Open Thread

Turns out, we now have a Secretary of Defense who is concerned about our war fighting capability:

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the new Pentagon policy that will remove service members who have not been deployable for a year or more is about fairly sharing the burden within the forces.

The deploy-or-leave policy includes exceptions for pregnancy and wounded warriors. Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee last week that “on any given day, about 13 to 14 percent of the force is medically unable to deploy.”

The United States has a population of around 317 million. Our active duty armed forces are just under 1.3 million. This works out to 0.54% of our population being in the military. If we nearly doubled our active forces (which we probably should, given the challenges we face), then we’d be getting to 1% in the military…this ratio of military to population means we should very easily be able to select only the very best physical and mental recruits for our armed forces. There should be no one in there other than those injured in the line of duty who isn’t in peak condition. We have the population to allow us a force of superb soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines…and that is precisely what we should have.

Democrats may be Resisting themselves into a permanent minority:

Finally there’s Mr. Trump. Even with his recent bump in the polls, he remains divisive. But he’s not the only divisive politician who will figure in this election. The most recent Politico/Morning Consult poll suggests that Nancy Pelosi has pulled off a largely unheralded achievement: In the Age of Trump, she is arguably the most unpopular politician in America.

What does that mean for impeachment? Well, in 69 House districts surveyed by the Congressional Leadership Fund (a super PAC devoted to maintaining the GOP majority), Mrs. Pelosi is underwater in every one. She is also toxic among independents.

Take California’s 10th District, held by Republican Jeff Denham. Hillary Clinton carried this district in 2016, and Mr. Trump’s approval rating is at minus four. But again, Democrats are split among eight primary contenders. And the CLF survey showed that voters in Mr. Denham’s district prefer Paul Ryan as speaker to Mrs. Pelosi by 13 points.

I’ve been saying all along that I have grave doubts that dislike of Trump would translate into a desire to have Pelosi return to the Speaker’s chair. It could happen – but only if Pelosi and the Democrats came up with an agenda that speaks to the American people. Hating Trump and wanting impeachment wasn’t going to do it…choosing illegals over Americans and demanding gun control will be millstones around the Democrats’ necks come November. I don’t know how November will come out – but in my view, it is more likely that Republicans will make gains than Democrats will take back the House.

John Kasich is, in my view, laying the groundwork for a run for President as a Democrat:

If all the sudden you couldn’t buy an AR-15, what would you lose? Would you feel your second amendment rights would be eroded? These are the things that have to be looked at and action has to happen.

Next up will be a more “nuanced” position on abortion. Thing is, he’d actually be the strongest candidate Democrats could find to run against Trump…blue collar background; successful governor; from Ohio which could make that State back into a real battleground. He’d pull all the remaining NeverTrump over to the Democrats while at the same time having huge appeal in the suburbs of the Blue cities. But, the Democrat base will reject him – the whole old, white guy thing just won’t work. If he did get the Democrat nomination, the far left would run a Third Party candidate against him.

The Israeli solution to school shootings:

When terrorists attacked a school in Maalot in 1974, Israel did not declare every school a gun-free zone. It passed a law mandating armed security in schools, provided weapons training to teachers and today runs frequent active shooter drills. There have been only two school shootings since then, and both have ended with teachers killing the terrorists.

It is an approach that the Americans should take to end the constant slaughter of innocents.

San Francisco, the Progressive paradise:

As the Investigative Unit photographed nearly a dozen hypodermic needles scattered across one block, a group of preschool students happened to walk by on their way to an afternoon field trip to citiy hall.

“We see poop, we see pee, we see needles, and we see trash,” said teacher Adelita Orellana. “Sometimes they ask what is it, and that’s a conversation that’s a little difficult to have with a 2-year old, but we just let them know that those things are full of germs, that they are dangerous, and they should never be touched.”

In light of the dangerous conditions, part of Orellana’s responsibilities now include teaching young children how to avoid the contamination.

This is what the left wants to bring to the whole country. They simply don’t care about the lives of the people…all they care about is their social agenda of tearing down Western Civilization. If we have to live in a world where filth-borne disease becomes once again a regular occurrence, that is a price they are willing you should pay.

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An Observation About Men in Society

V the K notes what might actually help to prevent school massacres:

The best approach to ending mass murder incidents at public school seems pretty straightforward; make schools more secure. At the high school my son went to, there was only one to get into the school during school hours. You had to enter into a secure vestibule, then be buzzed into the main office by a staffer. This simple expedient, coupled with an alert staff, would have prevented what happened in Florida. It also would have worked at Sandy Hook.

This is true – but, also, a little sad. The thing about breaking the big rules is that you don’t end up with no rules, but with a lot of little rules, instead. We broke the big rules about what it means to be a man ’round about 50 years ago…and now we’re forced to enact a whole series of little rules to ensure that when the males who don’t know how to be men go nuts, fewer people will be killed and injured.

Men need to feel valued as providers and protectors. If men are not valued as such, then they will tend towards a nihilistic destructiveness. As no one was writing things down way back when, we don’t know if it was a man who cut the deal with the woman or the woman who cut the deal with the man, but the deal was struck: woman sticks loyally to the man and the man, in turn, sticks loyally with the woman…providing sustenance for their children and protection against other men. And when that deal was struck, however it was struck, for the first time a male became a man.

Yes, this does presuppose that the man, in return for doing his part, will gain a bit of authority – in Roman times, they called it pater familias. The concept was, ultimately, that if a man was to tie himself to one woman and make certain that she and all children were cared for, he was to exercise a level of authority over the family. Fair? Fair has nothing to do with it: it was what it was. It turned brutish males into civilized men who would throw their lives away in defense of wife, children and home. If you wonder at the return of the brutish male, look no further than our destruction of the idea of the man as protector and provider.

Build your security gates. Continue to drug males who won’t fit in. Jail them in ever greater numbers. Propagandize against “toxic masculinity” all you want. But unless men feel themselves to be part of a larger whole and have distinct duties and privileges attached to that, then we’ll continue to get madmen wading into our schools to kill.

Post Superbowl Open Thread

I did watch the Superbowl – it was quite good. Still a bit too much SJW in the commercials, but the game, itself, was great as a game. I’d like to think the NFL has learned its lesson…but it probably hasn’t. The ratings for the Superbowl were at an 8 year low…and if the NFL wants to turn that around, they’d better drop the SJW drivel.

Of course, Philly then went on to behave rather badly. That is something I just don’t get – rioting after a game. But it seems a thing in the deep, blue cities. I’ll leave it to you to speculate why.

Always remember that the Trump/Russia thing started with the paranoid conspiracy theory that Putin had altered votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan to throw the election to Trump. This did not happen. We know it didn’t happen because you can’t do that – it isn’t physically possible…and, of course, Stein’s recounts confirmed that the vote was valid. But that didn’t stop the Democrats from running with it. They just can’t get over the fact that Hillary lost – and so, here we are, 14 months later, still wallowing in their psychological stew. But do keep in mind where it came from – it is like starting a math equation with 1+1=3: no matter what you do after that, it will be wrong. Those who are trying to claim that this or that aspect of the Trump/Russia investigation is valid are being quite silly about the whole thing…the underlying basis of it is false; all that follows from that underlying basis is also false. It can’t be otherwise…no amount of addition to a lie will ever make a lie true. This is why I’m quite confident that Trump will never be tripped up over Trump/Russia…there’s nothing to trip him up over. Its also why I think that Trump should just shut it down: yeah, it would cause shrieks, but that will be rapidly drowned out by rising wages and increased employment.

Steele apparently had a second dossier about Trump…and it was peddled back and forth between State and Team Hillary. This is the real scandal: that Obama’s Administration placed itself at Hillary’s disposal for the 2016 campaign. That is what we need to investigate.

A Colt’s linebacker was killed by a drunk driver…this tragedy apparently caused by an illegal immigrant. There’s a reason to enforce the laws, folks.

The MSM is getting filled with heart-wrenching stories of poor, sweet Dreamers being deported by that cruel, racist Trump…and Don Surber digs into one and finds, surprise!, that the MSM isn’t really giving the whole story. Of course they aren’t. Bottom line, folks, is that getting deported from the United States isn’t easy. You’ve really got to work at it, especially if you’ve been here any length of time. The subject of the linked story did work at it – getting convicted on drug offenses. Obama let him skate, Trump is enforcing the law.

We have been working on a thing called a “railgun” for a while…and haven’t done a very good job at it. Now, China is picking up the idea. This is bad news – we daren’t let China get ahead of us on this. This is revolutionary stuff – it could be as decisive a change to naval warfare as was the introduction of the aircraft carrier. The railgun will fire a projectile at about Mach 7 and will have a range of about 100 miles…though I’ve read that this could be extended to 200 miles. There is no explosive…it is just a piece of metal fired so fast that it completely destroys whatever it hits (think about it: we’re basically reviving the cannon ball…and this might revive the Battleship: we were about to build the USS Montana BB-67 when we dropped the Battleship concept, so I say we go with that when we start again). Nothing in anyone’s inventory at present can withstand it (though, I’ve also read of some new metals being developed which might provide protection against it…in the battle between offense and defense, there’s never a final answer). The main thing is that if such a weapon is practical (and it looks like it is, though more R&D is necessary), then we want them…and we want them before anyone else has them. Imagine a ship carrying, say, four such weapons parked 20 miles off an enemy coast…anything up to 80 miles inland from it is doomed. Time for Trump to get busy on this – and I think he is: you might recall he wants an end to the Defense budget sequestration and it has been, partially, lack of money which has held us back here.

Open Thread

Marcy Miller, a Twitter friend of mine, keeps up on Arizona history:

By five a.m. on a cold November 2, 1889, Gila County Sheriff Glenn Reynolds and his deputy, William A. Holmes, had barely begun the second day of their long trek from Globe to the Yuma Territorial Prison with nine prisoners. Eight of the convicts were Apaches – one of them the infamous Apache Kid, another Pash-Tan-Tah – and the remaining prisoner a Mexican man named Jesus Avott. The prisoners rode in a stagecoach driven by its owner, Eugene Middleton. Next to Middleton sat Deputy Holmes, riding shotgun, while Sheriff Reynolds accompanied them on horseback…

Read the whole thing. Interesting slice of old west history.

So, they voted to Release The Memo – we’ll see if Trump approves it. I bet he will – but even if he doesn’t, I understand the House can still release it. At any rate, things are rapidly heating up on this front. From what I’ve read, it seems pretty clear to me that the Obama Administration cooked up a reason to spy on the Trump Campaign in order to aid Hillary’s quest for the White House and when Trump wound up winning, they switched it over to a story about Trump colluding with Russia to win the election. We’re all used to Democrats getting away with stuff like this – but this is really big. Like, Watergate was nothing compared to it big. We’ll see how it comes out.

Google has a new camera that will neatly keep track of your every move. I really don’t understand why anyone buys these things. Look, I like being connected, too…but we’re already in enough databases: why give people permission to essentially spy on you 24/7? Want to know what really set me off on how bad things are getting? Some months back the Mrs and I were walking through a store and I mentioned that we needed to buy more treats for the dog…almost instantly, an ad for dog treats at that store popped up in my Facebook timeline. The fricking thing was listening to me and matched what I said to where I was! I don’t like that, at all. I’ve taken to occasionally entirely shutting off my phone so that there is at least some blocks of time no one knows where I am. But, you just watch: eventually not having your phone on and with you will be seen as evidence against you. 1984 turned out to be an instruction manual.

A possibly intoxicated Gam Gam was last seen reading passages from a pack of lies at the Grammy’s. For some odd reason, this resulted in very low TV ratings for the Grammy Awards. Go figure.

MSMer, in the spirit of 1984, throws the actual news coverage of the 2016 into the Memory Hole and announces that the MSM was too tough on Hillary.

Allahpundit, who really has been allowing his disdain for Trump to get the better of him, wants Trump to jettison the televised State of the Union. I don’t see any reason for this – other than a fierce desire on the part of some to deny Trump a widely-watched, national platform. Heck with that – just having him up there giving the speech will bug our Progressive friends…and that is always a worthy object.

Donald Surber points out that some people coming to ardently support the Wall are illegal immigrants…specifically those who would benefit from the codification of DACA. When you think about it, it makes sense: Democrats might want the DACA people stuck in legal limbo in order to wring whatever political advantage they can out of it…but the actual, flesh and blood human beings involved probably just want to get themselves to legal status so they don’t have to worry about it any more. This is a very illustrative thing: Democrats don’t actually give a darn about anyone. It is perfectly ok, in their minds, if people suffer if they think that suffering can get them power and wealth. The thing for the GOP to do is to figure out a way to explain this – not just to DACA types, but all the various social groups the Democrats keep poor and hopeless. We want them to rise and live their lives in independent dignity…Democrats just want them poor and hopeless because that way they may be suckered into voting Democrat.

Thinking About Art

So, I’m still writing the novel. Just past 57,000 words, now. I figure I’ve got about 20-25,000 left to go. Very importantly, I figured out how it ends. Meaning, I knew in general how it ended all along, but now I know how to get there. I’ve re-read what I’ve written from time to time…make a few changes here and there, but the main thing is the story is compelling. At least, to me it is. I do hope other people like it. To me, it’s a real page-turner…and I already know what’s on the next page, being the author of it, and all. There will be a lot to do in the re-write after the first draft is done…increasing the descriptions, diving a bit more deeply into character development, making the overall Narrative flow better. I’m having a lot of fun writing it. Though it will take longer than I first thought – originally hoped to have it out in May, but now that will slip by several months. Partly because I got dragooned into working on another project which will absorb some writing time over the next month or so.

The other day the news did what Chesterton pointed out is the primary purpose of the news: telling people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive that Lord Jones is dead. In this case, Lord Jones was Ursula Le Guin. I had never heard of her until I found out she was dead. In case your ignorance matches mine regarding this lady, she was a famed sci-fi/fantasy author…writing lots of books and winning all manner of awards. Someone quoted a passage from one of her books and said this was the most beautiful opening paragraph he had ever read:

Current-borne, wave-flung, tugged hugely by the whole might of the ocean, the jellyfish drifts in the tidal abyss. The light shines through it, and the dark enters it. Borne, flung, tugged from anywhere to anywhere for in the deep sea there is no compass but nearer and farther, higher and lower, the jellyfish hangs and sways; pulses move slight and quick within it, as the vast diurnal pulses beat in the moon-driven sea. Hanging, swaying, pulsing, the most vulnerable and insubstantial creature, it has for its defense the violence and power of the whole ocean, to which it has entrusted its being, its going, and its will.

If you like that, then I’m afraid my novel is going to be a terrible disappointment to you. It is just a bunch of words strung together, in my view. I initially thought the guy who posted that on Twitter was joking – and maybe he was (it is hard to tell), but the comments from people about it indicates that some people actually think this is meaningful stuff. Deep. Thoughtful.

Its about a freaking jellyfish drifting with the tide! Its drivel!

It got me thinking about the whole concept of creative arts – and thinking that it is in a very bad way. Ms. Le Guin wrote that on purpose and people read it and gave it awards. I am flabbergasted. I’d be embarrassed if I wrote anything like that. I’m hoping that she wrote it as a joke – that the rest of her writing was better and that she merely put that out once securely rich and famous as part of an “I wonder if they’ll really just buy anything I write?” experiment.

Then I read a bit from Andrew Klavan about how he was viewing the upcoming Oscar awards:

The Oscars as a glamorous, televised, fun event are a relic of the days when film was the central American art form, the way America told stories to itself. When an art form is at its peak — which usually comes pretty early in its life cycle — the greatest works and the most popular works are usually one and the same. The movies, for instance, peaked around 1939 when the nominees included Gone With The Wind, Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, and The Wizard of Oz. All are still rightly considered classics and all were in the top ten at the box office.

I’ll have to agree with that. My Mrs gently chides me for my preference for old movies, but I really find most modern movies unwatchable. There have been a few recent offerings I liked. In sci-fi, for instance, I liked Interstellar. It got panned, but I thought it the most interesting sci-fi movie since, say, Planet of the Apes in 1968. But, mostly I just keep watching old movies. They are just better, in my view. For instance, for most of my life I had ignored Citizen Kane: mostly because I figure a movie that praised couldn’t be as good as people were saying. Then I watched it all the way through. And then watched it again. It is the best movie ever made in my view. I’ve watched Lord only knows how many movies, but I’ve never seen anything as interesting as that – something so crisply done, such great dialogue, such phenomenal acting and cinematography. Klaven has hit upon something – the movies are worn out. So is fiction writing. So, too, is writing in general (Matt and I were most pleased with those who opined Worst was well-written; we really appreciated that…but, I can’t argue against the people saying it…most books written these days are simply badly written…I mean, just terrible, and they are written by people who supposedly went to school and learned how to write. I just started writing in 2003 and slowly got better at it).

It occurred to me that part of the reason I’m writing my novel is the same reason that C S Lewis wrote the Narnia series: he took one look at what people were reading, was appalled and set about trying to write something worth reading. So am I. I don’t know if anyone will read it; I hope they do. But my purpose is clear: to write a story which will be interesting and fun to read.

And I think that is where the modern arts have gone wrong: they aren’t trying for interesting and fun. They are trying for something else…a message, or a moral, or simply to be as weird as they can, because that is where the awards and book contracts are. I’m writing a fairy tale – and that means I’ve taken some average folks and put them in strange, dangerous situations where they can only rely on their courage and each other to triumph over evil. You know – it is a story which you can imagine yourself landing in, and then imagine how you might react. There is no sex in my book; though there is love. There is violence, but not gross violence. No one is depressed. They are, at turns, afraid and unsure…but they aren’t wallowing in self-pity and trying to get to some cosmic truth because they have it hard. Having it hard is just part of life, and you take it with as much grit and good humor as you can.

We need to recapture the sense of wonder and hope which art is supposed to provide us. We’ve had quite enough of weirdos and psychopaths. Maybe my book flops. Doesn’t matter. I’m writing it because it is fun to write…and I’m going to keep on writing it. I just hope that other people will join in – we’ve learned that our experts in most areas are rather dumb. The experts in the arts are no less so. If you’ve got a song in your heart, a story in your mind, a painting that is waiting to be done…do it. After all, the really great art wells up from the people…and perhaps it is time for we, the people, to take back the arts, too.

Open Thread

Apple is bringing back $250 billion in foreign cash – thanks to Trump’s tax reform. This is just tip of the iceberg, folks.

Turns out, allowing collective bargaining for police and teachers isn’t such a good idea.

Senator Cory Booker went on a rant against DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. The left is loudly applauding this…but had a Republican man used the exact same words to a Democrat woman, Cory Booker would have been first in front of a camera to denounce GOP sexism…

Ace nails down what Trump is doing on the culture warfare front:

Trump’s manner of engaging with The Blob of left-wing virtue-signalling and status-conferring is to attempt to degrade the left wing cultural Borg of its own social status, thereby reducing its ability to set tastes, serve as “gatekeepers” of what the right-minded people agree are proper attitudes and beliefs, and demonize dissenters.

This is often ugly — but that’s how the sausage gets made. It does not matter if you produce a well-researched and well-cited bit of argument as to your position if the cultural princelings of the left can simply say “You’re a Nazi and you hate women” and thereby, with seven stupid words, raze not only your argument but your entire claim to basic human dignity.

The only way to rob them of that ability is to reduce their own social status to a low level. You cannot confer or reduce social status unless you yourself have a great deal of it.

Raise your hands if in past years you held back from saying things because you feared being socially ostracized by the Elite. Ok. Now raise your hands if you are now entirely uninterested in what the Elite thinks about you. I see all your hands raised. Good. Had a little Facebook discussion today where, for the zillionth time, I was called a racist. Why? Because I didn’t agree that racism is whatever someone says it is – I insisted upon a hard and fast definition, and if an action didn’t fit that definition, it wasn’t racist. The affect of being called racist was zero…but, more importantly, the other people in the discussion weren’t afraid to point out that I was merely making a rational demand that we at least agree on our terms if we are to debate. Trump is winning the culture war. This might be the most crucial thing he does as President.

V the K over at Gay Patriot has another take on the same subject, well worth reading.

A Tweet from Razor – well worth following, if you have a Twitter account:

You know a Republican is in the White House when Apple announces a commitment to the economy of $350B and 20,000 new jobs, North and South Korea are talking, the Dow closes above 26,000 for the first time… and the news media is focused like a laser on the President’s weight.

Matt Margolis: The Banning

So, our Matt is busily writing a new book, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. I sat this one out – all credit to Matt for being willing to dive into that sewer a second time around. Anyways, the book is to be released on April 3rd and so, naturally, Matt starts to push the book on social media. Turns out, some people at Facebook didn’t like what Matt did:

Bestselling conservative author Matt Margolis has a new book coming out that is already banned on Facebook. Margolis’s first book, The Worst President in History, which detailed the failures of the Obama administration, was an instant hit last fall. Margolis used social media to market his presidential biography to #1 on Amazon. When he tried to market his latest, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama, he was banned from Facebook groups for six days with no explanation.

Slight correction, of course: Worst was Matt’s second book. But, no matter. Matt has received no explanation from Facebook for the banning – my thinking was that some blue-haired, nose-pierced little SJW fascist just decided to be a jerk. But here’s the kicker: the banning made pre-orders of Matt’s book shoot through the roof, while sales of our Worst also skyrocketed for a day.

So, Facebook Fascists, Matt and I would like to offer our thanks for fattening our bank accounts.