51-49 Open Thread

I’d like to see #PopAColdOne trending on Twitter by the time they vote tomorrow. I saw that a group of GOPers showed up at Cocaine Mitch’s house this morning to drink PBR in favor of Kavanaugh. And I have floated the idea of having a National Kegger for Liberty in DC at some future date.

Jokes aside, it is still a bit up in the air. I do rate Kavanaugh’s chances as very good, but we’ve got a day for the left to go to work on the squishes. I doubt they’ll move Manchin because a vote for Kavanaugh is crucial to his re-election chances. But they still could find two GOPers willing to knife us in the back on this. We’ll just have to wait and see. But, come what may, the GOP is on fire over this – and, maybe, a Kavanaugh defeat would just energize the base even more. GOP fundraising has skyrocketed since this began, Trump hit 50% in Rasmussen and one generic ballot shows that the Democrat advantage among women has dropped from +22 to +1 (which, given polling bias, works out to the GOP having a polling advantage). The Democrats may have only awakened a sleeping giant.

Getting into the details of the mess, we’re starting to see the outlines of how it was created…and that those who did so might have placed themselves in legal jeopardy. Democrats have been acting over the past two years as if the levers of power weren’t in our hands. I think they are about to have a rude awakening.

The Chinese appear to have inserted a hacker chip into phones and computers shipped to the United States. This surprises no one with any sense, at all. Of course they’ll do that. They are a totalitarian dictatorship and nothing happens in China without the government being involved…and it would have been insane of the Chinese government to not avail themselves of this fantastic opportunity to spy on all of us with ease. There is no doubt in my mind that every phone and computer manufactured in China can be accessed immediately by the Chinese government at will. And this is likely just the one we caught – they are sure to have installed backup hacks in case one fails. I’ve been saying it for years: do not trade with tyrannical regimes. Do not have relations with them. All you do is weaken yourself when you do.

I’m going to wait for the votes over a couple election cycles, but there are some indications that African-Americans are questioning their long time support for the Democrat Party. I’ve always said it will happen – but I thought we’d have to do far more for it to occur. But, you know, maybe massively improving prospects combined with clear attempt by white liberals to tell black people how they have to think are doing the thing for us?

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Open Thread

More and more people are coming to the conclusion that liberal women don’t like men because they hang out with liberal men – Dem Rep Ellison accused of abuse. The MSM has been offering excuses as to why this story – apparently around for years – is only now coming out. Seems they are claiming that they couldn’t verify the details…if only Ellison had written an entry into a high school year book…

Don Surber points out that, so far, Trump is winning the trade war. The bottom line is that the American market is the most valuable in the world. And not just by a little bit…we are vastly richer than any other nation. By a long ways. To be sure, there are a few nations with higher per capita income than us, but we’re the only nation in the top 30 with a population over 150 million people. Its not just that we, as individuals, have a lot of money but that there are so many of us. No nation wants to be excluded from the American market. Sure, China and India have more people (do you realize we’re the third most populous nation in the world? I don’t think most Americans know that), but they are a lot poorer…so, even though there’s more of them, they simply can’t buy as much as we can. Our leverage in international trade is absolute – we can pretty much force everyone to do as we wish simply by threatening to cut them out of our market. Trump is doing that – and the world will knuckle under.

Democrats are now in favor of socialism. No, this isn’t a report from 1980.

Lesbian professor sexually harasses gay man…um, isn’t that doing lesbian wrong? Or am I missing something here?

Trump hung out with some bikers and one of the bikers had a tattoo which said, in effect, “I love guns and titties”. Liberals grabbed their smelling salts. I admit that the sentiment is crude, but I think that a broad swath of the American electorate is in tune with it.

As an aside, I think the next Civil War may be rather short.

Kurt Schlichter points out that Never Trump is actually Never You.

DeBlasio had his bully boys haul away a reporter who asked an impertinent question. But, yeah, Trump is the threat to the press.

Russia, China and American Foreign Policy

China is the biggest threat we face as a nation – a couple people aside from me have started to pick up on that. Part of the catalyst seems to be the discovery that Senator Feinstein employed a Chinese spy for 20 years.

I don’t go for conspiracy theories, but the bottom line is that the only nation that benefits from enmity between the United States and Russia is China. China – which hacks our government and private computer systems on a regular basis. Which has used pirated technology to rapidly catch up with us in advanced military hardware. Which is building bases in the South China Sea. Which claims sovereignty over some small, Japanese islands. Which is building a blue water navy, including a first-class, nuclear powered fleet air arm. Which has pressured Google into making a search engine which suppresses subversive (to China) speech. Which spends vast sums, open and disguised, to lobby the American government. If China wrote the script, nothing would work better for them than the intense national angst over supposed “Russian meddling” in our elections.

To be sure, Putin is acting stupidly in not recognizing that his nation’s hold on Siberia is ultimately dependent upon alliance with us. If, by some means, China can ever neutralize us in world affairs, then Russia will find itself forced to disgorge vast tracts of Asia to China (quite a lot of which was at least theoretically under Chinese rule in the 18th and 19th centuries). If you’re thinking, “Russia has nukes”, well, so does China – and much more powerful and accurate nukes, thanks to us via either Chinese theft of American idiocy (especially during Bill Clinton’s Administration). Will Russia be willing to see Moscow and Saint Petersburg nuked in order to prevent a Chinese army from taking Vladivostok? I doubt it.

In my view, confronting China takes first place in American foreign policy issues – above issues like combating Jihadism, and vastly more important than stopping Putin from annexing areas of the former USSR which are mostly populated by ethnic Russians. To be sure, Russia always has to be confronted: from reading history, that is just how it works. Leave the door open, and they’ll push in. I’d advise Russia that any attempt to annex the Baltic States, invade Poland or push beyond the Donbass in Ukraine would be considered an act of war by us. But I also think we should enter negotiations with the Russians to permanently settle the current issues with internationally recognized boundaries and Russian sovereignty over the territories they currently hold. To give force to our declaration that we’re not kidding about forbidding further Russian expansionism in Europe, I’d be willing to place US forces semi-permanently in Poland, the Baltics and Ukraine.

That done, it would be time to make a deal with Russia regarding holding China back. I doubt we’d get an outright military alliance with them, but we could engage in certain agreements to make sure that China felt unsure if Russia would stay out if we ever got into conflict with China while at the same time letting China know that if they did try an invasion of Siberia, Russia would find a friend in us. The ultimate purpose of US foreign policy, you see, should be the encirclement of China with nations bound to come to each others assistance if China moves in any direction. To this end, we strengthen our alliances with Japan and South Korea and build, as rapidly as possible, full-blown alliances with India and Vietnam. NATO could remain in ghostly existence, but I don’t see NATO ever coming to our aid against either Russia or China, and if we’re allied with Poland, etc, then the powers most concerned with Russia (and most likely to fight alongside us in a war with Russia) are already bound to us.

Most importantly, it is time for a bit of reality to enter into our foreign affairs – reality which has been absent for more than 100 years. There is no love between nations – never has been, never will be. It is all a matter of interests…and the interests of the United States are in direct conflict with the interests of China. I happen to believe that eventually they will strike militarily – they can’t get rich fast enough to satisfy the growing desires of their own people and the whole justification for the Chinese government is, “allow us to be in charge, we’ll make things ever better for you”. Eventually, crunch time will hit when the Chinese government will either have to surrender power due to a financial crisis in China, or they’ll strike out militarily in hopes of cutting the Gordian knot. I do believe, though, that a wise, tough American foreign policy can make it so that China never feels safe enough to attack us…and that means that China as to be brought to a position where war with us means war with everyone around them. Even with their vast manpower, an alliance between the USA, India, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea is too much to handle, especially if we have Russia looming over their norther border at the time China chooses to strike.

Another part of this reality is to hang it up on “Putin is a dictator”. Of course he is – but democracy doesn’t exactly flourish in China, either. In fact, truly free nations are becoming somewhat of a rarity these days. Even in the Western world, in most nations, you have to watch what you say lest the wrath of the government be directed against you. Our primary interest isn’t to defend the ragged end of a dying democracy in France or Germany, but to defend our own freedom. And if defending that freedom means taking our friends (temporarily) where we find them, then so be it. I’m not, you see, particularly keen on seeing America’s youth dying to a defend an European “democracy” which will fine or imprison you for speaking out of turn about Islam. I’m especially uninterested because I know that hardly any European nations will put their blood on the line in a major war. Sending a regiment to Afghanistan is fine for them…especially as they mostly keep out of harms way. But anyone who thinks the Germans or Brits will send an army corps to help us defend Taiwan from Chinese attack has rocks in their head.

Cold calculation is what we need, not sentimental attachment to dead and gone agreements. It is what the Chinese are using against us, and it is the only way we can thwart them.

Open Thread

I don’t put much stock in polls, but it is interesting that this poll shows Millenials moving away from the Democrats. Makes sense – when all you offer is identity politics and outragey outrage, kinda gets dull. Now, I know a lot of my fellow Conservatives will attack me on this, but let’s nail these kids down for our side for a generation: annul the student loan debt. Or, at least allow kids to go bankrupt on it. The whole thing was merely a scam to get utra-liberal Colleges rolling in dough which they would then use against us. Get rid of it – and get the kids out of debt.

The Israeli Mossad apparently carried out the intelligence coup of all time – getting a massive amount of documents detailing Iran’s nuclear program. The most important thing about it is that it shows Obama was either a fool or an idiot to enter the Iran Deal (but, you already knew that).

Seems that FDR was also looking for a settlement of the “Jewish Question.” Now, to be sure, FDR didn’t even imagine anything along the lines of Hitler’s settlement, but it is interesting to note just how Progressives viewed (and continue to view) things…how eerily akin it all is to the worst aspects of fascist and Communist thinking. For those of us on the right, there never was a “Jewish Question”. Jews are people and are entitled to all the rights and privileges of everyone else…the only “settlement” is to ensure that Jews, and everyone else, enjoys their God-given rights. What they do with them, after that, is up to them. But Progressives don’t look at it like that – people are a “problem” that needs solution. Naturally, they are the only people equipped to solve the problem.

With the possibility of peace looming in Korea, it is important that you get to North Korea before Capitalism ruins it: Kim Jong-un wants a McDonald’s in Pyongyang. To me, this is a disastrously bad idea that only a Communist tyrant could think of. McDonald’s being just terrible! Joking aside, I don’t know how this Korea peace move will work out. I’ve just gotta figure that the North Korean’s are working an angle. But in and among that angle there just might be a desire to no longer be poor and miserable. Reports over the past couple years indicate that even the elites are not getting as much as they used to. Kim Jong-un may believe he can pull off what Deng Xiaoping did in China back in the 70s: keep his regime firmly in control while allowing sufficient economic openness to allow for real growth. South Korea, on the other hand, would be willing to give up a lot, I think, to permanently remove the North Korean threat to their own prosperity. As an America, I’m willing to also give up quite a lot if it really means no nuclear weapons in North Korea. Let’s hope for the best.

Donald Surber takes a look at the upcoming West Virginia Senate battle…and notes that Manchin may end up having trouble against a GOP candidate who was blamed for the deaths of 29 miners. If so, it would indicate the Democrat party is dead in West Virginia.

Ace looks at Jake Tapper’s new novel and it is rather brutal. I hope mine comes off better. Doing the second draft, now, with some extremely valuable input from some people I highly respect. To me, its a good story about to become a great story. But, we’ll see. Hope Ace likes it.

Battleships

From the “see, it isn’t just me” files:

Stealth is one way to keep from getting hit, and the United States leads the way in the development of stealthy destroyers. But stealth defeats the purpose of a FONOP (Freedom of Navigation Operation), which is to be seen. An old-fashioned battleship is a ship to be seen—and in a big way. But there’s no need for the Navy to build an old-fashioned battleship in the twenty-first century when it can build a new-fashioned battleship instead.

A contemporary battleship would combine advanced armor materials with automated damage control to produce a ship that is virtually unsinkable. Its offensive armaments might be mission-specific, but its key attribute would be survivability. It would be a ship that could be put in harm’s way in the reasonable expectation of coming home in one piece.

This “battleship of the future” could solve the challenge posed by China’s emerging anti-access / area denial (A2/AD) strategy for excluding the United States from the western Pacific.

I think we made a bit of a mistake by disposing of the battleship – and, in a real sense, also disposing of what was once called a “heavy cruiser”.

It is completely understandable why we went with a carrier Navy – carriers won the naval war of World War Two. Well, carriers and submarines (little noticed in the American mind is how our submarines successfully carried out the massacre of sea-borne trade in the Pacific that the Germans failed to do in the Atlantic). Battleships in WWII were only really useful for shore bombardment and while the Marines still grumble about the Navy not having a solid short-bombardment weapon, it was decided that the Navy money we spend will be spent on carriers and their attendant ships and equipment. And, to be sure, this is a wise investment – and, in fact, I think we should have 15 active carrier battle groups rather than the 10 or so we have now. But I also think we need very big, massively armed and very survivable ships in addition to carriers. We need battleships.

A modern battleship will not be a mere duplicate of the Iowa class ships – the last battleships we built. In dimensions, they might be similar, or even larger – but I doubt we’ll need 12 inches of armor plate given modern materials. Nor would we need 16 inch guns; eventually we’ll have a railgun or something similar, but meanwhile advances in technology probably would allow us to have an 8 or 10 inch gun and be able to simply clobber whatever needed clobbering with guns. But the main armament of such a ship would be missiles. Anti-ship missiles. Anti-air missiles. Anti-sub missiles. Lots and lots of them. It should be nuclear powered. Capable of well more than 35 knots speed. It should be built with a maximum of automation to keep crew numbers as low as possible. And it should be able to take a punch as well as throw one.

A ship like that, added to a carrier battle group or operating as a battleship force would be a distinct deterrent to anyone wanting to challenge us on the seas. Short of a suicidal nuclear attack, sinking such a force would require so much effort as to be not worth the cost. The bottom line for me is that the United States Navy is the first and last line of defense of the United States. All the other armed forces are important, but only the Navy secures us against invasion and ensures our ability to project power around the globe. A US fleet cruising off the Chinese coast is something to give even the most aggressive pause…and as long as our fleet is supreme, no one really dares engage in cross-ocean military actions.

Let’s build some battleships.

The Real World is Still Out There

A quote from Gary Kasparov in Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped, via Ace:

Unfortunately, Putin, like other modern autocrats, had, and still has, an advantage the Soviet leadership could never have dreamed of: deep economic and political engagement with the free world. Decades of trade have created tremendous wealth that dictatorships like Russia and China have used to build sophisticated authoritarian infrastructures inside the country and to apply pressure in foreign policy. The naive idea was that the free world would use economic and social ties to gradually liberalize authoritarian states. in practice, the authoritarian states have abused this access and economic interdependency to spread their corruption and fuel repression at home.

There is a myth out there which asserts that capitalism and free trade will lead to greater global interdependence, more political liberty and less chance of war. I don’t quite know where this idea comes from and I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone can believe it. There was no more free trade in the world than in late July of 1914, when the whole world crashed into war. The British Empire was the guardian of free trade back then, much as we are today. The economies of France, Russia, Germany and Britain were deeply intertwined. Wealth was accumulating. Germany, especially, was the beneficiary of this. And what did they do with their increasing wealth? Built up the most massive military force in the world and then unleashed it as soon as they thought the time was right (they calculated that with Britain nearly in civil war over Home Rule for Ireland and Russia suffering a renewed wave of pre-revolutionary activity, they could get a smashing victory in just a few weeks). Today it is even worse because with modern propaganda techniques, the Russians and Chinese have an easy way to twist our own domestic political processes in a way which helps them – they can lie to us, as it were, through our own media; lull us to sleep, get us worked up over anything other than what is important (and, of course, the Islamists and their fellow travelers also do this).

This is not an argument against capitalism or free trade – it is just a cautionary tale: don’t trust such things to solve the world’s problems. Right now, Russia and China (and especially China) are using the global economy to build up their military power. Russia is already striking – using their old, old method of eating the artichoke one leaf at a time. Will China strike? I can’t see why they wouldn’t. When China’s government figures the time is right, they’ll strike (and we can actually call their activities in the South China Sea as a preliminary moves).

Let no one ever sell you on the notion that there is a panacea for what ails humanity. We are a Fallen species. We will make the most astounding mistakes. Russia is already making them – by attacking us and the EU, they are alienating the very forces they’ll need if China ever turns its hungry eyes on Siberia. China is also being monumentally stupid because no conceivable action of theirs will secure them the precious talisman of control of the seas – and without massive imports, China’s economy grinds to a halt (though making a grab at Siberia would relieve some of these economic pressures on China).

Of course, it doesn’t help the situation at all that we’re being dumber than anyone. Under Obama, we’re signalling to the whole world that we won’t fight. That we are not only a sleeping giant, but a cowardly giant, as well. A bit of vigorous response now and over the next five years and we can at least give massive doubts to Russia, China and the other bad actors in the world that we’re serious (this would mostly involve massive increases in our Navy and Air Force). At long as Obama is in office, we won’t do this – we can only hope the next President will.

Getting Back to the Open Thread

I was working on a good, fantastic, fabulous open thread for Monday Morning – but as I’m on vacation, that didn’t work out…so, here it is, later in the day, and I have some more things I’ve been thinking about.

…The duelists had from their own point of view escaped or conquered the chief powers of the modern world. They had satisfied the magistrate, they had tied the tradesman neck and heels, and they had left the police behind. As far as their own feelings went they had melted into a monstrous sea; they were but the fare and driver of one of the million hansoms that fill London streets. But they had forgotten something; they had forgotten journalism. They had forgotten that there exists in the modern world, perhaps for the first time in history, a class of people whose interest is not that things should happen well or happen badly, should happen successfully or happen unsuccessfully, should happen to the advantage of this party or the advantage of that part, but whose interest simply is that things should happen.

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, Chapter IV.

Trigger Warning: the book was written more than 100 years ago and uses words and phrases which Precious Snowflakes Who Got Awards for Participation may find offensive. But, it is a good read for everyone else. And it pretty much in those two paragraphs demonstrates why paying attention to what the MSM wants you to see is not really wise.

The Chinese stock market crashed 8.5%! That is amazing for one trading day. It would be as if the U.S. stock market shed around 1,500 points in a day. I guess that even with injections of more funny money and the prospect of getting arrested if you sell hasn’t convinced China’s stock market to start going up.

Should Jonathan Pollard be released? Pollard has been in jail for decades. The article notes that Donald Rumsfeld doesn’t want him released – and a lot of people are on Rumsfeld’s side on this. To me, mercy triumphs over justice. Maybe it is time for Pollard to be released? Pollard becomes eligible for parole in November.

The Senate GOP leadership is, well, rather foolish. We know that they are in bed with big corporations and we know that they are largely Establishment drones who just want to go along to get alone (and, of course, so is the Senate Democrat leadership) – so, we know that they want to reauthorize that bit of corporate welfare known as the Export-Import Bank and they want their pork-laden highway bill. We in the base dig all that – and there’s no chance we’d ever actually like the GOP passing such things. But if they were to de-fund Planned Parenthood and take a big swipe at Obama’s Iran deal, we’d better deal with Ex-Im and the Iran deal actually happening. But, nothing doing – the GOP leadership by legislative hard-ball blocked conservative efforts to do both things…and then rammed through re-authorization of Ex-Im on the highway bill. Turns out, though, that the House GOP leadership (which is much more threatened by that tiresome, will-of-the-people thing), isn’t going to play along. Hey, Mitch – here’s a bit of advice: you have to play ball for things to get done. Just throw us a conservative bone once in a while…geesh!

Assad is hunkering down in his section of Syria and essentially writing off the parts controlled by the rebels. The reason for this? Fundamentally, because Syria isn’t a nation. Iraq isn’t a nation, either. Joe Biden caught a lot of flack when he suggested a post-war partition of Iraq, but it was about the only sensible thing he’s ever said. Syria and Iraq were drawn willy-nilly by Anglo-French imperialists in the post-WWI settlement. They are collections of different peoples with, often, very different ideas of what constitutes the good life. They were only held together – and held down – by imperial and dictatorial powers. Partition may be the only viable solution.

Governor Bruce Rauner (R-IL) is locked in a battle with the State’s government unions – who, of course, control the State Democrat party. This is a re-do of the battle in Wisconsin, but Rauner lacks a legislative majority as Walker had. The fundamental situation is the same – a bankrupt State government faces out of control spending forced through by government unions and their willing minions in elective office. It is either reform, or collapse – but the unions don’t care and insist the only way to go is more taxes and more spending. But Rauner isn’t backing down – and I’m certain that the Democrats/Unions will pull out all the stops. They have to. It was bad enough they were crushed in Wisconsin where the whole government was in Republican hands – but if they get crushed in Illinois where the Democrats control the Legislature, then it is game over for the government unions, and thus the whole idea of Big Government at the State level. Keep and eye on this one – and if Rauner pulls it off, pencil him in for 2024 (if the GOP wins next year) or 2020 (if it loses).