Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Numbered Daze

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We're still not in the proper headspace for editorializing or, according to the warning labels, operating heavy machinery. But the unfolding disaster in Afghanistan demands commentary. Fortunately, William McGurn wrote a great piece for the Wall Street Journal that we're sharing here in its entirety.


A TALIBAN 9/11 - Joe Biden rushed the Afghanistan pullout for a political speech he wanted to give

William McGurn, Wall Street Journal, 8/23/21

What on earth will Joe Biden say this Sept. 11?

We know what he planned to say. He hoped to use the 20th anniversary to proclaim himself the president who had succeeded in doing what none of his predecessors— George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump —could: end the “endless war” in Afghanistan. The purpose of the artificial deadline was to provide Mr. Biden a dramatic backdrop for the speech he wanted to give.

The bungled exit has scuttled that plan. Worse, it has forever surrendered 9/11 to the Islamist fundamentalists. It is now what they meant it to be in 2001: their day of victory.

Part of this victory belongs to al Qaeda, which seared the date 9/11 into America’s memory. Today al Qaeda’s leaders have regained the haven that they used to plan and carry out the 9/11 attacks, under the same Taliban hosts who refused to give them up even after President Bush declared the U.S. wouldn’t distinguish between the terrorists who attacked us and those who harbored them.

The Taliban victory is bigger still. Over the weekend, propaganda attributed to the Taliban’s Badri 313 unit featured a photo of its fighters, clad in captured American gear, raising the Taliban flag in a parody of the iconic World War II image of Marines raising the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi. They intend to rub it in.

And why not? They won.

Back on the home front, some are arguing that it is only the botched execution, not the decision to retreat itself, that is at issue. Some further accuse President Biden of eliding responsibility by deliberately conflating the two, which he did again Sunday by emphasizing how “absolutely correct” he was in making the call to bug out.

But there is a cheaper argument about what went wrong, embedded in throwaway lines like “20 years of failure.” U.S. mistakes in Afghanistan were real, numerous, and often costly. But to write off the entire enterprise as a failure because Afghanistan didn’t transform itself into Belgium in 20 years is not serious.

Yes, there was too much optimism about remaking Afghanistan as a liberal democracy. But a more modest measure of success might yet acknowledge there is something to be said for staving off the worst—a Taliban victory. Just as we have managed in Korea, where we have 28,500 U.S. troops and there is still officially a “forever war” going on between North and South.

For as corrupt and incapable as the Afghan government was, it was a significant improvement over its predecessor—and now its successor. Not to mention Afghan women and girls whose lives are about to return to pre-medieval times. Whatever the waste and foolishness on America’s part, it’s doubtful those desperate Afghans climbing the walls at Kabul airport would be as quick to dismiss it all as 20 years of failure.

Not to mention the hit to U.S. credibility. Our most important military alliance—NATO—stands broken and discredited by the man who campaigned as the seasoned expert in diplomatic affairs. Armin Laschet, who is favored to become the new German chancellor, called the pullout a “debacle.” In the U.K., a House of Commons debate featured adjectives like “shameful” and “cruel and humiliating.” This from our friends.

On Sunday the president absurdly claimed that Moscow and Beijing read our graceless exit from Afghanistan as somehow enhancing U.S. capabilities and resolve elsewhere. To the contrary, Xi Jinping is quickly moving to replace U.S. influence in Afghanistan with China’s. And Vladimir Putin is acknowledging what he thinks of Mr. Biden’s resolve by telling the U.S. not even to think of relocating some of our forces in neighboring countries that he considers part of Russia’s sphere of influence.

So a question for those who still believe Mr. Biden was right to pull us out: Do they also believe his assurances that our loss of on-the-ground intelligence, an air base in a strategic part of the world, and an ally instead of an enemy in Kabul will all be compensated for with “over the horizon” capabilities?

No doubt most Americans have always wanted our men and women in uniform to come home. But the American people aren’t children.

It’s a pity that so few of our political leaders have been willing to make the hard argument that a continued presence in a highly strategic area might pay the kind of dividends our continued presence in, say, Germany, Japan and South Korea have. Especially given that U.S. combat responsibilities in Afghanistan had largely ended and the residual force would have been a fraction of the more than 100,000 troops we had there a decade ago (the Afghanistan Study Group suggested 4,500).

In three weeks we will mark the 20th anniversary of the deadliest attack on America’s home soil. Those who gave shelter to the terrorists who pulled it off will be whooping it up in Kabul. What on earth can Joe Biden’s speechwriters come up with now that won’t make it worse?

Friday, August 20, 2021

A Penny For Your Thoughts

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In the past, I have promised daughter Jarlsberg that nothing bad will ever, ever, ever happen to Lance. Which is why today I envy Johnny so very, very much.

Cancer struck Penny so subtly that no one could quite figure out what it was. But within the space of a couple of weeks, it manifested itself in multiple ways and the rapid progression couldn't be stopped.

A very hard day for the Jarlsberg family. Hug 'em if you got 'em.

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Rest in Peace, Penny (The Official Dog of Hope n' Change) 2013-2021

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Point Well Taken

 If we "follow the science" of statistics, even a man who gets everything wrong will at some point say something that turns out right...

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Monday, August 16, 2021


To the surprise of no one except the entire Biden administration, our alleged intelligence agencies, our wokest-ever military, and the mainstream media, Afghanistan has quickly been taken over by the Taliban while remaining Americans and betrayed allies scramble for survival and escape.

This is a devastating military disaster which will likely be viewed historically as the event which marked the end of America as a credible world superpower.

Not that this was difficult to see coming, especially with Clueless Joe as a figurehead for foreign policy decisions being made by the resurrected (from Hell) Obama administration.

So with no pleasure at all, we're presenting some posts from the vault to remind people that this disaster was long in the making and that current attempts to blame Trump are not only disingenuous but disgusting.

(DEC 1, 2009)

Tonight, the president will make a speech from West Point in which he reveals his (not very) top secret new strategy for Afghanistan: sending 30,000 additional troops while sulking about it, and promising Al Qaeda and the Taliban that we'll pull all of our troops out again as soon as humanly possible. 

The president is hoping that committing troops will be seen as actual commitment...but unfortunately, he isn't fooling anyone except his former far-left supporters like Michael Moore, who are accusing Obama of becoming a bloodsucking, imperialist warmonger who will break the hearts of young, idealistic voters and discourage them from ever returning to the polls. One can only hope...

(November 21, 2010)


Not long ago, Barack Obama informed the world that the United States was embracing a new humility, because "there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."

Which is why the Whitehouse must be groaning over Joe Biden's arrogant, dismissive, and derisive comment on the Larry King show that "Daddy is going to start taking the training wheels off" in the Afghan war, so the locals had "better practice riding." Yep, there's nothing patronizing about a statement like that! 

Or a statement like "Daddy is going to spank you like the bad, bad girl you've been," which Biden didn't actually say aloud but which he may have been thinking...if we assume that he actually was thinking. Which we frequently don't. Of course, apart from Biden's statement being patently offensive to our allies, it's also a bit outdated; because when it comes to this administration, the wheels fell off their foreign policy a long time ago.

(December 3, 2009)

After thinking longer and more slowly than Rodin's statue of the same name, Barack Obama finally decided that the best way to handle the war in Afghanistan is to reluctantly commit more troops...but only for 18 months, after which we'll get the hell out of Dodge

Of course, this strategy will only work if the Taliban and Al Qaeda don't know we're going to give up in July of 2011. So please, help keep the president's big secret and don't tell the bad guys!

(December 5, 2010)

Barack Hussein Obama unexpectedly flew to Afghanistan this week for three reasons: to raise the morale of American troops, to be photographed wearing a masculinity-enhancing flight jacket, and - most importantly - to give him a chance to say "Tollybon." Tollybon, tollybon, tollybon! 

There are some sounds which have almost unbelievable power to shred nerves and annoy. Fingernails on a chalkboard. The cries of a baby in a movie theater. President Bush saying "nook-you-ler." But topping the list, for us anyway, is Mr. Obama's aggressively nuanced styling of the word "Taliban." When he says "Tollybon," the word is clipped and distinct, vowels are reshaped, and the sound is redolent with exotic spices from the Far if to deliberately remind us that the president deserves special credibility because he was raised in a Muslim culture in Indonesia.

He spits the word out like an insult to plainspoken, unworldly Americans who lack his multi-cultural roots. And with that one word, Barack Obama reminds us that the conversation is really, and always, about him. Not the troops. Not the war. Not our country. Not even, truly, about the Taliban - even when speaking to the American men and women whose lives are on the line in a distant land.

(August 18, 2014)

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Last Thursday, 2-star Major General Harold Greene, the highest ranking officer to be killed in Afghanistan, was buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Notice that we say "buried" and not "Barryed" - because the president didn't bother to attend the funeral and instead went golfing.

Of course, the vacationing president made a point of sending veep Joe Biden and...wait. What's that? Oh, we stand corrected. Obama didn't bother to send Biden either.

But he did send a remarkably clear message to members of our military: your lives, service, and deaths deserve only a 99¢ condolence card signed by the presidential auto-pen.


Friday, August 6, 2021

Have Your Cake and EAT IT Too (2021)

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Why, no - this picture ISN'T Photoshopped. But thanks for asking!

We were really saddened to learn that Barack Obama has had to cut back the size of his 60th alleged birthday party owing to an obscure little thing called "Covid" which he apparently hadn't heard about. The original birthday plan, to be set at Barry's fabulously expensive estate in Martha's Vineyard, was for 500 guests and 200 (count 'em!) servants, who were no doubt looking forward to a day working in the "big house" instead of picking crops in the fields while singing mournful gospel songs.

But too many people noticed that this was basically a giant, flashing sign saying "You're a Dope If You're Still Masking or Still Worrying About Covid." Which is a message Democrats really don't want to spread since Covid panic is currently the most important distraction from Andrew Cuomo's multiple sex crimes.

Barry's birthday party has now been scaled way, way back and will only be for "friends, family, and unindicted co-conspirators." And even though we never got written confirmation, we're pretty sure that we would have been among the 500 guests for the original event. Or at least been disguised as a servant carrying a single, aerodynamically-sound cream pie.

But we're still sending our regards to the aging former president with this Blast from the Past remembrance of a previous birthday...


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According to at least one of his many Social Security cards, Sunday marks the alleged birthday of Barack Barry Hussein Soetoro Obama. The president is turning 52 which, by almost unbelievable coincidence, is also the exact number of weeks each year he lies his butt off, creates dissent, and cripples the American economy! There's one for Ripley's Believe it or Not!

The president has already been presented with a cake by Nancy Pelosi, whom a spokesman described as being "known for her affinity for dark chocolate." We can only pray that this is in reference to the cake itself, and not some personal gift she's planning on sharing with Obama involving lingerie and WD-40.

The birthday boy was able to enjoy not only his own slice of cake, but also an extra slice that was left over because, for reasons still unexplained, Ambassador Chris Stevens failed to show up for the party.

In any event, Hope n' Change Cartoons wants to wish the president the very happiest of birthdays.

Specifically, we "want to" - but can't and won't. Because what we really wish is that his sorry keester would be dragged before several investigating committees which would put him under oath about Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and the IRS attack on conservatives (you know, the scandals that the president and Jay Carney dismiss as being "phony.")

We wish we could ask him why people really can't keep their health insurance policies if they liked them, and why Obamacare is raising costs by preposterous margins and pushing people out of the system instead of in?

We wish we could find out why he hates small businesses and American energy production. We wish we could force him to tell us why he identifies with Trayvon Martin but not the black kids in Chicago being killed by other black kids, why the Ft. Hood massacre was an incident of "workplace violence," and why the White House is closed to ordinary visitors but is still wide open to celebrity galas and five-star (well, maybe one star and one crescent moon) Ramadan dinners?

But none of these wishes is likely to come true. No, this miserable little sheepdip who made his political name by squeaking "present!" in the Illinois Senate will be opening presents from his various sycophants, toadies, and special interest lobbyists.

And of course, he'll be opening a very special present from Hope n' Change Cartoons, too.  And it will look a lot like dark chocolate. Bon appétit!

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Carney draws a line in the sand. Specifically, the sand at Martha's Vineyard.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

One of Those (CENSORED) Days

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We all have them: one or more days in which every little thing that can go wrong does go wrong, and the universe seems designed solely for the grand purpose of driving us crazy. That's how my last 48 hours has been and I'm really, really hoping that I'm at the end of a bad luck streak rather than somewhere in the middle.

For instance, my annoying urinary tract infection wasn't quite gone (ouch) after finishing my antibiotics, so my doctor told me to come in for an office visit. I showed up early as I always do, confident that I could fill time playing games on my smartphone. Which immediately ran out of power. So I waited in an exam room for over an hour with nothing to do and nothing to look at. And more importantly, nothing to listen to - I have bad tinnitus and I'd just as soon be waterboarded as sit in a really quiet room. Usually, my phone can play some soothing white noise...but not this time.

So I was fairly unraveled by the time the doctor finally arrived. I described where my pain was, after which he had me drop my drawers so he could pinch, pull, twist, squeeze, and do other allegedly medicinal forms of origami with my genitals.  I was then told that everything looked okay from the outside and the doctor had no idea why I was still feeling pain. So that was time well spent. 

While standing at the checkout desk, one lens spontaneously leapt out of my eyeglasses (along with the teeny-tiny screw to hold the glasses together). So I was more or less blind when driving home, and arrived to find Mrs. J in the earliest stages of widowhood since I was gone WAY longer than expected and hadn't called.

Then today, I had to be filling out a "new patient" form online to see a new dentist. As previously reported, my old family dentist is quitting the business because he got tired of having to take remedial courses in fighting human trafficking, fighting the opioid crisis, installing an expensive filter to take environmentally dangerous silver out of any wastewater even though he hasn't done a silver filling in the last 20 years, and small practices like his are increasingly the target of violent drug thieves.

An amusing digression: not long ago, a violent guy came into the little office and threatened bodily harm to the dentist and his receptionist unless he was given a prescription for narcotics. The dentist managed to stall long enough to make a phone call to the police...

"I've got a guy here who says he's going to hurt us if we don't give him a prescription for drugs!"
"Are you a doctor?"
"So you can legally write a prescription for the drugs?"
"Well, then write it for him! We don't care about those kinds of things." (click)

So yeah...there goes a good man and a fine dentist. But he did give me one last check-up and found a couple of cavities that had bloomed during the pandemic. So I contacted a new practice and was faced with that "new patient" form online. I filled it out (and it was a LONG sucker) but when I hit the "submit" button I got screaming warnings from my antivirus software that the information was about to be routed to a known phishing site. You know, the kind you'd rather not give your name, address, birth date, and social security number to.

I tried a second browser and got the same result. After which I alerted the dental office and was assured that "other people are filling out the form just fine." Yeah, I'll bet they are. But I was given the option to come in to the office at my leisure to fill out the 20 page form using their office iPad. Which for all I know still routes the information to Russian hackers.

Moreover, I was already a little touchy about the subject of computer security and identity theft since that same morning, I'd discovered that someone was using my charge card number to buy Major League Baseball hats and dine heartily at Buffalo Wild Wings about a thousand miles from where I live. So I had to cancel the card and will have to relink a new card to about a dozen sites.

But wait, there's more!

Daughter Jarlsberg is changing her health insurance and has just set up a new Blue Cross Blue Shield policy through (God help us) But here's the fun part: they won't give you a member ID until you've paid the first month's premium. To pay that premium, they give you a link to a handy website that you can't access unless you enter the member ID which you can't possibly have because you haven't paid yet and, apparently, never can.

This took me to a long, long phone call to customer service ("Home of English As a Second Language!"), during which an electronic eyebrow was raised because the service person discovered that my name was associated with a credit card that had just been canceled.  Even I didn't believe my subsequent explanation that, oh yeah, someone chose today to caps with my number so I had to cancel the card a couple of hours ago.

But eventually, payment was sorta kinda made and that highly coveted Blue Cross ID number will soon be winging its way to our currently ant-infested mailbox along with a sprinkling of condolence cards from folks still under the impression I died at the doctor's office.

Which brings us up to this very moment, when it's time for my brief but still painful exposure to the day's news. Clan MacGregor, where is thy sting?