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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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Op/Ed

The Fracking Industry FTW!

The Fracking Industry Deserves Our Gratitude

Less than ten years ago, America’s energy future looked bleak. World oil prices in 2008 had spiked to more than $100 per barrel of crude.

“Peak oil” — the theory that the world had already extracted more crude oil than was still left in the ground — was America’s supposed bleak fate. Ten years ago, rising gas prices, spiraling trade deficits, and ongoing war in the oil-rich Middle East only underscored America’s precarious dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Despite news of a radically improved but relatively old technology called “fracking” — drilling into shale rock and injecting water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure to hydraulically “fracture” the rock and create seams from which petroleum and natural gas are released — few saw much hope.

In 2012, when gas prices were hitting $4 a gallon in some areas, President Obama admonished the country that we “can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” That was a putdown of former Alaska governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s refrain “Drill, baby, drill.”

Obama barred new oil and gas permits on federal lands. Steven Chu, who would become secretary of energy in the Obama administration, had earlier mused that gas prices might ideally rise to European levels (about $10 a gallon), thereby forcing Americans to turn to expensive subsidized alternative green fuels.

But over the last five years, frackers have refined their craft on private properties, finding ever cheaper and more efficient ways to extract huge amounts of crude oil and natural gas from shale rock.

In 2017, despite millions of square miles being off limits to drillers, America is close to reaching 10 million barrels of crude-oil production per day, the highest level in the nation’s history. The U.S. may soon surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest petroleum producer.

When American natural gas (about 20 percent of the world total) and coal (the largest reserves in the world) are factored into the fossil-fuel equation, the U.S. is already the largest producer of energy in the world. Continue…

now that’s pretty interesting… been told for years that fracking is a horrible evil thing and it’s totally fucking up the environment, not to mention our clean water supply… but as usual, it’s good to hear an alternative viewpoint.

also, didn’t realize that the US was the largest energy producer in the world at the moment… ummm yeah, color me surprised.

#blink

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Op/Ed Political

The Progressive Boomerang

it’s friday morning, i’m half awake but armed with my first cup of coffee so all is well with the world as far as i’m concerned at the moment… but let’s go ahead and see what victor is talking about this week — The Progressive Boomerang

The progressive strategy of investigating President Donald Trump nonstop for Russian collusion or obstruction of justice or witness tampering so far has produced no substantial evidence of wrongdoing.

The alternate strategy of derailing the new administration before it really gets started hasn’t succeeded either, despite serial efforts to sue over election results, alter the Electoral College vote, boycott the inauguration, delay the confirmation of appointments, demand recusals, promise Trump’s impeachment or removal through the 25th Amendment, and file suit under the Emoluments Clause.

Likewise, a third strategy of portraying Trump as a veritable monster so far has failed in four special elections for House seats.

Apparently progressives have accepted the idea that Barack Obama’s formula of twice winning the Electoral College is not yet transferrable to other progressive candidates such as Hillary Clinton. And they probably have concluded that Obama’s progressive political agenda proved unpopular with voters by 2010 and had to be implemented by ad hoc executive orders — presidential prerogatives now utilized by Donald Trump to overturn the ones Obama issued.

A fourth potential pathway to power would be a return to Bill Clinton’s pragmatic agendas of the 1990s. But apparently progressives find that centrist remedy worse than the malady of losing elections — given that during the Obama tenure, more than 1,000 state and local offices were lost to Republicans, in addition to majorities in the House and Senate, and a majority of governorships and legislatures.

What next?

Continue…

good stuff as always, especially the part that outlines most of the problems with and behind all the russian collusion stuff that’s been ongoing for months now — interesting stuff to say the least.

PS. eggs and bacon… emmmm….

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Op/Ed Political

Trump & His Generals

it’s friday morning and i just got my first cup of coffee, so let’s see what victor hanson is writing about this week — Trump and His Generals

Donald Trump earned respect from the Washington establishment for appointing three of the nation’s most accomplished generals to direct his national-security policy: James Mattis (secretary of defense), H. R. McMaster (national-security adviser), and John Kelly (secretary of homeland security).

In the first five months of the Trump administration, the three generals — along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO — have already recalibrated America’s defenses.

At home, illegal immigration is down by some 70 percent. Abroad, a new policy of principled realism seeks to reestablish deterrence through credible threats of retaliation. The generals are repairing old friendships with allies and neutrals while warning traditional enemies not to press their luck.

Trump has turned over most of the details of military operations to his generals. According to his critics, Trump is improperly outsourcing to his generals both strategic decision-making and its tactical implementation.

But is Trump really doing that?

Continue…

another good read, as usual… didn’t realize that illegal immigration was down by 70% already — damn.

and we haven’t even built the wall yet! ;)

emmmmm… coffee…….

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Op/Ed

Can a Divided America Survive?

time for the friday morning ritual and see what victor hanson is writing about, so let’s see what he has for us this week — Can a Divided America Survive?

The United States is currently the world’s oldest democracy.

But America is no more immune from collapse than were some of history’s most stable and impressive consensual governments. Fifth-century Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Florence and Venice, and many of the elected governments of early 20th-century Western European states eventually destroyed themselves, went bankrupt, or were overrun by invaders.

The United States is dividing as rarely before. Half the country, mostly liberal America, is concentrated in 146 of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties — in an area that collectively represents less than 10 percent of the U.S. land mass. The other half, the conservative Red states of the interior of America, is geographically, culturally, economically, politically, and socially at odds with Blue-state America, which resides mostly on the two coasts.

The two Americas watch different news. They read very different books, listen to different music, and watch different television shows. Increasingly, they now live lives according to two widely different traditions.

Barack Obama was elected president after compiling the most left-wing voting record in the U.S. Senate. His antidote, Donald Trump, was elected largely on the premise that traditional Republicans were hardly conservative.

Red America and Blue America are spiraling into divisions approaching those of 1860, or of the nihilistic hippie/straight divide of 1968.

Currently, some 27 percent of all Californians were not born in the United States. More than 40 million foreign-born immigrants currently live in the U.S. — the highest number in the nation’s history.

Yet widely unchecked immigration comes at a time when the country has lost confidence in its prior successful adherence to melting-pot assimilation and integration. The ultimate result is a fragmenting of society into tribal cliques that vie for power, careers, and influence on the basis of ethnic solidarity rather than shared Americanness.

History is not very kind to multicultural chaos — as opposed to a multiracial society united by a single national culture. The fates of Rwanda, Iraq, and the former Yugoslavia should remind us of our present disastrous trajectory.

Either the United States will return to a shared single language and allegiance to a common and singular culture, or it will eventually descend into clannish violence. Continue…

good stuff as always… i’m still kinda in shock over that leftie nutjob going to the ballpark outside of DC and opening fire on a bunch of guys simply because they were Republicans — unbelievable.

anywho, time to lean back and enjoy my morning coffee and login into a couple meetings before lunch.

#TGIF

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Op/Ed

It’s the Hypocrisy, Stupid

time to kick back, sip on some delicious morning coffee, and see what victor is talking about this week — It’s the Hypocrisy, Stupid

Some concerned Democrats are worried that their party may have lost the key blue-wall states because of its elitism, manifested as disdain for Americans between the coasts.

Perhaps emblematic of their worry is the strange metamorphosis of Hillary Clinton’s two presidential campaigns. In 2008, as Bill Clinton 2.0, she drank boilermakers, bragged about bowling and shooting, boasted about her resonance with the “white” working class, and clobbered Obama on his Pennsylvania clingers speech.

But after Obama’s win — and his assumed new formula of registering record numbers of minority voters and seeing them often vote in a bloc on the basis of racial solidarity — Clinton thought she too could follow this new pathway to Democratic victories. So she made the understandable political contortions.

This time around, Clinton was bent on out-Obaming Obama’s “clingers” with her own “deplorables” and “irredeemables.” Her campaign was based on pandering to identity-politics groups — while she had cashed in on Wall Street in what can be fairly called a payola scheme with Bill to enrich the Clinton Foundation and thus indirectly themselves. The result was both a cultural and economic affront to what used to be the bedrock of the Democratic party.

Americans neither hate nor envy meritocratic elites. Here in one of the poorer areas of the nation in rural southwestern Fresno County, the poor admire the skilled surgeons who operate on their children. Most of the new agri-barons are up-by-their-bootstraps ethnics: Basques, Punjabis, and descendants of the Okie diaspora and the 1960s waves of immigrants from Mexico who may now farm more than 2,000 or 3,000 acres of orchards and vineyards and on paper be worth $10 or $15 million, though they dress in old clothes and drive run-down pickups. They are looked upon as success stories worthy of emulation because most talk and act like the people who work for and with them.

So perhaps what drives proverbially average Americans crazy is not the success and money of others, but the condescension and hypocrisy of what a particular elite says contrasted with how it lives: The disconnect recalls the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, the televangelist who on Sunday mornings three decades ago used to break into tears as he loudly condemned the sins of the flesh, while he privately indulged his worldly appetites.

Elites, whose lifestyles lead them to burn lots of carbon, rail about the Paris accords to those who get by burning lots less. What is galling is to see how little the elites’ green rhetoric is backed up by their green behavior. Could Hollywood celebrities at least for a year swear off the use of their private jets that emit more carbon emissions in a year than entire small towns in Ohio? Continue…

another good one from victor hanson, and well said… and yeah, i’d have to agree about how galling the whole hypocrisy thing goes… but to be fair, that’s really neither a liberal or conservative thing since they all are hypocrites to some degree IMHO.

i definitely need another espresso doubleshot.

PS. Victor Gold, R.I.P.

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Op/Ed

The Old German Problem

it’s friday morning and you know what that means… yup, time to kick back, sip on some mornging coffee, and see what victor hanson is writing about this week — The Old German Problem

Berlin — Germans do not seem too friendly to Americans these days.

According to a recent Harvard Kennedy School study of global media, 98 percent of German public television news portrays President Donald Trump negatively, making it by far the most anti-Trump media in the world.

Yet the disdain predates the election of Trump, who is roundly despised here for his unapologetic anti–European Union views.

In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey of European countries, Germany had the least favorable impression of America. Only about 50 percent of Germans expressed positive feelings toward the U.S. Former president Barack Obama, who visited here last week to lecture the world on diversity and tolerance, never changed negative attitudes much from the unpopular George W. Bush years.

Germans apparently do not appreciate that fellow NATO member America still subsidizes their defense. Nor do they seem appreciative of their huge trade surplus ($65 billion) with the United States.

Germans seem to have forgotten that American troops for 45 years kept the Soviets from absorbing all of Germany. The Berlin Airlift is now premodern history.

Why, then, do confident Germans increasingly dislike the United States?

It is complicated.

Continue…

having lived and practically grew up over in Germany as a teenager back in the late 80s, saying it’s “comlicated” is a bit of an understatement… even back then, having lots of german friends i’d hang out with, it was complicated… and there was this big diff in viewpoints and attitude between the older germans and the younger — i still remember how stark that seemed, even to me as a kid, back then.

good stuff as usual, victor.

PS. emmmmm, coffee coffee coffee…

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Op/Ed

Post Manchester Amnesia

Manchester Isn’t the First Time Jihadists Have Slaughtered Children

For now, everyone knows the sonorous name and cherubic face of eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.

She’s the littlest known victim of Monday night’s jihad attack in Manchester, England. Her doe-eyed image spread as rapidly across social media as the #PrayForManchester hashtags and Twitter condolences from celebrities.

But I guarantee you that beautiful Saffie Rose will evaporate from the memories of those most loudly proclaiming “never forget” faster than a dewdrop in the desert.

Look no further for proof of the West’s incurable terror attack amnesia than the reaction to the Manchester massacre. Reporters, politicians, and pundits expressed shock at the brutality of Muslim murderers targeting children and young people.

Labour Party leader Yvette Cooper posited on BBC Live that it was a “first.”

“The architects of terror have hit a new low,” a Liverpool newspaper editorialized.

U.K. columnist Rosie Millard described the bloody bombing as an “attack unique in its premeditated targeting of the young.”

What planet have these people been living on for the past 16 years? How quickly the blind, deaf, and dumb virtue signalers forget.

Last year, the Orlando, Florida, nightclub jihadist purposely targeted young people simply having a good time. Among the youngest victims cut down in their prime: Jason B. Josaphat, 19, and vacationing high school honors student Akyra Monet Murray, 18.

Somali jihadist Abdul Razak Ali Artan plowed his car into Ohio State University students last fall before stabbing several of them. The attack was swept under the rug as the usual, terror-coddling suspects worried more about a nonexistent “backlash” against Muslims than they did about the steady infiltration of refugee jihadis and Islamic extremists at colleges and universities across the country.

In 2004, Islamic baby-killers attacked a school in Beslan, Russia, during a three-day siege that took the lives of 186 young children.

At Fort Hood in 2009, soldier Francheska Velez and her unborn child were murdered by jihadist Nidal Hasan with 13 other victims. Her last words: “My baby! My baby!”

Continue…

another good op-ed from victor, and he makes some really good points as always… was a little curious at some of the news and reporting i saw online in the aftermath of the hit on manchester, but can’t say i was all that surprised… found myself watching the BBC tuesday night just so i could watch some of the coverage from over there versus what was on our cable news over here — have to say the difference really isn’t as stark as it used to be… or maybe i’m just more “wise” or jaded or something, i dunno.

anywho, time for some more coffee!

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Op/Ed

Lessons from the Battle of Midway

Lessons from the Battle of Midway

Seventy-five years ago (June 4-7, 1942), the astonishing American victory at the Battle of Midway changed the course of the Pacific War.

Just six months after the catastrophic Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. crushed the Imperial Japanese Navy off Midway Island (about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu), sinking four of its aircraft carriers.

“Midway” referred to the small atoll roughly halfway between North America and Asia. But to Americans, “Midway” became a barometer of military progress. Just half a year after being surprised at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy had already destroyed almost half of Japan’s existing carrier strength (after achieving a standoff at the Battle of the Coral Sea a month earlier).

The odds at the June 1942 battle favored the Japanese. The imperial fleet had four carriers to the Americans’ three, backed up by scores of battleships, cruisers, and light carriers as part of the largest armada that had ever steamed from Japan.

No military had ever won more territory in six months than had Japan. Its Pacific Empire ranged from the Indian Ocean to the coast of the Aleutian Islands, and from the Russian-Manchurian border to Wake Island in the Pacific.

Yet the Japanese Navy was roundly defeated by an outnumbered and inexperienced American fleet at Midway. Why and how? Continue…

these are the type of posts from victor hanson that got me hooked, and really how i sorta fell into this friday morning blogging routine of mine… love the history posts, victor! keep ’em coming dude.

PS. kinda addicted to this guatemalan coffee from wawa lately.

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Op/Ed Political

Trumpism v. Republicanism

Can Trump Successfully Remodel the GOP?

If Trumpism succeeds, it could replace mainstream Republicanism.

The Republican-party establishment is caught in an existential paradox.

Without Donald Trump’s populist and nationalist 2016 campaign, the GOP probably would not have won the presidency. Nor would Republicans now enjoy such lopsided control of state legislatures and governorships, as well as majorities in the House and Senate, and likely control of the Supreme Court for a generation.

So are conservatives angry at the apostate Trump or indebted to him for helping them politically when they were not able to help themselves?

For a similar sense of the paradox, imagine if a novice outsider such as billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban had captured the Democratic nomination and then won the presidency — but did not run on either Bernie Sanders’s progressive redistributionism, Barack Obama’s identity politics, or Hillary Clinton’s high taxes and increased regulation. Would liberals be happy, conflicted, or seething?

For now, most Republicans are overlooking Trump’s bothersome character excesses — without conceding that his impulsiveness and bluntness may well have contributed to his success after Republican sobriety and traditionalism failed.

Republicans concentrate on what they like in the Trump agenda — military spending increases, energy expansion, deterrence abroad, tax and regulatory reform, and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act — and they ignore the inherent contradictions between Trumpism and their own political creed.

But there are many fault lines that will loom large in the next few years. Continue…

another good read from victor, as usual… got my hot cocoa and bagel, and i’m ready to get the day started.

TGIF, right? :)

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Op/Ed

Potemkin Universities

well it’s friday morning so you know what that means around here… so let’s see what victor hanson is writing about this week — Potemkin Universities

College campuses still appear superficially to be quiet, well-landscaped refuges from the bustle of real life.

But increasingly, their spires, quads, and ivy-covered walls are facades. They are now no more about free inquiry and unfettered learning than were the proverbial Potemkin fake buildings put up to convince the traveling Russian czarina Catherine II that her impoverished provinces were prosperous.

The university faces crises almost everywhere of student debt, university finances, free expression, and the very quality and value of a university education.

Take free speech. Without freedom of expression, there can be no university.

But if the recent examples at Berkeley, Claremont, Middlebury, and Yale are any indication, there is nothing much left to the idea of a free and civilized exchange of different ideas. Continue…

another good read on this overcast and rainy friday morning… everything he says is true, and paints a pretty grim picture of our universities — at least as far as free speech, a broader sense of acceptance and inclusion, and not to mention financially, is concerned.

#ugh  #damnhippies

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Op/Ed

2020 For Democrats?

Will 2020 Be Another 1972 for Democrats?

Forty-nine years ago, Vice President Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic candidate for president.

The year 1968 was a tumultuous one that saw the assassinations of rival candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy and civil-rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. Lyndon Johnson’s unpopular lame-duck Democratic administration imploded because of massive protests against the Vietnam War.

Yet Humphrey almost defeated Republican nominee Richard Nixon, losing the election by just over 500,000 votes (43.4 percent to 42.7 percent).

Infighting Democrats could have defeated the unpopular Nixon if not for a few unforeseen developments.

Their convention in Chicago turned into a creepy carnival of televised rioting and radical protests. Hippies and leftists were seen battling police in the streets on prime-time news.

The former Democratic governor of Alabama, George Wallace, ran as a states’ rights third-party candidate and drew 13.5 percent of the vote. Wallace destroyed the Democrats’ traditional hold on the old “solid South” by winning five Southern states outright. He also siphoned off enough traditional Democratic supporters to give Nixon astonishing Republican victories in half a dozen other states in the region.

Nixon won over a few Northern blue-collar states that had often voted Democratic, such as Wisconsin and Ohio — again with help from Wallace, who appealed to fed-up, working-class Democrats.

What was the lesson from 1968?

always cool to see what victor hanson is writing about come friday morning, especially since he usually has some historical bent to his op/eds… nothing wrong with a little light reading first thing in the morning over some fresh coffee, right?

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Op/Ed

In Defense of Robots

In Defense of Robots

There was a time in America, not too long ago, when most people, including journalists, business leaders, politicians, and scholars, were full-throated advocates of technologically powered productivity growth. They understood that through mechanization, automation, and other forms of innovation, we can produce more, better, and cheaper goods and services, and have higher incomes. It was understood that some workers might lose their jobs after we figured out how to do them more efficiently, but most Americans believed, to quote Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Those days are gone, though. Current opinion now routinely echoes the mythical 19th-century machine destroyer Ned Ludd, warning in a growing avalanche of books, academic theses, market forecasts, and op-eds that technology is leading us to a world of mass unemployment, that it is creating a newly idle lumpenproletariat, and that we had better put in place a universal basic income (UBI), under which the state cuts a check to everyone, regardless of their income or work status, if we are to have any hope of avoiding mass unrest.

This kind of worry, verging on “robophobia,” represents a remarkable reversal from a long period in American history — stretching from the 1890s to the early 1970s — when most Americans sang the praises of technology as an engine of progress that not only raised our living standards but also made America great. Exultantly titled books such as Triumphs and Wonders of the 19th Century, The Marvels of Modern Mechanism, Our Wonderful Progress, and Modern Wonder Workers were common. When Henry Adams viewed the huge dynamo for producing electricity at the 1900 Great Exhibition in Paris, he wrote (in the third person) of his reaction:

As he grew accustomed to the great gallery of machines, he began to feel the forty-foot dynamos as a moral force, much as the early Christians felt the Cross. The planet itself seemed less impressive, in its old-fashioned, deliberate, annual or daily revolution, than this huge wheel, revolving within arm’s length at some vertiginous speed, and barely murmuring.

Harvard economist Benjamin Anderson spoke for many when he wrote 40 years later that “on no account, must we retard or interfere with the most rapid utilization of new inventions.” And it wasn’t just defenders of capitalism who saw technology as a progressive force. Socialists did too, as when Jack London praised automation, proclaiming, “Let us not destroy these wonderful machines that produce efficiently and cheaply. Let us control them. Let us profit by their efficiency and cheapness. Let us run them by ourselves. That, gentlemen, is socialism.”

These days, Harvard economists are as likely as not to worry that automation is hurting too many people. Larry Summers wrote in the Financial Times that “it is widely feared that half the jobs in the economy might be eliminated by innovations such as self-driving vehicles, automatic checkout machines and expert systems that trade securities more effectively than humans can.” Summers, a macroeconomist who has in the past expressed faith in the Fed’s ability to achieve near-full employment, now believes that one-third of men between the ages of 25 and 54 could be unemployed because of technology by midcentury.

Such voices have been growing louder in recent decades. Artificial-intelligence scientist Nils Nilsson was in the advance guard when he warned in 1984 that “we must convince our leaders that they should give up the notion of ‘full employment.’ . . . The pace of technological change is accelerating.” But what’s different today is that such thinking has become a common, widely repeated narrative, greatly amplified by a supercharged media landscape and a packed calendar of “thought leader” events. You cannot attend Davos, a G20 summit, or a TED talk without being told that the pace of technological change is accelerating and the days of “work” as we know it are numbered. Continue…

there’s been sooooo much stuff posted lately about AI, autonomous driving cars, and robotics in general of late that it’s like an invisible drum beating away somewhere in the background… not to mention all the stuff from F8 this past week… anywho good read, especially over some delicious coffee on this fine friday morning.

emmmm, coffee….

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Op/Ed Political

Single-Payer Health Care?

The Road to Single-Payer Health Care

Washington – Repeal-and-replace (for Obamacare) is not quite dead. It has been declared so, but what that means is that, for now, the president has (apparently) washed his hands of it and the House Republicans appear unable to reconcile their differences.

Neither condition needs to be permanent. There are ideological differences between the various GOP factions, but what’s overlooked is the role that procedure played in producing the deadlock. And procedure can easily be changed.

The House leadership crafted a bill that would meet the delicate requirements of “reconciliation” in order to create a (more achievable) threshold of 51 rather than 60 votes in the Senate. But this meant that some of the more attractive, market-oriented reforms had to be left out, relegated to a future measure (a so-called phase-three bill) that might never actually arrive.

Yet the more stripped-down proposal died anyway. So why not go for the gold next time? Pass a bill that incorporates phase-three reforms and send it on to the Senate.

September might be the time for resurrecting repeal-and-replace. That’s when insurers recalibrate premiums for the coming year, precipitating our annual bout of Obamacare sticker shock. By then, even more insurers will be dropping out of the exchanges, further reducing choice and service. These should help dissipate the pre-emptive nostalgia for Obamacare that emerged during the current debate.

At which point, the House leadership should present a repeal-and-replace that includes such phase-three provisions as tort reform and permitting the buying of insurance across state lines, both of which would significantly lower costs.

Even more significant would be stripping out the heavy-handed Obamacare coverage mandate that dictates what specific medical benefits must be included in every insurance policy in the country, regardless of the purchaser’s desires or needs.

Best to mandate nothing. Let the customer decide. A 60-year-old couple doesn’t need maternity coverage. Why should they be forced to pay for it? And I don’t know about you, but I don’t need lactation services. Continue…

totally agree… after the clusterfuck mess that we just watched play out over the past few weeks or more, i’d say “fuck it” and put forth the full repeal-and-replace bill that they want — not this 3-phase multibill approach — and see if the senate can step up and get it done… probably with Trump in the background making calls and twisting a few proverbial arms, if needed.

PS. what a fucking mess.

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