Schwerpunkt

The Monday Forum over at Watchers of Weasels is always worthwhile reading, as some very astute bloggers give their view of one of the issues of the day. This week, it was exceptional. Taking as their subject: Forum: Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move? they gave us some very good thinking on the subject. Rob Miller highlighted something that I’ve long said.

Ahh, Russia! A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a wonderful sandwich of that Russian black rye, turkey or roast beef, spicy Russian mustard and pickle with kasha on the side and a Stoly chaser (Sorry, Sir Winston).

First, let’s not forget that Barack Hussein Obama and his $ecretary of $tate Hillary Clinton gave Putin whatever he wanted in the beginning. They literally betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic by reneging on America’s commitment to put missile defense units in those countries and all Putin had to do was glower a bit.

Russia’s nukes at the time of the Hillary ‘reset’ were outmoded and out of date, So Obama and Hillary put together that ridiculous START treaty, which not only had the U.S. decommissioning state of the art American nukes on parity with Russia’s obsolete ones, but giving Russia access to our top anti-missile technology like Shoot To Kill, with no quid pro quo from Russia at all. And that doesn’t count Hillary giving Russia control over a chunk of America’s uranium production in exchange for a nice donation to the Clinton Foundation and a $500K speaking fee for Bill. What the Clintons and Obama gave Russia hurt America worse and was worth far more to Putin than they and their surrogate’s wildest accusations about anyone in the Trump Administration!

But as to the question at hand…

The major challenge of our age is the War on Jihad. Nothing else comes close. This isn’t a clash between civilizations as Samuel Huntington put it, but a clash between civilization and totalitarian barbarity. And the Russians know that first hand.

via Forum: Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move? – Watcher of Weasels

Keep reading, and read the other views as well.

That’s the priority, in my mind. If we don’t win (or at least drive back) the war on jihad, we lose completely, our civilization disappears into history.

Putin is not my sort of leader, that’s pretty obvious, but then Stalin wasn’t to the taste of either Churchill or Roosevelt, either. But they supplied him because Hitler was the clear and present danger. Was it fairly obvious that Stalin would become a menace at some point? Sure. But if Hitler won, it simply didn’t matter. Neither in fact, did Tojo. Hitler was the Schwerpunkt, the center of gravity of the Second World War. Now Islamic jihad is. That doesn’t mean it’s 1943, we don’t need to send trucks, guns, and food to Putin free. But we would be well advised to not demonize him, to recognize that he will attempt to advance Russian interests, as we should those of the United States. But also recognize that we have many common interests.

Historically, until their revolution, Imperial Russia was mostly a friendly power, by no means an advanced democracy, but not an enemy, either. Putin strikes me as more a new Czar than a komissar.

Churchill said after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, “If Hitler invaded Hell itself, I would give the Devil a favorable mention in the House of Commons”. So should we. Putin is not a present danger to Western Civilization, he is a part (certainly an imperfect part) of it.

The Jihadis are the existential enemy of this generation, anything else is a distraction. And anyone promoting that distraction does not have the best interests of the United States or Western Civilization at heart.

Are We at War with Eastasia Yet?

russian-dressingIn National Review, Victor Davis Hanson writes,

The Western world is having a breakdown. The symptoms are the recent rise of socialist Bernie Sanders, Trump’s election, the Brexit vote, and the spread of anti–European Union parties across Europe.

But these are desperate folk remedies, not the cause of the disease itself.

The malady instead stems from our false notion of elitism. The public no longer believes that privilege and influence should be predicated on titles, brands, and buzz, rather than on demonstrable knowledge and proven character. The idea that brilliance can be manifested in trade skills or retail sales, or courage expressed by dealing with the hardship of factory work, or character found on an Indiana farm, is foreign to the Washington Beltway, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley.

Instead, 21st-century repute is accrued from the false gods of the right zip code, high income, proper social circles, and media exposure, rather than from a demonstrable record of moral or intellectual excellence.

In 1828, the wild and unruly Andrew Jackson was elected president because the rapidly expanding country had tired of the pretenses of an exhausted elite of tidewater and New England mediocrities.

The hollow, tiny coastal establishment of the 1820s perpetuated the ancestry and background of the great but all-but-disappeared Founding Fathers such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Yet otherwise, the Founders’ lesser successors had not earned the status they had assumed from their betters. The outsider Jackson won by exposing their pretenses.

I think he pretty much nails it here. Do read it all (link above).

Andy Jackson’s election pretty much blew up the comfortable old order based in New England and Virginia in favor of the Old Northwest and the Old Southwest. It set the stage for the huge boom of the United States in the nineteenth century. Could we be seeing the same thing with Donald Trump? Maybe. But this old order that VDH described above is different.

Dymphna over at The Gates of Vienna found a fairly old video from Bill Moyers. Most of you know who he is, he was JFK’s press secretary and went on to a career at PBS (mostly). He’s not one of my favorite people, but while he’s liberal (very, in fact) he’s also an honest man, and I’m pretty sure he loves America. One of the few honest and honorable liberals left. He did an interview with Mike Lofgren, who wrote about the Deep State in 2013, in The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted. Then in 2016, he wrote about it again: The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government. Pay attention to this video.

Pretty amazing isn’t it? And yes, I think this is almost exactly what we’re seeing the president battle. Will he win? Maybe, it’s going to be tough. It’s also critical, I think, that he does.

Bookworm said this the other day

Back in the late 1980s, when I was a young lawyer, a Democrat, and fancied myself as an intellectual sophisticate, I went several times to CFR luncheon talks. Eventually, though, I stopped going because they didn’t make sense.

You see, even though I called myself a Democrat, I was always essentially conservative. I resented the anti-Israel tenor of the talks. Moreover, knowing European history as I did, I found ridiculous the claim that Europe could be smoothed into a vast federal entity akin to the United States of America.

The CFR did have an underlying agenda that sounded like a non-starter to me: It was to have a world governed by people all drawn from the same mindset. CFR speakers weren’t envisioning one world government under the UN, or anything apocalyptic like that (although I already loathed the UN’s antisemitism back then).

No, they just imagined a world in which the German leader and the British leader and the American leader and the Greek leader and all the other leaders would be drawn from the same intellectual pool: All these countries would be sort-of democracies. That is, the people would ostensibly have the vote, but the governing would be done by small cadres of really smart people who weren’t actually responsive to the voters.

She’s right. But remember this, it’s not really a conspiracy so much as it’s a consensus of people who grew up together went to the same schools, worked for the same companies doing the same sorts of jobs, rotated into the same prestigious (in their minds, at least) government jobs, and/or reported on all this. I suspect many of them have never been out of the Acela corridor, except to fly out to Frisco and Silicon Valley. Well, that ain’t my America, and I doubt it’s yours.

As an aside, our British cousins have much the same problem with the Westminster bubble, including the City of London, vis a vis the rest of the kingdom. Maybe Mrs. May is the solution, but only if she can escape much of her adult life.

Book also says this about the following video, and yes, I agree with her about that, but he makes some useful points.

All of which is to say that you need to watch this video, even if some of the conspiracy language that crops up about halfway through makes you feel a little slimed:

Ace said this the other day, and as usual, he is correct.

As Hillary Clinton once said about the staffers of the White House Travel Office: “I want their people out and our people in.

Competent establishments are not deposed — because they’re competent. They are nimble, react well to changing circumstances and growing discontent, and tweak their course to maintain their power and authority.

Only incompetent establishments provoke a rebellion.

And competent establishments are not surprised by rebellions, either. They see them coming, and head them off by co-optation and adaptation.

The very fact that these cretins are still surprised by all this — still surprised! Four months after the fact! — shows them to be incompetent, and not nearly so clever as they flatter themselves.

Competent, smart establishments are not surprised by the long-brewing and obvious, and competent, sane establishments have already begun processing the new information they’ve been presented with just weeks after it’s been presented.

Yup. Elite (in their own minds, if any) and incompetent to boot. Hell of a way to go through life, but that’s what living in a bubble of unreality does to you.

Soopermexican over at The Right Scoop has a bit to add as well.

The Guardian reported on the first wiretap request in January:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.

They linked to this report from Heat Street, from November:

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-7-08-14-am

Mark Levin put all the pieces together in a segment on his radio show we posted yesterday. You can listen to it here. 

Follow those links, especially that one to Mark Levin. That will tell you just how out of control the jackwagons have gotten.

As Dymphna said in her title, it’s time for Finding the Right Bums to Throw Out.

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 non-SOTU

trump-sotu-terrorists-immigrants-900x450Paul over at PowerLine wrote this yesterday.

The slogan and organizing principle of President Trump’s administration is “America first.” As he explained last night: “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.”

This is just common sense. Absent the Obama aberration, no president would think to say it.

However, even a message this obvious can use powerful, patriotic rhetoric and effective staging to support it. Trump’s presentation contained both, beginning with the second paragraph:

Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice — in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present.

That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.

A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning.

A new national pride is sweeping across our Nation.

And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.

What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit.

Our allies will find that America is once again ready to lead.

All the nations of the world — friend or foe — will find that America is strong, America is proud, and America is free.

The address ended on the same note:

[W]hen we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American Greatness began.

The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us.

We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.

The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls.

And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.

From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears — inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the past — and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts.

I am asking all citizens to embrace this Renewal of the American Spirit. I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country. And I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment and believe in yourselves.

Believe in your future.

And believe, once more, in America.

via A little patriotism goes a long way | Power Line

Those are paragraphs that could have been written by almost any president – before Barack Obama. It is the essence of American patriotism, not the blood and soil patriotism of Europe. Like most things in America, American patriotism is different. It is more about having optimism in the future, sharing the dream, if you will.

The huge recognition of CPO Ryan Williams (the longest applause, at about two minutes, of the speech) through his widow, he was killed in the January raid in Yemen, also speaks to that. And yes there is a story in who did not join in the standing ovation.

In fact, I completely agree that Mr. Trump became Mr. President during that speech. I don’t agree with every thing he wants to spend money on, which is fine. He’s the president and I’m not the all-knowing philosopher-king. It’ll work out. He’s by far the best of what was on offer.

The speech itself made me think of Roosevelt (both), Kennedy, and especially Reagan. It was that good. After an eight-year hiatus, it seems to me that America is in process of getting out of the ditch, and back underway.

You did notice that the Dow broke 21,000 yesterday?

Francis Browning wrote:

Light in the eastern horizon, it cometh, hail, all hail!

Bringing the joys of the New Year, and the tiding on the gale

Trump to the Joint Session of Congress

Pretty good speech, I think.

He does set piece speeches quite well. Must have been difficult for many in the audience, he did an admirable job of representing the people who elected him to Congress and the world. What do you Think?

SLOPPY WORDS BUT THE SUBSTANCE WAS TRUE

sweden-riots-840x469Melanie Phillips wrote about the comments Trump made in his speech last week about Sweden. Here’s a bit

It turns out he’d been talking about a TV documentary on this subject to which he’d seen a reference the previous evening. This was a report by Ami Horowitz which said there had been a surge of gun violence and rape once Sweden began its “open door” policy towards immigrants, that the government had “gone out of its way to try to cover up some of these problems” and that the country now had Muslim “no-go zones” ruled by sharia law.

That report itself was criticised for being distorted. Swedish politicians rushed to state that such problems were simply unknown. The city of Malmo was a model of multicultural harmony. One of the police officers interviewed by Horowitz said their comments had been taken out of context. “He is a madman.” And so on.

Just a few hours later, violence erupted in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby after a mob of around 30 began attacking officers with rocks and setting fire to cars. But Trump had not been exercising metaphysical powers of prophecy. Both he and Ami Horowitz were accurately reflecting Swedish reality, as has been steadily reported over many years despite attempts by the Swedish authorities to suppress such information.

Yeah, well, imagine that. Many, many of us have been saying much the same thing about Sweden for years. But the Swedish government has its head so thoroughly buried in the sand that they probably couldn’t do anything if they wanted to, which they don’t. The sad fact of it is that to them, and their counterparts all across Europe, as well as many in the United States, their narrative is far more important than the safety of their citizens.

Hell of a way to run a railroad, in my opinion, but there we are.

His supporters appear to be discounting the falsehoods or inaccuracies in his loose and careless talk because they have decided he is telling the truth about the stuff that actually matters and they can work out perfectly well what he is saying. The distinction they appear to be making is not between truth and falsehood but between Trump’s sloppy inaccuracies or boastful exaggeration on the one hand, which they don’t think are that important, and on the other hand the lies or omissions by the mainstream media, which they think matter a great deal.

That’s pretty much true, I expect, and I too wish he would be a bit more careful with his accuracy. But you know, for all that he does tend to bloviate a bit, what he says, is not untrue, merely a bit opaque, and if you are like us, people who care more about the results than the words it is not all that difficult to figure out. And in fact, he sticks far closer to the truth than, say, Obama, ever did. The difference is that the PC establishment, European elites, and the news media (look, a threepeat!) are looking for gotchas, and anybody speaking mostly without a script, are going to make them. Melanie is correct, though, I don’t think many of us, who are his boss, really care, as long as we get results.

Be that as it may, Trump needs to be far more careful about how he talks. Words matter, and it is simply not on for the President of the United States to make comments which are so carelessly inaccurate. It allows his enemies to paint him as a liar …

via Sloppy words but the substance was true | MelaniePhillips.com

Maybe, but I’m convinced that they would paint him as a liar if he said the sky is blue. I don’t condone falsehood at any time, but that is not really what this is about, is it?

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