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Op/Ed

The Legacy of Carl Vinson

Pearl Harbor and the Legacy of Carl Vinson

Seventy-six years ago on Dec. 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese fleet surprise-attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the home port of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Japanese carrier planes killed 2,403 Americans. They sunk or submerged 19 ships (including eight battleships destroyed or disabled) and damaged or destroyed more than 300 planes.

In an amazing feat of seamanship, the huge Japanese carrier fleet had steamed nearly 3,500 miles in midwinter high seas. The armada had refueled more than 20 major ships while observing radio silence before arriving undetected about 220 miles from Hawaii.

The surprise attack started the Pacific War. It was followed a few hours later by a Japanese assault on the Philippines.

More importantly, Pearl Harbor ushered in a new phase of World War II, as the conflict expanded to the Pacific. It became truly a global war when, four days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

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as usual, have to checkout what victor hanson is writing about this week… oddly enough, half the time i’m still peeling my eyeballs open and working on my first cup of coffee when i head over to NRO — amazing i understand a damn thing, to be honest.

#chuckle  #emmmmm  #coffee

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Op/Ed

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Former FBI director Robert Mueller was supposed to run a narrow investigation into accusations of collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian government. But so far, Mueller’s work has been plagued by almost daily improper leaks (e.g., “sources report,” “it emerged,” “some say”) about investigations that seem to have little to do with his original mandate.

Now, there are leaks claiming that Mueller is going after former national-security adviser Michael Flynn for his business practices before he entered the Trump administration. Specifically, Mueller is reportedly investigating Flynn’s security assessment and intelligence work for the Turkish government and other Turkish interests. Yet possible unethical lobbying on behalf of a NATO ally was not the reason Mueller was appointed.

The Roman satirist Juvenal famously once asked how one could guard against marital infidelity when the moral guardians were themselves immoral. His famous quip, translated roughly as “Who will police the police?” is applicable to all supposedly saintly investigators.

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another good one from victor hanson on this fine friday morning… got my coffee & bagel… got my vape… yeah, time to relax and surf around for a bit, then get crank’n on some work for the day.

/super saiyan morning stretch

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Op/Ed

America’s Indispensable Friends

America’s Indispensable Friends

The world equates American military power with the maintenance of the postwar global order of free commerce, communications, and travel.

Sometimes American power leads to costly, indecisive interventions like those in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya that were not able to translate superiority on the battlefield into lasting peace.

But amid the frustrations of American foreign policy, it is forgotten that the United States also plays a critical but more silent role in ensuring the survival of small, at-risk nations. The majority of them are democratic and pro-Western. But they all share the misfortune of living in dangerous neighborhoods full of bullies. Continue…

another good read from victor, as usual… goes down pretty good with this coffee and bagel ‘n cream cheese…. emmmm, good stuff…

#stretch  #yummy

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Op/Ed

Remembering Stalingrad

Remembering Stalingrad 75 Years Later

Seventy-five years ago this month, the Soviet Red Army surrounded — and would soon destroy — a huge invading German army at Stalingrad on the Volga River. Nearly 300,000 of Germany’s best soldiers would never return home. The epic 1942–43 battle for the city saw the complete annihilation of the attacking German 6th Army. It marked the turning point of World War II.

Before Stalingrad, Adolf Hitler regularly boasted on German radio as his victorious forces pressed their offensives worldwide. After Stalingrad, Hitler went quiet, brooding in his various bunkers for the rest of the war.

During the horrific Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted more than five months, Russian, American, and British forces also went on the offensive against the Axis powers in the Caucasus, in Morocco and Algeria, and on the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific.

Yet just weeks before the Battle of Stalingrad began, the Allies had been near defeat. They had lost most of European Russia. Much of Western Europe was under Nazi control. Axis armies occupied large swaths of North Africa. The Japanese controlled most of the Pacific and Asia, from Manchuria to Wake Island.

Stalingrad was part of a renewed German effort in 1942 to drive southward toward the Caucasus Mountains, to capture the huge Soviet oil fields. The Germans might have pulled it off had Hitler not divided his forces and sent his best army northward to Stalingrad to cut the Volga River traffic and take Stalin’s eponymous frontier city.

By the time two Red Army pincers trapped the Germans at Stalingrad in November, Russia had already suffered some 6 million combat casualties during the first 16 months of Germany’s invasion. By German calculations, Russia should have already submitted, just like all of the Third Reich’s prior European enemies except Britain. Continue…

oh yeah, these are the types of posts by victor hanson that got me hooked… always did like his more historical leaning articles, especially ones around WWII — almost feel like picking up the new Call of Duty… almost…

happy veterans day!

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Op/Ed

Who Gets to Have Nuclear Weapons?

Who Gets to Have Nuclear Weapons — and Why?

Given North Korea’s nuclear lunacy, what exactly are the rules, formal or implicit, about which nations may have nuclear weapons and which may not?

It is complicated.

In the free-for-all environment of the 1940s and 1950s, the original nuclear club included only those countries with the technological know-how, size, and money to build nukes. Those realities meant that up until the early 1960s, only Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States had nuclear capabilities.

Members of this small club did not worry that many other nations would make such weapons, because it seemed far too expensive and difficult for most.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States adhered to an unspoken rule that their losing Axis enemies of World War II — Germany, Italy, and Japan — should not have nuclear weapons. Despite their financial and scientific ability to obtain them, all three former Axis powers had too much recent historical baggage to be allowed weapons of mass destruction. That tacit agreement apparently still remains.

The Soviet Union and the United States also informally agreed during the Cold War that their own dependent allies that had the ability to go nuclear — including eastern-bloc nations, most Western European countries, Australia, and Canada — would not. Instead, they would depend on their superpower patrons for nuclear deterrence.

By the 1970s, realities had changed again. Large and/or scientifically sophisticated nations such as China (1964), Israel (1967), and India (1974) went nuclear. Often, such countries did so with the help of pro-Western or pro-Soviet patrons and sponsors. The rest of the world apparently shrugged, believing it was inevitable that such nations would obtain nuclear weapons. Continue…

yeah man, it really is a complicated mess… though i like how he broke it down so i can better wrap my head around it — especially on a friday morning when i’m still working on my first cup of coffee… damn.

#yawn  #strettttcccchhhhhhhhh

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Op/Ed

The Fate of ISIS

The Islamic State and the Limitations of Cruelty

The fate of ISIS reminds us that those who pose as superhuman savages often cannot stand up to payback by their outraged victims.

The Islamic State just lost its capital at Raqqa, and with it the last of the terrorist group’s fantasies of establishing a Middle East caliphate.

In recent years, ISIS has horrified global audiences with video clips of unspeakable atrocities. What sort of humans could behead, incinerate, drown, torture, and blow up innocent civilians, mock and record such horror, and then narrate their macabre videos for a world audience?

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been awhile since i’ve really heard much about ISIS, to be honest… then again, i’ve pretty much checked out on the news of late and don’t really keep tabs on it all that much anymore… on the one hand, i think it’s a good thing since it’s less stress & worry in my life — kinda crazy, since i didn’t even realize how much crap it added… but once i stopped watching the news on the daily, and reading all these articles and news postings, i found i had less to think / worry / stress on about… which i think is a good thing.

on the flipside, there’s been a few times where somebody says something like “hey, did you hear about _______?!??” and i’m like, “huh? what?”

so yeah, there’s that.

PS. personally, i still can’t believe we, as an international collective group, dropped the hammer on ISIS and are still talking about it years later… seriously, what the fuck.

#FuckYouISIS

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Op/Ed

It’s 1968 All Over Again

It’s 1968 All Over Again

Almost a half-century ago, in 1968, the United States seemed to be falling apart.

The Vietnam War, a bitter and close presidential election, antiwar protests, racial riots, political assassinations, terrorism, and a recession looming on the horizon left the country divided between a loud radical minority and a silent conservative majority.

The United States avoided a civil war. But America suffered a collective psychological depression, civil unrest, defeat in Vietnam, and assorted disasters for the next decade — until the election of a once-polarizing Ronald Reagan ushered in five consecutive presidential terms of relative bipartisan calm and prosperity from 1981 to 2001.

It appears as if 2017 might be another 1968. Recent traumatic hurricanes seem to reflect the country’s human turmoil. Continue…

ahhh victor victor victor… always fun — if not a little bit on the heavy side — to pull him up on NRO and see what he’s talking about on a friday morning… at this point, i’m not even sure when this habit of mine started, but i do know it’s been a few years now at the very least.

things do seem to have an alarming similarity to the late 60s… hmmm…

PS. emmmmmm… coffee……

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Op/Ed Sports

The Glass House of the NFL

time to peel back those eyelids over some strong friday morning coffee and see what victor hanson is writing about this week — The Glass House of the NFL

The league’s national significance is rapidly diminishing, due to hypocrisy and hyper-politicization in a once-loved American establishment.

The National Football League is a glass house that was cracking well before Donald Trump’s criticism of players who refuse to stand during the national anthem.

The NFL earned an estimated $14 billion last year. But 500-channel television, Internet live streaming, video games, and all sorts of other televised sports have combined to threaten the league’s monopoly on weekend entertainment — even before recent controversies.

It has become a fad for many players not to stand for the anthem. But it is also becoming a trend for irate fans not to watch the NFL at all.

Multimillionaire young players, mostly in their 20s, often cannot quite explain why they have become so furious at emblems of the country in which they are doing so well.

Their gripes at best seem episodic and are often without supporting data. Are they mad at supposedly inordinate police brutality toward black citizens, or racial disparity caused by bias, or the perceived vulgarity of President Donald Trump?
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oh man… yeah, feel like we’ve been hip deep in this one for awhile now, and like it or not — sure does seem like we’ll continue to be talking about young multimillionaire football players taking the knee for the national anthem.

i wonder what the reaction would be like over in europe if the football soccer players took a knee during their national anthems? i mean, can you imagine the reaction in the UK? France? Italy? Germany?

#hmmmmmmmmmm

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Op/Ed

Hillary Still Blaming The Russians

Allegations of Foreign Election Tampering Have Always Rung Hollow

On her current book tour, Hillary Clinton is still blaming the Russians (among others) for her unexpected defeat in last year’s presidential election. She remains sold on a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump successfully colluded with Russian president Vladimir Putin to rig the election in Trump’s favor.

But allegations that a president won an election due to foreign collusion have been lodged by losers of elections throughout history. Some of the charges may have had a kernel of truth, but it has never been proven that foreign tampering changed the outcome of an election.

In 2012, then-president Barack Obama inadvertently left his mic on during a meeting with outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Obama seemed to be reassuring the Russians that if they would just behave (i.e., give Obama “space”) during his re-election campaign, Obama would have “more flexibility” on Russian demands for the U.S. to drop its plans for an Eastern European missile defense system.

Medvedev’s successor, Vladimir Putin, did stay quiet for most of 2012. Obama did renege on earlier American promises of missile defense in Eastern Europe. And Obama did win re-election.

But that said, Obama would have defeated Mitt Romney anyway, even without an informal understanding with Russia. Continue…

ahhhh hillary… at least she’s consistent and staying true to form… should hear what some of my liberal friends say and think about hillary now, especially after losing to one of the most unpopular presidents in the modern age… should hear what bernie sanders thinks of hillary these days. lol

The Progressive Liberal’s Agenda

PS. time for that morning coffee run to wawa…

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Op/Ed

If South Korea Acted Like North Korea?

What If South Korea Acted Like North Korea?

Think of the Korean Peninsula turned upside down.

Imagine if there were a South Korean dictatorship that had been in power, as a client of the United States since 1953.

Imagine also that contemporary South Korea was not the rich, democratic home of Kia and Samsung. Instead, envision it as an unfree, pre-industrialized and impoverished failed state, much like North Korea.

Further envision that the U.S. had delivered financial aid and military assistance to this outlaw regime, which led to Seoul’s possessing several nuclear weapons and a fleet of long-range missiles.

For effect, the United States would occasionally issue declarations of regret and concern over the situation — even as it warned China not to do anything to provoke America’s provocateur ally.

In such a fantasy, American security experts and military planners would gleefully factor a roguish nuclear South Korea into U.S. deterrent strategy. The Pentagon would privately collude with the South Korean dictatorship to keep the Chinese occupied and rattled, while the U.S. upped shipments of military weaponry to Seoul and overlooked its thermonuclear upgrades.

The American military would be delighted that China would be tied down by having an unhinged nuclear dictatorship on its borders, one that periodically threatened to kill millions of Chinese. South Korea would up the ante of its bluster by occasionally test-launching missiles in the direction of its neighbor.

Question: How long would China tolerate having weapons of mass destruction pointed at its major cities by an unbalanced tyrannical regime? Continue…

well, in this what-if scenario i’m pretty damn sure china would act… almost without question, if you really think about it… hmmm, interesting thought on this beautifoo friday morning.

PS. emmmmmmm, coffee…….

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Op/Ed

Two Resistances

Two Resistances

The quiet resistance — the one without black masks and clubs — is the more revolutionary force, and it transcends race, class, and gender.

After the election of Donald Trump, there arose a self-described “Resistance.” It apparently posed as a decentralized network of progressive activist groups dedicated to derailing the newly elected Trump administration.

Democrats and progressives borrowed their brand name from World War II French partisans. In rather psychodramatic fashion, they envisioned their heroic role over the next four years as that of virtual French insurgents — coming down from the Maquis hills, perhaps to waylay Trump’s White House, as if the president were an SS Obergruppenführer und General der Police running occupied Paris. Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone wrote admiringly about the furious Resistance’s pushback against Trump, with extravagant claims that his agenda was already derailed thanks to a zillion grass-roots and modern-day insurgents.

Hillary Clinton belatedly announced that she too had joined up with the Resistance (“I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the Resistance”), apparently in approbation of both its methods and agendas.

Appropriating the name of heroic World War II fighters to characterize a loosely formed alliance of Trump resisters has since proven a mockery of history — and creepy as well.

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i had to wake up a bit early this morning to run over to the dentist for my 6-month cleaning, so needless to say i didn’t get my typical morning coffee going… and other than having my teeth scraped, picked at, and heavily brushed… well, let’s just say i’m feeling the lack of that morning coffee pretty fierce right now — can’t roll into the dentist with a hot 20oz of coffee, now can ya? that’s just wrong, man.

anywho, another good one from victor as usual.

PS. sorry coffee, but i’ll make it up to ya!

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Op/Ed

Linguistic McCarthyism

still waking up here, but armed with my first cup of hot coffee, i think i’m almost ready to start the day… streeetttcchhhhhh …hmm, okay.. let’s see what victor is writing about this week — Linguistic McCarthyism

“The Bard,” William Shakespeare, had a healthy distrust of the sort of mob hysteria typified by our current epidemics of statue-busting and name-changing.

In Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar — a story adopted from Plutarch’s Parallel Lives — a frenzied Roman mob, in furor over the assassination of Julius Caesar, encounters on the street a poet named Cinna. The innocent poet was not the conspiratorial assassin Cinna, but unfortunately shared a name with the killer.

The terrified poet points out to the mob this case of mistaken identity: “I am Cinna the poet.”

The mob answers: “Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses! . . . It is no matter, his name’s Cinna!”

Shakespeare certainly would recognize that, like the playwright’s Roman mob, we have launched a war against words in our frenzy to find targets for our politically correct madness.

Recently, there were progressive calls at the University of Southern California to rename the school’s mascot, the white Andalusian horse “Traveler.” Members of the Left thought that the mute animal’s name too closely resembled the name “Traveller,” the favorite horse of Confederate general and sudden demon of 2017 Robert E. Lee.

But the mob was not finished there. An Asian-American sportscaster named Robert Lee was recently yanked by the sports channel ESPN from broadcasting a University of Virginia football game. Apparently, Lee’s name was too close to that of Robert E. Lee.

Nearly a century and a half after his death, General Lee has gone from tragic figure to Public Enemy No. 1 of the Left.

Lee the sportscaster, like Cinna the poet, was found guilty on the basis of ignorant association with his name. If the politically correct herd could not get its hands on the long-dead Robert E. Lee, it would apparently settle for anyone in the present who shared nearly the same name.

Why would a supposedly civilized country descend into such linguistic fascism?

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oh man, breaking out the big guns with some Shakespeare, along with one of my favorite plays — i’m not sure how many times i must’ve read that play in school growing up… good stuff right here, mang.

PS. okay, i definitely need more coffee… i’m totally dragging ass today. g’damn.

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Op/Ed

The Progressive War Against The Dead

The Double Standard in the Progressive War against the Dead

Will Progressives erase the history of their racist heroes, or only their racist enemies?

Much of the country has demanded the elimination of references to, and images of, people of the past — from Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee — who do not meet our evolving standards of probity.

In some cases, such damnation may be understandable if done calmly and peacefully — and democratically, by a majority vote of elected representatives.

Few probably wish to see a statue in a public park honoring Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the founding members of the Ku Klux Klan, or Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in the racist Dred Scott decision that set the stage for the Civil War four years later.

But cleansing the past is a dangerous business. The wide liberal search for more enemies of the past may soon take progressives down hypocritical pathways they would prefer not to walk.

In the present climate of auditing the past, it is inevitable that Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood will have to be disassociated from its founder. Sanger was an unapologetic racist and eugenicist who pushed abortion to reduce the nonwhite population.

Should we ask that Ruth Bader Ginsburg resign from the Supreme Court? Even with the benefit of 21st-century moral sensitivity, Ginsburg still managed to echo Sanger in a racist reference to abortion (“growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of”).

Why did we ever mint a Susan B. Anthony dollar? The progressive suffragist once said, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.”

Liberal icon and Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren pushed for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II while he was California’s attorney general.

President Woodrow Wilson ensured that the Armed Forces were not integrated. He also segregated civil-service agencies. Why, then, does Princeton University still cling to its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs? To honor a progressive who did a great deal of harm to African-American causes?

Wilson’s progressive racism, dressed up in pseudoscientific theories, was perhaps more pernicious than that of the old tribal racists of the South, given that it was not regionally centered and was professed to be fact-based and ecumenical, with the power of the presidency behind it.

In the current logic, Klan membership certainly should be a disqualifier of public commemoration. Why are there public buildings and roads still dedicated to the late Democratic senator Robert Byrd, former “exalted cyclops” of his local Klan affiliate, who reportedly never shook his disgusting lifelong habit of using the N-word? Continue…

as much as you might not like it, or as disgusting you might find it… for me it all falls under the umbrella of “free speech”, and is right inline with the murky road of censorship… also, i find it a little disturbing to see a bunch of raving liberals defacing and tearing down statues (and property in general)… our history, as much as you might not like it, is important and should be preserved for us and future generations — how will we progress if we don’t know and learn from our past? what’s the difference between seeing ISIS tearing down ancient statues and symbols, and a group here in the States tearing down an old statue of some confederate general?

i dunno, man… i tend to be pro freedom of speech, and anti-censorship… and think you really need to tread carefully and think long and hard about it — but that’s just me.

#hmmmmmmmm

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Op/Ed

Dunkirk’s National Identity

Dunkirk and Our Crisis of National Identity

Tyler Cowen, economist at George Mason University and curator of the blog Marginal Revolution, linked to an interesting piece a few days ago: an alt-right review of Dunkirk that is precisely as distasteful as you would expect. Leftists, writes the reviewer, “fear Dunkirk because it gives white men a glimpse of a nice white country we could someday restore, and the virtues we must find again if we are to defeat the real enemy this time.”

Perhaps it is unsurprising that the alt-right would like Dunkirk. It is not an ideological film, but it is a patriotic one: a celebration of England, and of Englishmen helping other Englishmen. Arguably, its central theme is that of obligation to country, not out of ideological concerns — Nazism is never once mentioned — but out of duty to one’s countrymen. Its most moving scenes are powered by the attachment the English soldiers feel to their homeland: a general declaring to a subordinate that he can almost see Britain from the beaches of northern France, soldiers gazing at the White Cliffs of Dover from a rescue boat returning home.

It’s not hard to understand how this celebration of national attachment, through no fault of Christopher Nolan’s, could be taken as “a glimpse of a nice white country we could someday restore” by alt-righters. The sentiment is racist and obnoxious, but it does get at the film’s unique patriotic zeal, which has not gone unrecognized by liberal critics, either. At The New Republic, Christian Lorentzen complains that “in Britain the pious death cult around the World Wars remains a feature of daily life, memorialized on each anniversary of a heroic slaughter” and that for Nolan “Dunkirk is akin to checking a patriotic box and securing a pass to its permanent pageant of nostalgia and weepy self-congratulation.”

I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with nostalgia, let alone with Britain celebrating its role in the defeat of the Nazis, but Lorentzen is at least analytically correct: Britain’s national identity is, even now, tied to its performance in World War II. Perhaps this is why the patriotic impulses behind Dunkirk, generally so noxious to the trans-Atlantic liberal elite, have gone so widely unremarked, a bad review or two at The New Republic notwithstanding. You don’t have to lay on the Anglophilia particularly thick to wring patriotic sentiment out of the evacuation of Dunkirk; it comes with the territory, just as it does with Shakespeare or C. S. Lewis or even The Shire.

damn man, and here i thought it was just a damn good WWII movie from Christopher Nolan… along with a little history, since i’m sure most people (including me) knew little about “Dunkirk” before seeing it — got me curious, so i read up on it a little bit… and i figure if it makes some people read, and maybe learn something, then that’s a good thing in my book.

#geeeeshhhhhhh  #blink

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Op/Ed

Silicon Valley Billionaires

Silicon Valley Billionaires Are the New Robber Barons

Progressives forget their history of breaking up mega-corporations as they lionize tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Facebook.

Progressives used to pressure U.S. corporations to cut back on outsourcing and on the tactic of building their products abroad to take advantage of inexpensive foreign workers.

During the 2012 election, President Obama attacked Mitt Romney as a potential illiberal “outsourcer-in-chief” for investing in companies that went overseas in search of cheap labor.

Yet most of the computers and smartphones sold by Silicon Valley companies are still being built abroad — to mostly silence from progressive watchdogs.

In the case of the cobalt mining that is necessary for the production of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, thousands of child laborers in southern Africa are worked to exhaustion. In the 1960s, campuses boycotted grapes to support Cesar Chavez’s unionization of farm workers. Yet it is unlikely that there will be any effort to boycott tech companies that use lithium-ion batteries produced from African-mined cobalt. Progressives demand higher taxes on the wealthy. They traditionally argue that tax gimmicks and loopholes are threats to the republic.

Yet few seem to care that West Coast conglomerates such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Starbucks filtered hundreds of billions in global profits through tax havens such as Bermuda, shorting the United States billions of dollars in income taxes. Continue…

always curious to see what victor hanson is writing about, and yet another good one this week as usual… especially over a fresh cup of morning coffee and bagel w/ cream cheese.

PS. always feel like sneer’n whenever i see photos of zuckerberg…. dunno, maybe it’s just me.

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Op/Ed

Is California Cracking Up?

oh yeahhhhh… friday mornings, gotta luv it… though for some reason i went through most of yesterday under some damn illusion that it was friday — talk about hopefoo thinking… hate it when that happens… anywho, let’s see what victor is talking about this week — Is California Cracking Up?

Corporate profits at California-based transnational corporations such as Apple, Facebook, and Google are hitting record highs. California housing prices from La Jolla to Berkeley along the Pacific Coast can top $1,000 a square foot. It seems as if all of China is willing to pay premium prices to get their children degreed at Caltech, Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, or USC.

Yet California — after raising its top income tax rate to 13.3 percent and receiving record revenues — is still facing a budget deficit of more than $1 billion. There is a much more foreboding state crisis of unfunded liabilities and pension obligations of nearly $1 trillion.

Soon, new gas tax hikes, on top of green mandates, might make California gas the most expensive in the nation, despite the state’s huge reserves of untapped oil.

Where does the money go, given that the state’s schools and infrastructure rank among America’s worst in national surveys?

Continue…

ahhhh california… both awesome and shitty at the same time, y’know?

#ShakesHead

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Op/Ed

The Problem of Competitive Victimhood

oh yeah, time for that friday morning ritual… time to sit back, enjoy my morning cup of java, and see what victor is talking about this week — The Problem of Competitive Victimhood

The startling 2016 presidential election weakened the notion of tribal identity rather than a shared American identity. And it may have begun a return to the old idea of unhyphenated Americans.

Many working-class voters left the Democratic party and voted for a billionaire reality-TV star in 2016 because he promised jobs and economic growth first, a new sense of united Americanism second, and an end to politically correct ethnic tribalism third.

In the 19th century, huge influxes of Irish and German immigrants warred for influence and power against the existing American coastal establishment that traced its ancestry to England. Despite their ethnic chauvinism, these immigrant activist groups eventually became indistinguishable from their hosts.

Then and now, the forces of assimilation, integration, and intermarriage make it hard to retain an ethnic cachet beyond two generations — at least without constant inflows of new and often poor fellow immigrants. The strained effort to champion the victimized tribe can turn comical. In the 1960s, my family still tried to buy Swedish-made Volvo automobiles and Electrolux vacuum cleaners. But it proved hopeless to cling to a fading Swedish heritage. For all the trendy talk of the salad bowl and the careerist rewards of hyping a multicultural ancestry, America still remains a melting pot of diverse races, ethnicities, and agendas.

For all the trendy talk of the salad bowl and the careerist rewards of hyping a multicultural ancestry, America still remains a melting pot of diverse races, ethnicities, and agendas. Continue…

so basically the Dems are gonna switch gears and maybe drop, or at least pull back a bit on all the “identity” politics and smears they were throwing around..? sounds good to me, never really liked that to begin with to be honest.

…but whatever, it’s friday mang!

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Op/Ed

The Korean Games of Thrones

The Korean Games of Thrones

North Korea seeks respect on the cheap — and attention and cash — that it cannot win the old-fashioned way by the long, hard work of achieving a dynamic economy or an influential culture.

Over the last quarter-century, it has proved that feigned madness and the road to nuclear weapons (Pakistan is another good example) provide a shortcut to all three goals: It is now feared, in the news, and likely to receive another round of Western danegeld.

Setting off a bomb (as opposed to merely bragging that it soon will do so) seems to stave off a Western-style preemption of the sort that eventually liquidated Saddam Hussein and Moammar Qaddafi.

Unlike both Iraq and Libya, North Korea had two other indemnity policies that so far have ruled out Western preemption: 1) a nuclear neighboring patron like China, and 2) a nihilistic conventional artillery and missile arsenal aimed at a nearby rich Westernized South Korea. An outmoded, conventional, short-ranged asset would be largely irrelevant in most military landscapes, but it is not when based just 35 miles from Seoul (which exchanged hands five times from the beginning to end of the Korean War). Consequently, the unpredictability of Beijing and the possibility of an attack within hours on Seoul — which would end up like Dresden in 1945 — enhanced North Korea’s small nuclear arsenal.

What then is North Korea’s ultimate objective?

Continue…

feel like i’ve been reading similar articles and posts for the past 8-10 years or so now… i mean, it’s a good article, and yet another good reminder of what’s going on with North Korea — especially since we do tend to forget, and things / news certainly do move pretty fast on the interwebs.

i’m sure i’m not the only one who secretly wishes china had some vested interest and would step in, and bitch slap NK around until they got their collective shit together.

oh, and i’m sure nobody is happy with “likely to receive another round of Western danegeld” — i think i’d be surprised if Trump was okay with and signed off on something like that… but then again, this is Trump we’re talking about, so who really knows.

#RollsEyes  #Ugh

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Op/Ed

Putin’s Playthings

Putin’s Playthings

Putin will do anything to advance Russia’s interests because his country is in terrible shape.

About a year ago, Donald Trump Jr. met with a mysterious Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump Jr. was purportedly eager to receive information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Veselnitskaya denies that she was working for the Kremlin to lobby for favorable Russian treatment. But in the past, Veselnitskaya has been connected with a number of Russian-related lobbying groups.

Trump Jr., for his part, proved naïve and foolish to gobble such possible setup bait. The Russians proved eager to confuse, confound, and embarrass everyone involved in the 2016 election.

This latest Trump family imbroglio piggybacks on six months of Russian collusion charges. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned less than a month into his job after being less than candid about his contacts with the Russians. Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager, had some questionable Russian business interests and resigned well before the election.

All these stories were luridly headlined in the press. Continue…

i haven’t really been following all the latest russian/trump stuff all that closely, but seriously… what a fucking mess.

speaking of russia, i still can’t believe they have the World Cup next year.

#fuckers

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Op/Ed

The NK Conundrum

West Can Neither Live with nor Take Out North Korean Nukes

North Korea recently test-launched a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.

When North Korea eventually builds a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, it will double down on its well-known shakedown of feigning indifference to American deterrence while promising to take out Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle unless massive aid is delivered to Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un rightly assumes that wealthy Western nations would prefer to pay bribe money than suffer the loss of a city — and that they have plenty of cash for such concessions. He is right that the medicine of taking out Kim’s missiles is considered by Western strategists to be even worse than the disease of living with a lunatic regime that has nukes.

No wonder that the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations had few answers to North Korea’s serial lying and deceit about its nuclear intentions. Sanctions were eventually dropped or watered down, either on reports of the mass starvation of innocent North Korean civilians or on false promises of better North Korean behavior.

China publicly promised to help rein in its unhinged client while privately doing nothing. Apparently, Beijing found a rabid North Korean government useful in bothering rivals such as the Japanese and South Koreans while keeping the U.S. off balance in Asia and the Pacific. The dynamic economies and pacifism of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were taken for granted by China as easy targets for coercion and blackmail.

Russia is never any help. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russian foreign policy is reductive: Whatever causes the United States and its allies a major headache is by definition welcomed.

There seems to be zero chance of a North Korean coup or a Chinese intervention to remove Kim. The brainwashed North Korean population is cut off from global news and knows nothing other than three generations of Kim family dictators. The military junta that surrounds Kim is likely as aggressive as its leader. These functionaries see his survival as the only guarantee of their own privilege and influence.

A preemptory strike might not get all of North Korea’s nuclear missiles and could prompt a conventional response that would wreck nearby Seoul — a scenario about which North Korea openly brags.

Pyongyang believes that only the Israelis are wild enough to preempt and bomb neighboring nuclear facilities, as they did in 1981 against Iraq and again in 2007 against Syria. And yet Israel attacked only because neither Iraq nor Syria had created deterrence by possession of a single deliverable nuclear weapon.

What are the bad choices for the Western alliance in defanging North Korea before it miscalculates and sends a missile that prompts a war?

man, i swear… north korea is like this crazy itch that just won’t go away, isn’t it? normally it’d be kinda insane to think that they’d actually shoot off some nukes — but then again, they’re kinda crazy so you can’t really discount the possibility either.

most of the time i just feel like most of this crap will never end…

#sigh  #ugh

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