9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2021

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a reposting of something I try to put up each September 11th. 


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2021

Seventy-seven years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Photo courtesy of Confederate Yankee.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.

NOTE: This is a reposting of a post I put up every year in honor of Operation Overlord.


Our National Train Wreck

January 7, 2021

So, what the hell happened yesterday?

On the day Congress was to certify the Electoral College vote and confirm Joe Biden’s win, President Trump held a large rally for his supporters, denouncing what he called a “stolen election” and telling his followers “we will never accept” that.

And then Hell happened.

Hundreds of the rally attenders stormed the Joint Session, Capitol police were overwhelmed, assembled legislators had to shelter in place, Vice President Pence had to be whisked away by security, shots were fired, and a woman, one of the rioters, was killed by Capitol police. You can find various accounts on the Web

Let’s be clear: this was a national disgrace. It was a shameful, humiliating, disgusting, horrifying, and outrageous catastrophe for the American polity.

And President Donald Trump bears blame. A heaping helping of it. Indeed, the lion’s share.

He had every right to pursue legal action to prove his claim the election had been stolen, but he couldn’t prove it. He couldn’t even show any strong evidence. Once the Supreme Court refused to hear his last challenges and the states certified the election results in December, he should have had the grace to concede. He could have complained for the rest of his life – a lot of people would have believed him – rested on the laurels of some genuine accomplishments, and had the most influence of any former president since Teddy Roosevelt.

But, no.

Instead, seemingly driven by a desperate need to be seen at all costs as a winner, he kept yelling about a stolen election. He kept egging his followers on with wild claim after wild claim, and he helped cost the Republicans their Senate majority by convincing enough Georgia voters that their vote would never count, anyway, so why vote?

And, finally, intentionally or not, Donald Trump incited a riot at the Capitol Building of the United States.

To be honest, I was surprised this morning to wake up and see he was still president. I had expected him to be impeached and removed today (he deserves it) or neutered via the 25th Amendment (he deserves that, too), but, not yet. It makes me wonder if someone or “someones” had a talk with him and said “Sit here and be quiet for the next two weeks, if you want to avoid any further humiliation. We’ll run things, you just sign where you’re told.” Allahpundit at Hot Air reports that Pence was running the security operation at the Capitol last night and talking with the Secretary of Defense. Trump… wasn’t.

I guess we’ll find out, eventually.

A little digression for my own history (from a distance) with Trump. Go back through the archives and you’ll see that I was adamantly “never Trump” in 2015 and 2016. But, after his administration had been in office for a while, my opinion softened. He was doing some good things, and the outrageous attempts to cripple his administration and drive him from office made me more and more sympathetic toward him. Borrowing from Ben Shapiro, I decided to call “balls and strikes,” criticizing Trump where needed, praising him where warranted.

By 2020, I had become a Trump voter, based on the belief that, for all his deep personal flaws, what he was offering was a lot better than what Biden and the Democrats promised to do. I still think that was the right choice.

But yesterday he showed I was also right when, in 2016, I said he had the instincts of a caudillo, a populist demagogue. He’d largely kept those instincts in check over his administration, but, in recent weeks, he increasingly gave in to them, his followers listened, and we suffered through the worst incident at the Capitol since Senator Sumner was nearly beaten to death.

So it looks like I was right both times. Lucky me.

But what comes next?

Whether he’s removed now or serves out the last few days of his term, Trump is done. And there is no chance of him being re-nominated in 2024. The man who desperately wanted to be a winner will now go down as a loser, held in contempt by many of the people whom he once led.

The political ambitions of some are done, too, senators and representatives who enabled Trump’s demagoguery. Some were even fundraising during the riot. Seriously??

The policy damage from this will likely be immense, too, for conservatives and Republicans.. and America. For the foreseeable future, progressives will denounce and smear any opposition to even their worst ideas (and they have many) as “Trumpism.”

Thanks, Mr. President.

But what of the future? It’s beyond a doubt that faith in our electoral process is badly tattered. In that sense, what happened yesterday was a visible symptom of a problem that’s been building for years, something Democrats and the Left have played their own large role in. Last night online I was accused of “Trumpism” for stating that, but I stand by it. I think a sober look at our recent history shows that, placing the desire for power ahead of everything else and justifying the breaking of almost any political norm to gain power, they helped destroy that faith. Like I said, Trump should be removed from office for what happened yesterday, but the Democrats have shit on their shoes, too.

But that’s a post for another day.

For the future, I think the Jonathan Turley’s suggestion for a national electoral commission to look into the 2020 election – a real commission, not the “lay no blame” commissions Washington uses to bury a problem – is not just good, but must be done. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (R) has introduced legislation for what sounds like something along those lines. If we’re to restore faith in self-governance, then an honest, transparent, and unsparing examination of what happened has to take place.

There also has to be a hard look at how these yahoos were able to take over the Capitol. What happened yesterday was also a huge failure in security planning and preparation. Heads need to roll.

In the meantime, maybe America should just have a Snickers.

PS: I forgot to add, regarding the national commission, that I do think there was serious cheating in the election, just not enough to change the results. Part of that “unsparing examination” will have to be a look at how various measures pushed by Democrats to loosen election security made such fraud as occurred easier to accomplish.


Pearl Harbors then and now

December 7, 2020

In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:

The end of the USS Arizona

(Credit: Aviation History)

My grandfather was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:

…and…

Grandpa was having a bad day

(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)

As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.

Nineteen years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:

(credit: September 11th News)

…and…

(Credit: Aspersions)

…and…

(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Navy via Wikimedia)

Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?

RELATED: The story of Lt. John William Finn, who won the Medal of Honor for his actions at Pearl Harbor.
Note: This is a reposting of a post I put up every December 7th, slightly edited to fix dead links.

2020 election: rebutting “things that make you go hmmm…”

December 3, 2020

Last week I wrote a post about oddities surrounding the 2020 presidential race that left me wondering if the election had been indeed stolen. I linked to an article in The Spectator from a pollster who look at several elements in support of the case that something was rotten here.

To say out-loud that you find the results of the 2020 presidential election odd is to invite derision. You must be a crank or a conspiracy theorist. Mark me down as a crank, then. I am a pollster and I find this election to be deeply puzzling. I also think that the Trump campaign is still well within its rights to contest the tabulations. Something very strange happened in America’s democracy in the early hours of Wednesday November 4 and the days that followed. It’s reasonable for a lot of Americans to want to find out exactly what.

At the time I had hoped someone would examine Mr. Basham’s contentions point-by-point to either support or refute them. Finally, someone has.

Writing today at the Darwin Catholic blog, “Darwin” has a long essay on the Spectator article and finds it wanting. The short version is that Mr. Basham’s assertions are facile and just wrong. Here’s one example, first quoting Mr. Basham’s piece:

Trump’s vote increased so much because, according to exit polls, he performed far better with many key demographic groups. Ninety-five percent of Republicans voted for him. He did extraordinarily well with rural male working-class whites.

Trump grew his support among black voters by 50 percent over 2016. Nationally, Joe Biden’s black support fell well below 90 percent, the level below which Democratic presidential candidates usually lose.

Then rebutting it:

This conflates something that is true with something that isn’t.

It’s true that Trump improved his performance with black voters, but even with that improvement Trump only got the support of 12% of black voters (19% of black men and 9% of black women). It’s also true that Trump won white working class voters by a large margin — he beat Biden by 35% among white voters with no college degree. But in a sign of trouble for Trump, that was a decline in his core constituency from 2016 when he beat Clinton by 37% among whites with no college degree. Also a significant problem for Trump is that fact that while he won college educated white men by 14% in 2016 he only won that demographic by 3% in 2020, while Biden won among white college educated women by 9% which was actually an increase over Clinton’s win among the demographic of 7%.

So yes, Trump got lots of votes from working class whites, and he increased his support among blacks and Hispanics, but if we look at all the demographics we see a picture of Trump as a candidate who lost more support than he gained in terms of percentages of voters, even though partisanship drove record turnout numbers and thus a record number of ballots cast for both candidates.

There’s more like this, and I recommend you read the whole thing. I still think there was significant fraud in places, but not enough to swing the election. Darwin’s piece reinforces that belief.

On the other hand, I have not changed my belief that Nancy Pelosi and her allies exploited the pandemic to press for voting changes that would make it easier for their side to cheat …er… “win,” as Kim Strassel relates, even if they didn’t swing this particular race. We still need to institute serious reforms in our electoral systems.


When Journalists Call For An End To Free Speech

November 30, 2020

I’ll grant it’s a stretch to call CNN’s Oliver Darcy a “journalist” (though I suppose he is by the standards of Tass or Pravda), but he does work for a major news organization and he, along with all too many of his colleagues, is not just open to restrictions on free speech on the Internet (and would it stop there?), but are actively calling for them.

Attorney Jonathan Turley, himself no conservative, takes Darcy to task in a post today labeled “And Why Stop There?” What’s disturbing is not just the likes of Darcy calling for free speech restrictions, but members of the US Goverment. As Turley relates:

What is chilling about Darcy’s writings is that they reflect the view of many now in Congress and in the Democratic Party. Indeed, they reflect many in the Biden campaign. Once a party that fought for free speech, it has become the party demanding Internet censorship and hate speech laws. President-Elect Joe Biden has called for speech controls and recently appointed a transition head for agency media issues that is one of the most pronounced anti-free speech figures in the United States. It is a trend that seems now to be find support in the media, which celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

And Europe is not a model we should want to follow, no matter how much Progressives give in to their Europhilia. If you want to read a good book on the dangers to free speech in Europe, let me recommend Paul Coleman’s “Censored: how European ‘free speech’ laws are threatening freedom of speech.”

The assault on free speech from the Left in government, the media, and academia is a dangerous movement for our Republic. I’m with Mr. Turley:

So put me down as preferring free speech without the helpful guards and content modification. Instead, I hold a novel idea that people can reach their own conclusions on such … disinformation just as Darcy does.

In other words, I’ll think for myself, thank you.


2020 election: Things That Make You Go “Hmmm…”

November 29, 2020

To put it mildly, I’ve been skeptical of the idea that the 2020 election was stolen for Joe Biden. Yes, there was a fair amount of corruption (looking at you, Philly and Detroit) and incompetence (really, Georgia?), but the idea that some grand fraud could move enough votes over several states to rig the election just seemed unbelievable.

Even if the President believed it.

But, there are things that make you wonder. Writing in The Spectator, pollster Patrick Basham describes himself as puzzled:

First, consider some facts. President Trump received more votes than any previous incumbent seeking reelection. He got 11 million more votes than in 2016, the third largest rise in support ever for an incumbent. By way of comparison, President Obama was comfortably reelected in 2012 with 3.5 million fewer votes than he received in 2008.

Trump’s vote increased so much because, according to exit polls, he performed far better with many key demographic groups. Ninety-five percent of Republicans voted for him. He did extraordinarily well with rural male working-class whites.

He earned the highest share of all minority votes for a Republican since 1960. Trump grew his support among black voters by 50 percent over 2016. Nationally, Joe Biden’s black support fell well below 90 percent, the level below which Democratic presidential candidates usually lose.

Trump increased his share of the national Hispanic vote to 35 percent. With 60 percent or less of the national Hispanic vote, it is arithmetically impossible for a Democratic presidential candidate to win Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Bellwether states swung further in Trump’s direction than in 2016. Florida, Ohio and Iowa each defied America’s media polls with huge wins for Trump. Since 1852, only Richard Nixon has lost the electoral college after winning this trio, and that 1960 defeat to John F. Kennedy is still the subject of great suspicion.

In addition to his general misgivings, he lists nine specific points. Here are two:

1. Late on election night, with Trump comfortably ahead, many swing states stopped counting ballots. In most cases, observers were removed from the counting facilities. Counting generally continued without the observers

2. Statistically abnormal vote counts were the new normal when counting resumed. They were unusually large in size (hundreds of thousands) and had an unusually high (90 percent and above) Biden-to-Trump ratio

I’ll admit, put all these together and it does look suspicious. It’s like a bank robbery: if you see security footage of guys coming into a bank and spray-painting the cameras so you can’t see anything else, you can still make reasonable inferences when, the next day, the money you thought was there is now gone.

But inference is not proof. This was a passionate election, with, if I recall right, the largest percentage turnout since 1900. Trump is a polarizing figure, and it’s not a stretch for me to think two things can be true at once: that voters chose to maintain the Republicans in the states and increase their numbers in the House, while at the same time enough of those same voters rejected Trump personally and voted to replace him. I’ve remarked several times that, regardless of the success and popularity of many of his policies (Operation Warp Speed, for example, the quest to find a vaccine for the Wuhan virus, is an undoubted success), his behavior, his inability to rise to the role of Chief of State during the pandemic, not just Chief Executive, hurt his campaign.

When many in the nation wanted that Chief of State, that “national reassurer,” if you will, Trump couldn’t do it, and I think that cost him a lot of votes. He needed to do that to beat the headwinds of an insanely hostile and dishonest media, but failed.

And to be fair, Mr. Basham is not exactly disinterested. He has written for the UK’s Daily Express predicting a Trump landslide. Thus, he has an arguable interest in self-justification. And there are questions about his claims to academic qualification. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the suspicious activity he cites are not still signs of a stolen election, nor that he’s wrong or disingenuous here. It does mean we should be wary, however.

Still, take a look also at this article from Kim Strassel about Nancy Pelosi’s biggest priority when she returned as Speaker in 2019: not healthcare, not the Green New Deal, but changing the electoral system:

House Resolution 1 is the designation for the first bill unveiled in any new Congress. It’s designed to highlight the majority party’s top priority. In early 2017, the Republican-led House gave the title to Donald Trump’s tax reform. When Mrs. Pelosi retook the speaker’s gavel in 2019, her party had just campaigned on a slew of urgent Democratic priorities: health care, climate change, immigration, student debt. None of these rose to the honor of H.R. 1.

Instead, Mrs. Pelosi unveiled a 600-plus page bill devoted to “election reform.” Some of the legislation was aimed at weaponizing campaign-finance law, giving Democrats more power to control political speech and to intimidate opponents. But the bill was equally focused on empowering the federal government to dictate how states conduct elections—with new rules designed to water down ballot integrity and to corral huge new tranches of Democratic voters.

She then lists the provisions of the bill:

The bill would require states to offer early voting. They also would have to allow Election Day and online voter registration, diluting the accuracy of voting rolls. H.R. 1 would make states register voters automatically from government databases, including federal welfare recipients. Colleges and universities were designated as voter-registration hubs, and 16-year-olds would be registered to vote two years in advance. The bill would require “no fault” absentee ballots, allowing anyone to vote by mail, for any reason. It envisioned prepaid postage for federal absentee ballots. It would cripple most state voter-ID laws. It left in place the “ballot harvesting” rules that let paid activists canvass neighborhoods to hoover up absentee votes.

The bill didn’t become law (thank you, Mitch McConnell), but Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats, following the infamous advice of Rahm Emanuel –“Never let a crisis go to waste”– used the pandemic to ram many of these measures through the courts and at the state level, the latter often via “emergency” decrees by Democrat governors, such as California’s Gavin Newsom, grossly abusing their emergency powers to rewrite their states’ laws.

As Strassel writes, these measures didn’t create cheating, they just potentially facilitated it. To use the bank analogy above, Pelosi the bank manager unlocked the doors and then went home, confident she’d get her cut.

So, did Joe Biden win the presidency through cheating? I still doubt it, but now less so.

But, even if he did, what can be done? The Trump campaign’s efforts have been weak and repeatedly thrown out of court. As National Review’s Andy McCarthy has written, the remedies they’re seeking (such as tossing out the votes and having legislatures name electors) are way out scale with any evidence of harm they’ve been able to produce.

But it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It’s like the provision in Scottish law, “not proven.” In other words, “we can’t prove you did it, but we know you did it, so don’t do it again!”

It may be that, barring shocking revelations in the next few weeks that change the national mood, the best solution remaining, assuming corruption, is sunshine and reform: research proving the election was stolen that in turn leads to reforms to secure the integrity of future elections. These would include voter ID, strict limitations on mail-in ballots, and an end to vote-harvesting.

For now, however, I’m left thinking “hmmm…”


Will Corporal Klinger be our new National Supply Commander?

November 13, 2020

It’s going to be a long four years, isn’t it? Via Reason magazine:

“This week, President-elect Joe Biden previewed several ways he plans to take bold action upon assuming office in January. Among the most immediately consequential would be his promise to appoint a “Supply Commander” to “take command of the national supply chain for essential equipment, medications, and protective gear.”

Overburdened hospital capacity was one of the primary concerns cited by proponents of lockdowns as the COVID-19 pandemic gained steam in spring 2020. The system’s continued potential vulnerability is now a doubly contentious issue. On one hand, there are renewed calls for stricter lockdowns; on the other, there is criticism that the system did not improve under incumbent President Donald Trump’s watch.

‘We can no longer leave this to the private sector,” proclaims Biden’s website. “The Supply Commander should work with every governor to determine their needs, and then coordinate production and delivery of those needs in a timely and efficient manner. And, the Supply Commander should direct the distribution of critical equipment as cases peak at different times in different states or territories.'”

Lockdowns prolonged the problem, and the last thing we need is more statism and bureaucracy.


Joe Biden as Emperor Nerva?

November 12, 2020

Okay, America to Roman Empire analogies are way overdone, but something crossed my mind this morning that amused me a bit: What if President Joe Biden was America’s answer to Emperor Nerva?

Our next president?

Marcus Cocceius Nerva came to the throne in A.D. 96 after the assassination of Emperor Domitian, who was, shall we say, quite controversial in the Empire. Lots of people had reason to hate him.

Not that I’m saying Trump is a batshit insane murderer, unlike Domitian, but, after a term that roiled politics and society, not unlike Domitian’s, at least some of the people who wanted someone different in office were looking for a return of calm.

Enter the old man, a grandfatherly figure who promises everyone can relax, now.

Joe Biden, meet Nerva. Nerva, meet Joe Biden.

But bear in mind also that Nerva, as an old man, was a transitional figure. He died of a stroke and secondary illness after fifteen months on the throne. At the time of his death, he was 67, pretty old for the First Century.

Joe Biden will be 78 when he is inaugurated, and he is clearly slipping into dementia. He may not make it fifteen months.

The key to Nerva’s significance is who he picked to succeed him: Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, an experienced and accomplished general whom we know as the Emperor Trajan. Taking power in a peaceful transition after Nerva’s death, Trajan went on to become one of Rome’s greatest emperors.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, picked Kamala Harris.

We’ll see.


If Your TDS Lasts Longer Than Four Years, Call Your Psychiatrist

November 12, 2020

He broke them.

I’ve often said there is plenty to criticize President Trump for, but his opponents ninety-nine percent of the time avoid these real criticisms and go “straight to Hitler.” This morning’s case in point is a tweet from Robert Reich, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration.

Also a certified hysteric:

This is either ignorance, which I doubt in Reich’s case, or a casual mendacity that shows his contempt for his readers.

Trump the “closest to a dicator” we’ve ever come? Let’s see, did he…

Why, no. Those were presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Barack Obama. Each used his powers far more dictatorially than Trump ever has. In FDR’s case, it was arguably the worst civil rights atrocity since slavery, all done on the order of one man. I’m sure we can find other examples.

Now, I’m not saying that any of those men was an actual “dictator;” that would be Reichian hyperbole. But to say Trump has done anything like this let alone being the closest we’ve come to a dictator is not just risible, it’s contemptible.

Which seems to be Professor Reich’s métier these days.

Postscript: In case someone argues that Trump was dictatorial, too, let’s look at three things often cited.

  • Children in cages. A policy pursuant in compliance with court orders regarding the children of illegal border-crossers, hardly the actions of a dictator. Also, begun under the Obama administration.
  • “The press is the enemy of the people!” Yep, a stupid, stupid thing to say. But what actions were taken to punish those enemies? Unlike the journalists spied on by the Obama administration, the Trump administration did nothing. Surely Jim Acosta would be in jail by now, if it had.
  • Immigration enforcement and ICE raids. Again, done under authority of existing law and often targeted at criminals who were a danger to the communities they were hiding in.

Not the actions of a dictator.


Reopening This Old Blog

November 11, 2020

Hey, long-time, no see! I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been.

(You did notice I hadn’t been posting much, right?)

Well, about four years ago, I realized I was just fresh out of things to say, other than the occasional post on certain occasions. The 2016 election campaign just wore me out and I found myself saying the same things over and over. It was time to take a short break.

A break that lasted several years. Oops.

Well, I’m not sure why, but I’ve been getting the feeling that breaktime is over. It’s time to blog again.

I doubt I’ll be posting several times a day, or even every day, but when something catches my eye that I think others should know about and would take more than 280 characters to express, I’ll put something here. That should at least be a few times a week.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go dust this place off and figure out this new, “improved” editor WordPress has foisted on me.

Why people have to “fix” what already works fine is a mystery to me.


9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2020

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a reposting of something I try to put up each September 11th. 


Lincoln in 1838 foresaw America in 2020

August 19, 2020

Dusting off this old blog, because I was listening to the Power Line podcast, and something guest Charles Lipson said moved me to reread Lincoln’s Lyceum speech of 1838, when he was only 28 years old, and I was struck by this passage in particular. If you’ll bear with the more florid rhetoric of the time, I think you’ll agree that Abraham Lincoln at even a young age appreciated the danger we now face.

“But all this even, is not the full extent of the evil.–By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.–Having ever regarded Government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations; and pray for nothing so much, as its total annihilation. While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a Government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose. Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocractic spirit, which all must admit, is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed–I mean the attachment of the People. Whenever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, this Government cannot last. By such things, the feelings of the best citizens will become more or less alienated from it; and thus it will be left without friends, or with too few, and those few too weak, to make their friendship effectual. At such a time and under such circumstances, men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity, strike the blow, and overturn that fair fabric, which for the last half century, has been the fondest hope, of the lovers of freedom, throughout the world.

I know the American People are much attached to their Government;–I know they would suffer much for its sake;–I know they would endure evils long and patiently, before they would ever think of exchanging it for another. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.”

Now look at the news and at the near-total collapse of law and order in New York or Portland or Seattle or Chicago or… on and on. Look at the elected officials, supine before mobs, when not collaborating with them out of fear or even sympathy. The police rendered craven by a lack of support, and attempts to enforce the law denounced as tyranny. People hounded in their own homes, realizing no authority was there to protect them or even hold the mob in check through fear of punishment.

I’ve joked in the past that Lincoln was an “American Jesus,” dying for our sins. But reading this speech and looking at us today… He may well have been a prophet.

 


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2020

Seventy-six years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Photo courtesy of Confederate Yankee.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.

NOTE: This is a reposting of a post I put up every year in honor of Operation Overlord.


Happy New Year, one and all

January 1, 2020

It was a heckuva party last night, wasn’t it?

Happy New Year, folks. May 2020 bring you all you could desire. smiley dance


Pearl Harbors then and now

December 7, 2019

In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:

The end of the USS Arizona

(Credit: Aviation History)

My grandfather was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:

…and…

Grandpa was having a bad day

(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)

As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.

Eighteen years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:

(credit: September 11th News)

…and…

(Credit: Aspersions)

…and…

(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Navy via Wikimedia)

Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?

RELATED: The story of Lt. John William Finn, who won the Medal of Honor for his actions at Pearl Harbor.
Note: This is a reposting of a post I put up every December 7th, slightly edited to fix dead links.

9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2019

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a reposting of something I try to put up each September 11th. 


Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2019

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 243 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’re doing pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

A lot’s been written around the Web about today, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with something that I think symbolizes the best of the “Spirit of 1776:” new American citizens being sworn in at naturalization ceremonies across the country.

Welcome, fellow Americans! 

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks. 

UPDATE: Historian Victor Davis Hanson, as always, puts it better than I:

On this troubled Fourth we still should remember this is not 1776 when
New York was in British hands and Americans in retreat across the
state. It is not 1814 when the British burned Washington and the entire
system of national credit collapsed — or July 4, 1864 when Americans
awoke to news that 8,000 Americans had just been killed at Gettysburg.


We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the
work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had
been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of
American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific
in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving
American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in
to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country
was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin
Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic
convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979,
a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages
taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still
being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central
America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment,
8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening
international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

We live in the most prosperous and most free years of a wonderful
republic, and can easily rectify our present crises that are largely of
our own making and a result of the stupefying effects of our
unprecedented wealth and leisure. Instead of endless recriminations and
self-pity — of anger that our past was merely good rather than perfect
as we now demand — we need to give thanks this Fourth of July to our
ancestors who created our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and suffered
miseries beyond our comprehension as they bequeathed to us most of the
present wealth, leisure, and freedom we take for granted.

Note: This is an updating of a post I made years ago for this holiday.


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2019

Seventy-five years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Photo courtesy of Confederate Yankee.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.

NOTE: This is a reposting of a post I put up every year in honor of Operation Overlord.


Memorial Day weekend and the anniversary of a great defeat

May 29, 2019

(Note: this is a reposting of something I first wrote a few years ago. Though the Memorial Day weekend is now past, I still think it fitting.)

Memorial Day is a holiday set aside for Americans to honor our servicemen past and present and to remember, if even for a moment, those who gave what Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion.” But this weekend also reminds us of another war, one far older than the United States, and yet hasn’t ended.

Some people call our current struggle with jihadist Islam “The Long War,” meaning that this fight is expected to go on for years, if not generations.

But it’s a long war in another sense, too, because we of the West been fighting it, through periods active and quiet, since Muhammad first declared as Allah’s command:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Today marks an anniversary in that nearly 1400-years long struggle, the Fall of Constantinople and the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire:

“Siege of Constantinople,”Jean Chartier c.1475

From Constantinople, the Turks, who had taken the Arabs’ place as leaders of the jihad, would march on into Central Europe, conquering the Balkans and twice besieging magnificent Vienna. This last great surge was stopped at the gates of the city in 1683; after that, Islam went into a long period of quiet that gradually ended in the final decades of the 20th century, until the jihad resumed amidst fire and terror on September 11th, 2001. Where once stood Franks and Greeks and Austrians and Spaniards and Italians, now there stands… us.

Is there a grand lesson in all this? I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that people who think this “long war” will end quickly and easily, even by simply declaring it over, are only fooling themselves. As long as there remains in Islam a compulsion to fight everyone else until they submit:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.

…this war will go on.

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