242 Years in Pictures; Happy Birthday Navy

The United States Navy was originally established as the Continental navy on 13 October 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.


At St Eustatius, in the Dutch West Indies, the brig Andrea Doria took the first salute offered by a foreign power to the US Flag. Later the man that Catherine the Great called “the greatest sailor who ever served Russia” would fight a single ship action, off Flamborough head, on the east coast of England. He won, although his ship, the Bonhomme Richard was sunk by HMS Serapis.

Her captain, John Paul Jones, when asked, after the flag was carried away if he had struck, replied, “I have not yet begun to fight”. He also passed along some wisdom which still guides the navy today,

I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.

In 1794, Congress authorized six frigates. Amongst a few other things, this convinced Paul Revere to start the Revere Copper Works, to make the copper sheets for their bottoms. You might have heard of that organization, they still make some of the best cookware in the country, copper-bottomed, of course.

Those ships, Chesapeake, Constitution, President, Congress, and Constellation, were so good, and well constructed that one of them, USS Constitution is still afloat and in commission, the oldest warship in the world to be so. HMS Victory is older but is in permanent drydock.

These were the ships that fought the quasi-war against France, The Barbary war against Tripoli, where Decatur burned the Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor, to keep the Barbary Pirates from using it. This accomplishment led Britain’s Lord Nelson to call it the most bold and daring act of the age.

In the War of 1812, credible and valorous service obtained from the fledgeling navy – until it was driven from the sea by the overwhelming force of the Royal Navy. But when the British attempted to counterinvade from Canada, the navy found a new hero in Oliver Hazzard Perry after his victory in the battle of Lake Erie ended the threat of invasion. He flew a flag with the last command of Captain Lawrence of USS Chesapeake, “Don’t give up the ship, fight her till she sinks”. His dispatch to General Harrison has become a classic.

Dear General:

We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.

Yours with great respect and esteem,
O.H. Perry

 

At Vera Cruz, during the Mexican war in concert with General Scott, the navy conducted the largest amphibious assault seen until that time, one of the toughest battle problems even to this day.

Then came the Civil War and blockade duty, and what we today call riverine war. Occasionally exciting as when Admiral Farragut commanded, “Damn the Torpedoes, full speed ahead”, at Mobile Bay. And there was a precursor as off Hampton Roads two Ironclad vessels fought each other to a standstill. These were, of course, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimac).

Then in 1898 the US Navy finished what Drake had started with the Armada in 1588, the end of the Spanish Empire, off Cuba at the battle of Santiago e Cuba the Atlantic fleet destroyed the Spanish fleet, while in Manila Bay Commodore Dewey leading in his flagship USS Olympia destroyed the local fleet, and ended up with the Philippines.

And it is here that the United States became one of the Great Powers, primarily a maritime power, like Great Britain, and for the same reason, we have always been traders, all over the world, soon we would be involved in hunting U-boats and fighting at Jutland. But we really came of age in that wars second act. After the devastating loss at Pearl Harbor.

The next few years would see the building, training and employment of the greatest fleets in the history of the world, the liberation of not only Europe but Asia as well, as the power of the New World was transported around the world to fight and to win.

On the deck of one of the most powerful battleships to ever sail, in Tokyo Harbor.

But American have always known that freedom needs safeguarding and so, the sons and grandchildren of those warriors are still on guard around the world, not that many, but hopefully enough of them. Because we still have enemies, even if they are not so clear as they once were. But still, the fleets of freedom sail, to do good to friends, and to destroy enemies, for always there are rumors of war on the horizon, and no longer will we have time to build the fleet when we need it.

And so, yesterday, on Navy Day, the President issued a statement.

13 October 2017

As Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, it is an honor to celebrate the 242nd birthday of the United States Navy.

Today, we recognize generations of brave men and women who have served in the United States Navy. Through their courage, selfless service, and unmatched professionalism, America’s sailors have projected American power on the seas, on land, and in the air. Today, the Navy continues to deter our enemies and confront the threats posed by terrorists and rogue nations around the world.

As we proudly celebrate the legacy of our Navy, we are all reminded of the duty we share to support our service members, military families, and veterans. Earlier this year, I commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford into service—marking our Nation’s renewed commitment to providing our military with the tools and technology needed to preserve peace and win any war.

We are making progress on this commitment, but we remain forever indebted to all who serve and sacrifice, Non Sibi Sed Patriae—Not For Self, But For Country. I proudly salute these American heroes, especially those who gave their lives in defense of our Nation.

May God bless the men and women of our great Navy and all our Armed Forces. And may He continue to bless the United States of America.

Donald J. Trump

Happy Birthday, Navy

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Why Are There So Many Mass Shootings Today?

Rush did a segment on this the other day, it’ strikes me as a reasonable premise. It is also an uncomfortable one

On Oct. 1, 2017, a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and injuring some 515 more.

Paddock, who had no previous criminal record, then turned one of his weapons on himself, reports say. It was the largest domestic mass shooting in U.S. history. Authorities have not yet identified a motive.

Paddock’s case has become all too familiar. The FBI has confirmed that mass shootings are on the rise, and statistics bear this out. According to Mother Jones, which tracks mass shootings (an attack involving four or more people killed indiscriminately in a public place), there have been seven mass shootings so far in 2017.

This figure is slightly higher than the annual average between 2012 and 2016 (5.8), a figure that, in turn, is nearly three times the annual average (2.0) from 2000 to 2011. As an additional point of reference, during the entire decade of the 1980s there were eight mass shootings, according to Mother Jones.

There is no shortage of theories attempting to explain the surge of violence. These theories include the large number of firearms in the U.S., “the collapse” of the American dream, a lack of mental health resources, violent movies, graphic video games, and many others.

One theory I have not seen posited is an idea proposed by the philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975). Arendt, a German-American political theorist who wrote extensively on totalitarianism, predicted that modern society would see a surge of domestic violence and social unrest.

Few humans have better understood power and the psychology of violence than Arendt. Widely considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers, she escaped Germany during the Holocaust and found refuge in America, where she became a visiting scholar at some of America’s finest academic institutions, and was Princeton’s first female lecturer.

In her classic work On Violence, Arendt discussed the ideas of power and violence at length. She begins her essay by quoting Voltaire, who said power essentially “consists in making others act as I choose.” If such a definition is true, and “if the essence of power is the effectiveness of command, then there is no greater power than that which grows out of the barrel of a gun,” she says.

But Arendt qualifed that power and violence are two very different things. In fact, she said they are diametrically opposed:

“…politically speaking, it is insufficient to say that power and violence are not the same. Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.”

True power, Arendt says, doesn’t require violence. It belongs to a group (never an individual) and it remains so long as the group stays together and can exert its will. Violence, on the other hand, is an instrument. It’s most often employed by those who lack power (a ruffian on a dark street) or by a group that feels power slipping away.

If Arendt is correct, violence is an instrument most likely to be used by those who lack power and feel powerless. And this is where she critiqued modern society.

Arendt believed that modern states had become “bogged down under the monstrous weight of their own bigness.” She saw that the bigger a state grew, the more need there was for an administrative apparatus to allow it to function. The bureaucratization of society sounds more mundane than oppressive, but Arendt saw it as an insidious and smothering force that resulted in a sort of faceless tyranny.

“…bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.”

Humans are by nature political creatures, Arendt understood. She believed the bureaucratization of society robs man of a fundamental human need: the ability to take action.

“What makes man a political being is his faculty to act,” she wrote in her 1969 essay Reflections on Violence. “And I think it can be shown that no other human ability has suffered to such an extent by the Progress of the modern age.”

And it’s here where she arrives at the correlation between bureacracy and violence:

“The greater the bureaucratization of public life, the greater will be the attraction of violence. In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one could argue, to whom one could present grievances, on whom the pressures of power could be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a tyranny without a tyrant.”

Now, one might argue that perhaps Arendt was speaking primarily of political violence. That’s certainly possible (though unclear). But in any event there is a psychological aspect to consider.

If Arendt is right that 1) violence is perpetuated primarily by those who lack power; and 2) the bureaucratization of society deprives people of the ability to act, making them feel powerless; then it stands to reason that some individuals who lack power may be seeking to feel powerful through violence. As Arendt noted, in its traditional understanding “there is no greater power than that which grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

A mass shooting is only one form of violence, of course. But is there some truth in Arendt’s larger thesis? Will we witness increased social unrest and violence as societies become increasingly bureaucratized and humans are deprived of “the faculty of action”?

This post Why Are There So Many Mass Shootings Today? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/all/themes/ito/js/ito-repub.js

I think if we look at this as objectively as we can, we will find that Ms Arendt has a very valid point. Who amongst us doesn’t get a hopeless feeling when dealing with our bureaux, and leave most of the time in a rage. The only saving grace for many of us is that we were raised as ladies and gentlemen, and so tend to be nonviolent even when furious. But I suggest there is a breaking point out there someplace that when that line is crossed all hell will break loose. Best if we control it before that point.

And yes, this too is why we got Trump!

 

Week in Pictures, Taking a Knee Edition

Well, one can’t say nobody pays attention to the NFL, can they? As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Sky News out the UK, and what I’m hearing tells us all about why Britain ain’t what it used to be. But all five of them think that the players have the support of the people and that President Trump is wrong. Well, I’m very afraid these representative of the British ruling class have lost their place. Cause I don’t see any evidence of even close to a majority of Americans agreeing with them. Bothersome as it is to some, Trump speaks for the average American here. And this being America, the marketplace will rule, and that is a very bad forecast for a brand as out-of-touch as the NFL.

My opinion is that the NFL has made the greatest marketing decision, since New Coke. Maybe worse cause I don’t think there is much of a road back. Best thing to happen to The Legends League, the NCAA, and the NHL in quite a while/

Imagine what would happen if your kid took this to school today?

You Choose!

And, of course!

mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine as usual

Week in Picture, German Election Edition

The Germans vote today, so we’ll see if they’ve had enough of the Reichskanzler, who has been in office longer than anybody since you know who. The media says yes, but if you haven’t noticed they’ve occasionally been wrong,  but were right in France, so we’ll see.

mm

This could be true in Germany, too

Headline of the week. Ach, if only it were so!

Mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine.

Have a good week. And remember

In the Belly of the Beast

So President Trump spoke to UN General Assembly yesterday. It was very good to watch the world as they saw once again what an American president looks and sounds like. One of my favorites along this line, roughly quoting from memory, “I will do what is right and proper for America, first, and the rest of the world second, and I expect all leaders of countries to do the same.” In any case, here’s the speech.

There’s a lot to like here if you’re an American patriot or a friend of America, and I found almost nothing to dislike. From “Welcome to New York” to “Rocketman” and all the way through it was pretty much a speech that should make us proud that “We, the People” chose this man, against the advice of those who would mislead us to lead us. Do I agree with everything? In this speech, pretty much. Day to day, not so much, but that’s life. Like St. Peter, I’m sometimes a bit quick with the sword, sometimes a helping hand is more appropriate, but the sword must be kept at hand.

You’ll note that there is some bleating from the purveyors of fake news sometimes called ABC at the end. The main point I’ll make about it is this. Yes, war in Korea would be a horrible, expensive, bloody mess, and we should try very hard to avoid it. But a nuclear attack on the United States, Japan, and South Korea, would be far worse. Yes, our military would take, perhaps, many casualties, and you’ll find no stronger champion of the US soldier, sailor, marine, and airman than I am, but in the last analysis, that is their job, to protect the United States and our allies. They knew that when they signed up, almost all of them, by now, when the United States was already at war. That is a price that many of our men and women have been willing to pay, from Crispus Attucks on down. And that willingness is also why we admire them so, often calling them the best of us, because they are.

But we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed because some people might die, all people die, someday. And any cause worth living for is also worth dying for. It’s wrong to throw away their lives for little reason, but it’s also wrong to be paralyzed by the fear of taking casualties.

Too often we (especially cossetted civilians) forget:

First: The Mission

Second: The People

In fact, sometimes the military itself forgets, especially in the press of events, and dealing with not enough people to do what needs doing. That is not to say our people (and their families) are not important. They are, critically so, but we cannot consider them more important than the mission, for without succeeding in the mission, their lives (and ours) are forfeit.

But for me, at least this speech marks the return of a recognizably American leadership, after an interregnum that was quite worrying on many levels, one of them well stated by General MacArthur, back in 1933, when he was Chief of Staff of the Army.

“The unfailing formula for production of morale is patriotism, selfrespect, discipline, and self–confidence within a military unit, joined with fair treatment and merited appreciation from without. It cannot be produced by pampering or coddling an army, and is not necessarily destroyed by hardship, danger, or even calamity. Though it can survive and develop in adversity that comes as an inescapable incident to service, it will quickly wither and die if soldiers come to believe themselves the victims of indifference or injustice on the part of their government, or of ignorance, personal ambition, or ineptitude on the part of their military leaders.”

Video Monday

I was doing things other than writing last night, once in a while, I like to step away from the blog, and recharge, and doing this seven days a week can get to be a pain. Okay, whinge over, and yeah, I volunteered. How about some videos today? Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched these, most of them more than once, and I like them. I think you will too. Obviously, you don’t have to watch all of them, watch the ones that interest you, but they all cover some facet of what we do here.

Steve Bannon making sense? Yep, surprising as it is.

Ben Shapiro on why your feeling don’t matter

I wish we could convince the Brits of this because it is obviously true.

The modern world is a Tudor Enterprise. Think about that for a bit. That is what one can accomplish with “the stomach of a king, and yes, a King of England”.

As we change course a bit, just who is smarter? Eh, who cares, really? But Siobahn! 🙂

We’ve said this many times: If you do not have the freedom to fail, you can not succeed.

How we got rich…

How to keep it happening:

Sense a theme here? Yep, there is one. It’s called personal responsibility. If you want to accomplish something, you need to take responsibility for it. Whether you’re Stephan Langton leading the barons to Runnymede, Queen Elizabeth humbling the greatest Empire of the age, our founders doing that humbling thing again, or the guy that wants to start the next Microsoft; you need to own it, to work hard at it, and maybe fail a few times before you get it figured out, not run to Washington, claiming to be a victim. We, the Anglophone nations built the world we live in following these simple rules, seems silly to me to quit doing something that has worked so well.

Although I suppose if I simply desired power over others without reason, simply the power of the clenched fist, I would probably dislike this world, with its emphasis on freedom and justice. Think about that.

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