Saturday Pictures; Collusion Edition

Saturday again, it is. And that means time for the weekly roundup of pictures, cartoons, and maybe a video or two. Enjoy!

Speaking of actual history, and do notice how lonely Britain was.

 

Have a better next week!

 

 

The Anti-Trump Bourbons

There is a new article out from Victor Davis Hanson, and as always it is exceptional. Let’s take a look.

Just seven months into Donald Trump’s administration we are already bombarded with political angling and speculations about the 2020 presidential race. No one knows in the next three years what can happen to a volatile Trump presidency or his psychotic enemies, but for now such pronouncements of doom seem amnesiac if not absurd.

Things are supposedly not going well politically with Donald Trump lately, after a series of administration firings, internecine White House warring, and controversial tweets. A Gallup Poll has him at only a 34 percent positive rating, and losing some support even among Republicans (down to 79 percent)—although contrarily a recent Rasmussen survey shows him improving to the mid-forties in popularity. Nonetheless, we are warned that even if Trump is lucky enough not to be impeached, if he is not removed under the 25th Amendment or the Emoluments Clause, if he does not resign in shame, even if he has the stamina to continue under such chaos, even if he seeks reelection and thus even more punishment, he simply cannot win in 2020.

In answer to such assumed expertise, one could answer with Talleyrand’s purported quip about our modern-day Bourbons that “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”

Namely, Trump’s enraged critics still do not grasp that he is a reflection of, not a catalyst for, widespread anger and unhappiness with globalization, interventionist foreign policy, Orwellian political correctness, identity politics, tribalism, open borders, and a Deep State that lectures and condemns but never lives the consequences of its own sermonizing.

In particular, the current conundrum and prognostications ignore several constants.

Do Americans Really Believe that Pollsters and the Media Have Reformed?

One, despite the recent Gallup poll, most polls still show Trump’s at about a 40 percent approval rating—nearly the same level of support as shortly before the November 2016 election. That purported dismal level of support is pronounced to be near fatal, when in fact it is not.

That is an important point. Why on earth would anybody believe either the partisan press or the (pretty much) partisan pollsters. They haven’t been right about anything in … (well, I don’t remember, how did Dewey’s Presidency go again).

Do Americans Really Believe the Messenger Nullifies the Message?

As in 2016, many of those who voted for Trump would prefer that he curb his tweets, clean up his language, sleep eight instead of five hours, and follow all the conventional-wisdom admonitions offered about his misbehavior. But that said, nearly half of the country is probably still willing to overlook his eccentricities for several reasons.

Trump now has a presidential record of eight months. Despite the media’s neglect of it, one can sense changes by just getting out and traveling the country. Even in rural central California, one can feel that it really is true that there is a 76 percent drop in illegal immigration, and immigration law is being taken seriously as never before.

It was no accident that the National Council of La Raza without warning dropped its racialist nomenclature and is now UnidosUS (“Together, US”). Why is the Democratic Party now feigning a focus on class, not racial, issues with its new “Better Deal” FDR/Truman-like echo?

Lot in that, isn’t there? We are, for the most part, smart enough to understand that Trump’s Tweeting, if it has any meaning at all, is his method of bypassing the media, which is why they hate it so, especially because it is effective. It’s also one way he controls the narrative, by trolling the Democrats, the Anti-Trump Republicans, and the media (Yes, I did threepeat myself there, there is not a hairsbreadth of difference between them, and we could add more such as the deep state and others).

The trade deficit is even shrinking and lots of companies have announced relocations to the United States, in reaction to record cheap energy costs and a perceived favorable business environment. And all this comes at a time when the United States is neither seeking optional military interventions nor backing away from thuggish aggression, but is trying to thread the needle in restoring deterrence along the lines of “principled realism.”

The point is not just that no one can know the ultimate fate of the Trump agenda, but rather that so far media hysteria and congressional calcification have not stopped perceived conservative progress. The bottom line is that Trump did prove to be far more conservative than Republican establishmentarians had forecast. To his supporters, Trump’s message is usually distinguished from Trump, the messenger. Politically that means pragmatist supporters can focus on his agenda not his tweets, while Trump’s die-hard voters like his Twitter combativeness, viewing it as a long overdue media comeuppance. […]

One of the strangest ironies of the present age is that Trump’s populism (e.g., “our farmers”, “our vets”, “our coal miners”, “our workers”), which saved the Senate and House for Republicans and delivered the greatest Republican majorities on the local and state level since the 1920s, is either ridiculed or ignored.

Yet the more the economy picks up, the more the administration prunes back the regulatory state, and the more the United States restores deterrence, the shriller will be the argument that Trump’s tweets and behavior nullify solid achievement. Just watch.

Will the New Democratic/Progressive Party Really Rebuild the Blue Wall?

Fourth and finally, the less publicized split in the Democratic Party is probably worse than that of its Republican counterpart. The latter did not stop Trump’s victory in the Electoral College, the former helped ensure Hillary’s “Blue Wall” collapsed.

Continue reading The Anti-Trump Bourbons: Learning and Forgetting Nothing in Time for 2020As always it’s quite wonderful, as one would expect from one of America’s greatest minds. So enjoy, and take comfort in his words, a fair amount of damage has been caused, but nothing is beyond repair, let alone America. Especially as long as men like VDH are writing the truth.

Democrats and History

A famous American wrote (and spoke) these words in what basically amounts to a free speech case.

Any man has a right to publish his opinions on that subject [slavery] whenever he pleases. It is a subject of national concern, and may at all times be freely discussed. Mr. Gruber did quote the language of our great act of national independence, and insisted on the principles contained in that venerated instrument. He did rebuke those masters, who, in the exercise of power, are deaf to the calls of humanity; and he warned them of the evils they might bring upon themselves. He did speak with abhorrence of those reptiles, who live by trading in human flesh, and enrich themselves by tearing the husband from the wife—the infant from the bosom of the mother: and this I am instructed was the head and front of his offending. Shall I content myself with saying he had a right to say this? That there is no law to punish him? So far is he from being the object of punishment in any form of proceeding, that we are prepared to maintain the same principles, and to use, if necessary, the same language here in the temple of justice, and in the presence of those who are the ministers of the law. A hard necessity, indeed, compels us to endure the evil of slavery for a time. It was imposed upon us by another nation, while we were yet in a state of colonial vassalage. It cannot be easily, or suddenly removed. Yet while it continues it is a blot on our national character, and every real lover of freedom confidently hopes that it will be effectually, though it must be gradually, wiped away; and earnestly looks for the means, by which this necessary object may be best attained. And until it shall be accomplished: until the time shall come when we can point without a blush, to the language held in the Declaration of Independence, every friend of humanity will seek to lighten the galling chain of slavery, and better, to the utmost of his power, the wretched condition of the slave.

It sounds really good, doesn’t it? Many have assumed that it is Lincoln, but it was said when Lincoln was 9 years old. It was said in defense of a man, a Methodist minister, accuses of fomenting a slave revolt, in Baltimore. There was a statue of the man who wrote it also in Baltimore. It was removed the other night, by the government. So who this guy?

He is Roger Taney, the very man whose decision on Dred Scott did as much as any single man to propel the (not so) United States into the Civil War. In fact, that decision with very little extension would have reinstated slavery in the whole country, with very few options for its removal. “The Dred Scott decision held that “[…]”the negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect,”

Steven Hayward says this:

[…]which by implication legalized slavery throughout the entire U.S. and prohibited Congress henceforth from stopping its spread in the territories. All that was needed, as Lincoln pointed out, was one more case extending the principle Taney laid out to make slavery legal throughout the North.” How does a man get from one to the other?”

Funny how the Confederate battle flag, and now statues, didn’t start to come down until Republicans became ascendant in southern states. Democrats who had a monopoly grip on the South for decades had lots of time to take these steps, but didn’t. You’d almost think they were opportunists.

Indeed, one would, but it is sort of a side issue, nothing about that we didn’t already know.

Which leads to the next question: what the hell happened to Taney? That’s a long story, but can be summarized briefly by the proposition that Democrats ceased to believe that slavery was a national sin—indeed they came to believe it was a positive good. (See Calhoun, Alexander Stephens, George Fitzhugh, etc.), and the first version of identity politics was born. In other words, Democrats aren’t that much different today than they were in the 1850s.

That is, unfortunately true. Democrats, the party of slavery, and plantation owners, and their sycophants, since sometime before the Mexican War, which they supported to attempt to gain more slave states. Quite the legacy, isn’t it.

By the way, Rev. Gruber, the Methodist Minister, won.

The Week in Picture: The Bombing Starts in 5 Minutes Edition

Hah, Saturday snuck up on me, but I saw it coming. So a bit has gone on this week, as usual, summed up well in pictures. Here’s some of them.

 

Aws usual, most from PowerLine. Have a better week

 

Mossie Plans and Elite Wallpaper

Now, we don’t often get this lucky! And something completely different.

A priceless collection of technical and engineering designs for the World War II Mosquito aircraft has been discovered hidden in a factory days before its demolition. An engineer found more than 20,000 drawings on microfilm cards in the building at Hawarden Airfield in Broughton, near Chester on the Welsh side of the border with England. This is the only complete archive of Mosquito technical drawings known in the world, all of which were top secret classified material during and after the war. It includes plans for experimental models that never made it to the prototype stage, including one that would carry torpedoes to attack German battleships, a previously unknown photo-reconnaissance plane, and a “Mosquito Mk I, Tropics” model that featured a compartment in the rear fuselage for storing desert equipment. It’s a great stroke of luck that they were discovered by an engineer who had the knowledge to recognize what a massive historical treasure he had stumbled upon and saved it before the bulldozers came in to raze the old factory and everything inside of it.

There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses, and we have the nincompoops.” His bitterness was informed by personal experience, as a Mosquito raid on a Berlin radio station where he had been scheduled to deliver a speech delayed him by more than an hour.

It was the remarkable wooden construction that shortened the aircraft’s lifespan so dreadfully. Plywood and balsa don’t last long, so while its metal contemporaries like the Spitfire survived for decades after the war, the Mosquitos degraded into nothingness. Production stopped in 1950 and any surviving stock was left to rot in storage. The last airworthy Mosquito in Britain crashed at an air show in 1996, killing both pilots. There are only three Mosquitos in the world today that can fly, one in Canada, the other two in the US.

The microfilm archive was donated to The People’s Mosquito, a charitable organization that seeks to rebuild a crashed Mosquito so that the aircraft that has been credibly described as “the plane that won the war” can fly again over England’s green and pleasant land. The technical drawings will allow them to reconstruct the plane to modern aviation safety standards while ensuring its historical accuracy.

The charity hopes to resurrect the remains of a Mosquito night fighter that crashed at RAF Coltishall, in February 1949, while serving with No 23 Sqn.

Ross Sharp, engineering director for the project, said: “As you can imagine, restoring an aircraft that is 70 years old presents several challenges, one of which is a lack of information on the building techniques, materials, fittings and specifications.”

“These plans enable us to glean a new level of understanding and connection with the brilliant designers who developed the world’s first, true, multi-role combat aircraft.” […]

[The People’s Mosquito chairman John] Lilley said: “No other aircraft has amassed such a remarkable combat record in so short a time, flying so many different types of mission and excelling in each one.

“Even today, it remains one of the world’s most successful multirole combat aircraft, and it was all British, made by men and women who only a few months earlier had been building furniture and mending pianos.”

Despite the great boost the discovery of the archive gives the project, they still have a long ways to go before restoration can begin. Money is the issue. The estimated cost of the restoration is £6 million and only a small portion of that has been raised. If you’d like to pitch in, the People’s Mosquito has some in its shop, with all kinds of perks and takes online donations.

Cache of WWII Mosquito plans found days before destruction

A most worthy cause, I think.

This is nearly as neat.

When Philip Schuyler (1733-1804) began building his estate near Albany, NY in 1761, he was determined to make it a suitable home for his growing family as well as for his stature as a gentleman of wealth and property.

Called The Pastures, the brick house was to be elegant and substantial in its Georgian symmetry, and sit grandly on eighty acres high on the hill overlooking the Hudson (or North) River so that visitors coming to Albany from New York City would be sure to see it first. Twenty-eight-year-old Philip wanted his house to be as impressive inside as it was commanding from the exterior, and while the house was being built, he combined a business trip to London with something of a decorating spending spree.

Unlike most 18thc wallpaper which was block-printed, or “stampt”, this paper was painted entirely by hand in tempera paint in shades of grey – en grisaille was the term – to mimic engraved prints. In fact, the entire scheme of the papers was an elaborate trompe l’oeil to represent framed paintings and cartouches, all custom designed for the walls and spaces they would occupy.

This was, of course, extremely expensive, and as much a sign of Philip’s deep pockets as his taste. The wallpaper he ordered featured romantically scenic landscapes by the Italian painter Paolo Panini, and was called “Ruins of Rome.” The “Ruins of Rome” wallpaper was so rare and costly that there are only two examples of it known to survive in America: in the Jeremiah Lee Mansion in Marblehead, MA, and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, which has installed the paper taken from the now-demolished Rensselaerwyck, the home of Stephen Van Rensselaer II, also near Albany. (Yet all status and expense is a matter of degrees; the scenic wallpaper was inspired by aristocratic rooms like this one from Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, UK, which features real Panini paintings in gilded, carved frames and Genoese cut velvet on the walls.)

Not bad for the colonies though, I reckon. From Recreating the 18thc “Ruins of Rome” Wallpaper in the Schuyler Mansion

Googling Diversity

So should we look a bit at Google’s self-inflicted hangnail? Google is so huge that is about what it amounts to. Still, it is interesting in several ways.

Now mind, I believe that one may run a company one owns as one pleases, and if you choose to promote less competent social justice warriors into posts of responsibility instead of competent software engineers – well on your head be it. The counter argument is that Google is nearly a public utility, but that is not so. The Internet is not necessary (yet, anyway), however desirable it is. And Google does have, in all areas, competitors, some very good.

Ben Domenech lays it out well at The Federalist.

Yesterday, the internet lit up with a flame-war of epic proportions over an internal memo written by James Damore, a Google engineer with a Harvard PhD, who wrote at length about workplace diversity. The memo was the type of statistical analysis one could expect from a dispassionate engineer irritated by a lack of clarity in why fewer women choose to participate in his field, attempting to quantify it beyond the vague assumptions favored by corporate PR. He offered various reasons and explanations for why this could be the case, and offered to discuss the memo further with anyone interested in doing so. For writing this thoughtcrime, he was fired. Google’s CEO claims the memo violated its Code of Conduct. You can read the CEO’s statement here, which stresses that his views were “Not OK”.

These views are consistent with those of Google’s Eric Schmidt, who recently rejected the idea advanced in a Q&A that any right of center views need to be considered part of the bucket of “diversity” favored within Google. As I noted at the time: 

Note the response from Eric Schmidt, who rejects the idea that anyone disagreeing with him politically could be operating from a position of ‘science-based thinking’. The level of diversity and inclusiveness welcomed by Google is precisely as much as is needed to achieve their corporate aims. ‘You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our field agree with us’ – yes, we know.

You see the same tone advanced by Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, who insists the memo’s gender assumptions were “incorrect”.

As always “not consistent” does not mean right or wrong. It means “he doesn’t agree with me, and it’s my company”. As it happens, I believe Damore makes a hell of a lot of sense. But my name isn’t Schmidt, and I’m not CEO of Google, and I do think he can run the company however the shareholders will let him, no matter how stupid. And I note that Google does appear to make money! 🙂

Domenech quotes several of his contributors in his article. As usual David Harsanyi makes a good logical case.

Gizmodo calls a Google engineer’s leaked internal memo about the company’s diversity initiatives an ‘anti-diversity screed.’ Recode calls it ‘sexist.’ Most major news organizations frame it in similar terms. The memo has gone viral. (Update: Google has fired the author for ‘perpetuating gender stereotypes.’) In reality, the problem is that a senior software engineer, perhaps unwittingly, admitted to pondering three of the most scandalous thought-crimes of contemporary American society. The first was to propose that a meritocracy might be heathier for a company than bean-counting race, ethnicity, and sex. The second is pointing that ideological diversity matters. The third, and most grievous of all the wrongthinks, is suggesting that men and women are, in general, physiologically and psychologically different from each other, and thus they tend to excel at different things.

And that my friends is the real ‘thoughtcrime’ here. Wouldn’t it be terrible if we promoted people based on their skills instead of their politics?

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