Big Stick, Swinging

USS Porter
Photo by: DDG-78

Well, events made me look pretty smart, yesterday, although in the wrong theater. Even as I was writing about taking the North Korean nuclear program apart, the USN was destroying a Syrian air base, that had been used to mount the latest chemical attack on his own civilians. Not surprisingly, I have no problem with that.

It was quite the strike, with upwards of 50 Tomahawk TLAMS launched from the USS Porter, and the USS Ross. The TLAM has about a 1000 lb payload, so it’s a serious weapon. I do read there were problems, and strike results weren’t that good. Mostly because it was necessary to notify Russia, before the strike, and air assets are, by definition, quite mobile. Still, our point was made.

Here’s the video from the Porter.

I do find it interesting that after the last eight years of do-nothingism, the strike was greeted with near unanimous approval, only, Russia, Iran, and Syria objecting. Actually, it’s likely that North Korea does as well, but perhaps it wasn’t the day of the week that the internet is turned on there.

There’s an old saying that a man is known by the enemies he makes. If so, being enemies with the lot mentioned above is hardly the worst thing that could happen to America.

Scott Johnson makes a few points, including that at his press conference with King Abdullah, when asked about the gas attack, the President said this.

It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. Many, many lines.

There are a couple of messages in that, one there is a new sheriff in town, who is not amenable to such stuff, and secondly, he may just do something about it. And he did.

Scott also writes this,

[…]

2. Like President Reagan when he fired the striking air traffic controllers in 1981, President Trump sent several messages with the action taken last night. Here are three of them. The Obama era in American foreign policy is over. He doesn’t issue empty threats.

3. President Obama sought to tie the United States down in the world like the Lilliputians did Gulliver. Among the instruments employed by Obama to restrain the United States was the United Nations. President Trump gave the United Nations the opportunity to weigh in yesterday. When it failed to act, Trump proceeded. Again, the Obama era in foreign policy is over.

4. Trump acted with decisive force to achieve a limited objective. He could have gone further to remove more of Assad’s assets. If the goal was limited to deter Assad from doing what he did again, however, I think it highly likely that the mission was accomplished.

Yup.

Mollie Hemingway also wrote about the strike, saying this:

However, there is a national interest case for striking Syria this week that is easier to make than the case for full-fledged war with Syria, which requires much more discussion and for which congressional approval should be sought. Some would argue that congressional approval should have been sought even for the limited strikes, and a representative case was made here in 2013 when the issue last flared.

That Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin gas against civilians is significant in multiple ways. Yes, al-Assad has been brutally killing people for years, but the use of chemical weapons is a violation of a treaty Syria has signed, and a violation of a norm that Americans have an interest in upholding.

I agree with her, the strike is fully justified, as a repeat would be. Ground operations may be, but they should be only considered after consulting Congress, and the people. Too many times have we gone off on operations without a clear idea of what our objectives are, let alone what a victory looks like. Even for the United States, military hardware, and especially our people are limited in number and should be husbanded, not expended in sideshows.

All in all, and exemplary operation. BZ to all hands.

Hubris, meet Nemesis

msmprop4Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote for the Hoover Institution. As usual, it’s outstanding.

Donald Trump conducted a press conference recently as if he were a loud circus ringmaster whipping the media circus animals into shape. The establishment thought the performance was a window into an unhinged mind; half the country thought it was a long overdue media comeuppance.

The media suffer the lowest approval numbers in nearly a half-century. In a recent Emerson College poll, 49 percent of American voters termed the Trump administration “truthful”; yet only 39 percent believed the same about the news media.

Every president needs media audit. The role of journalists in a free society is to act as disinterested censors of government power—neither going on witch-hunts against political opponents nor deifying ideological fellow-travelers.

Sadly, the contemporary mainstream media—the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN), the traditional blue-chip newspapers (Washington Post, New York Times), and the public affiliates (NPR, PBS)—have lost credibility. They are no more reliable critics of President Trump’s excesses than they were believable cheerleaders for Barack Obama’s policies.

Trump may have a habit of exaggeration and gratuitous feuding that could cause problems with his presidency. But we would never quite know that from the media. In just his first month in office, reporters have already peddled dozens of fake news stories designed to discredit the President—to such a degree that little they now write or say can be taken at face value.

A loud and blatant truth there, if you wish to lose whatever credibility you have all you have to do is take sides, while continuing to maintain that you are objective. True for me, true for you, true for the New York Times. Although I wouldn’t know, since I have no pet birds, I have no reason to support overpriced birdcage liners. But to be serious, even as a blogger, I exercise a modicum of judgment, whether something is likely true, possible, or simply propaganda, there are many stories you don’t see here because even with the wide reading I do, I only saw it once, or it’s simply too unlikely. Whatever, if I’m not convinced, it doesn’t get posted.

VDH does an outstanding job of running down the ‘bill of particulars’ that have damned the MSM in this country, no need to do it here, so read the link.

We are now in a media arena where there are no rules. The New York Times is no longer any more credible than talk radio; CNN—whose reporters have compared Trump to Hitler and gleefully joked about his plane crashing—should be no more believed than a blogger’s website. Buzzfeed has become like the National Inquirer.

Trump now communicates, often raucously and unfiltered, directly with the American people, to ensure his message is not distorted and massaged by reporters who have a history of doing just that. Unfortunately, it is up to the American people now to audit their own president’s assertions. The problem is not just that the media is often not reliable, but that it is predictably unreliable. It has ceased to exist as an auditor of government. Ironically the media that sacrificed its reputation to glorify Obama and demonize Trump has empowered the new President in a way never quite seen before. At least for now, Trump can say or do almost anything he wishes without media scrutiny—given that reporters have far less credibility than does Trump.

Trump is the media’s Nemesis—payback for its own hubris.

Emphasis mine and via Presidential Payback For Media Hubris | Hoover Institution.

I have nothing to add to that.

The Anglo-Saxons are Awake!

w1056-5Blaming the responsible

 

And yes, they are fundamentally unserious

 

 

Steve Hayward took a look at the beginning of the Berkely riots. Here is what he saw

Berkeley still has rent control, but it hasn’t stopped Milo Yiannapoulos from living rent-free in the heads of the left. So in another triumph for his ironic performance art, a mini-riot has forced the cancelation of his speech here tonight. I turned up for the beginning of the protest at 5 pm, and it was pretty silly sounding and unimpressive. But I noticed there were TV helicopters circling around above the university, and then I started noticing the professional rioters starting to infiltrate. They were obvious for wearing black apparel an having their faces covered in bandanas or something. There were a lot of people on the periphery talking on their cell phones in what looked like a purposeful way. So I thought the better part of valor was to withdraw from the scene.

Pardon me, but that sounds very much like the professional rioters colluded with the news media, in a planned riot. Is it so? I don’t know, but an investigation wouldn’t hurt.

At the Cologne meeting of European Nationalists, Marine le Pen, who is leading in the French polls, really brought it. The line that stands out for me, is this: “The Anglo-Saxons are Awake! The Continent Is Next!”

 

It’s going to be a very interesting year.

 

Trump’s Immigration Order ≠ Hitler

From Bookworm Room

From Bookworm Room

From Bookworm Room. Long and well worth your time.

The Progressives on my real-me Facebook feed are having a collective mental collapse in response to President Trump’s new immigration order. Typically, their behavior is predicated, not upon actual facts, but upon media propaganda and their own factual and historic ignorance. This post will rebut the worst, most misleading of these arguments, which is the claim Jews and all other decent people must accept unlimited refugees from Muslim countries because Hitler.

My Facebook feed is being inundated with the fallacy holding that, unless we allow unlimited immigration from those seven terrorist-fomenting Muslim countries, we’re no better than America in the late 1930s, when it refused to allow in Jewish refugees, most of whom perished in the Holocaust. [My Twitter feed as well. Neo]

Most especially, because I am a Jew, the Progressives insist I should be on the front-line in the war against the immigration order, screaming “Stop! Don’t take any of these people in the country.” This is a morally evil argument predicated upon ignorance and misrepresentation. […]

We have to begin by remembering who the Jews were and what they were facing:

The Jews were a Europeanized people tied to the same Biblical morality and cultural tradition as America’s Christian majority. As was true for Americans, Jews abided by the Ten Commandments — unsurprising, given that it was Jews who introduced those same commandments to the Christians. As Dennis Prager has explained in his excellent Ten Commandments series of videos, these Commandments serve as the basis for a high functioning, safe, moral community.

The Jews were highly literate and the ones from Western Europe had advanced professional skills that meshed well with and, indeed, added to the American skill set. Many were as, if not more, sophisticated than the majority of Americans.

Most importantly, their grounding in Torah meant that they were exceptionally law-abiding. Not only do the vast majority play by general rules governing good citizenship, they never engaged in rape as a means of conquest, honor killing, genital mutilation, systemic discrimination, or genocidal ideology. Taking them into America would not have affected American values, nor would it have put American citizens at risk of mass rape, female mutilation, torture, or murder on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, or sexual orientation.

The Jews were also on the receiving end of an utterly unprecedented, completely aberrant, attempt in the modern era to destroy an entire race of people. Europe, of course, had always practiced a deadly antisemitism, but it was sort of like an endemic disease: It appeared randomly, it never killed everyone, and the disease’s victims (i.e., the Jews) had learned to adapt to it.  They survived and, in Enlightenment Europe, they even thrived.

Hitler’s approach was entirely different. It wasn’t an endemic problem. It was, instead, a pandemic disease that had a 100% mortality rate for Jews. Even worse for those poor Jews, there were no contiguous nations immune to the disease. While righteous individuals in those nations took a stand, most of them eagerly embraced the sickness.

Another notable fact about the Jewish refugees was that they were women and children (think of the few thousand children whose lives were saved by the Kindertransport). Young men were not overly represented. Instead, applications involving older men came from intact families with men who were no longer of fighting age (rather like the highly cultured, peaceful family of Otto Frank, father to Anne).

Now let’s look at the Muslims who Progressives insist are analogous to the Jews:

Middle Eastern Muslims, especially the ones from the list of terrorist-promoting countries (a list Obama’s team compiled) are not people who share America’s Biblical morality and cultural traditions. Indeed, their mores are often the complete opposite of ours. As foolish Europeans have already discovered, the citizens from Muslim countries such as those on the Trump list come from cultures that aggressively advocate mass rape, pedophilia, honor killings, genital mutilation, the erasure of women through veils and sequestering, the slaughter of gays, and discrimination (often murderous) against other faiths, especially Judaism.

Regarding that last point, do remember that Muslims aren’t shy about their hatred for Jews. After the Jews refused to recognize Mohamed as their prophet he, in a remarkably un-saint-like way, got petty. He began by denigrating Jews and, as his wounded ego festered, began to demand their deaths.

via Trump’s immigration order does not mark the second coming of Hitler Go and read it all, I’ll wait.

OK, got all that? She’s right you know, completely and utterly right. She also says this.

Oh, and speaking of those wealthy countries, they border the lands from which the refugees come, they share the refugees’ culture, and they have significant space and resources for handling refugees. In other words, unlike the Jews during the 1930s and 1940s, there are contiguous nations that ought to be perfect refuges for those suffering in Syria from the war, or those suffering elsewhere from the burden of their own culture.

It’s worth noting that all these wealthy Muslim countries refuse to touch with a ten-foot pole their Muslim compatriots from countries on the terror-sponsoring list. They know, as Europe is learning, that while Saudi Arab and Qatar and Kuwait have exerted some control on Islam’s worst impulses, the incoming refugees will wreak havoc with and destroy their fragile, wealth-driven stability.  Put another way, people who are religiously wedded to hatred and ignorance, many of whom are illiterate as well, are not good immigrants, and that’s true even if they travel to countries that share with them a slightly more civilized (or at least tightly controlled) version of their culture. […]

When your Progressive friends get all shrill and weepy about the fact that President Trump, using terrorist data from the Obama administration, has put a 90-day hold on the influx of dangerous people from a perpetually hate-filled, ignorant, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-Hindu part of the world, in order to come up with immigration systems that can more readily separate the more violent immigrants from the ordinary lumpen mass of people steeped in medieval hatred, comfort yourself with the thought that Trump is on the side of morality and wisdom. A President’s first job is to protect Americans. This is not the same as shutting our eyes while people die abroad. This is a sober, compassionate evaluation that says we cannot save others if we cannot first save ourselves.

In contrast, the Progressives are, as always, completely ignorant. Moreover, as always, they unable to separate the more serious, substantive facts from their complete reliance on emotionally manipulative, extremely shallow, propaganda pictures and headlines. Getting our policy ideas from the Left is a sure recipe for national disaster.

Oh, one more thing:  For a clear-eyed view of just how reasonable Trump’s policy is, and how consistent it is with American policy both before and during the Obama era, you must read David French’s analysis of the new policy. Keep in mind as you read it that French is not a Trump fan, so this is not a blind, slobbering love letter.

Emphasis mine.

The Constitution says this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article 2, Section 1 says this:

The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. …

Article 2, Section 2 says this

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments,….

Article 2, Section 3 says this

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

Got that? We, the people of the United States (yes, that means the citizens, and perhaps legal aliens) commissioned the President, currently Donald Trump, to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, of these United States.

We did not elect him to please a bunch of Progressives whose every utterance is a denial of the above words, of the German Chancellor, of the Iranian Mullahs, or even a bunch of British luvvies. His job is to defend us, the people of the United States, in the words of the oath that every other American official (as well as naturalized citizen) takes, “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” While preserving our liberties, not anybody else’s. It may be and often is, “necessary and expedient” to preserve other people’s as well. That is why we fought Hitler, as well as Japan, but it is not mandated.

It is certainly beyond (and contrary to) his commission to aid and abet the importation of possible terrorists (of any kind, but Islamic at this point) into America.

Clear enough?

I thought so.

Marching for Life, Trump, and May

What’s this, I hear, more videos? Well, yeah, they do something that my words about something can’t. And right now, things are moving so fast, I can’t keep up anyway. And that’s a very good thing! 🙂

We talked a bit about Mrs. May’s speech yesterday, here it is.

 

Here’s President Trump at the same event.

 

Pretty good speech, I think, and considerably more thoughtful than you’d expect.

In something more important than politics, yesterday was the 44th March for Life, and if nobody told you, we are winning. Abortions are now lower than they were in 1973 when Roe v Wade came down. I noticed that Trump was again effective, and the March got more coverage from the media than it usually does (none, even with half a million, or more people in the streets)!

Maybe someday, we will actually win, it begins to seem so. Here’s Kellyanne Conway

 

Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Anglican, Evangelical, and even none, marching together to return to respecting the very first of our liberties: Life, itself.

And here’s VP Mike Pence.

It is time soon to end this desecration, killing the next generation. The Culture of Death must end.

Gove on Trump

So Donald Trump gave an interview the other day, to Michael Gove and Kai Diekmann of Bild. Gove’s impressions were written up in the £ Times, it’s pretty interesting. So let’s look at some of it.

During the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump had an insult for every rival. Marco Rubio was “little Marco” and Jeb Bush was “low energy Jeb”. These jibes were more than just debating techniques to unsettle his opponents. They were carefully designed to draw a contrast between The Donald and The Others. Because when you meet him you realise there is nothing, absolutely nothing, small-scale or low-wattage about America’s president-elect.

Donald J Trump appears like a man who has been plugged into some power source where the dial has been turned up to levels well beyond what the safety regulations would recommend. His skin glows a sodium orange, his hair is blonder than any human you will have encountered and his clothes are in primary colours so bold they make everyone else in the room seem dowdy.

Ever since a Virginia farmer called George Washington launched his bid for glory, the British have had a tendency to underestimate American presidents. Especially Republicans. When Abraham Lincoln was in the White House, our government sympathised with the Confederacy. When Ronald Reagan was commander-in-chief, the British foreign policy establishment derided him as a trigger-happy cowboy who was in danger of pitching us into a third world war.

But no Republican, indeed no president, has come to office facing anything like the level of scorn and condescension from British politicians and commentators as Mr Trump. When we talked last Friday, however, he had nothing but kind words and generous sentiments for a nation he believes will be his strongest ally.

It’s true enough, the British do tend to denigrate beyond reason American (especially Republican) presidents. I’m inclined to think it’s at least partially because British conservatism is built on the shifting sands of governing efficiently rather than based on bedrock principles, but there is also a bit of condescending in it.

And, ultra-competitive as he is, the president-elect was particularly keen to remind me that, almost alone among international figures, he had had the natural good judgment to foresee our departure from the EU.

“I sort of, as you know, predicted it. I was in Turnberry [his Scottish golf course] and was doing a ribbon cutting because I bought Turnberry, which is doing unbelievably, and I’ll tell you, the fact that your pound sterling has gone down? Great. Because business is unbelievable in a lot of parts in the UK, as you know. I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing.”

And would he, as our government hoped, move quickly to seal a new trade deal with the UK? “Absolutely, very quickly. I’m a big fan of the UK, we’re gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides. I will be meeting with [Theresa May] — in fact if you want you can see the letter, wherever the letter is, she just sent it. She’s requesting a meeting and we’ll have a meeting right after I get into the White House and . . . we’re gonna get something done very quickly.”

The president-elect is much less sanguine about the future of the EU itself. A combination of economic woes and the migrant crisis will, he believes, lead to other countries leaving. “People, countries, want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity. But, I do believe this, if they hadn’t been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many, with all the problems that it . . . entails, I think that you wouldn’t have a Brexit. This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. . . I believe others will leave. I do think keeping it together is not gonna be as easy as a lot of people think. And I think this, if refugees keep pouring into different parts of Europe . . . I think it’s gonna be very hard to keep it together because people are angry about it.”

Kind of strange those two paragraphs, that’s exactly what I think. Brexit, if they do it properly may be the greatest thing in 150 years for Britain, and the EU has basically committed suicide. And yes, they have created some huge problems for themselves, that I see few solutions for.

While he expresses admiration for Angela Merkel, Mr Trump believes that she made “one catastrophic mistake” by welcoming an unlimited number of Syrian refugees. More than one million migrants from north Africa and the Middle East arrived between 2015 and 2016. He adds that he believes the West should have built safe zones in Syria — paid for by the Gulf — to limit the surge. “I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from. And nobody even knows where they come from.”

And that mistake will echo in Europe for decades, very debilitating and possibly fatal. We will see.

Mr Trump’s view is that Europe is dominated by Germany, and Britain was wise to extract itself: “You look at the European Union and it’s Germany. Basically a vehicle for Germany. That’s why I thought the UK was so smart in getting out.”

Well, there’s a reason some of us call it the Zollverein. In other words, he’s right. Once it was Germany and France, but France is declining and so now it is mostly about Germany.

Mr Trump’s hostility to the EU has been matched by his scepticism towards another pillar of the postwar order, Nato. But the president-elect was at pains to emphasise that he is committed to the defence of Europe and the West. His concerns are, principally, that Nato had not reformed to meet the main threat that we face — Islamist terrorism — and its members had relied too heavily on America. “I said a long time ago that Nato had problems. Number one it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago. Number two the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay. I took such heat, when I said Nato was obsolete. It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days. And then they started saying Trump is right. […]

He’s no Kissinger and you’d no more expect him to discuss Clausewitz and Kennan than set fire to his own hair. But intelligence takes many forms. And Mr Trump’s number-rich analysis of defence spending reflects a businessman’s ability to cut through jargon to get to the essentials of a case.

The same Trump who uses gladiatorial press conferences and CAPITALISED tweets to hurl huge crude blocks of rhetoric at opponents is also the master of the P&L accounts and the determined negotiator who sees government as a failing corporation ripe for re-engineering.

I don’t know about you, but I think that a fair description of the swamp.

“Well I don’t want to say what I’m gonna do with the Iran deal. I just don’t want to play the cards. I mean, look, I’m not a politician, I don’t go out and say, “I’m gonna do this” — I’m gonna do, I gotta do what I gotta do . . . But I’m not happy with the Iran deal, I think it’s one of the worst deals ever made, I think it’s one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen . . .

It is not just foreign leaders at whom he vents spleen. The invasion of Iraq, he argues, was “one of the worst decisions, possibly the worst decision, ever made in the history of our country. It’s like throwing rocks into a beehive.”

Despite a strong desire to improve relations with Russia, Mr Trump was unequivocal in his condemnation of its role in Syria. He was also implicitly critical of President Obama for failing to restrain President Assad and Mr Putin. “It’s a very bad thing, we had a chance to do something when we had the line in the sand and . . . nothing happened. That was the only time.

Talking of Russia inevitably brings us to the allegations that the Kremlin has compromising material garnered during a Trump visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe contest. The president-elect is, unsurprisingly, dismissive of the allegations but he did express disquiet at the involvement of a former MI6 officer.

“That guy is somebody that you should look at, because whatever he made up about me it was false. He was supposedly hired by the Republicans and Democrats working together. Even that I don’t believe because they don’t work together, they work separately and they don’t hire the same guy. What, they got together?

Sounds pretty sensible to me. And yes, why this clown of a former MI6 officer has clients would bear looking in to.

Mr Trump’s conversation flows like a river in spate, overwhelming interruptions and objections, reflecting the force of nature that is the man. But it would be a mistake to think that he is all instinct and impulse. He wants to bring to governing the same calculating business style that he has brought to communicating. While he has been criticised for tweeting attacks on everyone from Meryl Streep to the civil rights hero John Lewis, he has no intention of abandoning Twitter because he believes it gives him a direct connection to the American people.

He’s right, Twitter has become a direct channel for him, and one of the keys to success for an even moderately successful president is to find a way around the media, if he doesn’t they will destroy them, and him.

via Donald Trump: ‘Brexit will be a great thing . . . you were so smart’ | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

There’s lots more at the link, I took out lots of interesting things here, so do read it.

All in all, Donald Trump sounds like a pretty capable guy, and more or less ready for the job. One hopes so, his watch begins at noon on Friday.

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