Happy 4th of July!

In Congress, July 4, 1776

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

…We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Do You Want a Battle, or a Debacle?

When France was invaded by Germany in 1940, they (and the British) were crushed in the opening battle and the British (and some French) were forced to evacuate at Dunkirk. In most telling of history after that, it is a brief statement that when the Germans resumed their offensive towards Paris and the rest of France, the French were quickly defeated. There wasn’t much to tell, as it goes – and most histories then concentrate on how the French went about surrendering. But it didn’t really have to be that way.

In the disaster, the French government called Maxime Weygand to command France’s armies – he had been a prime aide to Marshall Foch in the First World War and it was hoped that he had learned something of fighting a successful battle from him. It didn’t work out that way. Weygand, of course, was an experienced commander – an expert, as it were. What he choose to do was to line what remained of the French forces in a continuous line from the coast to Switzerland and issue solemn orders for the men to fight to the finish. This they actually did – the defeat of France was mostly not the fault of the fighting troops (there were panics at some crucial moments, but such things happen in wars even in the best of armies). They were, of course, defeated – because they didn’t fight a battle in the real sense. They just stood where they were and, eventually, Germany’s overwhelming weight of numbers wore them down until they broke.

There was another way to do it, though. Charles De Gaulle, then a brigadier general only recently given command of a new French armored division and then brought into the government as an assistant Minister of War, offered the idea that all of France’s remaining tanks and motorized forces should have been grouped into two large masses and when the Germans broke through the main line, launch counterattacks against any exposed flank the Germans offered. As DeGaulle put it, that would have at least been a battle, rather than a debacle. And if you think about it, it might even has stopped the Germans. It certainly would have made them pay a much higher price for victory…might have changed the whole course of the war. There was a huge debate among the French as to whether to surrender or to move the government to France’s Algerian colony and continue the war from there. The defeatists – among whom a leading light was Weygand – wanted to surrender. De Gaulle wanted to fight. The defeatists won the day…but, in the end, Weygand is merely remembered as the man who quit and then truckled to the Germans while De Gaulle is a towering hero for the ages.

I bring this up because in 2016, we essentially faced that – spread our forces in a thin line and let our opponents grind us down, or concentrate our force in a mass of maneuver and take the fight to them at their vulnerable points. We had our people who wanted to essentially surrender and see if we could use servility to induce our opponents into being nice, and we had other people who wanted to roll the dice and take whatever risks were necessary in the hope that some victory, even if imperfect, resulted. You know how it came out, at least in the short term. The crushing – and, perhaps, permanent – defeat was averted.

I’ve watched on Twitter as the “blue checkmark mafia” went nuts these past few days – first over Trump’s insult to Mika, then over Trump’s tweet about body slamming CNN. I’m serious: they have really lost it. Found one particular Conservative actually asserting he wished Obama were back in office. Do you realize how stupid that would be? We’d now have a permanent liberal majority on the Court. We’d not only have all the regulations Obama put into place in 2016, but a host of additional regulations. Our productive economy would still be getting killed so that cronies of the Democrats could get special advantages. All Executive agencies would continue to be used against Democrat opponents. It just goes on and on like that…but, “wish Obama was back”. Why? Because Trump put out some outrageous tweets?

I’ve checked Trump’s Twitter feed – I don’t follow him because my basic principle on Twitter is to follow no one who is too famous (you can always easily look them up – and when they tweet something interesting, usually a couple hundred people in your feed will retweet it). But, I decided to go through it.

Tweet 1: lauding our armed forces.
Tweet 2: noting the stock market is up.
Tweet 3: a pledge to keep fighting for the American people.
Tweet 4: razzing CNN with that body slam.
Tweet 5: pledging to take care of our veterans.
Tweet 6: pledging to keep using social media to communicate with the people.
Tweet 7: razzing CNN.
Tweet 8 and 9: pointing out that use of social media helped him win in 2016.
Tweet 10: noting a concert in honor of our veterans.

Two out of ten razzing CNN, the rest just talking up various things, including a couple of important issues. But over the last day, it was Tweet 4 which everyone obsessed about. This isn’t a problem with Trump, folks: it is a problem with people who hate him and thus pick out the things they don’t like, and make out like it’s the end of the world. Get a grip, people.

I hate to break it to our experts, but the people Trump insults are, well, worthy of being insulted. I don’t do it. You don’t do it. And that’s fine – but Trump does it, and he’s fully justified in doing so. I’ve been thinking and trying to remember a time when Trump launched the first punch in one of these social media battles, and I can’t recall any. I’m sure there were some, given the nature of things – but I’ll bet the overwhelming bulk is Trump responding. And with Mika and Joe, Trump had a lot to respond to. These were not people making nice-nice and then set upon by an arrogant bully…they were slinging mud fast and furious for months, and then Trump let them have it back for a moment. An argument can be made for Trump to hold fire – but, on the other hand, President Bush (whom I’m still proud to say I supported), didn’t hit back…and he was just as mercilessly raked over the coals. If the only upside for Trump in being polite is that once he’s out of office he’ll be favorably compared to the current GOP leader, then I can see why he’d choose to fight back. And, another thing: a refusal to hit back is often interpreted as a sign of weakness. Bottom line: if you don’t want Trump getting into a social media battle with you, you’re best bet is to not insult him. I don’t see him too often going after anyone who argues policy with him…in fact, I think he’s ok with honest disagreement about the best way forward. Might even want to hear about a different way forward; he doesn’t seem worried about someone else coming up with the best idea (even though he might make it his own and later laud himself on his brilliance in doing what someone else thought up).

Another thing: I don’t see any upside for Conservatism in helping the left to destroy Trump. I’ve been told that it is wrong for me to refuse to criticize Trump on all and sundry – but I still don’t see it. There will be plenty of criticism from the left for Trump’s tweets…the world doesn’t need my input on that. And Conservatism doesn’t need me helping to destroy the only possible vehicle I’ve got at the moment to advance Conservative principles. My view is that if Trump says some outrageous thing, let others talk about it…let’s, instead, talk about policy and how we can convince Trump to advance as much Conservatism as possible. That seems to me to be a far more constructive use of my time and effort.

We’ve got a situation here – we managed to deflect our opponents in 2016. We’ve got a real chance to do things, but we’re also still very much at a strategic disadvantage. It’ll take years – perhaps decades – before we can really shift the balance of power enough in our favor that even a periodic loss of power won’t undo what we’ve accomplished. The Democrats are playing a long game, and so should we. They are expecting to be back in power in the by and by and their job, as they see it (and they are right to see it like this, from their perspective) is to hamstring Trump and the GOP as much as possible. To prevent as much undoing of Progressive policies as possible. To keep as much as they can of what they had on January 19th, 2017. Our job is to press back as much as we can – to start eroding what they did; to take away not just the results of their power, but the things which allowed them to achieve those results (Trump greatly reforming the EPA is one very crucial thing in this – and just one of many important reforms he’s doing). Helping tear down Trump just means the Democrats get back into power faster – and thus can more easily reverse what has been done. Support Trump – get him re-elected in 2020 and try to get Pence in there in 2024, while doing our best to keep GOP control of Congress and the States, is what we need to do..so that slowly, step by step, we can gain the real, long-term power necessary to reform our nation.

The Never Trump people wanted us to line up and be defeated in 2016 – so that we could graciously surrender and hope for the best. Now they are trying to defeat their own side, so they can get around to that gracious surrender Trump robbed them of. I prefer to stick with Trump – holding what power we have and attacking where we can, getting what victories which present themselves. Hoping that we’ll be able to keep our opponents at bay long enough to enact deep, real reform. I prefer, that is, the battle in hope rather than the surrender in hope. Maybe I’m wrong – and maybe even if I’m right it won’t work. But I’d rather be defeated after a battle than after a debacle.

9-0 At SCOTUS and CNN is Fake News Open Thread

I don’t know about you, but since Trump has taken office, a lot of things which a President Hillary would have buried have come to light:

The Office of U.S. Special Counsel, the government’s main whistleblower agency, is investigating whether FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s activities supporting his wife Jill’s Democratic campaign for Virginia state senate in 2015 violated the Hatch Act’s prohibition against FBI agents campaigning in partisan races…

There’s also this – McCabe’s wife got $700,000.00 from Governor McAuliffe (D-VA) for her campaign…and it seems this was just around the time that McAuliffe (a long time Clinton crony) was under investigation by the FBI. This is the sort of thing which went on all through the Obama Administration – and which would have continued under a Hillary Administration. With Trump in there and some new people calling the shots, this sort of thing is coming out…and I bet there’s a whole bunch more. Clearly, a lot of housecleaning is needed in all Executive Branch agencies.

Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times for defamation. It is pretty clear to me that they did, indeed, defame her – essentially holding her responsible for a mass shooting incident. Whether a court will agree remains to be seen. I hope she wins.

Since our Amazona brought this up a little while back:

Even in advanced medical settings, sepsis is still very dangerous and accounts for over 400,000 deaths annually in the US alone. While new drugs are in development, a group of researchers has determined that a combination of intravenous vitamin C, corticosteroids (a steroid), and thiamine (vitamin B) may be effective in preventing progressive organ dysfunction and reducing the number of deaths from severe sepsis and septic shock.

Until Amazona brought it up, I had never heard of the condition (it isn’t what I had, as it turned out). Pretty serious stuff – and I’m glad people are working on it.

As we already knew – CNN guy admits that the Russia story is all nonsense.

Pelosi thinks the GOP health care bill dishonors God – which is an arguable point, but the thing to ask her, next is: “ok, what about abortion, then?”.

ICE inquiries about some employees – and, mysteriously, 30 of them disappear.

Major 2016 Presidential candidate under investigation?

Robert Stacy McCain continues to plumb the depths of Progressive lunacy, so you don’t have to.

Maybe we have a reason the Deep State went after Flynn?

The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews…

That McCabe guy seems to have some problems to be looked in to – but it would be a good thing if a lot of the Deep State was ultimately brought down because they decided to punish a decorated soldier for being a gentleman.

What are we up against? Hillaire Belloc laid it out in The Great Heresies – here’s a crucial quote:

Being Atheist, it is characteristic of the advancing wave that it repudiates the human reason. Such an attitude would seem again to be a contradiction in terms; for if you deny the value of human reason, if you say that we cannot through our reason arrive at any truth, then not even the affirmation so made can be true. Nothing can be true, and nothing is worth saying. But that great Modern Attack (which is more than a heresy) is indifferent to self-contradiction. It merely affirms. It advances like an animal, counting on strength alone. Indeed, it may be remarked in passing that this may well be the cause of its final defeat; for hitherto reason has always overcome its opponents; and man is the master of the beast through reason.

Anyhow, there you have the Modern Attack in its main character, materialist, and atheist; and, being atheist, it is necessarily indifferent to truth. For God is Truth.

Isn’t that exactly it? We beat our heads against our Progressive friends and it is all pointless – they won’t listen to reason. They just keep asserting their views, even if they are contradictory, against ours…and just keep at it and at it and at it; hoping eventually to wear everyone down. And it has worked quite well, hasn’t it? Most Progressive victories have been of the nature of people just giving up when the 10,000th attack is launched out of sheer weariness.

When Reading the News, Skepticism is the Way to Go

A very good and interesting piece from Matthew Continetti:

Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been so spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and again, that I sometimes wonder why I continue to read two newspapers a day before spending time following journalists on Twitter. Habit, I guess. A sense of professional obligation, I suppose. Maybe boredom…

I’ve been saying that for a while, myself. But I’m rather late to the game. Here’s another view:

It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, “Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,” or “Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.” They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complete picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority. –G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross

As I’ve said before, even when journalism is trying to get it right, it really can’t. As Chesterton noted, it only concerns itself with the small number of people who do something odd or have something odd done to them. But it’s even a bit worse than that – because of time and space limitations, journalism can’t give us the full story even of these small slices of human life. Even the most intrepid and honest reporter simply won’t be able to give us all the facts. Outside that, the real problem comes in when the journalist is not being intrepid or honest – when he is just mouthing a line designed to serve a particular end and dressing it up as honest journalism. This is where we are today – in a world where hardly anyone is even trying to report it straight. Everyone’s got an agenda.

It must be remembered that you don’t have to push entirely false information to push an agenda. You can have a whole bunch of true things in there, even if you are trying to get across the most monstrous of lies (such as, for instance, the lie that Hillary was even remotely qualified to be President, let alone the allegedly most qualified person, ever). In fact, the more true stuff you can squeeze in there, the better – makes it harder to attack the main lie. But as I’ve also said before, if you add a ounce of lie to a pound of truth, what you’ve got is all lie. The two things just don’t mix. In the end, you are either telling the truth, or you are telling a lie…there is no half-truth, there is no white-lie.

The bottom line, for me, is that I simply do not believe what I’m reading unless I can ascertain a demonstrable fact…and even then I must be able to fit it all into a coherent worldview, informed by my knowledge of history. Skepticism is a requirement these days – you simply can’t take what is said in the media immediately at face value. It has to be checked – and it has to be pondered. Does it make sense? For instance, in that Georgia House race…we were told, endlessly, that the Democrat was a little ahead and that Democrat enthusiasm was at a huge peak…well, in the end, the Democrat lost by 4 percentage points and didn’t get any more votes than the Democrat had in 2016. It was a gigantic nothingburger from start to finish. I was confident all along the GOPer would win – because there was nothing real which would indicate that a GOP-leaning district was going to repudiate the GOP and Donald Trump. I believed this because I didn’t find any facts to dispute it and all my knowledge indicated it would be like that. But there we went, for weeks people salivating over it…and pouring in untold millions of dollars based upon reports which were simply false.

It is rather sad that it has to be this way – and the fix for it would be easy, and quick. All the MSM would have to do is report things straight for just a few weeks and their credibility would be restored. They won’t do it, at least not any time soon, because most of them are committed to the Progressive cause and all of them are fearful of the wrath of the Progressive gate-keepers if they step out of line. So, for now, all we can be is skeptics.

Out and About on a Monday

Got 1,500 words done on the novel last night – now closing in on 32,000 words. My big problem, now, is that I’m liking the sidekick and his romantic interest best of all the characters.

Pakistan may extend naval facilities to China. Pakistan would do this because they don’t trust us (we don’t trust them, either – and why we’re still giving them foreign aid is really beyond me; but that’s for another time) and because both Pakistan and China wish to thwart Indian power. This is real world stuff, folks – and the Chinese navy having a base on the Indian ocean would complicate a lot of things for us and for India. And this is why I’ve never gone on the warpath against Putin’s Russia. First off, because it is absurd – Russia is no threat to the United States. Secondly, because we might find Russia a friend in time of need…like if we ever had to tangle with China. Right now, China is moving into the South China Sea; it is making friends with Russia, Pakistan and Iran; it is putting huge resources into eastern Africa; it is refusing to make any real effort to curb North Korea. In short, China is making the military, diplomatic and economic moves it would have to make to prepare for war with the United States. This doesn’t mean they’ll start one with us, but it does mean they are getting ready for one…and we’d better get ready, too. And that means strengthening our relations with India, Japan…and Russia.

Mueller needs to quit – and I agree. I just want an end to this whole Trump-Russia farce. There’s nothing there. Bring me some stand-up-in-court evidence, or let it go.

It is too late to save the day in Afghanistan? I might be. I’m not sure if I’m on board with a renewed US effort…but its either clear out right away, or go full blast. One or the other.

Turns out, even if there is such a thing as “hate speech” it is protected under the Constitution. This is a bit of amazingly good news – because, remember, to some on the left, merely not saying leftist things is “hate speech”.

Democrats are upset that the GOP isn’t letting them in on the ObamaCare replacement details. I’ll pause while all of you cry them a river.

Some bad news for the Global Warming alarmists. I think for most of us, this is getting to be a bore…and now that Trump doesn’t seem interested in providing massive government funding, it is becoming a bit of a non-issue. Warming or cooling or staying the same – we and the rest of life on Earth will adapt. If life can survive massive meteor strikes, it can survive SUVs.

Not too worried about those Russian threats about US planes in Syria – the Russian air force probably doesn’t want to tangle with the USAF.

Thoughts on the Shooting

Yes, he was a nut – but he was a nut set off by the violent rhetoric of the left. All that talk of Trump not being the legitimate President; of he and his supporters being Nazis; of those opposing them being the “resistance”, as if they were French patriots under German occupation during World War Two. All that means something – and to some people, it means you have to fight. If you say that Trump and his people are an existential threat to all that is good and true in the world, some people will take you seriously, even if you don’t intend it that way. It doesn’t matter that your goal was just a cynical firing up of the base for next year’s mid term elections…it still works out that you incited violence.

Democrats do this sort of thing because it works. Time and time again they’ve used violent, over-the-top rhetoric to fire up their base…it is a very large reason why Obama was re-elected in 2012. People forget that he’s unique – the first President to be re-elected with fewer votes than he got the first time around. He should have lost – and likely would have lost save for a relentless campaign of hatred designed to keep just enough of his troops in line to make a difference…had Romney been just a bit more of a street fighter, Obama would have lost, in my view.

Democrats can end this in a moment, if they choose – all they have to do is get all their senior people to go out in public and say, “President Trump is the legitimate President of the United States”. Sure, that won’t convince the full-on fanatics, but it’d dial down the heat and the kooks would be isolated. But Democrats won’t do that – because they don’t want their side cooled down and they also don’t believe they’ll pay a price at the ballot box. I’m hoping that in 2018 they are disabused of this notion – and I think they may well be. You see, for all the firing up of the base on the left, I believe that the Trumpsters will troop to the mid term polls in record numbers, determined to record a vote of confidence in their man…and a vote of rejection to those who want to annul the 2016 result. We won’t know if I’m right until election day next year – and even if I am right, it won’t show up in polling, even if the polling is trying to be honest. But I do believe I’m right. I’m thinking that people have had enough of this – and in talking to regular folks who don’t think about politics all the time and don’t engage on social media, I see a line being drawn between the leftist rhetoric and the leftist violence: people are seeing that one causes the other.

Weekend Open Thread

On the grounds that Indy authors simply must help each other, I recommend New River (Images of America) by Marcy J. Miller – a great and kind lady who lives in Arizona. I’ve interacted with her on Twitter for quite some time and she’s just a wonderful person who lives out “back of beyond” in some beautiful Arizona countryside. I admit to being insanely jealous when she posts pictures of sunsets and desert thunderstorms…and of her horseback rides. Check it out – you won’t be disappointed.

As for my book, I’m past 30,000 words, now – I’ve got my characters in a bit of a jam, but a friend of mine suggested a way out, so I’m going to give it a shot. It’s really a rip-roaring story, or at least I think so. Hope people like it!

So, PM May’s gamble on a snap election came up snake eyes. I admit to not paying too much attention to the British election as it unfolded. Most polls, right up to the end, showed the Tories making substantial gains against Labour run by a completely out-there leftwing kook. But, didn’t work out that way – the Tories still gained the most votes and seats, but lost their majority and will now have to work with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland for a working majority. And, man oh man, the DUP is quite the Conservative party! I can see why the Tories would prefer to stay a mile away from them. I’m naturally suspicious of the DUP given its anti-Catholic roots, but the anti-Catholicism seems to have moderated over the past couple decades. Main thing, they are very socially Conservative and Euro-skeptic. This means Brexit is still very much on track – but I suspect the Brits will have another election in a year or two to sort things out. A better Tory program more pitched to middle and working class people, I think, would do the trick…a great deal of UKIP votes slipped over to Labour (when everyone expected it all to go Tory) because Corbyn was at least smart enough to offer them some goodies. Tories will have to do that, as well, to bring them back.

That leaker who got arrested – main question: how in heck did she get a security clearance? Robert Stacy McCain boils down her background and it is pretty much a compendium of every lunatic position imaginable.

The House has passed a repeal of the misbegotten Dodd-Frank law, but it’s future in the Senate is murky. John Hindraker says that this is a good time to get rid of the Senate filibuster completely – it may be the only way we really get reform done. I realize that we Conservatives are naturally unwilling to tamper with something like the filibuster…but we don’t live in a world where political compromise is possible. Maybe some day in the future we shall, but for now we have to exercise every ounce of legal power we have to get our way.

Our little Progs were all eagerly watching the Comey hearings…and somebody caught their crestfallen looks on camera. Its not quite a fun as their election night meltdown, but its pretty good.

Bernie Sanders glided really close to demanding a religious test for public office – something banned by the Constitution. The man’s offense? He pointed out (in something entirely unrelated to the job he’s being appointed to) that in Christian dogma, you have to believe in Christ. Horror of horrors! Sanders seems to think that holding such a view is disqualifying…that it is bigotry against all non-Christians. But that would be as if I were to say that a Jewish guy can’t be my Senator because he doesn’t accept Christ as savior. Balderdash. I fully expect my Congresscritters to uphold the laws of our nation, regardless of their personal faith. I don’t expect them to tell me that their faith is false in order to make me feel good.

American oil exports continue to grow. This is the key to America’s industrial resurgence. In addition to that, it also cuts at the financial power of a great number of nations which wish us ill.