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Funny Or Frightening?

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Not sure what is the more grandiose claim, that this is “God” or that this is AI,  but I do know that Disneyland has been doing it for decades.  The sensationalism that drives current media makes me think that in the information age that was supposed to be ushered in by the Internet is really the “Supermarket Tabloid Age.”  And that makes me wonder about the world of supposedly more substantial news.

AOC claimed to be “The Boss” yesterday.  (I think there may be some trademark infringement there, but that is a different story.)  That made me laugh.  It made me think that, as I said Friday, AOC-mania was done.  With her claim later in the day that it might not be a bright idea to have children, I figured her for having transitioned to official nutter – something that often happens when rapidly gained fame fades just as quickly.  I thought I might use that fact to bang on the leading Dem POTUS candidate Kamala Harris who has the GND is a full-on double-armed hug.  But then along came Jim Geraghty who thinks AOC need to be taken very seriously:

There is ample evidence that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is over-covered by both the mainstream media and conservative media. She’s been in office about two months. She is near the very bottom of House Democrats in terms of seniority. There is considerable evidence that Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t take her or “the green dream, whatever they call it” seriously.

But she embodies what a loud section of the online Left wants to see and what a loud section of the online Right loves to denounce and probably fears. There is probably no figure in American life doing more to push the Overton Window to the Left….

Ocasio-Cortez expresses the repressed desires of the progressive movement — as Trump did so for a significant chunk of the conservative movement — and because of that, we should expect her to only become more prominent, arguably the de facto leader of the Democratic party, even if she holds little formal power. (Does anyone doubt that Ocasio Cortez’s endorsement could make or break several Democratic presidential candidates?)

OK – Now I am a little scared.

In my life I have been in a lot of scary places.  I have sat in waiting rooms while my wife underwent cancer surgery, not once but twice.  I have been on airplanes that had electrical failures and had to make emergency landings well short of the destination.  I have been on ships in the North Sea and the Baltic where the seas were so rough the cabinets flew open, things crashed around and the keel slammed back into the water.  I have been to Chernobyl.  But none of those are the most frightening places I have been….

There are three places I have been that were scary to the core.  In reverse order.  I visited the actual Soviet Union not long before it fell.  I will forever remember sitting on the platform in Red Square where it was rumored Ivan The Terrible had conducted his numerous beheadings, looking at Lenin’s Tomb, and imagining Stalin or Khrushchev on top of that tomb watching the Mayday parades of communist military might.   That’ll send a shiver down your spine.  I visited the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg where the Reifenstahl films were made.  There you whispered for fear of waking the ghosts of evil past.

The impulse to control, the lack of freedom, evident in the policy proposals of AOC are certainly reminiscent of the Soviet state, as the host and Arnn discussed at the time the GND was published.  But AOC’s “boss” delusion reminds me of someone else entirely.  If Geraghty is correct, then we should be more than a little scared.

But the most frightening place I have ever been was a very different sort of situation.  I was having a marvelous and moving day visiting the Old City of Jerusalem.  I was learning of my God and myself in new and amazing ways.  I went to exit the Old City and head to the Garden Tomb through the Damascus Gate.  When I exited the gate I was confronted by the local authorities holding at bay a very large and very angry mob of Islamic men.  It would take entirely too long to set up how this particular mob had come to this angry point, but let’s just say I have never been so glad to be behind some armed people in my entire life.

That’s why this story is the most unambiguously frightening news of the day – almost entirely uncovered in the MSM:

For weeks, Israeli and Lebanese soldiers have eyed each other uneasily at close range while Israeli engineers neutralize cross-border infiltration tunnels. These sophisticated tunnels, clearly intended to attack civilians, embody Hezbollah’s ongoing efforts to threaten substantial harm to Israel. They are also a reminder of that border’s fragile calm, and the potential for major destruction and suffering that would befall both Israeli and Lebanese civilians in another conflict on Israel’s northern front.

Israel undoubtedly could deal Hezbollah a crippling military blow in such a conflict. Indeed, Hezbollah has no illusion of military victory. Instead, it will seek to delegitimize Israel in the court of public opinion by illegally exposing civilians to harm on both sides of the border and then exploiting widespread misunderstanding about the laws of war.

We are in a world on the verge of major conflict.  With a nostalgia for the authoritarianism of the past driving our politics on one side of the aisle, one must truly be frightened.

Yesterday, randomly on my player, up came Winston Churchills’ November 16, 1934 radio address in which he forecasts the world war coming.  In that speech Churchill says:

After all, my friends, only a few hours away by air there dwell a nation of nearly seventy millions of the most educated, industrious, scientific, disciplined people in the world, who are being taught from childhood to think of war as a glorious exercise and death in battle as the noblest fate for man.

There is a nation which has abandoned all its liberties in order to augment its collective strength. There is a nation which, with all its strength and virtue, is in the grip of a group of ruthless men, preaching a gospel of intolerance and racial pride, unrestrained by law, by parliament, or by public opinion. In that country all pacifist speeches, all morbid war books are forbidden or suppressed, and their authors rigorously imprisoned. From their new table of commandments they have omitted “thou shall not kill.”

It is but twenty years since these neighbors of ours fought almost the whole world, and almost defeated them. Now they are rearming with the utmost speed, and ready to their hands is the new lamentable weapon of the air, against which our navy is -no defense, and before which women and children, the weak and frail, the pacifist and the jingo, the warrior and the civilian, the front line trenches and the cottage home, all lie in equal and impartial peril.

There is something ominously familiar about the picture Churchill paints there.  One side takes very seriously the possibility of conflict and the other wants to pretend like it is not possible – like history has nothing to teach us.

All I can say is I hope I am right that AOC is more joke than player, and I hope Geraghty is wrong.  But Geraghty is a lot smarter than I am, so I may bet against my own opinion.

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