Week in Pictures: Finally Sunday

Quite the week, never a dull moment was there?

Spreading the revolution.

Seriously bad language here, NSFW, You have been warned.

This is what winning looks like

A proper childhood:

All the things mentioned here are still echoing down the corridors of the internet, and doing (not so) Great (anymore) Britain untold harm.

By definition: Real News

And a very nice early fifties Dodge pickup to end with.

Mostly from PowerLine this week. Enjoy!

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Horsepower and the Police

Things that can’t go on, don’t. We all know that, but we don’t have to like it. In my lifetime, America has had two types of car guys, normal guys that like to go fast, and cops that like to go fast – sometimes chasing the first group. When I was young, it was reasonably good natured on both sides, as long as it didn’t get too crazy.

But I come from an age when engine sizes were measured in cubic inches, and the ones you really wanted started with a 4 followed by two more numbers. 401, 409, 425, 440, and above all 426 followed by Hemi, the elephant itself, If you liked to be both comfortable and fast, you could add 472 and 500. The ones starting with 3 were ok, and you could get to the second gas station, but they weren’t the same. Note that there isn’t anything new about it, either, Packard had a 473 cubic inch V-12 in the late 30s. Yes, I still want one of those, and you can buy one for less than $200K, a bargain!

The guys with the bubble gum machines on top were not very different. America’s a big place, so are were American cars, there was a lot of ground to cover, and it needed to be done real quick.

What brought this on? Ford has announced the end of the Taurus, their last reasonable sized, rear wheel drive car, in other words: suitable for police use. That leaves the Dodge Charger, and its days are probably numbered as well. Why? Well, there is a story in that.

Back in the early seventies, civilians were driving cars with names like Camaro, Firebird, Charger, Challenger, Cutlass, Mustang, and some others. Most were pretty crude, with maybe an AM radio, but a proper gauge package, four-speed transmission, limited slip differential, and serious horsepower. The only thing they couldn’t pass was a gas station, but who really cared when we were paying 50¢ or so a gallon for gas.

But then we resupplied Israel during and after the Yom Kippur war, and the Arabs got irritated and started raising the price of crude oil, and the insurance companies decided they’d had enough of teenagers with powerful cars, and insurance became unaffordable. At that point, Uncle stepped in and mandated fuel mileage standards, and the party was over. For us and for Detroit too.

Essentially that triple whammy killed the American car industry, poor quality control didn’t help, but there wasn’t anything new about that. The knock on effects had much to do with the death of American steel as well. And so the rust belt became the rust belt. I lived there, I watched it happen. The rust belt was caused by the US government, never forget it.

So, what did we do? We soldiered on for a few years with pretenders, like Malibus with 305 2 bbl engines, but Detroit still had some marketing savvy, and soon the workaday American pickup got comfortable, and got most of the toys we had in the sixties, including the big engines, eventually things like Cummins Turbo Diesels (a transplant from an industrial engine) with anything up to somewhere around 750 horsepower. At that point most of us car guys became truck guys.

That set off the sourpusses at the EPA so they’ve been trying to rein that in as well, but they’re having trouble managing that, Americans aren’t as docile as we used to be, and the country hasn’t gotten any smaller, and our motto is still, “Real quick” just as d Tocqueville noticed way back when. And in truth when the Kabuki theater of TSA got going, driving became even more attractive.

The Police are doing the exact same thing we did, more and more they are driving SUVs and Pickups, because if anything they’re carrying more stuff around with them, and it ain’t gonna fit in a smart car, and a Prius ain’t gonna catch many bank robbers.

Unintended consequences, damned near killed America, but we’re still here, bitchin’, moanin’, and getting on with it. And that is how we got both Donald Trump, and Scot Pruitt.

More on this at The American Spectator.

Enemy of Our Foes and a Friend of Our Allies

What a nice way to wake up! Welcome Home, Guys!

Must be quite the feeling to get out of a North Korean jail, and then off an airplane that is marked “United States of America” and be met on the airstairs by the President himself and Mrs. Trump, at three in the morning.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, from Caroline Glick:

For more than twenty years, successive U.S. administrations have been vexed by the challenge of Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. And from the time the problem first emerged during Bill Clinton’s tenure at the White House, there have only been two viable means to block Iran’s path to the bomb.

The first path is the path of regime change. This option requires the U.S. to precipitate Iran’s economic and social collapse through crippling economic sanctions and active support for the Iranian people as they rise up against their theocratic overlords.

The second path is to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and assets through limited covert and overt strikes.

Parallel to these two options, over the years, U.S. policymakers — first and foremost President Barack Obama — created two imaginary options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. Obama and his advisors framed the public discourse around their nuclear negotiations as a contest between them.

First, they said, is the option of all-out war. The U.S. could lead an invasion of Iran, along the lines of the U.S.-led invasion of Iran in 2003. In the course of a massive war, the U.S. goal would be to overthrow the Iranian regime and forcibly end its nuclear program.

The other option, they insisted, was to cut a deal with Iran under which Iran would voluntarily give up its nuclear program in exchange for trade deals, and for international acceptance of Iran’s other malign behavior – from its sponsorship of terrorism and regional aggression, to its development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

The purpose of the Obama administration’s propaganda war on behalf of the nuclear deal was to delegitimize criticism of the content of the deal by claiming that everyone that opposed the policy was a warmonger (or, conversely, making “common cause” with hard-liners in the Iranian regime that wanted war against the U.S.).

In the event, both of the options were imaginary. No one in the U.S. or the international community has ever proposed a massive U.S.-led invasion of Iran. It was never considered. It is a policy that exists nowhere and is advocated by nobody.

As for the notion that Iran could be convinced to concede its nuclear program voluntarily in exchange for international legitimacy, planeloads of cash, and a blind eye to its other bad behavior, this, too, was a fantasy.

Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), did not involve Iran agreeing to give up its nuclear program. The deal simply required Iran to work on certain aspects of its nuclear program – advanced centrifuge development and ballistic missile development, for instance — while limiting others, like certain uranium enrichment activities, for the duration of the deal.

In other words, to prevent the imaginary possibility of a U.S. led ground invasion of Iran, the Obama administration financed Iran’s regional aggression and sponsorship of terrorism to the tune of $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. It legitimized Iran’s ballistic missile program and guaranteed Tehran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

While doing all of that, Obama’s nuclear diplomacy weakened the America’s ability to implement either of the two actual options for blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

The JCPOA required the U.S. and its partners to abrogate the crippling nuclear sanctions which were spurring the Iranian people to rise up against the regime.

As for the option of limited strikes, the JCPOA rendered them politically impossible. How could the U.S. sabotage or destroy its diplomatic partner’s nuclear installations?

All of that changed on Tuesday.

By abandoning the JCPOA and reinstating U.S. sanctions that were suspended in 2016, Trump resuscitated both actual options for blocking Iran’s path to the bomb.

The sanctions option, which he implemented right after he concluded his remarks, will destabilize the regime by drying up its financial flows.

The downstream impact of the sanctions is twofold. First, they will diminish Iran’s ability to sponsor terror and carry out regional aggression in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan, and beyond. Second, by reinstating crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, the U.S. will weaken the regime’s hold on power.

As for the option of direct strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations, Trump did not put the option on the table on Tuesday, but he created the political space to consider them either separately or in conjunction with sanctions. Indeed, at his cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump intimated that the prospect of just such strikes is under consideration when he warned Iran of “severe consequences” if it reinstates the nuclear activities it had limited under the JCPOA.

The salutary effects of Trump’s move are not limited to the its positive implications on U.S.’s real options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. His announcement accomplished two related goals as well. […]

Keep reading: Trump’s Iran Deal Decision Was a Masterstroke. Keep reading.

There may be a phrase in this article that I disagree with. If so, I missed it.

The world is once again beginning to be safe for free people. There is still a lot of hell to go through, but we have started the return.

 

Peace Means Not Wimping Out

From the Colonel, Kurt Schlichter:

Maybe Kim Il Whatever won’t denuclearize, but then again the roly-poly dictator has seemed to come around to our way of thinking. Maybe it’s the lingering awesomeness of Barack Obama that led him to acts of unprecedented good behavior. Maybe it’s just that he’s decided to be a nice guy. Or maybe it’s because, under Donald Trump, the United States stopped acting like a simpering wuss.

Wusses and wimps…why, those are playground words, unfit for a discussion of foreign relations and international diplomacy! Except that’s entirely wrong. Human nature plays out in the playgrounds – the lessons taught by run-ins with bullies and fisticuffs under the jungle gym are, in many ways, far more important than the hoary discourses about “realism” and “soft power” taught in the very best schools and think tanks.

If someone gets in your face, and you break their nose, they don’t get in your face anymore. You don’t need to go to Georgetown to learn that. In fact, going to Georgetown is more likely to make you unlearn what is the most important lesson of all.

He’s right of course, the world is more like an unsupervised playground than it is anything else. It’s a lesson most of us learned in elementary school, which is appropriate because it is elementary: If you let them, everybody will bully you. It’s a lesson I learned when my sixth-grade teacher got out the gloves, never again was I bullied – because I did not allow it. But:

Our bestest and brightest are often taught the DIME paradigm – that the components of national power are Diplomatic (talking and cajoling), Information (messaging and propaganda), Military (boom!) and Economic (writing a check). DIE is okay, but DIE is what you will do if you don’t have a powerful M.

But they didn’t put M third merely because putting it first would screw up the acronym. Our transnational elite does not want to acknowledge the indisputable fact that, at the end of the day, the guy who can kill you and is willing to do so is going to win. Power is an infantryman standing on a piece of ground owning it – and the ability to keep him there. Sure, terrorists can pull off a one-time strike, but they can’t hold ground. Just ask ISIS. You’ll need a medium though, because they tried to hold ground and they all died.

Oh, the elitists who used to control our foreign policy are not anti-war. They are just anti- any war that serves American interests. We can get into a fight in Libya, with all the attendant appalling consequences from Benghazi to the flood of refugees, but only because they know that doing so will do nothing to help our own country. That way, their collective conscience is clear. In their minds, the only good war is one where Americans die for nothing.

Donald Trump has his priorities straight. He has resurrected and embodied the Jacksonian model that fell out of fashion with the foreign policy establishment but not with the folks expected to pick up rifles and deploy. Andrew Jackson, who Democrats used to appreciate back when they represented the Normals who go fight our wars – their new preferred constituencies of fussy SJWs and virtue-signaling hipsters would never be caught dead in uniform – was not afraid of righteous conflict. Nor are most Americans. Remember the Alamo! Remember Pearl Harbor! Never forget 9/11! You SOBs might get one punch in, but then Americans are going to get up, brush off, and kill you all.

You see, Americans are happy to fight if they get a good answer to the perfectly reasonable question that the foreign policy elite hates: “Why is this particular war worth me or my kid’s life and a whole bunch of our money?”

That’s ground truth, as far as I can see. Normals have no problem at all putting our asses or even our kids on the line – for America, we.ve been doing it since 1776 at least. But not to march around between two factions taking hits from both and looking stupid. There’s nothing complicated about it. Give us a cause, and rules loose enough to let us find a way to win. There’s that dirty word – Win – again, and we will.

It won’t be pretty, wars are not fought by rules the Marquis of Queensberry would recognize. Things will be broken and people will die – experience says mostly the other guy’s people and things. Why? We are still who we always were, 400 years ago there were a couple of settlements clinging on the Atlantic coast, we’ve never looked back.

In the end, Kim Il Whatever is so tractable today for only one reason, around his starving kingdom (about half again larger than England (not Britain) is deployed enough naval power to control most of the oceans, backed by almost 30,000 troops, across the border. Think England, with their warrior tradition, would be nervous with that condition? Yeah, me too. It’s far more dire than they faced in 1940.

You and I know what the Chinese told him in Beijing the other week, don’t we? “You made this mess, now fix it.” The last time the Norks tried this on, in 1950, they ended up on the Yalu, and the Chinese that rescued them took 1 million (more or less) casualties including Mao’s son. Really think they Chinese are going to try it again when the US is ready to rock? They can’t, they have too much to lose now.

It’s all about not wimping out, those missiles that exploded in Syria just might give us peace in Korea – at least for a while. It won’t solve our China problems, but it’s a start.

Week in Pictures, Make-up Edition

So, Sunday, again.

The President wants us to be healthy!

Concealment can be difficult.

From PowerLine and Bookworm, and other diverse wonderful places.

VDH Lays It Out

Sign at a protest outside Trump Tower in New York City, February 8, 2018. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Victor Davis Hanson in National Review brings the summary of the situation in the US now. It’s not a pleasant picture…

When legal bloodhounds and baying critics fail to take out Trump, what’s next? The Resistance wants Trump’s head — on the chopping block.

On the domestic and foreign fronts, the Trump administration has prompted economic growth and restored U.S. deterrence. Polls show increased consumer confidence, and in some, Trump himself has gained ground. Yet good news is bad news to the Resistance and its strange continued efforts to stop an elected president in a way it failed to do in the 2016 election.

Indeed, the aim of the so-called Resistance to Donald J. Trump is ending Trump’s presidency by any means necessary before the 2020 election. Or, barring that, it seeks to so delegitimize him that he becomes presidentially impotent. It has been only 16 months since Trump took office and, in the spirit of revolutionary fervor, almost everything has been tried to derail him. Now we are entering uncharted territory — at a time when otherwise the country is improving and the legal exposure of Trump’s opponents increases daily.

First came the failed lawsuits after the election alleging voting-machine tampering. Then there was the doomed celebrity effort to convince some state electors not to follow their constitutional duty and to deny Trump the presidency — a gambit that, had it worked, would have wrecked the Constitution. Then came the pathetic congressional boycott of the inauguration and the shrill nationwide protests against the president.

Anti- and Never-Trump op-ed writers have long ago run out of superlatives. Trump is the worst, most, biggest — fill in the blank — in the history of the presidency, in the history of the world, worse even than Mao, Mussolini, Stalin, or Hitler.

Next was the sad effort to introduce articles of impeachment. After that came weird attempts to cite Trump for violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. That puerile con was followed by plans to declare him deranged and mentally unfit so that he could be removed under the 25th Amendment. From time to time, Obama holdovers in the DOJ, National Security Council, and FBI sought to leak information, or they refused to carry out presidential orders.

As the Resistance goes from one ploy to the next, it ignores its string of failed prior efforts, forgetting everything and learning nothing. State nullification is no longer neo-Confederate but an any-means-necessary progressive tool. Suing the government weekly is proof of revolutionary fides, not a waste of California’s taxpayer dollars.

And more. Keep reading: Revolution and Worse to Come.

Mind, there’s not a word he writes that I disagree with, except that he might be overly optimistic.

 […]The Resistance and rabid anti-Trumpers have lost confidence in the constitutional framework of elections, and they’ve flouted the tradition by which the opposition allows the in-power party to present its case to the court of public opinion.

Instead, like the French revolutionaries’ Committee on Public Safety, the unhinged anti-Trumpists assume that they have lost public opinion, given their venom and crudity, and are growing desperate as every legal and paralegal means of removing Trump is nearing exhaustion. Robert Mueller is the last chance, a sort of Watergate or Abu Ghraib that could gin up enough furor to drive down Trump’s poll favorability to the twenties and thereby reduce his person to a demonic force deserving of whatever it gets.

That’s an acute observation, what we are seeing is the last act of the revolution, the lack of which differentiates the American Revolution from all others – the descent into tyranny. It was the original French revolution that first talked about equality of outcomes, while the British quiet revolution and American Revolution stressed equality under the law. It’s a huge difference, one between freedom and slavery.

VDH ends with this:

The danger to the country this time around is that the Left has so destroyed the old protocols of the opposition party that it will be hard to resurrect them when progressives return to power.

We are entering revolutionary times. The law is no longer equally applied. The media are the ministry of truth. The Democratic party is a revolutionary force. And it is all getting scary.

He may well be right. But in a way that begs the question. Is it proper for America to tolerate this fifth column in our midst? They have proved themselves at most disloyal to the ethos of the American Revolution and our founding documents.

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