Peace through Superior Firepower?

Who knew? Perhaps deterrence works. In any case, the North Koreans are talking to the Southern ones. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Maybe this is why.

CBS has a report (more bloody autoplay videos, sorry!) that:

Last week, the Pacific Air Forces announced three B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers with approximately 200 personnel have been deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific island of Guam.

The statement said the deployment is intended to provide leaders with “deterrent options to maintain regional stability.”[…]

Last year, flights by B-1B bombers from Guam to the airspace around Korea were a major flashpoint, prompting a warning from North Korea that it had drawn up a plan to target the waters around the island with a missile strike that it could carry out anytime Kim gave the order. The B-2 is more threatening.

It’s the most advanced bomber in the Air Force and, unlike the B-1B, can carry nuclear weapons. It’s also the only known aircraft that can drop the Air Force’s biggest bomb, the 14,000-kilogram, about 30,000-pound, FGBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The “MOP,” capable of penetrating deep into the ground to destroy reinforced tunnels and bunkers, was explicitly designed with North Korea in mind.

That adds on to the CVNs Ronald Reagan, Carl Vinson, and perhaps the Carl Stennis, and the USS Wasp as well, an upgraded amphibious assault ship, with its Marines, and either carrying or capable of carrying about 30 F 35Bs.

That’s all in addition to all the stuff already in South Korea, Japan, and the general neighborhood, and the South Koreans who are no slouch themselves.

I recall SECDEF Mattis commenting that nothing keeps him awake, he keeps others awake. His point was that this administration while having due regard for public opinion, is not going to make policy from what will (XXX) do, the will make policy from what does the United States want to happen. A somewhat subtle but very important difference.

And so we see Whoa Fat’s minions at the conference table in South Korea, after less than a year of Donald Trump’s presidency. Likewise, we see serious demonstrations in the streets in Iran. They may not win this time, but win they shall. We see Egypt and Saudi Arabia talking to Israel, and about no less than a military alliance. We may, perhaps, be watching the dawn of a new era. KSA is reportedly negotiating to buy the Iron Dome system from Israel.

And we even see the people of eastern Europe stand up to their would-be masters in western Europe. Why it’s almost like they didn’t throw off their communist masters only to succumb to the fascists in the west.

The only people I see decrying this is the anti-freedom left in America, and the European governments most of whom have sold their soul long ago for material gain. Are they noisy? Yep. Are they important? Nope. Only when the sheriff is on strike. But the sheriff is on patrol again

And just now I see a report that the two Koreas will march together under a unified flag at the Winter Olympics next month. Not a problem solved, but one that is perhaps on its way, something no one foresaw a year ago.

Not “Peace in our time” but perhaps we are back to where we can say that it is better to “Jaw, Jaw than to War War.”

Quite a year it has been!

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What Matters in the United States

This, from David Limbaugh.

It is disheartening to see the ongoing rift between those conservatives supporting President Donald Trump and those opposing him — a rift that began before Trump and may survive his presidency.

Many conservatives opposed Trump’s nomination because they believed he was not a true conservative — not even really a bona fide Republican — but rather a narcissistic opportunist who wanted to take his game show hosting and self-promotional platform to a grander stage.

Many also thought that a Trump presidency, even if it would somewhat forestall the Obama-Clinton agenda, would not be worth the long-term damage it would do to the conservative movement. They believed a Trump victory would embolden the so-called alt-right movement, which they saw as Trump’s main base. They saw a mob-like mentality among many of his supporters, saying they were fueled by rage and would rubber-stamp every crazy idea Trump might pursue and also push him to pursue even nuttier ideas.

Admittedly, in the red-hot contentiousness of the primary campaigns, some of the alt-right types did surface as among the most vocal of Trump supporters. Trump supporters seemed to defend anything Trump said or did, even if indefensible.

That was my concern, as well. I was wrong, it seems. But the Republican convention was a time of self reflection for me, and many others, when Trump won, honestly and fairly. One could go daft, as so many did, with what’s his name, which was bound to be every bit as effective as staying home hiding in your bed. One could stay home hiding in your bed. One could support Hillary and the final unraveling of our America, or one could support Donald Trump, and hope to keep him from major excess. It wasn’t a hard choice for me, or other millions of Americans. Our decision was final and unambiguous. It canned be summed up thusly:

Hillary will never be president.

That is a victory, for America, for freedom, and for what used to be common honesty.

This same obliviousness to the urgency of our situation also led to GOP establishment inertia regarding the Obama agenda. The establishment’s insufficient energy and willingness to oppose him sowed the seeds of Trump’s rise to power. How ironic that the people who remain most opposed to Trump today are to some extent responsible for the emergence of such an unorthodox character to fill the void they helped to create.

That’s a key point. I don’t think the GOP elite is evil as such. They live in the belly of the beast, and they have become timid, and far too used to losing. And so they have become losers, and when shown a way to win, it is difficult for them to believe that someone else, especially a loud, uncouth man from the outer boroughs, might win, even without their timid advice, which always resulted in losing, but got them nice invitations. These are the people that renewed their membership in America First, on December 8, 1941. Burke had it right, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. “

The second thing is that I came to realize that I had misunderstood much of Trump’s grass-roots support. Yes, grass-roots voters were convinced that there was no difference between the two parties and that only an outsider like Trump could break the mold and inaugurate a new paradigm in Washington. But they were not a mob, and they saw something that others may not have seen. […]

The Trump opponents have a variety of excuses to deny Trump credit for advancing this agenda and discredit those who foresaw the landscape better than they. They can’t stand his tone, his manners or his tweets. They view him as temperamentally and mentally unfit for office. Even when he achieves policy success after policy success, they childishly huff that it is only because other people besides Trump are running the White House — that he has delegated foreign policy matters and “outsourced” his legislative agenda. Come on, people.

Well, I don’t know whether Trump has morphed into a full-blown ideological conservative, but I do know that he’s largely governing as one — and an effective one at that, accomplishing some bold things that few other conservative presidents would have even tried.

Why are some never-Trumpers obsessively bogged down in evaluating Trump’s character and competence and preoccupied with sanctimoniously judging Trump’s supporters instead of admitting that Trump’s supporters are just rooting for America and that Trump’s policies are — to this point — moving us back toward the direction of the American dream?

This shouldn’t be a contest over who’s more conservative; it should be about what’s best for the United States. I’m pleased with how things are going. If the conservative movement doesn’t come together in the future, I don’t think it will be primarily the fault of the Trump supporters.

That is what matters, who gets invited to what cocktail party doesn’t, who guesses right about anything doesn’t, even who is president doesn’t. What is right for the United States, that matters. Some people need to put their ego in their pocket and get on with the job.

The Three Stooges Are Republicans

Dov Fischer over at The American Spectator says various flavors of “Republicans Just Gotta Stop Clobbering Each Other Like the Three Stooges”. He’s right of course, but let him tell it.

For truly conservative Republicans, the Eisenhower and Nixon Administrations, though better than the Democrat alternatives, were not ideologically conservative presidencies. Nixon’s the One who enacted price and wage controls, appointed several ideologically mushy judges after the fiascoes of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell, greatly expanded federal spending on social programs, and engaged in rapprochement with China and détente with the Soviets that did not net America or him as much as it afforded them. His successor after Watergate was pragmatically a Ford, not a Lincoln. The two Bushes by-and-large were not better than a Byrd in the hand. America’s borders were porous throughout, and the price of GOP dereliction is reflected in a California, once the state that made Nixon and Reagan viable as Presidential candidates, altered irremediably for the next generation. These “kinder-gentler” Republicans put into the Supreme Court the likes of Earl Warren and William Brennan (named by Ike), Harry Blackmun (named by Nixon), John Paul Stevens (by Ford), David Souter (by Bush I), and almost Harriet Miers (Bush II). Even President Ronald Reagan, hampered by a House of Representatives that the Democrats overwhelmingly controlled throughout his eight years in office, and with the Senate controlled by Democrats for two of those years, compromised by naming Justice Sandra O’Connor, agreed to massive amnesties for illegal immigrants, allowed the welfare state to balloon in return for tax cuts, and endeavored gallantly to advance conservative values while bedeviled by a Left media before alternative conservative outlets existed to offset the endless stream of Fake News. And he made George Bush I possible.

Nevertheless, thanks to Obama’s cataclysmic policy failures, Republicans have unseated Democrats in so many hundreds upon hundreds of national, statewide, and local municipal races these past eight years that Democrats’ ranks have been depleted and their reservoir of potential candidates for higher offices decimated. Democrat insider Donna Brazile concedes that the Clintons ravaged the party, leaving it near bankruptcy. Wasserman Schultz is hated by Dems even more than she is loathed by Republicans. Meanwhile, Republicans now have the White House, control the House of Representatives, and still command the United States Senate majority sufficiently to pass historic tax bills, approve conservative judges, chair critical committees, and prevent the reality-challenged likes of Maxine Waters from removing the duly elected President of the United States. The Supreme Court majority remains moderate to conservative and is poised to leap soon into faithful Constitutional conservatism. The Senate, despite the “Resistance,” now has approved a record 12 new federal circuit judges in only one year, and they all are rock-solid conservatives. Reagan never had it this good — nor did we.

Yes, the reduced GOP Senate majority is precarious at 52-49. (Don’t forget: Vice President Mike Pence counts). Yes, Mitch McConnell aggravates, and Paul Ryan occasionally disappoints. Yes, John McCain has scores to settle. So will Bob Corker and Jeff Flake for a few more months. Rand Paul sometimes floats into Howard Roark/Dagny Taggart diversions, and Susan Collins legitimately is hamstrung because any electoral gain in Maine falls plainly on the middle lane. But it’s still better leading 52-49 than being down by three. At last year’s January 2017 Rose Bowl, USC had 52, and Penn State had 49. Guess which college team celebrated. Meanwhile, even though Chief Justice Roberts did that loopy Obamacare tax thing in June 2012, he now has provided precisely the jurisprudential hook on which to hang the new tax bill’s termination of Obama’s individual mandate.

All in All, Not Bad. The Mainstream Media Dreamers Wish They and Their Democrat Bedfellows Had It This Good.

He’s right, Trump is doing better conservatively I can remember, as I said yesterday likely since Coolidge. But I don’t think the intramural war is over yet, sadly. There are too many getting fat feeding at the trough on the Republican side of the barn. The Eisenhower, Bush, Bush heirs have the party structure, as they have since FDR’s time.

I don’t think at first glance that we’ll lose either house, but primary season is likely to be bloody, as the insurgent (and resurgent) conservatives try to take over. What will happen? I don’t know, but I think it a fight worth fighting. If the Constitutional conservatives lose this one, the Republicans most likely become like the British Tories, standing for nothing except going off the cliff slower, instead of standing for timeless principles. Remember “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything,” said the very wise GK Chesterton

So while it’s better than at anytime since the 80s, Thank God, we need to make it better yet, and incidentally secure the victory into law.

That’s OK, it’s almost a year till the election, and almost three till the next Presidential election. The Dems are in worse shape, eating their own and running completely away from their base. We have all the benefits Dov said above, and even the GOPe is better, much better, in fact, than Obama, and the Democrats and media (BIRM) are worse now than they were a year ago.

Perhaps, no better time to have this out in the party than right now. I hope that is so, anyway.

A Yuge Difference

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

That’s right. Government does not exist to make us equal, but to treat us equally. It does not exist to make life fair, but to treat us fairly. Most importantly, it exists to secure our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Only in liberty can we treat each other ethically, because only in liberty can we make the choices that are the necessary condition for ethical life.


Here is a funny thing about the human mind: when we didn’t see something coming, we often can’t see it came. There’s a good reason for this. Wrong predictions are an indication that there is something off or unrealistic about your worldview. When your predictions are vastly incorrect, you have to choose: will I paper over my mistakes and pretend to myself I was actually right in some way, or will I admit the error and adjust the way I look at life?

People almost never adjust the way they look at life. It would mean risking their sense of their own wisdom and virtue.

This is why so many pundits both on the left and right are completely blind to what happened this year in politics.

Donald Trump — a political neophyte, a New York loudmouth who plays fast and loose with the truth, a massive egotist and a not altogether pleasant human being — has delivered conservatives one of the greatest years in living memory and has made our government more moral in the process. The left and many on the right didn’t see it coming because they hate the man. And because they didn’t see it coming, they won’t see that it’s come.

The first assertion is easily proven. After a year of Trump, the economy is in high gear, stocks are up, unemployment is down, energy production is up, business expansion is up and so on; ISIS — which took more than 23,000 square miles of territory after Obama left Iraq and refused to intervene in Syria — is now in control of a Port-o-San and a book of matches; 19 constitutionalist judges have been appointed and 40 more nominated; the biggest regulatory rollback in American history has been launched (boring but yugely important); the rule of law has been re-established at the border; we’re out of the absurd and costly Paris Accord; net neutrality, the most cleverly named government power grab ever, is gone; our foreign policy is righted and revitalized; and a mainstream news media that had become little more than the information arm of the Democratic Party is in self-destructive disarray. If the tax bill passes before Christmas, it will cap an unbelievable string of conservative successes.

Now you can tie yourself in knots explaining why none of this is Trump’s doing or how it’s all just a big accident or the result of cynical motives or whatever. Knock yourself out, cutes. For me, I’ll say this. I hated Trump. I thought he’d be a disaster or, at best, a mediocrity. I was wrong. He’s done an unbelievably great job so far.

{Update} Yikes! Forgot the link here it is: Trump Has Made Our Government More Moral by Andrew Klavan. Thanks, Unit.

Read the rest, but you know, there’s not a lot to add to that. It’s simply true. Trump is a decidedly imperfect instrument, but he’s getting very good results. Perhaps greater than Reagan of sainted memory did, perhaps as good as Coolidge. Think about that for a while. Like many of you, I find him an abrasive personality, not somebody that I’m overly willing to have a Diet Coke with, even though I detest Diet Coke, but he has gotten results that perhaps no one else could have.

I’m reminded that George Patton was not liked in the army between the wars, too much money, too outspoken, not a very good team player, all those things and more, but when war came again, he was indispensable. Trump is like that too. But it is hard to see in the belly of the beast, whether it was the old army or today’s Washington swamp.

I’ve come to believe that the worst features presented like the unstatesmanlike Twitter feed is his method of ‘holding them by the nose’ while his policies are ‘kicking them in the ass’.

Klavan speaks to the fact that immoral people can do moral acts, and that if every senator is grabbing women inappropriately, then the senators are immoral, but if the legislation conforms with that opening paragraph then the legislation is moral irregardless.

We are exactly 11 months into a four-year term, and as the list above indicates, the US is on a roll, all systems are increasingly ‘Go’. Gonna be an exciting, occasionally bumpy, trip I think, and where we’ll end up, well I don’t know. But I know this, it will be better than the boring, gray, bureaucratization and tyranny of pettiness that Hillary promised. I’d say it likely that we once again will be the envy of the world, talked about from Trafalgar Square to Tiananmen Square, by people who do not have such effective leadership, or the freedom that it provides.

Well done, us. 🙂

Reforging American Greatness

We’ve spoken of the things we do here many times, and it’s nice to have another voice. David L. Hunter raises his voice in The American Spectator. He makes his case well, and I agree with his diagnoses. While I see merit in his remedies, they are indeed far better than what we are doing, they are, to me at least, much too government-centric. In my opinion, we need to unleash the beast that built this country, devil take the hindmost, not simply give it a longer leash. The leash itself is a large part of the root problem. Still, this is very worthwhile.

Politically, what’s the definition of insanity? Electing the same types of people doing the same things, but expecting a different outcome.  (Thus, perhaps the main reason Donald Trump was elected president, in 2016, is neatly explained.)  More to the point, on an economic level, what’s the definition of insanity—other than doubling-down on what has been done previously? Thanks to President Trump, and the promise of Republican tax cuts, the tide—superficially—has started to turn. However, a record-setting Wall Street is not the same thing as a booming Main Street. After all, Wall Street is based upon the return on investment by stockholders. That’s rather far removed from real-life factors like creating homegrown American businesses, generating highly skilled domestic jobs or providing Americans opportunities to advance up the socioeconomic ladder. So, the true test of a strong economy is an expanding, upwardly mobile middle class. Yet, this all-important demographic has been declining for more than 40 years:

“After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number [read: statistically equivalent to] by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.”

It’s true, we have many more so-called upper class (based on income) people about, and many more what we call working class, as well. The middle has been hollowed out, and it works to our detriment. Why?

 

[…] What’s also apparent is that generally speaking, American companies are being outcompeted by their international counterparts for the world’s largest market share.
How is that happening?  It’s because U.S. businesses rely upon financial shell games designed to generate profits on their balance sheets. This has the superficially positive effect of artificially buoying the stock price (benefiting executives’ salaries and stockholders’ investments), while inversely gutting the real-world ability of a company to compete in the global marketplace. If that is not the case, why do American corporations widely participate in cost-slashing measures like corporate inversion, using inferior components in U.S. products (read: bailed out GM’sIgnition Switch Scandal) and outsourcing jobs?
Contrast that mindset with fundamentally producing products and services that excel at satisfying one or more customer needs for a true competitive advantage in the worldwide market. Instead, U.S. companies engage in modern-day finance-based parasitic behavior: absorbing weaker firms, often stripping them of their employees and selling off divisions for quick infusions of cash to elevate the “almighty” stock price. In popular culture, this dynamic was immortalized by the contentious exchange between corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), and embattled “old-time” business owner Jim Morse (Ralph Bellamy) in “Pretty Woman” (1990):
Morse: “Mr. Lewis, if you were to get control—and I don’t think you will—but if you did, what do you plan to do with the company?”
Lewis: “Break it up and sell off the pieces.”
Morse: “I’m sure you’ll understand I’m not thrilled at the idea of your turning years of my work into your garage sale.”
Lewis: “At the price I’m paying for this stock, Mr. Morse, you are going to be a very rich man.”
Morse: “I’m rich enough. I just want to head my shipyard.”
We’ve touched often on this before, from the viewpoint of one inside the machine. Many are, and can see what needs to be done, but can’t because it might impact the quarterly bottom line. Eventually, it’s going to kill any business with the infection, and almost all big businesses, and many mid-size and small ones have it. What to do about it? Mr. Hunter thinks this is the answer.
How does one achieve this elusive key to lasting success? For that answer, one must look to Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness, circa 1985. Remarkably, this forward-thinking president was troubled by the overt financialization of the U.S. economy, and specifically, its adverse impact on American competitiveness. In response, Reagan launched a then-classified initiative known as the Socrates Project with the mission of transitioning the U.S. back to technology-based planning—and away from the type of financial shenanigans mentioned above.  It was so astonishingly effective that it far surpassed what countries like Russia, Japan and China were executing or could execute in the foreseeable future.
In turn, the Socrates Project developed the Automated Innovation System. Today, it can map global technology—high-tech, low-tech, “no”-tech –in real time. In function, it operates like a digital four-dimensional chessboard showing foreign organizations’ and countries’ plans for exploiting worldwide technology.  Specifically, it details the full range of present and future technology opportunities, and constraints, that can be exploited by U.S. public and private organizations for the essential competitive advantage to bring true and lasting economic prosperity back to America.
He may be right, at least to a point but I’m as always leery of panaceas, and this rather smells like one. More expert systems telling experts what to do strikes me as mostly more elite bullshit. Better than what we do now, but hardly the answer.
In truth, I do not think there is an answer. In the singular, that is. This a big diverse country, it works best when it has a goal and everybody leaves it alone and lets it see what it can accomplish.
Bigness is often an advantage, but just as often a disadvantage, the ability to marshal large amounts of money and groups of people offset by the elephantine measures necessary to manage such a group, rather than lead it.
And that is the answer, and where we are failing, leadership. The kind of leadership that can see an opportunity, and come hell or high water or even Washington bureaucrats and Wall Street idiots, drive on to success. Where are they? I don’t know, maybe school and college drove that spirit out of them, but I doubt it, they’re out there, thinking of better ways to do better things, and wondering how they can get from here to there.
A  good start would be to simply get the government back in its place, you know what Jemmy Madison said,
[…] 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.
That’s government’s job, and nothing else, anything else the government does is done to the detriment of some citizen, usually many citizens. Prosperity is something we are required to do for ourselves.

The Week: This Year in Jerusalem Edition

Welp, that time again, lots going on so let’s dive into the swamp.

Al Franken thinks we need to have a ‘National Conversation’ about sexual harrassment, I don’t see why, as far as I can see it only needs a short statement from such vermin’s employers. For instance, “You’re fired.” Perhaps followed with the suggestion that they don’t use us as a reference, ever. Sorry, but I’ve found that only the incompetent make excuses.

Will the second edition be titled, “Giant Jerk of the Senate”?

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The Colossus of Freedom

Real Socialism

I need one of these!

Then there is this guy

My kind of lawn mower

And, of course

As usual, most (but not all) from PowerLine and Bookworm.

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