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January 2017

The Obama Legacy A Presidency of great promise ends in rancor and disappointment.

President Obama once said that as President he aspired to be the progressive Ronald Reagan, and as he prepares to leave office he has succeeded in fundamental if ironic ways.

While Reagan left behind a calmer, more optimistic country, Mr. Obama leaves a more divided and rancorous one. While the Gipper helped elect a successor to extend his legacy, Mr. Obama will be succeeded by a man who campaigned to repudiate the President’s agenda. Barack Obama has been a historic President but perhaps not a consequential one.

Mr. Obama was always going to be a historic President by dint of his election as the first African-American to hold the office. His victory affirmed the American ideal that anyone can aspire and win political power. This affirmation was all the better because Mr. Obama won in large part thanks to his cool temperament amid the financial crisis and his considerable personal talents.

Yet his Presidency has been a disappointment at home and abroad, a fact ironically underscored by Mr. Obama’s relentless insistence that he has been a success. In his many farewell interviews, he has laid out what he regards as his main achievements: reviving the economy after the Great Recession, a giant step toward national health care, new domestic regulations and a global pact to combat climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, and a world where America is merely one nation among many others in settling global disputes rather than promoting its democratic values.

Even on their own terms those achievements look evanescent. Congress has teed up ObamaCare for repeal, and Donald Trump will erase the climate rules. The global climate pact is built on promises without enforcement, and Mr. Trump ran against and won in part on the slow economic recovery. Authoritarians are on the march around the world as they haven’t been since the 1970s, and perhaps the 1930s.

Douglas Hassall :The Australian Monuments Men……. (Very interesting History ) *****

Entirely overlooked by the Hollywood scriptwriters whose recent movie hailed the military unit that saved great works of art from Europe’s rubble in the dying days of the World War II, Tom Dunbabin and John McDonnell deserve not merely to to be remembered but celebrated.
Aeneas John Lindsay McDonnell (1904–64) was born in Toowoomba and educated at Cranbrook School in Sydney, where he developed his early interest in art. In 1928 he joined in the partnership which ran the Macquarie Galleries in Sydney. He had a particular interest in French art and architecture, spoke fluent French and travelled widely. He later became private secretary to the Governor of Queensland. With the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the Red Cross in April 1940, serving in Africa and the Middle East until 1943. In May 1944, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was commissioned as a lieutenant and then seconded to special duty with the British forces.

Owing to his expertise in art and his fluency in French, he was then assigned to the Civil Affairs Division of the Allied Armies as an Australian representative to the SHAEF Mission to France in early 1945. “At SHAEF Headquarters in London, McDonnell was tasked with creating the MFAA (Commission on Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives) Handbook for France alongside Monuments Officers Walter Hancock and Bancel LaFarge.” The MFAA was established by a directive of President Roosevelt:

to protect cultural artifacts and monuments from war damage [and] then afterwards, [to] repatriate cultural treasures stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners when and where possible. [It] was comprised of about 350 to 400 men and women who were trained as museum directors, curators, art historians and educators. From 1943 till the cessation of hostilities, officers of MFAA saved and protected countless cultural artifacts, monuments and churches across Western Europe.

The MFAA’s work has been described in L.H. Nicholas’s The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (1994) and by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter in The Monuments Men (2010). McDonnell’s service as a Monuments Officer took him throughout the American and British Zones in Occupied Europe. In May 1945 he was with Lieutenant Commander Charles Kuhn, Deputy Adviser to the MFAA, during the ten-day inspection of Nazi art repositories in Germany. At Altaussee, McDonnell examined the Ghent Altarpiece by Van Eyck and the Bruges Madonna by Michelangelo. He also saw the very large collection of looted French art stored by the Nazis at the Schloss Neuschwanstein. He headed the first conference of the Archivists of the British Zone held at Bunde in 1946.

mcdonnellMcDonnell (left) was appointed an Officer of the Legion of Honour by the French government and was awarded the Australian Service Medal, the British War Medal (with the Mentioned in Despatches Oakleaf), and the France and Germany Star. His decorations set is now in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.

After his discharge in January, 1947, with the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel, McDonnell was appointed to be the London adviser to the Felton Bequest for the benefit of the National Gallery of Victoria, in which capacity he served until his untimely death in 1964. He worked closely with Sir Kenneth Clark and other art historians in London and on the Continent, on the Bequest’s campaign to augment the collections of the NGV. Among the major works the NGV acquired through the Felton Bequest during McDonnell’s time as its London adviser were paintings by Poussin, Rembrandt and Gainsborough, as well as the collection of Albrecht Durer prints amassed by Sir Thomas Barlow of Manchester.

McDonnell was one of the two Australians who served with the Allied “Monuments Men” in Europe from 1943 to 1947. The other was Thomas James Dunbabin (1911–55) a classical scholar and archaeologist who served with SOE on Crete (alongside Patrick Leigh Fermor) from 1942 to 1945, after which he worked in Athens as the Director of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Allied Forces in Greece. Later, he returned to Oxford University, becoming Reader in Classical Archaeology and All Souls Bursar in 1950. His best-known published work is The Western Greeks: The History of Sicily and South Italy from the Foundation of the Greek Colonies to 480 BC (1948). Dunbabin died of pancreatic cancer at the age of only forty-four on March 31, 1955.

dunbabinDunbabin (right) was born in Tasmania, the son of the celebrated Australian journalist Thomas Dunbabin. He was educated at Sydney Church of England Grammar School and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. As Derby Scholar in 1933, he travelled extensively in Sicily and southern Italy and by 1936 was already the youthful Director of the British School at Athens.

The Cathedral Interprets The Chicago Attack : Rod Dreher

Driving back from New Orleans today, I caught the beginning of the Weekend All Things Considered’s newscast. Host Michel Martin said that the show was going to devote the entire program to “violence, especially gun violence.” The first story of the broadcast was a three-minute piece in which Martin interviewed Chicago-based NPR correspondent Cheryl Corley about the horrific racist attack on the mentally disabled young white man, who was kidnapped and tortured in racially abusive terms by four young black people, who broadcast the attack on Facebook. Here’s a link to the story:

“Is something different now? Is there a sense in Chicago that there is something unique happening?” Martin asked Corley, about the city’s violence. They quickly got into the Facebook attack, which Martin introduced with this line:

“Just this week, four young adults were charged with attacking an acquaintance in a vicious beating that they livestreamed on social media.”

She also described it like this, in a question to Corley:

“Four young adults allegedly abducted an acquaintance of theirs, abused him terribly, and broadcast this on Facebook live, what are people saying about this?”

Incredibly, in talking about it, including an update from the bond hearing, Corley not once mentioned the fact that anti-white hate, and anti-Trump hate, was a key part of the crime — so much so that the state has filed hate crime charges against the four. The only thing Corley said about race was that the four defendants are “all African-Americans” — leaving aside the fact that the victim was white, and that both race and politics were central to the torture and abuse. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on the bond hearing:

“The victim is tied up then gagged. A sock is placed in the victim’s mouth and then his mouth is taped shut. The victim is forced back in to a corner,” [Assistant State’s Attorney Erin] Antonietti said. “One of the male defendants in the background can be hear yelling “F— Donald Trump” and “f— white people.” Hill uses a knife to slice off a chunk of the victim’s hair, cutting his head, then slicing at the sleeves of the victim’s sweatshirt as the man stares, terrified, at Hill, as laughing is heard from behind the camera.

“A male voice is heard saying ‘I don’t give a f— if he’s schizophrenic,’” Antonietti said. “A male shoves the victim’s face into a toilet bowl and the victim is told to drink toilet water.”

At some point during the ordeal, Antonietti said, Hill demanded $300 from the victim’s mother for the victim’s safe return.

To be fair, in its report Friday on the bond hearing, NPR was upfront about the race-hate aspect of the crime. It was bizarre to listen to today’s report, though, and to see the race-hate angle not even mentioned in passing. It’s as if they wanted only to talk about violence outside of the racial and political context, which is simply impossible in this particular case.

Steve Sailer notes the shocking/not-shocking case of The New York Times, whose editors have found a way to frame the crime not as anti-white or anti-Trump, but an example of bigotry against the disabled. I could not bring myself to watch more than a few minutes of the video, but I am not aware that the alleged captors and torturers made mockery of the man’s schizophrenia part of their attack. The Times could have done a story on the phenomenon of violent attacks on Trump supporters — something that happened again and again during the campaign season. That would have been an obvious angle. Or the matter of black anti-white racism, which also exists. But no. Says Sailer, sardonically:

So, you have your marching orders, right? The video of blacks abusing a white kid has nothing to do with virulent prejudice against whites or Trump, it has to do with Society’s prejudice against the intellectually disabled minority.

Do you understand your mission?

As you know, it is a priori impossible for Victim-Americans to abuse American-Americans. So, the victim must have been a Victim-American.

Again, to be fair, the Times‘s report Thursday highlighted the racial and political angle. The Times today ran an AP story saying that anti-white hate crimes are a smaller percentage of overall hate crimes than anti-black hate crimes. Which I accept as true, but I am not aware that after alleged anti-black hate crimes, or even police shootings involving black victims, that the national media make a point of publishing stories downplaying the crime by pointing out their relative rarity among all violent crimes.

You expect lefty crackpot sites like Salon.com to come up with a ridiculous spin like this (that the Chicago crime was really about abuse against the disabled), but the Times?

(That’s a joke.)

Earlier today in New Orleans, I had been having lunch with some friends, both liberals and conservatives. The issue of how so many Americans now don’t have much interest in truth (as distinct from believing what they want to believe) came up. Of course there was the matter of Trump’s dishonesty, but also the matter of the media’s ethics. I said that I read and subscribe to the Times mostly for the same reason Soviets used to read Pravda back in the day: to know what the Official Story the ruling class wishes to tell itself is. That’s not to say that the Times doesn’t feature excellent reporting and good writing; it does. But I don’t trust it to tell me the truth. I trust it to reveal to me the narrative that the greater part of the ruling class (minus the Republican elites) tells itself. That’s a useful thing to know, as long as you know that you’re only getting a take.

What’s interesting is that elite journalists largely lack the epistemic humility to understand what they’re doing. Do you think Michel Martin, Cheryl Corly, or anybody in the NPR newsroom who worked on today’s Chicago report were genuinely aware how their report would sound to someone who was not liberal?

The alt-right movement promotes many ideas, some of them stupid (e.g., the idea that the Chicago Facebook torture was the fault of Black Lives Matter), many of them bad, some of them evil. But the most true and useful thing it (or, to be precise, neoreaction, which is not exactly the same thing as the alt-right) has come up with is the concept of the Cathedral, defined like this:

The Cathedral in a nutshell

The Cathedral (aka the Clerisy, the Megaphone) is basically the Western world’s intellectual fashion industry. It consists of almost all of the respectable or even semi-respectable parts of the news media, the entertainment industry, and the softer social science and humanities parts of the education industry.
Basic economic theory predicts that these industries should be diverse in their approaches to politically sensitive topics. Unlike the field of particle physics, political fashions are not significantly limited by reproducible scientific experiments. The market should be fragmented, and the various firms should specialize in appealing to different segments of the market.
But this does not seem to be the case. Instead, the Cathedral seems much more homogeneous in its coverage of politically sensitive topics than it is in coverage of food, art, sports, religion, etc.
The mechanism for this homogenization is not obvious. Unlike the Catholic Church, the Cathedral has no pope (although I read recently that Warren Buffet owns 71 newspapers, and the New York Times is owned in part by Carlos Slim, whose vast fortune has a lot to do with his special relationship with the Mexican government). One factor is that the credibility of a set of information sources depends on their being able to agree on a story (coordination games, the peloton effect, the parliament of clocks). Another factor is self-dealing: people with high verbal skills tend to support a system of government that is controlled by people with high verbal skills, and once they control it, they tend to want it to be unlimited in scope. Another factor is self-selection: once an institution becomes dominated by members of a political movement, it tends to become unpleasant and career-limiting for anyone else to work there. Another factor is that the easiest way to write a newspaper story is to copy it from a politician’s press handout. To a considerable extent, these institutions are deliberately manipulated by politicians (broadcast licensing, educational and research funding, journalistic access, selective leaking of secrets, etc., aka Gleichschaltung; in many cases, journalists are literally married to political operatives or are involved in “revolving door” relationships with the political institutions they write about, such as Jeff Immelt of GE, MSNBC and the Obama administration). But the two biggest factors are probably that (1) intellectuals are seduced by political power (the Boromir effect), and (2) these institutions are quasi-religious, and have taken on the peculiar characteristics of the dominant quasi-religion of the day.
Three things make an intellectual movement quasi-religious: (1) the outputs that they produce are credence goods, (2) they provide a framework for competition for social status, and (3) this basis is insecure. The fact that credence goods are involved means that conflict about them will tend to be irrational. The fact that social status is involved, and that the basis for social status is insecure, means that this conflict will be relatively vicious, and will carry a strong odor of a witch hunt.
The Cathedral is powerful partly because its relative homogeneity allows it to serve as a gatekeeper of politically relevant mass-market information and interpretation. But its real power comes from control of what ideas are associated with high status. Everyone thinks, “I’m my own man. I think for myself.” But unconsciously, people tend to copy the opinions of people who are one step above them on the social ladder. This was explained in the Cerulean Top scene in The Devil Wears Prada.


In her blithering ignorance Streep almost destroyed the Apple Growers of America by testifying against “Alar” in 1989, a hoax tht was later dismissed by the New York Times, after it cost the industry over $100 million.

It was difficult yesterday to avoid footage of that heartfelt thespian Meryl Streep giving Donald Trump the rounds of the kitchen for humiliating on November 8 the woman for whom she served as a warm-up act at the 2016 Democratic Convention. You can watch the full measure of her passionate Hillaryphillia at this link. Apparently Mrs Clinton’s XX chromosomes were all the recommendation anyone could need to put her in the White House.

The ABC and Fairfax gave Streep’s Golden Globes address much prominence, which was no less surprising than their omission of an explanatory paragraph or two putting into context Streep’s absurd claim that Hollywood might soon be purged of foreigners by presidential edict. If those creative aliens lack green cards and slipped undocumented across US borders, yes, that might well be the case, but it is a safe bet that Tinseltown’s directors, costumers and the like are fully and properly credentialled, unlikely to be dragged at midnight from their beds. Unless Peter Weir entered the US under the guidance of a people-smuggling ‘coyote’, he can probably rest easy.


This special episode of The Glazov Gang presents The Anni Cyrus Moment with Anny Cyrus, the producer of the show. Anni discusses How I Was Screened as a Refugee and shares why she embraced it.

Don’t miss it!

And make sure to watch Anni focus on Lies About Hijab 101, where she unveils a “seminar” that is setting out to normalize vicious savagery against women:

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and to Jamie Glazov

The French-Obama-Arab-UN Attack in the Offing and the Way Out: Anne Bayefsky

President Obama has gone rogue and only one man can protect American democracy in the next few days: the President-elect.

On January 15, 2017, with only five days left after 2,917 days in office, President Barack Obama is planning once again to feed Israel to the international wolves. The move is intended to tie the hands of President Donald Trump and is a direct repudiation of the will of the American electorate who rejected Obama’s calamitous foreign policy and a repeat performance by his secretary of state.

On Sunday, France is scheduled to hold an international conference to unleash an international mob on Israel. The meeting is taking place with Obama’s direct connivance. Seventy-states have been lined up to impose their preferences on the Middle East’s only democracy. Israelis are still dying in Israeli streets after seventy years of unending Arab terror – and the folks sitting in Paris munching on croissants know best how to protect Israeli national security.

The bare-faced power-grab by France and its Arab allies – with the blessing of President Obama – raises unavoidable questions: Who will attend? If they attend, how senior a representative will be sent by the main players on the Security Council: the U.S., Russia, and the United Kingdom? Will attendees sign on to an outcome document imperiling Israel that is already circulating? Will the Middle East Quartet – composed of the U.S., the EU, Russia and the UN – approve of the outcome document? Will a UN Security Council subsequently approve of the outcome document before January 20, 2017?

The French meeting follows on President Obama helping to ram through a UN Security Council resolution on December 23, 2016 that was clearly intended to unleash a legal and economic pogrom against the Jewish state. It didn’t take long for Palestinian terrorists to get the message: sidelining a negotiated solution between the parties by strong-arming an Israeli villain at the UN was a greenlight for the enforcers in Gaza City and Ramallah.

President Obama’s collusion on round-two jettisons decades of bipartisan policy prioritizing a negotiated path to Arab-Israeli peace, and flies in the face of overwhelming bipartisan opposition in Congress reconfirmed by the House just last week. Since the point of this flurry of international activity by UN-firsters is to scuttle and deny President Trump’s foreign policy remit, would-be participants in the French mugging of the Jewish state need to know – now – what they should expect five days later on January 20, 2017.

How Putin Unmasked Erdogan’s Tough Guy Show by Burak Bekdil

There was only leader who knew in which language to talk to Erdogan: Vladimir Putin. In November 2015, two Turkish F-16 jets shot down a Russian Su-24. Ankara said that as part of the new rules of engagement, any foreign plane violating Turkish airspace would be shot down. Putin immediately downgraded diplomatic relations, announced scores of punishing economic sanctions but, more importantly, he promised that the price Turkey would have to pay would not be limited to the economy and trade.

Erdogan panicked. He sent envoy after envoy to normalize ties with Russia. Moscow demanded an apology, which in mid-2016 Erdogan offered to Putin. Since then, Erdogan has been behaving like a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, led by Russia and China.

Erdogan’s balancing act has been successful because his Western counterparts were too naïve in deciphering him and his real political motives. He keeps fighting until the end, so long as he does not perceive or face any imminent major political or economic threat to his rule.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, until a few years ago, could astonish. Now the pattern of his primary political strategy boringly repeats itself.

The pattern started in 2009 with Erdogan’s shocking tirade against then Israeli President Shimon Peres. “When it comes to killing,” Erdogan told Peres at the Davos meeting, “You know very well how to kill.” In the following years, that romantic neighbourhood-bully behaviour against major powers added to his popularity at home — in addition to the anti-Zionist rhetoric and Jew-bashing that boosted his popularity both at home and on the Arab Street.

The target “tyrant” did not have to be non-Muslim. “Dictator Sisi” — his reference to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and the “Tyrant, murderer of Damascus” — his reference to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are still common currency.