldn’t Have Campaigned for Obama If I Knew About Farrakhan Pic. By Fox.

Harvard Law Professor and longtime Democrat Alan Dershowitz said he would not have campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) if he knew about the future president’s photo op with Louis Farrakhan.

Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, is a “virulent anti-Semite and anti-American,” Dershowitz said on “Fox & Friends.” …

A photographer, Askia Muhammad, showed Fox News’ Tucker Carlson a 2005 picture of Obama and Farrakhan smiling together.

He said that afterward, the Congressional Black Caucus contacted him and demanded to have the photo back. …

Muhammad said he thought the CBC was concerned a photo with Farrakhan could hurt the young senator’s future presidential aspirations.

Muhammad added that Obama had Nation of Islam followers working in his Chicago senate office.

Do you think the media would have covered up for say Trump in the company of a white supremacist? No, it would have been a leading news item for a week. We’re being had. Dershowitz was had.

Daniel Greenfield: “Guns Are How A Civil War Ends… Politics Is How It Starts”

Daniel Greenfield: “Guns Are How A Civil War Ends… Politics Is How It Starts”, by Tyler Durden.

That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war. …

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this.

The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

Trump didn’t really win the election. Bush didn’t really win the election. Every time a Republican president won an election this century, the Democrats insist he didn’t really win. …

When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.

Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to the left, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate.

The attacks on Trump show that elections don’t matter to the left. …

The left lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without his say so, that’s the civil war. …

The left’s system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country. If it’s in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited.

He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented.

A Democrat in the White House has “discretion” to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the “discretion” to reverse him.

The “deep state” or “shadow government”?

This is a war over who runs the country. Do the people who vote run the country or does this network that can lose an election, but still get its agenda through, run the country?

We’ve been having this fight for a while. But this century things have escalated.

They escalated a whole lot after Trump’s win because the network isn’t pretending anymore. It sees the opportunity to delegitimize the whole idea of elections.

Now the network isn’t running the country from cover. It’s actually out here trying to overturn the results of an election and remove the president from office. …

Professional government means entrenched privilege and creeping corruption:

America was founded on getting away from professional government. The British monarchy was a professional government. Like all professional governments, it was hereditary. Professional classes eventually decide to pass down their privileges to their kids.

America was different. We had a volunteer government. That’s what the Founding Fathers built. …

What infuriates professional government more than anything else? An amateur, someone like President Trump who didn’t spend his entire adult life practicing to be president, taking over the job. …

When you’re a government professional, you’re invested in keeping the system going. But when you’re a volunteer, you can do all the things that the experts tell you can’t be done. You can look at the mess we’re in with fresh eyes and do the common sense things that President Trump is doing. …

Identity politics:

Identity groups don’t vote for leaders. … The left’s identity politics only represents ideas. Nobody gets to vote on them.

Instead the left puts out representatives from different identity politics groups, there’s your gay guy, there’s three women, there’s a black man, as fronts for their professional government system.

Dennis Prager: ‘My Opposition to Donald Trump Was Wrong,’ He Is a ‘Great President’

Dennis Prager: ‘My Opposition to Donald Trump Was Wrong,’ He Is a ‘Great President’, by Robert Kraychik.

“My opposition to Donald Trump was wrong,” said Dennis Prager, describing Donald Trump as a “great president” whose political successes are connected to a disregard for the left-wing and partisan Democrat news media narratives.

Prager’s comments came during Thursday’s episode of his eponymous radio show. While Prager has said that Trump was his last choice during the Republican primaries, he supported him vigorously in the general election against Hillary Clinton.

“I was wrong. My opposition to Donald Trump was wrong, in retrospect. I was wrong. I had friends who supported him, and I didn’t understand them. I said, “Are you not aware of what he said about John McCain? Isn’t that enough to disqualify the guy?” They perceived in him what I did not perceive in him, that these over-the-top statements – as objectionable as the statements themselves may be, and none of them defended the statements – nevertheless, what they perceived was accurate: a man who doesn’t give a damn about what the press says about him. That is the only way to govern. It is the only way to advance the principles of conservatism in the United States is to not give a damn.”

“[Donald Trump] is so much better a president than Mitt Romney would’ve made,” said Prager, describing Romney as “tepid” and concerned with appealing to news media outlets such as The New York Times. …

“He has turned out to be a great president with big communication flaws, in the way he tweets and some of the things he says and his temperament,” said Prager. “My temperament is the opposite. I love dignity. I love understatement. Okay, so be it.”

hat-tip Charles

Who’s afraid of Jordan Peterson?

Who’s afraid of Jordan Peterson? By Peggy Noonan.

[This interview] burned through the internet, in part because she was remarkably hostile and badgering: “What gives you the right to say that?” “You’re making vast generalisations.” He seemed mildly taken aback, then rallied and wouldn’t be pushed around. It was also interesting because she, the fiery, flame-haired aggressor, was so boring — her thinking reflected all the predictable, force-fed assumptions — while he, saying nothing revolutionary or even particularly fiery, was so interesting. When it was over, you wanted to hear more from him and less from her. …

Why must the PC crowd shut him up?

What could a grown-up, seemingly stable professor (former associate professor of psychology at Harvard, full professor for 20 years at the University of Toronto) stand for that would make a journalist want to annihilate him on live TV — or, failing that, to diminish him or make him into a figure of fun?

He must have defied some orthodoxy. He must think the wrong things. He must be a heretic. Heretics must be burned. …

The interview was to promote his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. … In it he offers advice, much but not all of it based on decades of seeing patients as a psychologist, on the big eternal question: How to Live. He is of the tough school: Know life’s limits, see and analyse your own, build on what you’ve got and can create. And be brave. Everything else is boring and won’t work.

Deeper in, you understand the reasons he might be targeted for annihilation. First, he is an intellectual who shows a warm, scholarly respect for the stories and insights into human behaviour — into the meaning of things — in the Old and New Testaments. (He’d like more attention paid to the Old.) Their stories exist for a reason, he says, and have lasted for a reason: They are powerful indicators of reality, and their great figures point to pathways. He respects the great thinkers of the West and the Christian tradition.

More undermining of the modernist project, Mr. Peterson states clearly more than once that grasping at political ideology is not the answer when your life goes wrong. There’s no refuge there, it’s a way of avoiding the real problem: “Don’t blame capitalism, the radical left, or the iniquity of your enemies. Don’t reorganise the state until you have ordered your own experience. Have some humility. If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city?

That is a dangerous thing to say in an ideological age. … If I were of the radical established left, bent on squelching contending thought, I’d hate him too. …

Back to the hostile interview, and the labelling of Mr. Peterson as “controversial,” which is a way of putting a warning label on his work. When people, especially those in a position of authority, like broadcasters, try so hard to shut a writer up, that writer must have something to say.

When cultural arbiters try to silence a thinker, you have to assume he is saying something valuable.

So I bought and read the book. A small thing, but it improved my morale.

Peterson is pretty good here too:

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Refugees in Switzerland behave like movie stars: Want expensive clothes and don’t integrate

Refugees in Switzerland behave like movie stars: Want expensive clothes and don’t integrate, by Voice of Europe.

A Swiss youth hostel in the canton of Baselland, wanted to care for three unaccompanied child refugees. The idea was to give them everything they needed for successful integration. The result was disastrous.

In the summer of 2016, the three child refugees were given free youth homes that cost normally on average 300 francs (258 euros) per day, per person. They weren’t even moved into their rooms in fall of 2016, when the trouble started.

To be prepared for winter in Switzerland, the home carers supplied the three young men with winter clothes. But they didn’t like the clothes: “They were disappointed and told us they would rather go shopping at H&M or Dolce & Gabbana,” a care worker said.

The care workers later found out that the child refugees were selling clothes and stolen goods to other parties. Apparently their monthly pocket money of 160 francs (137 euros) wasn’t enough.

One of the young men, called Ahmed, complained about his supervisor, that he didn’t have enough time for him, etc. But reality was different according to a report and his complaint was dismissed.

A report says it was Ahmed himself, who rejected school, the work in the home and the cooperation with the support staff: Ahmed has “very high demands” on his environment, which nobody can do any justice. For example, he demands “a care worker who is available to him 24 hours a day, seven days a week”, and who “fulfils all his wishes immediately.”

Another asylum seeker behaved in the same way: He suddenly acted as if he did not know the rules of the house, he resisted agreements, provoked the other inhabitants with his behaviour and appeared very disrespectful to individual team members. According to the article in the Basler newspaper the expectations of the men “were as high as if they were guests in a five-star hotel”.

Two of the youngsters also received a season pass for the swimming pool, a bicycle and other things, to give them an enjoyable leisure time. It resulted in serious incidents as several women were sexually harassed.

PC people must want to be conned.

hat-tip Stephen Neil