We Don’t Need You Guys Anymore and St Barbera

1-_mzoec5laodpkm-ovxhbeaAt the Reagan National Defense Forum, former Vice-President Dick Cheney did a panel with CNN’s Barbera Starr. Pretty good stuff from one of the deep thinkers about defense. Here’s the bit we all like:

I think he needs to be careful but he’ll learn as he goes along. I think he is putting some brains and good people with him. I am a big fan of Mike Pence. I know Mike well from his 12 years in the House and I think he’s a great choice as Vice President. He’s going to play a major role. I think Mr. Trump is taking very, very seriously the job that he has gotten now. Staffing up the administration.

I think one of the reasons people get so concerned about the tweets is it is sort of a way around the press. He doesn’t have to rely upon, uh, rely upon — this is the modern era, modern technology. He’s at the point where we don’t need you guys anymore. Here’s the video

via Cheney To CNN’s Barbara Starr: Trump Took Us To Point Where We Don’t Need You Guys Anymore | Video | RealClearPolitics

And speaking of Barbera, December fourth was the feast day of St. Barbera, the patron saint of the Field Artillery. Here’s the story from War is Boring

Legend has is that Dioscorus, a wealthy fourth-century pagan living in what is now Turkey, locked his daughter Barbara in a tower to shelter her from the world.

His plan didn’t work. Barbara converted to Christianity and reconstructed a bath house Dioscorus had built for her, modifying it so its windows would form a trinity of light. In a rage, Dioscurus murdered Barbara before “he was struck down and consumed by a blinding flash of lightning,” the 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division explained on its website.

Why the 11th Marine Regiment — an artillery unit — is interested in the legend of Saint Barbara, recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, is part of a curious but long-standing tradition among artillery troops in Europe and North America.

“Barbara came to be regarded as the sainted patroness of those in danger from thunderstorms, fire, explosions that is to say, sudden death,” the U.S. Field Artillery Association noted. “Given the questionable reliability of early cannon misfires, muzzle bursts and exploding weapons were not uncommon — it is easy to see why our predecessors sought the protection of Saint Barbara.”

“She has protected us well ever since.”

via: Raise a Toast to the Patron Saint of Field Artillery

In atonement, here is my favorite recipe for Artillery Punch.

Artillery Punch

by Laurie Helmich

 

1 pound sugar                    1 quart champagne

3 lemons                           1 quart Old Jamaica Rum

2 oranges                          1-quart sherry

1-quart strong tea              2-pint brandy

 

Put sugar in the bowl, add grated rind of three lemons, juice of two lemons, juice of two oranges, pour in boiling tea. Cover and cool. When cool, add rum, sherry, and brandy. Chill. When ready to serve, add champagne. Dilute with one or two quarts of soda for other branches of service.

 

The preceding recipe courtesy of the Officers’ Wives’ Cookbook, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

It is also recommended that your Aide is prepared to lead your horse home.

Engineering Club Sensible

electoral-smallBy outlook, if not degree, I’m an engineer. My basic question is always, “Will it work, as designed, and can we build and run it on budget (or below)?” As far as I’m concerned, it’s what built the world we live in. It has nothing whatsoever to do with good intentions, it has much indeed to do with elegance. Maybe this is our year because it’s overwhelmingly a real world philosophy. It’s also overtly American, because America epitomizes the practical, yes, Americans are a very idealistic people, but down at bedrock, almost every American asks, “Does it work?”

Catherine Priestley wrote something about this the other day in The Spectator. Here’s some of it.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it is that the times are changing. When news of the Trump victory unfolded across the world, we watched from Sydney University’s Manning Bar. Never had it been so packed. Students piled in to watch history, all-consumed by the bright red map of America flashing on the screen.

My engineering friends bought me a beer and together we observed the room. On one side were slumped shoulders, ashen faces and tears from tragic left-wing students, whose world-view had suffered the rejection of the ballot box. The other side was a sea of red caps and raucous applause with each Trump gain; the unmistakable ecstasy of a formerly ostracised group, finally on the ascent.

The engineers are sensible people and don’t really belong to either extreme. Instead, they drink to democracy and are glad that a blow has at last been struck against political correctness. They talk excitedly of how they’d improve the data analysis of flawed polling and have a purely factual discussion about how the construction of the wall might be done. The upending of the status quo means the engineers, typically outsiders who stick to an isolated building on campus far away from frenzied student politics, are now invigorated to participate.

Leading up to Trump’s victory, one could sense change in the air. Doomsday articles threatening stock market crashes, polls that placed Trump firmly behind; all had a Brexit parallel about them. When Joe Hockey addressed the US Studies Centre the week before Trump’s election, he said that 70 per cent of Americans felt the country was heading in the wrong direction. ‘This is normally a game changer in politics,’ he remarked. […]

Although uncertainty is trending, one thing we can be sure of is that Outsiders everywhere are on the rise. In general, they are a broad alignment of people across all parties and factions who share a love of common sense and find themselves more consequential to politics now than they have been for some time. Perhaps they find themselves on the Left, but feel isolated due to the dogma of political correctness and identity politics. Or they are of the Right and have become angry with the authoritarian Insiders who appear to restrict personal freedoms. Either way, they are all members of what the late Christopher Pearson might have termed ‘Club Sensible’. While major parties appear to fragment and shrink in these changing times, Club Sensible’s membership base steadily grows.

via Engineering Club Sensible | The Spectator

I think she’s on to something here. That map at the top of the page, is about as red as I’ve ever seen, and overwhelmingly, the red parts are where people deal with the real world, you know the one where reality rules and good intentions don’t cut it.

Will Trump fix the world? No. But he may well drain at least some of the swamp, although that might anger some of the alligators that are up to our ass. We all know it out here, “No good deed goes unpunished,” we say. That’s all right, we also say, “What must be done, will be done.”

And so far, from the quality of the people he is picking, well, I’m very encouraged. It looks to me like he is picking some of the best of America, and that is the mark of the first-rate leader. That’s something that every grunt on a job site or enlisted soldier knows, but a whole lot of officers forget when they get stars in their eyes. But not all of them.

There’s a reason why 3d US Army had the fewest casualties while conquering the most ground back there in 1944. It was called “Lucky”. If I was an opponent of America’s, I would be praying very hard, because I think its new name may well be ‘Chaos’.

We’ve also been known to say with Jim Lovell, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who
watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.”

bad-decisions

Enough Said

 

And remember, always

It is the Soldier

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Father Denis Edward O’Brien, USMC

Carrier Blinks, Jobs Stay, Trump Wins |

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

Well, well, well, look at that, Carrier with all the noise about domestic manufacturing jobs decided it would be a good idea to stay in Indianapolis. Undoubtedly they are correct. From the NY Times

From the earliest days of his campaign, Donald J. Trump made keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States his signature economic issue, and the decision by Carrier, the big air-conditioner company, to move over 2,000 of them from Indiana to Mexico was a tailor-made talking point for him on the stump.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump and Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor and the vice president-elect, plan to appear at Carrier’s Indianapolis factory to announce a deal with the company to keep roughly 1,000 jobs in the state, according to officials with the transition team as well as Carrier.

Mr. Trump will be hard-pressed to alter the economic forces that have hammered the Rust Belt for decades, but forcing Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies, to reverse course is a powerful tactical strike that will hearten his followers even before he takes office.

“I’m ready for him to come,” said Robin Maynard, a 24-year veteran of Carrier who builds high-efficiency furnaces and earns almost $24 an hour as a team leader. “Now I can put my daughter through college without having to look for another job.”

It also signals that Mr. Trump is a different kind of Republican, willing to take on Big Business, at least in individual cases.

And just as only a confirmed anti-Communist like Richard Nixon could go to China, so only a businessman like Mr. Trump could take on corporate America without being called a Bernie Sanders-style socialist. If Barack Obama had tried the same maneuver, he’d probably have drawn criticism for intervening in the free market.

via Carrier Blinks, Jobs Stay, Trump Wins |

The Times goes on with comments from Robert Reich and such. I don’t disagree, part of the reason it worked this time for Trump/Pence is that pence is Indiana’s Governor, and Trump speaks business. I suspect part of it is also that Carrier is owned by United Technologies, one of the big defense contractors, who undoubtedly don’t want any troubles with the administration, if they can help it.

All that said, it’s good news, and it goes to the point that relocating to Mexico is a rather marginal cost-savings, usually. I can remember when we had a Monroe shock absorber plant here, it was the old Rancho suspension plant, built in the 50s or 60s, a few years ago it moved to Mexico, now it’s off in Asia somewhere. Apparently, the Mexicans didn’t work cheap enough either. By the way, they couldn’t get the plant sold, so a few weeks ago they bulldozed it, it ain’t coming back. The tax breaks weren’t good enough, likely.

He won’t win them all, but it’s a good start: when you can save 1000 jobs in December before you are even inaugurated. That’s a thousand jobs that Obama couldn’t have saved.

Castro, and the Reaction

Mom really did say that if you don’t have anything good to say about someone, especially a dead someone, then say nothing. It’s a good rule, helping avoid social friction and silly irritations.

But I’m not sure that it really holds for public discourse on the death of public enemies. I can’t really imagine Winston Churchill, or Harry Truman, mouthing empty platitudes about Adolph Hitler, can you? That’s why I think the last few days have been quite instructive. Tell me who a man idolizes, and I’ll tell you what he wants to be.

President Obama

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.

Former President Jimmy Carter

Rosalynn and I share our sympathies with the Castro family and the Cuban people on the death of Fidel Castro. We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country. We wish the Cuban citizens peace and prosperity in the years ahead.

Jesse Jackson

In many ways, after 1959, the oppressed the world over joined Castro’s cause of fighting for freedom & liberation-he changed the world. RIP

Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau

It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.

Jeremy Corbyn (British Labour Party leader)

“He managed to bring good quality health services to all the people of Cuba, good quality education to all the people of Cuba and, of course, he had a foreign policy which was global, but particularly important in Southern Africa in supporting Angola against the apartheid regime.”

You can make what you wish of all that, I know I will. But around here we read (and have even lived some) history. And we know some things, such as Fidel Castro actually wanted a nuclear war, even though Cuba would have been wiped out in the first 15 minutes, since at that moment, better than half of the US military was targeted on it.

Here, via Powerline, is an excerpt from a letter Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev sent to Castro after the Cuban missile crisis:

 

In your cable of October 27 you proposed that we be the first to carry out a nuclear strike against the enemy’s territory. Naturally you understand where that would lead us. It would not be a simple strike, but the start of a thermonuclear world war.

Dear Comrade Fidel Castro, I find your proposal to be wrong, even though I understand your reasons. We have lived through a very grave moment, a global thermonuclear war could have broken out. Of course the United States would have suffered enormous losses, but the Soviet Union and the whole socialist bloc would have also suffered greatly.

It is even difficult to say how things would have ended for the Cuban people. First of all, Cuba would have burned in the fires of war. Without a doubt the Cuban people would have fought courageously but, also without a doubt, the Cuban people would have perished heroically.

We struggle against imperialism, not in order to die, but to draw on all of our potential, to lose as little as possible, and later to win more, so as to be a victor and make communism triumph.

But there really are rational people out there.

Former PM @TonyAbbottMHR says Fidel Castro was a brutal dictator and ‘his legacy is a bad one’. #agenda#auspolhttps://t.co/6efamtvlRp

— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust)

US Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX)

Fidel Castro’s death cannot bring back his thousands of victims, nor can it bring comfort to their families. Today we remember them and honor the brave souls who fought the lonely fight against the brutal Communist dictatorship he imposed on Cuba.

US Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL)

Fidel Castro seized power promising to bring freedom and prosperity to Cuba, but his communist regime turned it into an impoverished island prison. Over six decades, millions of Cubans were forced to flee their own country, and those accused of opposing the regime were routinely jailed and even killed.

Sadly, Fidel Castro’s death does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders, and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted. The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not. And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people.

And above all, President Elect Donald Trump.

Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.

Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.

While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.

Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.

I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.

That is a proper American statement on the death of a tyrant, who spent 60 years butchering his citizens err prisoners. I think Reagan would approve. Simple decency prevents us saying good things about almost purely evil people.

Assuming he likely did not make a good confession, may the Lord grant him his justice, and may his soul burn in Hell forever.

100 Days and Firing Squads

In case you missed it, PE Trump called a meeting with some of the major media figures and unloaded some truth on them. Needless to say, they didn’t like it. Well, one gets to lie in the bed one makes, and Trump, like many of us, is apparently tired of being lied about. Bill Whittle had something to say about it, as well.

Here, listen to the man, not the spin.

Nothing here that troubles me in the least, nor is there anything extra-legal. Too often our leadership has forgotten that the primary purpose of the US Government is to defend and support the United States. Trump seems to understand that.

Soon we will speak here of the people he has asked to join him in the government, while some would not be my choices, they look to me like a very strong team. In fact, they echo the old canard, “First-rate men hire the best men they can find, second-rate men hire third-rate men, and third-rate men hire lackeys who tell them what they want to hear. More to come on this, and soon.

 

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