Politics & Policy

Rioting for Trayvon, &c.

You’ve probably seen this news, but have a dose anyway: “Protesters ran through Los Angeles streets Monday night, breaking windows, attacking people on sidewalks and at one point raiding a Wal-Mart store . . .”

Nothing says “Honor Trayvon” like vandalizing, accosting, and stealing, right? You can either laugh or weep — emphasis on the latter.

‐A headline: “Obamas to return to Martha’s Vineyard this summer.” (Article here.) And in a Bob Costa post, I read that more than 20 Democratic senators have already been in Martha’s Vineyard, holding meetings or something.

Never forget: The Republican party is the party of the rich, pampered, and carefree. I’ve heard it since childhood, and so have you, I bet. And Mitt Romney? Too “plutocratic” to be president.

This was interesting: A North Korean ship was returning home from Cuba. The Panamanians stopped the ship. There were sugar containers, as you might expect. But in those containers were parts for missiles. Well, we should expect that too.

Isn’t it nice that the Norks and the Castros are in bed? They are a perfect match. The Castros’ many, many supporters here in the U.S. must be proud.

The North Korean captain, by the way, tried to kill himself, as his ship was being searched. I take it he was following orders. (“If your ship is searched, off yourself, so you can’t talk.”) I wish some clear-thinking John le Carré — i.e., not le Carré himself — were around to novelize this.

‐With the Buckleys, I once sailed on a boat that had just been rented by le Carré. Interesting coincidence. Both WFB and le Carré wrote spy novels. Both were famous. But only one had eyes free of mud.

‐A further word on North Korea — recently, they launched cyberattacks on South Korea. This was on the anniversary of the Korean War. To read about it, go here.

The episode reminded me of something: Years ago, the sterling Sinologist Arthur Waldron got in trouble with his colleagues. They considered him outlandish. Because he stated, simply, that the North started the Korean War.

In some places, with some people, you can’t say Wednesday follows Tuesday.

‐Reading the opening paragraph of this dispatch, I thought of Margaret Thatcher. I’ll explain in a minute. First, that opening paragraph, out of Mexico City:

The capture of the notoriously brutal Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales is a serious blow to Mexico’s most feared drug cartel but experts cautioned that taking down the group’s command structure is unlikely to diminish violence in the border states where it dominates through terror.

Well, the experts may be right, but still: Rejoice at that news. That’s what Thatcher said once, during the Falklands War: “Just rejoice at that news and congratulate our forces and the Marines.”

‐I must say, I almost laughed out loud at the opening of this dispatch. The laugh would have been bitter. Here’s the opening:

Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to the Middle East this week amid rising tensions in Egypt and deteriorating conditions in Syria that threaten to put his signature effort to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the back burner.

Yes, how rude of Egypt and Syria to put “Oslo,” sacred Oslo, on the back burner . . .

Remember how annoyed Obama seemed in the summer of 2009 when democratic protesters in Iran distracted from this attempts to make nice with the regime?

‐“Only lawyers now can argue before Supreme Court.” That was the headline over this article. I’m sure that the new rule makes sense: that you have to be a lawyer, to argue before the Supreme Court. The last time a non-lawyer argued, it was 1978.

Still, doesn’t the professionalization of everything make you slightly uneasy? Obviously, almost everyone who argues before the high court will be a lawyer, regardless. But once in a blue moon — wouldn’t it be sort of interesting, and justified, to have a non-lawyer?

This item is related, I believe — see what you think:

John Rosemond has been dispensing parenting advice in his newspaper column since 1976, making him one of the longest-running syndicated columnists in the country.

But some Kentucky authorities want to put him in a time out.

In May, Kentucky’s attorney general and its Board of Examiners of Psychology told Rosemond his parenting column — which regularly offers old-school advice and shows little tolerance for any kind of parental coddling — amounts to the illegal practice of psychology.

Oh, come on. Not every piece of wisdom, not every portion of ability, must come with a certificate attached.

‐Let me go back to John le Carré, about whom I was very harsh. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a little masterpiece. There are other excellent books too. And then — he took an odd turn, ideologically.

‐Listen, it’s bad enough that the Chinese Communists run a one-party dictatorship with a gulag. But they are also — what’s the word? Annoying.

The U.S. recently had a couple of days of talks with them. And, according to this report, a Yang Jiechi

rejected U.S. criticism of China’s rights record in the ethnic minority areas of Tibet and Xinjiang, saying people there are “enjoying happier lives and they enjoy unprecedented freedom and human rights.”

He added: “We hope the U.S. will improve its own human rights situation.”

Yeah, blow it out your ear, Yang, you despicable Red liar.

‐A much better Yang, my friend Jianli, has founded something called the Sparrow Initiative. They have engaged in some vandalism I actually approve of: These Chinese democracy activists have spray-painted a graffito in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington and the Chinese embassy in Ottawa. That graffito says (in Chinese), “Dismantle.”

That is the sign that appears on many, many homes in China, as the Party shoves people out of the way at will. The Sparrow Initiative is a land-rights movement. To read about it, and these actions in Washington and Ottawa, go here and here.

I despise vandalism, including graffiti — but I can see the point of this. On the (vast) territory they control, the ChiComs allow just about zero protest. They are so absolute in their control, they have a Nobel peace laureate in prison.

That’s confidence! Totalitarian confidence!

‐I enjoyed something from this obit (which I know doesn’t sound very nice, but . . .). It is about Paul Smith, a jazz pianist.

Tall, lanky and rugged-looking, Mr. Smith did not fit most people’s image of a jazz musician. When he was the musical director on the comedian Steve Allen’s television show in the 1960s, Mr. Allen told him that he looked more like “a Nebraska cornhusker.” At concerts, Mr. Smith would sometimes walk onto the stage and ask the audience, “Where is the piano you want moved?”

I love that. I can just see it.

‐A little language? Dictionary.com had a Word of the Day, or something like that. It was “zedonk” — which means “the offspring of a zebra and a donkey.”

That didn’t strike me as quite right. It should be a zonkey or a donkbra, right? Can you combine two first syllables? In English, of course, you can do whatever you want — one of the glories of our tongue.

‐I was in the airport the other day. A man was fussing on his phone, telling someone that he would not be able to get on a flight or something. A wonderful agent — a woman of some years — looked up and said, “There’s no drama at this gate.”

Speaking of airports — gotta run. Thanks so much for joining me today. May your day be drama-free — unless it’s a good kind of drama.


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