“On Point” with Tomi Lahren

I thought this went up yesterday, but my files say different. So here it is!

Well, this may or may not be the way to win friends and influence people. But it is an excellent example of the use of a declarative sentence.

I couldn’t agree more with her

Iran, Hubris, Appeasement, and Despotry

Jonathan S. Tobin had some thought on the Iran treaty, they’re good thoughts, well presented, so let’s look in on them.

Following through on its strategy of trying to make Congressional approval of the Iran nuclear deal irrelevant, the Obama administration pushed through a resolutionimplementing the agreement today at the United Nations Security Council. Both Congressional Republicans and Democrats attacked that move, but that did not deter the president and his foreign policy team from following through on their plan to make an end run around Congress. This arrogant slight to the legislative branch will add fuel to the fire of critics of the Iran pact as they push to shame Democrats into making good on their past promises to insist on an agreement that would, at the very least, live up to the administration’s past promises about inspections and transparency. Yet even in the face of this presidential chutzpah and staggering betrayal of principle, the odds still heavily favor his effort to get the necessary votes from his party to sustain this strategy. Thus, while those Democrats who view their campaign pledges about both the Iranian threat and the security of Israel as still binding should be focusing on the gaping holes in the agreement, they should also ponder the presidential hubris that is at the core of this effort to marginalize their Constitutional obligation to weigh in on the most important foreign treaty signed by the United States.

That arrogance was on display yesterday as Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows. Their blithe assurances about the deal make the U.S. safer could be dismissed as mere hyperbole but their insistence that there is “no such thing in arms control as anytime, anywhere,” inspections of nuclear sites is not only a lie. It is also a direct contradiction of their past pledges on the issue. Indeed, Moniz specifically said, “We expect to have anywhere, anytime access” to Iranian military sites in April during an interview with Bloomberg.Kerry has been navigating a similar zigzag course on a host of other issues regarding the deal including that about Tehran coming clean on past military nuclear research.

Continue reading Presidential Hubris and Arrogance Drive Appeasement of Iran.

I have no argument with anything he says here, but some extension may be in order.

I usually don’t refer to this mess as appeasement, and for a reason. Chamberlain was a good, decent, and honorable man. He sincerely believed perhaps that Munich would work, and he knew that Great Britain was not ready to fight the war. The analogy I use is that Britain at the time of Munich, was in much the same spot as the United States was at the time of the Argentia Bay meeting, just starting to spool up for the fight, and with a very divided population, just coming to grips with the fact that Hitler wasn’t the comic-opera figure that they had been making fun of since at least 1933.  See Charles Utley for the best explanation of the kerfluffle of the (6-year-old Queen’s Nazi Salute). Like him, my first thought was that quote from the blitz.

When she was advised by the Cabinet to send her children (Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose) to Canada to avoid the blitz she gave a straight forward answer: “The children won’t go without me, I won’t go without the King and the King will never leave.”

That tells you all you will ever need to know about the royal family.

Iran is a completely different case, the United States can eliminate Iran whenever we care to exert ourselves, I’m rather amazed we haven’t, given the provocation. There is simply no great power contest here as there was in 1938. This is a simple sell-out of American principles (at least since 1945), and the hubris of attempting to use the UN to override the Congress is simply a continuation of Wilson’s attempt to sell off American Sovereignty to anyone but America, combined with what has become traditional for this administration, a blatant disregard for American Constitutional law.

This administration has always and continuously followed those precepts, to denigrate America in the world, and to subvert the checks and balances that have served us so well. That the current Democratic Party has gone along with this is no surprise. It has been their policy since 1972. But the feckless, mendacious, acquiescence of the rest of Congress, to their own detriment, is hard to understand, and even harder to stomach.

We have about a year and a half of this despicable president left, and then, hopefully, a major rebuilding job, if, and only if, we get our heads out of sand (or other less pleasant places) and elect people who know what it means in the modern world to lead, to have principles, in other words, to be an American. If we don’t, America, and Western Civilization itself, are likely doomed by 2020, since Europe has surrendered, and the UK seems to have lost whatever principles it ever had. It’s hard to believe Cameron has the same job as Chamberlain, let alone Churchill, he’s such a mealy-mouth cretin. And in any case, as Nigel Farage said last Friday, the EU will bleed Briain dry supporting the ones who will not work in southern Europe. A sad end for a people who have been prosperous since King Alfred the Great established the very first nation-state.

And those are the stakes, for Congress right now, and for us as citizens in the next year. Is America to continue, dragging civilization along, or simply sink into the abyss with Rome and the others. It’s up to us to decide.

Trinity

70 tears ago yesterday, the world changed. When the world’s first atomic device was triggered in New Mexico. I note that this, the American atomic program is still the fastest to ever yield a result, even though it had to do all the theoretical work, as well. I have deep qualms about the fact that the Iranians will apparently be joining this exclusive club, so far we have kept this genie bottled up. But there is still plenty of time for J. Robert Oppenheimer’s prediction, and quote, to come true.

I am become Death,

The Destroyer of Worlds

from the Bhagavad Gita.


In a sadly related event, yesterday is also the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the first landing of human beings on the moon, and their safe return.

Also, in 1960,  USS George Washington a modified Skipjack-class submarine successfully test fires the first ballistic missile while submerged.


97 years ago today, Czar Nicholas II and hs family were executed by the Bolsheviks.


And today, in 1054, three Roman legates break relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an invalidly-issued Papal bull of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy.

Overall, probably not our best day, as human beings.

 

 

A (Victorious) Nation of Shopkeepers

English: The Duke of Wellington

English: The Duke of Wellington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 15 June 1815, just over two hundred years ago, and coincidentally the six-hundredth anniversary of the signing of Magna Charta. Charlotte, the Duchess of Richmond gave a ball in Brussels. It was a glittering affair. Attending amongst many other famous names was Sir Arthur Wellesley, soon to be the first Duke of Wellington, and excepting three general officers, all the high command of the army of the Seventh Coalition. Many of them would die or be badly wounded in the next few days.

For on the 16th, the Battle of Quatre Bras took place, leading to the climax today, with the Battle of Waterloo, and the surrender and final exile of Napoleon Bonaparte to St. Helena, where for the rest of his life, the Royal Navy would make sure he would cause no more trouble.

It was a hard-fought battle, and you can easily find out more but for me, Robert Southey, in writing about an earlier English victory that would blaze down history, that at Blenheim that made the Duke of Marlborough, pretty much said it all

“With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

“They said it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

“Great praise the Duke of Marlbro’ won,
And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ’twas a very wicked thing!”
Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay … nay … my little girl,” quoth he,
“It was a famous victory.”

“And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he,
“But ’twas a famous victory.”

One other thing connected the Duke of Marlborough with the Duke of Wellington.

As well as the steadiness under fire of the soldiers that the Duke of Wellington called “scum, the very scum of the earth” commanded by officers who bought their commissions in hope of getting rich on war booty. Free enterprise warfare (sort of) and it didn’t work out too badly.

But that says something as well, doesn’t it. We commented earlier this week that there is a stubbornness in the English, there is a point beyond which, if they are pushed, they tend to wreak a terrible vengeance, whatever the cost, and it has been so since at least 1066. Magna Charta is part of that story with the humbling of a king that thought he was above the law.

It also shows up when the British took on the French in the Second French War and lost the Mary Rose at the Battle of the Solent in 1545.

Then we come to the famous one, The Armada when Imperial Spain mounted a full on Crusade against Elizabethan England. England’s royal navy not only showed them off but started the decline of Imperial Spain which the US Navy would complete at Santiago and Manila Bay in 1898.

This, of course, cleared the way for the First British Empire, That empire featured the colonies that would become the United States. Interestingly, from this point, the only major war Britain lost was the American Revolution, and I would posit that we inherited along with the traditions that include the rule of law, our full share of that stubbornness. It’s often been said that the American colonies even then could not be conquered. I think it’s true, but I think it has more to do with the people than anything else, conquering India really should have been harder than to reassert themselves in the colonies. But India succumbed and the United States didn’t.

The first empire is the setting of course for the coalition war that ended Louis XIV’s pretensions to combine France and Spain (It was called the War of the Spanish Succession for a reason). This is the war that Marlborough so stunningly waged, the first in modern times when England campaigned in Europe, to very good effect. It also was a bit of a religious war, you’ll find that England’s allies were mostly Protestant and were opposing the Catholic powers of France and Spain.

The French revolution divided English society along much the same lines as the American one had. Some supported the revolt and some the king, but when the revolution ran its course into the Terror and all semblance of rule of law was lost, opinion solidified, and when France decided to export the revolution, the war began.

And so, when Napoleon became emperor, it got pretty serious. In 1805, Napoleon gathered barges and troops around Boulogne to invade Britain, an existential threat not seen since the Armada, and not to be seen again until 1940. That threat was ended for all time at Nelson’s Victory at Trafalgar, as were the French pretensions to superpower status. It also enabled Wellington to wage the peninsular campaign that kept Portugal from falling and kept the war going in Spain as well.

Napoleon set the stage for his defeat when he decided to hold off on England and invade Russia instead, leading to the destruction of the Grand Army, and his abdication in 1814. he escaped and “The Hundred Days” ensued, ending at Waterloo.

And that set the stage for the growth of the Second Empire, one built more on trade than on the discredited theory of mercantilism that had cost Britain the First Empire. Other than opposing Russia’s drive to the Black Sea in the Crimean War (allied to France) Britain pretty much stayed out of European politics and war. This period saw the decline of France and the rise of Germany. Which at the beginning of the twentieth century led to first the Great War and then the Second World War, as the spread of Germany’s empire was checked, and indeed Germany herself all but destroyed. In large part because Hitler repeated many of Napoleons mistakes, and the British fought him off in the same old way. And then came the Cold War in which Britain and the United States managed to destroy the Soviet Empire without firing a shot in the main theater.

So, is there a common thread here? I think there is, and it’s one shared by all the English-speaking people. Leave us alone. We’ll take care of business, calmly and professionally, but if you choose to mess with us or our freedom, well, as usual, that bard of the English speaking people said it well.

Mr. President, You Have One Job

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usua...

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usually called a “standard” in official U.S. government terminology). It is defined in Executive Order 10860. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In essence, the President of the United States has one job: to protect the Republic from all enemies, foreign and domestic. So a year and a half before we hire a new guy or girl, how are we doing?

I’d say not good. There are many things wrong, the government seems to have lost its way to the point that it cannot tell the good guys from the bad ones, the productive from the moocher, the anarchist from the fascist, in essence, good from evil.

Yes, I did say good from evil. But understand this, it’s not supposed to be the President’s job to help you get a degree, let alone a useful one, nor to make sure you don’t starve because you haven’t found a job. Those things are your job, not is. If you fail, it is your problem, along with those who were foolish enough to depend on you. You don’t want to be a burger flipper that’s commendable, learn a marketable skill, and you won’t be. It would help if the government would get out of the way enough for productive people to be productive.

It would also help if the government would get out of the way enough for the health care industry to provide health care, instead of filling out forms for Leviathan.

But in a sense, none of this is the President’s primary tasking. That is, as it always has been to protect the Republic from foreign enemies. And in that the administration has failed, utterly.

As the linked article says, to be safe one needs some combination of raw power, respect, admiration, and fear. No one of them will really work. And that’s where the US is failing. Raw power is the one we have, but since we are unwilling to use it, it no longer matters. Thousands of tanks in a tank park at Fort Hood are an interesting (to some, anyway) artifact, not a symbol of power. Those same tanks rampaging down ‘Thunder Road’ in Iraq are an unmistakable sign that one is extremely unwise to poke at the Eagle, overmuch.

Notice anybody refraining from that poking lately? Yeah, me either. Here’s why.

The United States is no longer a serious country.

Now, by this I do not mean that America is no longer a super-power. By any gross indicator of strength, the United States is as powerful as it’s ever been, perhaps more powerful than at any time in its history. It has a massive, highly productive economy, a military second to none, and an alliance that dwarfs all possible competitors. On paper, it’s still the only super-power on this planet (or on any other that we know of, so far).

But the status of a great nation is built on more than raw power. It includes intangible qualities like respect, admiration, and, yes, fear. We don’t need all three of them; no major power does. But we need at least one of them at any given moment, and right now, we’re bottoming out in each of these measures. President Obama may insist that America is now “the most respected country on Earth”—a claim even the normally more forgiving folks at PolitiFact rate as only “half-true”—but the Russians, Iranians, and Chinese clearly disagree, and for good reason.

The Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management is the most recent, and most obvious, example of how our status is going down the drain. This is a disaster of unimaginable proportions. The intelligence damage, including security-clearance information, will last for decades. (I, of course, am one of the millions of federal workers waiting to find out if my files are now in Beijing.) Almost as shocking as the size of this breach, however, is the fact that no one seems to care very much, including the Chinese, who have shown no concern at all.

An Act of War, Ignored

In any normal world, a super-power would not tolerate this kind of an attack. Perhaps more accurately, a true super-power would never have to endure such an attack in the first place, because other nations would be loath to engage in such a direct act of open hostility. States do lousy things to each other all day long, but the wholesale and brazen theft of personnel records is a different kind of espionage. The scale is so vast that it is a direct challenge to the United States of America.

Countries, as a rule, do not do whatever they can do, they do what they think they can get away with.

Contunue reading: America, The Unserious Super-Power. Emphasis mine.

Seems to me when saudi Arabia and Israel find that they have more in c0mmon with each other than they do with theUnited states, something has goe deeply wrong.

We are pretty much stuck with this until 20 January 2017, but we would be perhaps wise to start thinking ait now. And keep it uppermost in our minds as we think about a new prsident.

Women and Harley’s and Power and War

rftw-flag-bikesSometimes, in my more cynical moments, I think the Monday Holiday Law was enacted to make us forget the cause of the holiday. Proof, I suspect, if you needed it, that I have my full share of the traditional American distrust of the government and all its doings. It may be misplaced but, I’ve always found it a good guide.

But sometimes it backfires because it gives us more time to reflect, and this Memorial Day is one of those for me. As I mentioned last Saturday when General Logan issued the orders to the Grand Army of the Republic that instituted Decoration Day, he specified that it should be done on 30 May, and frankly moving it to 25 May is nearly too far. But there is nothing really wrong with America’s memory, and we know both what and why we celebrate it.

Bruce Catton in describing a route march of the Federal army observed that march discipline was terrible with stragglers all over the place, where men stopped for a drink and a rest and all. He also noted that when the battle lines were drawn all those stragglers were right there, and no armies ever had better battle discipline.

Not because the officers demanded it, a few thought discipline should be like the regulars, but the volunteers, with their mostly elected officers weren’t having it. He made the comment that Billy and Johnny were very much like GI Joe that he knew in the forties as well. American armies always have a sort of loose-jointed, lanky discipline. Pretty much everything important gets done, and on time, but there’s not much spit and polish in evidence.

And that is about as American as it gets, ad hoc, informal, git ‘er done. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about this Memorial; Day: Rolling Thunder. What could be more American than a bunch of veterans, sick of being ignored because of the war they fought in, getting together to commemorate their comrades, and all the others, from Washington on down to those still ‘downrange’.

Stanton S. Coerr wrote movingly about it in The Federalist.

Yesterday, nearly a million sunburned Americans converged on Washington DC’s National Mall for the Rolling Thunder Run, a combination memorial event and motorcycle rally held since 1988. Hundreds of thousands were mounted, roaring one at a time along the nation’s front yard; more than half a million watched from sidewalks, ice cream in hand, yelling and cheering from the sidelines. Wives rode pillion, and flags snapped and streamed behind the bikes: the Stars and Stripes; POW/MIA flags; Navy unit crests; Marine Corps colors; Ranger flags; the yellow and black of the Airborne.

Devoted to good Detroit steel and unmuffled V-twin combustion from Harley Davidsons built in the heartland America of small-town Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Missouri, these veterans celebrate every year, in booming engines and determined presence, the American fighting man. […]

They started gathering early Sunday morning in the parking lot of the Pentagon, that building which sent them to war and their friends to early graves. Looking up from the rally point, these riders could see the Arlington gardens of white stone, thousands of acres of perfect, serried ranks where their brothers lie. Standing sentinel above those rows of crosses and Stars of David, looking out at Washington, is the house which came through the Washington family to Robert E. Lee, and which the Union took from him, its land appropriated for the graves of the Union fallen in the War Between the States.

Low and right of that house, riders could just see above the trees the American flag flying above the Iwo Jima Memorial, Joe Rosenthal’s photo come to life, commemorating the fallen of the Marine Corps’ wars. Carved into black stone on the base of that monument are the dates and wars in which Marines have fought….but only wars which are complete. Iraq and Afghanistan are absent. […]

The Harleys flowed, too. They passed monuments to America’s best moments and her worst: the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the National Museum of African American History under construction, the White House, the Capitol, the National Museum of the American Indian. Black leather, black bandannas, black helmets, black motorcycles, black POW/MIA flags snapping in their breeze, they motored past the quiet white buildings of the United States: government agencies, art galleries. They passed within feet of the National Archives, engine noise thrumming in the rooms that hold the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. They passed the block-long glass of the Air and Space Museum, the busiest museum in the world, a monument to the strength and can-do know-how of Americans who conquered the skies, won our wars and put men on the moon.

All of this is America. The roads of Rolling Thunder– Independence and Constitution – are bookends to the ideals for which these men joined and fought, and for which their friends died. […]

Returning to Virginia, the bikers did what Americans do. They shut down the bikes and men, women, and engines cooled. They gathered. Some went to visit their brothers in Bobby Lee’s backyard, leaving totems atop the cool white stone: rocks and unit patches and jump wings and bottles of Jack, cards and boots and bullet casings. They turned for the cameras and left space for their brother between their knees. They put their arms on one another’s shoulders and looked at the frozen lives, carved now into the nation’s stone. And they wept.

Reads it all at: In Washington, Motorcycle-Mounted Veterans Remember Their Own

And that too strikes as so very American, veterans parading in good order and discipline without any real semblance of leadership, while the American people cheer. Jess has told us several times that in Britain the military is nearly monastic, separated from the people most of the time. Not here, the American military is the darling of the people, well, the no nonsense folks from the Heartland anyway, it’s quite rare for a soldier out here to buy his own beer. And this in a country that at it’s founding abolished the Army because of its threat to domestic tranquility.

Orwell was right you know, we sleep safe in our beds because of rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.

I spoke above of how the Civil War soldiers always showed up for battle, and here is why, then, and now, they are a band of brothers, who fight for each other, the question really is always, “Who were you with?”

What’s it all mean? Perhaps as usual Kipling put it best.

We cleansed our beards of the mutton-grease,
We lay on the mats and were filled with peace,
And the talk slid north, and the talk slid south,
With the sliding puffs from the hookah-mouth.
Four things greater than all things are, --
Women and Horses and Power and War.
We spake of them all, but the last the most,
For I sought a word of a Russian post,
Of a shifty promise, an unsheathed sword
And a grey-coat guard on the Helmund ford. […]
 
"Heart of my heart, is it meet or wise
To warn a King of his enemies?
We know what Heaven or Hell may bring,
But no man knoweth the mind of the King.
Of the grey-coat coming who can say?
When the night is gathering all is grey.
Two things greater than all things are,
The first is Love, and the second War.
And since we know not how War may prove,
Heart of my heart, let us talk of Love!"

Although perhaps today we should substitute Harley’s for horses, since they perform much the same function, and that throbbing sound of power is also America at its best

I think General Logan would approve

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