Don’t just threaten — simply do it

Another large group of Central Americans are headed north to the United States, clearly egged on and financially supported by various interests opposed to U.S. sovereignty.  The timing of this is obvious, to underscore the issue just as we reach the election.  As such, it is a make-or-break situation for the administration, which campaigned on regaining control of our borders.

The president is saying the right things.  The question is whether his administration will follow through, with all the “resisting” that will engender on the Left.

Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to seal America’s southern border with military force unless Mexico intervenes to stop the flow of illegal immigrants traveling to the U.S. from Central America.

The stern, tweeted warning came as a group of more than 4,000 travels north through Mexico in the hope of reaching the United States, despite having no visas or other legal papers to enter.

Trump blamed his Democratic rivals for the resulting chaos, saying ‘they want Open Borders and existing weak laws.’

I’ll repeat what I’ve said here many times: the sole legitimate purpose of a military is to secure a nation from invasion and external interference.  But that seems to be the only thing we WON’T use it for in recent decades.  If our country doesn’t have the will to seal our borders against obvious and recurrent provocations, then we deserve the fate that awaits us.  These invaders won’t become Americans.  They will continue to make America a little more like the places they came from.  I don’t recall “we the people” agreeing to that.

The gauntlet is being thrown, in a very public fashion.  Trump has to respond, or will lose the support of a significant part of his base: Americans who feel increasingly alienated in their own country.  The Left believes that confrontation on the border, covered by a sympathetic press, will help their cause.  But if Trump has the backbone to use the military and all other resources at his disposal to detain this entire group, holding them for immediate processing back to their home country, he likely can ensure his reelection in 2020.

The next three weeks should be interesting ones.

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Confronting real horror

As we close in on Halloween this year, the usual crop of horror movies are being advertised.  Yet the most horrific storytelling of all — a true story — is being ignored by the mainstream media:

Dr. Kermit Gosnell ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia that was shut down after he was arrested for a myriad of crimes. And that’s where Gosnell begins, with the lead-up to and raid on Dr. Gosnell’s clinic. Ending with the trial completed, Gosnell is a stirring call to value and protect life…

Gosnell resists the temptation to devolve into a melodramatic serial killer movie. In large part because of the tone set by the tightly constructed screenplay that never once waivers off point, Searcy and his cast are able to deliver an entertaining movie that also calls the viewer to think and feel deeply about the presence of the evil of abortion in our society, but without using cheap dramatic tactics to manipulate the audience’s emotions.

We live in a society that revels in movies about chainsaw massacres, and which willingly subjects itself annually to increasingly sadistic rituals in the name of “fun.”  Yet it seems not to have the stomach to confront the face of real evil.  Here’s hoping Gosnell forces us to take a long, close, uncomfortable look at the worldviews we’ve allowed to take root in our culture.  It would also be great if viewers walked out of the movie wondering “why is this the first time I’ve heard about this?”

Who’s being uncivil?

Her Hillariness states that civility can’t return until the Democrats regain power in D.C.  While she meant it as a jab against the Trump Republicans, events over the past couple of years show the statement to be more of a threat:

It is open season on Trump supporters, and the media is only fomenting, encouraging, excusing, and hoping for more… The media are now openly calling Trump supporters “Nazis” and are blaming Trump for a mass murder he had nothing to do with. This, of course, is a form of harassment because it incites and justifies mob violence.

Here is the list, so far, and remember that if any one of these things happened to a Democrat, the media would use the story to blot out the sun for weeks.

Be sure to click the link. As of this writing, the site documents 583 separate instances of violence, condoning of violence and/or harassment against opponents of the Left. I think most people have at least a vague sense this has been on the rise, but it’s jarring to see it documented this way. (That, by the way, is why I started the “Good Guys with Guns” tab at the top a few months ago.)

Perhaps being on the receiving end of this for a bit is what finally caused the Republicans in D.C. to begin fighting back. The backbone they showed during the Kavanaugh confirmation was long, long, overdue.

What Hillary’s really mad about isn’t Trump’s language or style being “uncivil.” She’s mad because the fight is no longer one-sided, as it has been for more than 30 years.  Let’s just hope the pushback didn’t come too late.

Saturday Sounds

If any good has come of the political circuses in recent months, it’s that the Left has dropped nearly all pretense of somehow being responsible, patriotic Americans.  As their globalist, elitist, kleptocratic agendas are increasingly exposed, their shrieking becomes louder in an effort to distract.  Their kind does not suffer a loss of power without a fight.

The lines are being drawn.  Pray for peace, but be ready for war.

Why are we buying from China?

It’s no secret the U.S. and China are increasingly at odds with each other.  China fully recognizes — even embraces — this development, pouring effort into projects like the Confucious Institutes and developing spies among the key staff of important members of Congress.  China holds a significant fraction of the U.S. public debt — a potential lever in any showdown, given our nation’s reliance on deficit-spending.  While we’ve heard nothing but “Russia, Russia, Russia” since the 2016 presidential election, it’s China that poses the most long-term threat to U.S. national security.

And yet, we continue to enable them:

There are two ways for spies to alter the guts of computer equipment. One, known as interdiction, consists of manipulating devices as they’re in transit from manufacturer to customer. This approach is favored by U.S. spy agencies, according to documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The other method involves seeding changes from the very beginning.

One country in particular has an advantage executing this kind of attack: China, which by some estimates makes 75 percent of the world’s mobile phones and 90 percent of its PCs

Supermicro had been an obvious choice to build Elemental’s servers. Headquartered north of San Jose’s airport, up a smoggy stretch of Interstate 880, the company was founded by Charles Liang, a Taiwanese engineer who attended graduate school in Texas and then moved west to start Supermicro with his wife in 1993. Silicon Valley was then embracing outsourcing, forging a pathway from Taiwanese, and later Chinese, factories to American consumers, and Liang added a comforting advantage: Supermicro’s motherboards would be engineered mostly in San Jose, close to the company’s biggest clients, even if the products were manufactured overseas.

Today, Supermicro sells more server motherboards than almost anyone else. It also dominates the $1 billion market for boards used in special-purpose computers, from MRI machines to weapons systems. Its motherboards can be found in made-to-order server setups at banks, hedge funds, cloud computing providers, and web-hosting services, among other places. Supermicro has assembly facilities in California, the Netherlands, and Taiwan, but its motherboards—its core product—are nearly all manufactured by contractors in China…

“Think of Supermicro as the Microsoft of the hardware world,” says a former U.S. intelligence official who’s studied Supermicro and its business model. “Attacking Supermicro motherboards is like attacking Windows. It’s like attacking the whole world.”

The entire, detailed article, is worth reading. As you do, consider that our government increasingly uses server-enabled cloud computing, even for the most sensitive of information. Does it make sense for our government and military to use hardware produced by our all-but-in-name adversary? What carefully implanted surprises now await us in an actual showdown with this emerging power? Shouldn’t our policy be to encourage cost-effective manufacturers here at home?

Over the past 30 years the world became obsessed with obtaining cheap products from China. We’re finding out now they may have cost more than we ever suspected.

Make America great again — make America self-reliant, manufacturing its own goods again.

Uncle Sam’s debt is getting “interest”ing

That which cannot go on forever, ceases:

Interest payments will make up 13 percent of the federal budget a decade from now, surpassing spending on Medicaid and defense.  Finding the money to pay investors who hold government debt will crimp other parts of the budget. In a decade, interest on the debt will eat up 13 percent of government spending, up from 6.6 percent in 2017.

Within a decade, more than $900 billion in interest payments will be due annually, easily outpacing spending on myriad other programs. Already the fastest-growing major government expense, the cost of interest is on track to hit $390 billion next year, nearly 50 percent more than in 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Some members of Congress want to set the stage for even more red ink. Republicans in the House want to make last year’s tax cuts permanent, instead of letting some of them expire at the end of 2025. That would reduce federal revenue by an additional $631 billion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Despite the tax cuts pushed by the Trump administration, the Federal government collected a record amount of tax revenue from October 2017 to August 2018. Washington doesn’t have an income problem. It has a spending problem.  Roughly a third of the Federal Budget in any given year is financed by borrowing money.  A family that ran its household budget that way would soon be bankrupt.  The Federal government has creative ways of masking its increasing insolvency, but it’s there nonetheless.  The spending spree of the past two decades was possible mainly due to low interest rates across the economy.  As the economic outlook in the U.S. turns upward, so will those interest rates.  A single percentage point increase equates to about $160 billion, given the official government debt of just shy of $16 trillion.  (Counting the ongoing raid of Social Security Funds — listed innocuously as “intragovernmental holdings” — the actual debt is over $20 trillion.)

In short, next year the government will spend close to $400 billion just to service the debt.  Not a penny of that amount will improve the infrastructure of our nation, modernize our military or provide services for our citizens.  It will simply go straight into the pockets of those who hold pieces of our country’s debt.

That debt has increased eight times faster than the government’s annual budget.  In 1981 — 37 short years ago, the U.S. debt hit $1 trillion for the first time.  That was an accumulation of more than two centuries.  In less than 40 years, that debt increased 1,600%.  The Federal budget over the same period increased from $1.9 trillion in 2015 dollars* to $3.8 trillion in 2015 — a “mere” doubling in spending.

We’ve been running like the cartoon coyote in thin air after leaving the cliff.  Gravity — in the form of normal historical interest rates — is about to kick in.

It will not be pretty.

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* People are so used to hearing about inflation, and the need to “adjust for it” when comparing years, that few stop to ask what drives it.  The standard explanation is that basic market economics causes it.  Not true — government deficit spending does.  By flooding the market with dollars to enable his spending sprees, Uncle Sam diminishes the value of each individual dollar.  It is, in effect, a “stealth tax” on the spending power of Americans.  The value of a U.S. dollar remained remarkably stable from 1787 to 1913, with a directly convertible exchange rate of $20 to an ounce of gold.  Only after creation of the Federal Reserve, which enables this gorging on debt, did that change.  As of this writing, one ounce of gold is worth about $1200.  That represents an 85% loss of dollar value in just over a century.

The long twilight struggle

Sometime late next year, a young man or woman who was not yet born on September 11, 2001, will raise their right hand and join the U.S. armed forces.  Given the tempo at which those forces have operated the past 17 years, that young person likely will be sent quickly to the Middle East in some capacity.

There, they will form part of the second consecutive generation to fight this “war.”  Unlike my uniformed cohort, they will have no memory of the events that led to them being there.  Nor will they have a concept of a time when the TSA didn’t exist, and the government didn’t conduct constant surveillance.  For them, America has always been at war.

The same will hold true of their contemporaries who stay in civilian life.

So what have we accomplished thus far, at the expense of nearly 7,000 dead and almost $3 trillion?  Very little, it would seem:

…Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, U.S. policies in the Mideast appear to have encouraged its spread.

What U.S. officials didn’t grasp, said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, in a recent phone interview, is that Al Qaeda is more than a group of individuals. “It’s an idea, and an idea cannot be destroyed using sophisticated weapons and killing leaders and bombing training camps,” she said.

In fact, a good case can be made that the resilience of jihadi groups in the face of the most technologically sophisticated military force on the planet only underscores the righteousness of their ideas.  In swatting bees with sledgehammers, we’ve only increased the size of the swarm, with no vision of how this is supposed to end:

There is a stunning lack of strategic vision in America today. The range of foreign policy activities, beyond so-called “traditional diplomacy,” extend across military power and include everything from financial aid to information to exchanges of all kinds. These instruments are, however, seemingly applied without synchronization or thoughts about end states. The different bureaucracies often work together only on an ad hoc basis and rarely share collaborative requirements and communications with their respective oversight committees in the Congress.

Our few and feeble attempts to articulate vision have been badly flawed, and rarely considered the cultural and political realities of where we were fighting.  I was in Baghdad when the Bush administration declared our objectives there were a stable, unified, democratic Iraq.  A quick wit in our section soon had those diagrammed with a triangle on a marker board with the caption “pick any two.”

While pursuing this quixotic endeavor abroad, we have also failed to secure our own borders or effectively increase scrutiny of those entering our country.  The 9/11 hijackers covertly but legally entered the United States.  Now we have a veritable open fifth column of Islamists spreading the influence within the country.  Since many young Americans have been conditioned to believe their nation to be a blight on history, it’s difficult to mount an effective ideological defense.

Our continued thrashing about in the world only underscores our nation’s diminishment.  One measure of “just war” — a pillar of Western thought rarely referenced in the general public these days — is whether a conflict results in improved circumstances.  Can anyone say that Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen… or the United States are better off after a generation of warfare?  Is this likely to change when the sons and daughters of the original military force are the ones doing the fighting?

Seal the borders.  Deport the disloyal.  Bring our troops home.  That’s a coherent proposal, and at least has the benefit of not yet having been seriously tried.  Anything short of that is insanity — defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  That’s no way to honor the memory of those who died 17 years ago… or the tens of thousands of American servicemen dead or disabled since then.

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