American Leadership

OK, gang, no Kavanaugh from me today. I’m tired of it, and no matter how many leftist hacks err women claim he looked at them sideways while drunk and disorderly, I simply don’t believe them, not least because they can’t keep their story straight. It’s appropriate that ‘Creepy Porn Lawyer’ is horning in on the racket- it’s all on about his level.

But, still, I have a post to write. What should we talk about? Rosenstein? Nah – see above. How about Donald Trump’s diplomacy, after all, he’s at the UN this week. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

And Bob Barr over at The American Spectator had some stuff to say about it.

[S]peaking to a large gathering at Rice University stadium in September 1962, President John Kennedy challenged his countrymen to place a man on the surface of the moon and return him safely to the earth. At the time, many of those countrymen thought his dream unattainable, at least within the timeframe of a single decade as the President suggested. Yet, in less than seven years, a team of scientists and engineers accomplished exactly what Kennedy envisioned.

Late in his presidency, Ronald Reagan challenged his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, to “tear down” the Berlin Wall; a structure that had stood for more than a quarter century as a seeming permanent monument to the strength of the communist system. His critics, and even some in his own political Party, sloughed off Reagan’s challenge as nothing more than a catchy soundbite delivered by an eloquent but elderly president. A mere two years later, the Berlin Wall and the totalitarian regimes it personified, began crumbling.

Early this year, President Trump publicly broached the likelihood of a personal meeting with North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un, who just weeks before Trump had ridiculed as “Little Rocket Man.” Unsurprisingly, pundits were highly skeptical that a meeting between the two leaders would take place, and even if it did, that any meaningful substantive results would follow. But here we are, just three months after the Singapore Summit, and the leaders of the two Koreas — split apart and still technically in a state of war since 1950 — expressing optimism that the four nations directly involved in that oft-forgotten war (including China and the United States) will sign a peace treaty before the end of this year.

To perhaps a majority of decision-makers in Washington, New York, and elsewhere, believing such a scenario not only possible but likely would itself be deemed delusional. Democrats — who saw their last President, Barack Obama, constantly showered with praise as a visionary world leader throughout his eight years in office (including receiving the Nobel Peace Prize during his very first year as President) — scoff at the notion that Trump is capable of accomplishing something truly noteworthy in international affairs.

Read the rest, he makes some excellent points.

Bob speaks of these Presidents as thinking outside the box, and he’s not wrong, but there is more there, they all reflect the words of George Bernard Shaw, who said, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

There is, in American leadership at its best, epitomized by these three an appealing sense that nothing is impossible. I think it is a very American thing, that comes from being such a young country that has accomplished so very much, through hard work and dedication. From Teddy Roosevelt on, if there is a great cause happening (and often a ridiculously naive one, to be sure), one can be sure that there is an American in it. Maybe it is our special gift, to think outside the box, to find a new perspective, to challenge ourselves, and the world, to be better than we think we are.

 

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The Week; Some things Never Change

We live in a time of change, but the essentials don’t

I live about fifty miles from North Platte, and you know, many of those who contributed to the Canteen during World War Two were from the surrounding communities, although likely the majority were from the city. I can remember people who told of getting up at 3 am to catch the train to North Platte, with their homegrown food (thus not subject to rationing) put in a full day greeting the troops, and returned home around midnight. Every day, from Pearl Harbor until well after VJ Day, never missing a day. All of it, the time and the food, at no cost to the troops or the government.

Returning to our regular programming…

International News

The financial section

No such thing as too much Hayek!

Wow! Just Wow!

Keep it clean!

Mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm as usual. And a few from Ace’s.

Well, It seems I’m being called. See you later, maybe! 😀

Populism: the Last 50 Years

Frank Cannon at The American Spectator has some thoughts about the assassination of Robert Kennedy 50 years ago this month. Yeah, 1968 was quite the year, a major watershed, seemed like it then and it has proved so.

His impact has resonated well beyond 1968, however. As my late friend Jeff Bell argued in his book, Populism and Elitism, Robert Kennedy’s short-lived campaign drew strongly on populist impulses — that is, an optimism about the ability of people to make decisions about their own lives, rather than relying on elites to do it for them. This approach seemed to be giving Kennedy the momentum in the race, until that fateful moment on June 5th:

Kennedy’s assassination on the night of the California primary put a halt to that effort, not just for 1968 but (in large part) for the decades since. No subsequent liberal leader has made an effective effort to develop a form of left populism… Subsequent polling in 1968 found many white Kennedy voters lining up for Richard Nixon and George Wallace, although, with great difficulty, [Hubert] Humphrey got some of them back by the November election. But no Democratic presidential nominee has ever done as well as Humphrey with these voters in the five elections since. In short, the effort to keep the Democrats’ majority coalition together with a more populist appeal began and ended in the three months of Robert Kennedy’s campaign.

That is, I think beyond question. Many of Kennedy’s policies didn’t appeal to me, even then, but he did, then and now. In truth, of the brothers, with what we know now, he is the only one who does.

In addition, it strikes me that perhaps this is where the traditional liberalism was mortally wounded, as misguided as much of it was, in my view, it was honest and really did want to help people. What we have now merely uses people in an attempt to take and keep power.

In 1964, with the nomination of Barry Goldwater, the Republican Party had taken its first tentative steps towards a conservative populism. Since the 1950s, it had been defined by such leaders as Dwight Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller, who could best be described as conservative elitists. However, beginning with the tumultuous election campaign of 1968, this ground quickly began to shift. Richard Nixon and his “silent majority” powered a counter-conservative Republican populism, culminating in the election of Ronald Reagan a decade later. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party came to be dominated by elite progressives, who had begun to gradually take over vast swaths of the culture and American institutions.

Since then, this state of affairs has come to predominate, though not without a few twists along the way. After Reagan, the conservatives who had found success with him during his presidency formed their own elite establishment, best represented by institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce, which dominated conservative policymaking, elevating business-friendly policies to the detriment of more populist issues — at least until 2016.

And then came Trump, the heir of both Bobby Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The author makes the point that Trump is different still again. Rather than conservative, he is anti-progressive (and a lot of that is conservative in nature). But it also owes a fair amount to Teddy Roosevelt, and his love for “The Strenuous Life”.

And in some ways, I suspect it is a very specifically American thing. We really are different, rowdier, prouder, and more passionate about our system, than pretty much anybody in the world. That doesn’t (and never has) precluded us from cooperating with other organizations who have similar goals or opposing those who would overly compromise freedom in any place or time. The main difference really, is that it is the almost unfiltered views of the American people. And the ‘elites’, left and right, don’t like that one bit, but that is how you get more Trump, longer.

In Remembrance

On Saturday, we often feature videos to sum up the week, or occasionally a movie, that we referred to. Today also, we will have a video, but it is far more important that you watch this one.

Last Thursday was Yom HaShoah, the day set aside for Jewish people to remember and reflect on the Holocaust. And in the United States, it was Holocaust Remembrance Day, set on the anniversary of the American liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp.

And yet, Mark Levin tells us, two-thirds of Millenials do not know what Auschwitz was, or what was done there. And a large percentage also do not know what the Holocaust itself was. That is a shocking dereliction of duty on our and our schools’ part.

President Trump released a statement on Thursday, that I am including here, in its entirety.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 11, 2018

Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust, 2018

– – – – – – –

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

 

 

On Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, and during this week of remembrance, we reflect on one of the darkest periods in the history of the world and honor the victims of Nazi persecution.  This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when the imprisoned Polish Jews mounted a courageous and extraordinary act of armed resistance against their Nazi guards.

The Holocaust, known in Hebrew as “Shoah,” was the culmination of the Nazi regime’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” an attempt to eradicate the Jewish population in Europe.  Although spearheaded by one individual, this undertaking could not have happened without the participation of many others who recruited, persuaded, and coerced in their efforts to incite the worst of human nature and carry out the ugliest of depravity.  The abject brutality of the Nazi regime, coupled with the failure of Western leaders to confront the Nazis early on, created an environment that encouraged and enflamed anti-Semitic sentiment and drove people to engage in depraved, dehumanizing conduct.

By the end, the Nazis and their conspirators had murdered 6 million men, women, and children, simply because they were Jews.  They also persecuted and murdered millions of other Europeans, including Roma and Sinti Gypsies, persons with mental and physical disabilities, Slavs and other minorities, Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gays, and political dissidents.

Let us continue to come together to remember all the innocent lives lost in the Holocaust, pay tribute to those intrepid individuals who resisted the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, and recall those selfless heroes who risked their lives in order to help or save those of their persecuted neighbors.  Their bravery inspires us to embrace all that is good about hope and resilience; their altruism reminds us of the importance of maintaining peace and unity, and of our civic duty never to remain silent or indifferent in the face of evil.  We have a responsibility to convey the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations, and together as Americans, we have a moral obligation to combat antisemitism, confront hate, and prevent genocide.  We must ensure that the history of the Holocaust remains forever relevant and that no people suffer these tragedies ever again.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby ask the people of the United States to observe the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust, April 12 through April 19, 2018, and the solemn anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camps, with appropriate study, prayers and commemoration, and to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution by internalizing the lessons of this atrocity so that it is never repeated.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

eleventh day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

 

 

 

DONALD J. TRUMP


As I have said before, when I was young, I knew one the American soldiers who was amongst those who liberated Ohrdruff, a camp attached to Buchenwald, south of Gotha, Germany. Once, knowing my interest in military history, he tried to tell me about it. He merely sat there, sobbing, as far as I know, he never was able to talk about it, it so broke his heart

But, perhaps it is better to let the Great Communicator speak to us about it. In 1983, on 11 April, President Reagan spoke to the Holocaust Survivors Association. It is a most moving address.

As we must always say:

Never Again.

Not on our watch.



And now, as I wrote this last evening comes word that once more forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the French Republic are in action to attempt to protect the innocent from the horrors of chemical attack. Which are so great that without demur, after the horror of their use, in World War I, were outlawed forever.

It reminds me of the proverb, “The first duty of the strong is to protect the weak.”

So once again, we are in action, in defense of Western Civilization. May God protect them.

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!

Living in the Bad Old Days.

Baby, It’s cold outside, even in Florida

Most of you, like me, remember living through the bad old days – of the 1970s. You know unaffordable heating, waiting in line for gas  (every other day) for gas for the car and a host of other things. Not only was it uncomfortable, to most of us it felt unAmerican. And it was, this country was built on movement, and movement demands affordable energy. We didn’t really get going until the railroads started to build out the network, and then we were pretty much unstoppable.

Until the 70s, that is. A lot of people have tried to lay the blame off on the Arabs. Well, they had something to do with the proximate cause, but the real cause was right here at home. It was (and is) called the US Government.

Steven Hayward wrote about this yesterday. let’s have a look.

Everyone remembers the lines for gasoline. What is less recalled are the shortages and price spikes for natural gas, whose price and supply was also regulated at the federal level. But in Texas, intrastate natural gas outside the federal purview was abundant and cheap, and the lack of pipeline capacity to transport it, along with the price controls, meant Texas enjoyed cheap natural gas while the rest of the country shivered or paid out for expensive home heating oil and oil-fired electricity (oil-fired electricity was nearly 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity in 1973; today the figure is less than 1 percent). Hence there was a popular bumper sticker in Texas back then: “Drive fast, freeze a Yankee.”

Yep, I remember those, and like Steve says, even Jimmy Carter was able to figure out the problem, although, as usual, he had the slows in doing anything about it. But Reagan didn’t, those controls ended his first week in office. It’s one of the reasons for the 80s boom.

But the Northeast still hasn’t figured it out, and so its residents are freezing in the dark again. From Steve.

But from the looks of things the northeast is living back in the bad old days during the current bout of global warming climate change gripping so much of the country. The spot prices for natural gas and electricity are soaring:

Gee—how can natural gas be so expensive when its abundant and cheap (thank you fracking), and moreover available in nearby states like Pennsylvania and Ohio? It’s not necessary any more for eastern natural gas customers to have to deal with those cowboy hat-wearing folk in Oklahoma and Texas.

Ah, maybe headlines like this have something to do with it:

He’s blocked 3 (at least) pipelines, although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has overturned him on one. He’s also stopped fracking in New York, depriving upstate and western New York of who knows how many jobs, good paying ones too. In fact, so good that western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio are all but booming again. The Wall Street Journal (Paywall, sorry) took this nonsense apart last summer

The U.S. shale boom has lowered energy prices and created hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. But those living in upstate New York and New England have been left in the cold by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose shale gas blockade could instigate an energy crisis in the Northeast. . .

All of this is ominous since the region desperately needs more natural gas to make up for lost power from the impending shutdown of nuclear and coal plants. New England’s Independent System Operator projects that 14% of the region’s electric generation capacity will be retired within three years and says more pipelines are needed for grid stability.

Energy costs in the Northeast are already the highest in the nation outside of Alaska and Hawaii in part due to the shortage of natural gas. Northeast residents pay 29% more for natural gas and 44% more for electricity than the U.S. average, according to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Industrial users in the Northeast pay twice as much for natural gas and 62% more for electricity. . .

Inclement weather can cause energy costs to skyrocket. During the 2014 polar vortex, natural gas prices in New York City spiked to $120 per million Btu—about 25 times the Henry Hub spot price at the time. Natural-gas power plants in New York are required to burn oil during supply shortages. Due to pipeline constraints and the Jones Act—which requires that cargo transported between U.S. ports be carried by ships built in the U.S.—Boston imports liquefied natural gas during the winter from Trinidad. This is expensive and emits boatloads of carbon.

Speaking of which, about a quarter of households in New York, 45% in Vermont and 65% in Maine still burn heating oil—which is a third more expensive than natural gas and produces about 30% more carbon emissions per million Btu. Yet many can’t switch due to insufficient natural gas and pipeline infrastructure.

So what is Cuomo doing about this? This:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in connection with his State of the State address today, announced a plan to create new energy efficiency targets and appliance standards. He directed the state’s Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to propose new 2025 energy efficiency targets by Earth Day, April 22, 2018, and also announced the state’s plans to develop new appliance efficiency standards for products not covered by federal standards, coordinating efforts with other states. According to the Governor, the targets will be “achieved through cost effective implementation strategies and innovative approaches from both utilities and the [New York State] Clean Energy Fund.”

Yep, that’ll fix it. Make appliances even more expensive and less reliable.

Steve writes, “Turns out the New England electricity grid manager (the ISO) warned of this very problem a couple months ago:”

[P]ower system operations could become challenging if demand is higher than projected, if the region loses a large generator, electricity imports are affected, or when natural gas pipeline constraints limit the fuel available to natural-gas-fired power plants. . .

While New England has adequate capacity resources to meet projected demand, a continuing concern involves the availability of fuel for those power plants to generate electricity when needed. The region’s natural gas delivery infrastructure has expanded only incrementally[thank you Gov. Cuomo], while reliance on natural gas as the predominant fuel for both power generation and heating continues to grow. During extremely cold weather, natural gas pipeline constraints limit the availability of fuel for natural-gas-fired power plants. Further, the retirement of a 1,500 MW coal- and oil-fired power plant in May has removed a facility with stored fuel that helped meet demand when natural gas plants were unavailable. . .

To address potential shortages of fuel to generate electricity, ISO New England will administer the Winter Reliability Program again to help protect overall grid reliability. The program provides incentives for generators to stock up on oil or contract for liquefied natural gas before winter begins . . .

But, what about all that solar power we keep hearing about?

While PV helps reduce energy consumption during sunny winter days, demand peaks in winter after the sun has set.

Typical. I’d feel sorry for them, but I just can’t manage it. After all, they elected these statist cretins, and the chickens are coming home to roost, good and hard. I’d invest in tar and pitchforks futures though unless they all do freeze in the dark. But they’ll probably re-elect them again. It’s what they do, and why they have become increasingly irrelevant to the modern world.

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