Rest in Peace, Maureen O'Hara

She lived to be ninety-five, which is a fine old age to have attained. She is perhaps most famous for playing opposite John Wayne to such powerful effect in John Ford films like Rio Grande and The Quiet Man. She also was in the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street. Though born in Ireland, she became an American citizen and will be buried at Arlington, beside her husband US Navy pilot General Charles Blair.

We are as a civilization enriched by her works.

Patriarchy? Paternalism?

The Sage of Knoxville has a column in USA Today that says that 'feminism works in the West because patriarchy is dead -- but it might not stay that way.' His point is that the fact of feminism shows that people care about the opinions of women, and even their more minor discomforts, and that this is a necessary condition of feminism existing at all. But this will all go away, he says, because of the admission of mass immigration from genuinely patriarchal nations, where women are subjugated and treated like dirt (or, rather, like women according to these cultures' lights).

We often speak of a government as acting in a fatherly capacity if it cares for the needs and concerns of its people. This concept is usually given as "Paternalism," rather than "Patriarchy," but actually they mean almost the same thing: both of them mean that fathers should lead, but the former word suggests that they should lead in the manner of fathers. It seems to me that Paternalism is exactly what left-leaning feminist usually want: they want a government that will take care of the needs of women in the way that a father should care for his daughters. He should provide for their medical care, for their birth control expenses, for the protection of their independence, and so forth. It's the Julia concept of what government is for.

One proof of this is the aggressive nature of feminist protesters. They clearly expect to be protected. Code Pink -- and, in Europe, Femen -- operates aggressively in complete faith that policemen or even just passersby will keep them from harm in spite of their provocations. It worked out well most times, except where Vladimir Putin (who had encountered them in 2013) sent a Cossack militia armed with whips to put down a similar protest at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. There's a patriarch for you.

You don't get that here, because we who consider ourselves men in the West are in favor of women leading decent lives. We take them seriously even where our interests strongly diverge, out of love. But we also hold them to certain standards, also out of love, because to violate those standards would be to fall.

So I don't think that feminism works in the West because 'leadership by fathers' is dead. I think it works because the leadership in the West is exercised in love. What Glenn Reynolds is advocating for is men-against-women, rather than men-for-women. What I think I'd like to see more of is women-for-men rather than women-against-men, and that combined with men-for-women. Speaking as a husband and father, that dynamic of friendship and reinforcement has been of tremendous importance to me.

Of course, I don't want a paternalistic government -- no more, and perhaps less, than a patriarchal one. It might be well, though, if our civil society better embodied the idea of love and friendship across the sex divide. We ought to take care of each other, and lift each other up.

Quiz for Fun

What historic military leader are you most like?

I got Gustavus Adolphus.

Oh, Canada.

Canada's newly elected Prime Minister 'issues a challenge' to the United States: “We’re Ending Wars and Legalizing Pot.”

Uh-huh. One can only "end" a war by winning it or surrendering it, unless you've found a way to shake hands with the people calling for a new Holocaust. You can ask the ghost of Joe Stalin how well it worked out when he thought he had a deal with the guy calling for the last Holocaust.

Otherwise, you're just running away. You can have all the pot you like if it makes you feel better, but in the end they'll just follow the smoke trail back to you. And when they do, as they have done before, it will be men like this man who save you:

Even he couldn't "end" your war. He just ended one battle.

But I know: you think they'll leave you alone now. If only you concede enough, you'll be left in peace. Our President seems to believe the same thing.

Speaking of detachment

Hillary Clinton is some kind of humanoid, chuckling over Chris Stevens' adorable sense of humor as he tried to pick up barricades for his embassy at fire-sales, while everyone else was getting out of Dodge.  She admired his entrepreneurial spirit, so that's nice.

Hillary Clinton Had No State Department Computer?

Powerline wonders if she was ever really Secretary of State:
Given her detachment from official means of communication, one wonders whether Hillary was ever really Secretary of State at all. Did she make any decisions? If so, what were they? We know that she plotted politically to make the overthrow of Qaddafi the centerpiece of her tenure at State, but we only know this because of her enraptured, off-the-record correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal and other sycophants.

If she ever had a strategy, if she ever engaged in diplomacy, if she ever made a decision, it seems to have left no trace. Maybe she didn’t need a State Department computer because she was never really Secretary of State at all. Maybe she thought the position was honorary, like being First Lady. Just one more rung on her ladder to the top.

Mammoth hurricane Patricia

A bit out of the blue, the strongest hurricane on record in this part of the world has sprung up just off the coast of Western Mexico, near Puerto Vallarta.  Patricia's sustained winds are an astonishing 200 mph, with gusts predicted to 245, and a pressure of 880 mb.  I get nervous about anything under about 950.  Katrina was approaching 900 mb just before landfall in 2005.  Camille, the nightmare storm of my childhood though it struck far to the east of my home, probably reached 900 mb.  Rita, the storm that panicked Houston into evacuating a month after Katrina, was at 895 mb before it weakened dramatically near landfall.

Patricia is forecast to come right over our heads here on the Texas Coastal Bend, too, but only after it probably will have been torn to pieces by crossing over the Mexican mountains.  Nevertheless, our forecast this weekend jumps right out there with a 100% chance of heavy rain.  While this is good news for us, the people in the Mexican state of Jalisco are in for a terrible beating.

An amazing storm:
The closest contender, at this point, might be Hurricane Camille when it battered the U.S. Gulf Coast in 1969. Regardless, Patricia looks to be more powerful than Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Katrina in 2005 and many others.

'Dude, That Idea Is Texas!'

Apparently Scandinavians have an interesting use of the name of our Lone-Star state.

An Appropriate Conclusion to the Argument

I think this proposal actually is pretty graceful, and would make a proper conclusion to the fight over Georgia's beautiful Stone Mountain.
An elevated tower — featuring a replica of the Liberty Bell — would celebrate the single line in the civil rights martyr’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech that makes reference to the 825-foot-tall hunk of granite: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”

“It is one of the best-known speeches in U.S. history,” said Bill Stephens, the chief executive officer of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. “We think it’s a great addition to the historical offerings we have here.”

Not So, Yavin 4!

Gross Negligence

So, just how many state secrets were lost to Russia and China because of Mrs. Clinton's gross negligence? The odds favor "lots."

If you sent emails through foreign telecoms that contained classified material, you can be sure they had a copy. She did. If you set up an email server without a digital certificate, you've ignored the most basic part of internet security. She did. And that doesn't touch the physical security of the servers, which were apparently kept in a bathroom closet at the mom and pop shop (albeit politically well-connected shop) that she hired to do all this.

No one would believe this story if you wrote it into a novel or a movie.

De Oppresso Liber

Doing what we're supposed to do. Looks like we lost one KIA in the raid.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

"Zero privacy" is at least a good a doctrine as "zero tolerance." In fact, I expect them to be combined for maximum effect.

Today the Air Force, tomorrow the world!

But How Can This Be?

Via D29, we have an argument of a sort that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee doesn't need to allow guns on the campus because the campus is so safe. Nonsense. I have it on good authority that 1 in 5 women on campus is subject to sexual assault. At least, if both the President and Vice President of the United States aren't a good authority, I don't know who is.

This university actually has a pretty even 51/49 sex ratio, unusual these days, so only slightly more than half of these are women. So that's about 12,500 women, which means that 2,500 rapes must occur every 4 years, or about 625 a year.

Well, actually, the article suggests it's not quite that high:
Sex offenses, forcible: 7 on-campus, 1 non-campus and 1 public property

Sex offenses, rape: 8 on-campus, 4, non-campus and 0 public property

Sex offenses, non-forcible: None in all categories

Sex offenses, statutory rape: None in all categories

Sex offenses, incest: None in all categories

Sex offenses, fondling: 4 on-campus, 1 non-campus and 0 public property
So that's, um, twenty-six? Well, that's four percent of the expected number, anyway. Obviously it's an underperforming college -- must be because it has such an unusually high percentage of men enrolled.

Good energy-policy news (unexpectedly)

The Obama administration has approved a natural gas export facility in Palm Beach, an action I applaud.  From the Daily Caller:
In Japan, for example, natural gas prices are nearly three times higher than in America, so companies are looking to export there. Japan’s appetite for gas is only going to increase, especially since the country scaled back its nuclear power plant fleet after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
In Europe, American gas exports are the only major alternative to Russian gas. European officials fear Russia’s grip on energy markets could be used to achieve political goals. Russia has used its natural gas to manipulate politics in the past. Indeed, Europe was initially hesitant to rebuke Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula because of its control over natural gas pipelines.

US Already #2 in "Social Welfare" Spending, After France

You probably have heard it suggested that America treats its poor cheaply compared to European nations, but it isn't true.

The problem isn't that we don't spend enough on welfare. The problem is that welfare isn't the answer. As a long-term solution, it's actively harmful to the character of the people and the Republic.

Congress: How About "Body Armor Control"?

A Democrat from California has a brilliant idea: let's make sure citizens are easy to kill.

We must be suspicious of a government that is constantly on the hunt for ways to make us easier to subjugate. The fact that one could use body armor to enable criminal behavior is no more telling than that one could use firearms to do so. All the same arguments apply, but in addition there are several others that apply to armor specifically.

The 2nd Amendment speaks of a right to keep and bear "arms" that shall not be infringed. "Arms" as understood in the 18th century plausibly includes armor, though: Blackstone defines a gentleman as one 'one qui arma gerit,' but he means heraldic arms, which are the symbolic representation of a real right to bear armor onto the field. When Blackstone speaks of the natural law right to keep and bear arms, he follows contemporary English practice of limiting the right as "suitable to their condition." Any free Englishman had the right to certain weapons, but not just any weapons: gentlemen were "suitable" for better arms than yeomen.

The American ideal is that the Revolution 'gentled the condition' of all Americans. We are no longer supposed to have separate classes with differential access to rights 'as suitable for their condition.'

In addition, armor is purely defensive in character. Wearing armor by itself does nothing to make you more dangerous to others. Imagine that Schlock Mercenary-style armor were available that could, instantly, make you safe from bullets. Would that not be a plausible answer to school shootings that we'd all want for our children? In principle, then, we ought to agree to defend the right to armor -- and work to improve it, until it is as good as we wish it were.

Is not protection of one's physical integrity a very obvious candidate for a natural right if anything is? Is it not, indeed, the basis for the natural law right of self defense that is so well-established in our tradition and so well-argued in the philosophy that underlies that tradition?

Of course it is. Say "No!" to 'body armor control.'

A Horse Soldier and Concrete Hell

While wandering around the internet looking for some Corb Lund material, I came across A Horse Soldier's Thoughts, the blog of Lt. Col. (ret.) Louis DiMarco, a career US Army officer who started out in the cavalry and now teaches at the US Army Command and Staff College.

I ran into his blog looking for some historical information on war horses, and he has written a bit about military horses, but it turns out he also literally wrote the book on urban warfare, FM 3-06, Urban Operations (2002). He is also the author of Concrete Hell: Urban Warfare from Stalingrad to Iraq (2012), which looks fascinating. On his blog, he writes that:

Two areas where I think this book breaks new ground is the evaluation of the Israeli Operation Defensive Shield (2002) and the look at US forces in the Battle of Ramadi (2006-7). I think Concrete Hell is the only comprehensive look at these operations currently in print.
Ultimately, what I intended, and what I think Concrete Hell achieves, is a thorough look at the evolution of urban warfare over the last fifty years. By isolating and focusing on this history, and what it tells us in terms of the conduct of warfare, I think Concrete Hell also describes the nature of the most important battlefield of the 21st Century: the urban battlefield. Thus, though a history, Concrete Hell presents not only an accounting of the past but a vision of the future. Recent battles in Lybia and current fighting in Syria seem to validate that vision.

For those with an interest in the Civil War, he has also written "Anatomy of a Failed Occupation: The U. S. Army in the Former Confederate States, 1865-1877," published by the Army's Land Warfare Institute.

He hasn't posted anything new to the blog for about two years, but it has some interesting stuff.

UPDATE: I assume the connection between Corb Lund and war horses is obvious to the regulars here, but for everyone else, here's the missing link:

UPDATE 2: OK, since I'm randomly finding stuff on horse soldiers this evening, I discovered that NYT columnist and economist Paul Krugman is a Civil War buff and U. S. Grant fan. Back in 2013 he wrote about the John Wayne movie The Horse Soldiers that was based on Grierson's Raid.

The Israel Situation

Because of its strategic consequence, I've mostly been thinking and reading about the Middle East in terms of the deployment of Russian forces in support of Iranian ambitions in the Levant. I have not ignored the violence in Israel, but it seems to be something that can be handled by the Israeli Defense Forces combined with the bold citizens of Israel.

While the United States may not have a role in stopping this latest attempt by the Muslim population to terrorize the Jews, we do have an interest in what we associate with. John F. Kerry, that most dishonorable of men, has once again taken point in helping to bring shame on his country.
On Monday, some Democratic members of Congress and a united front of major Jewish organizations expressed outrage over the imminent prospect that the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) would vote to declare Jerusalem’s Western Wall to be a part of the al-Aqsa mosque.... The resolution also included a laundry list of anti-Israel measures including condemnations of Israeli self-defense against terrorist attacks as well as of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem....

[O]n the same day that some Americans were voicing outrage about what the UN agency was doing, the nation’s chief diplomat was at the group’s Paris headquarters to speak to that same executive council with a very different agenda. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry came to UNESCO hat in hand, praising the group and begging for the U.S. to be re-elected to the group’s executive board while not even mentioning the resolution that it would soon pass.

Kerry’s humiliating speech was not without a strategic purpose. But it also reflected the Obama administration’s ideological commitment to the United Nations.
The article, which declares in its headline "the end of American honor," "declares the Western Wall to be an integral part of the al-Aqsa mosque called the 'al-Buraq Plaza' after the Prophet Muhammad’s winged horse that carried him on a night journey described in the Quran."

American honor is not dead, but the American administration is certainly without it. Nothing could make that clearer than the appointment of John Kerry to the high office of Secretary of State. It is a dark period in our history.

Independent, For President

Jim Webb will hold a press conference tomorrow at the National Press Club to talk about the possibility of running as an independent instead of a Democrat.

That makes sense. He's been a Republican during the Reagan era, and a Democrat as a Senator. Although he is perfectly correct that he's running on a Jacksonian platform that stands at the root of the Democratic party, the current party is so far to the left that it can't see him.

This is made clear by the SNL skit about the Democratic debate. It mocks Webb as having demanded time to answer questions, and then when presented with tough questions having "passed."

In fact, both of the questions they asked him were asked during the debate. Far from passing, though, Webb gave nuanced and correct answers -- the sort of answers one would expect from a scholar and statesmen of his impressive background. Progressives often claim that they would like intellectual, nuanced thought in politicians. Clearly, they haven't the ear to hear it.

Unfortunately, the Democratic party has gone so far from its roots that it may not be salvageable. In any event, Webb remains -- in my opinion, of course -- head and shoulders the most qualified candidate running in either party. There simply is no one else in the field who approaches his qualifications. Not as a potential commander in chief, not as a scholar, not as a diplomat -- not even the former Secretary of State, whose diplomatic accomplishments are none so impressive as his leading the effort to normalize relations with Vietnam after the war. With all due respect to former Secretary Clinton, she may have done more, but none of it worked out very well. There's nothing in her record to suggest she knows how to make peace or to make war, to pen scholarship or effective legislation. Sen. Sanders and Webb clearly share a warm friendship in spite of intense philosophical and political differences, which speaks very well of both men. Sanders is nevertheless likewise a man who has not shown that he can make either peace or war. Webb has excelled in both.

Among his Republican competitors, the two young Senators show a lot of promise. Nevertheless, they lack seasoning as yet. Dr. Carson is a very decent man of great accomplishment in his field, but it is absolutely no insult to say that his experience as a statesman pales in comparison to Webb's. Fiorina has a better record in business, and has made some decent initial moves, but it is again no insult to point out that she is a novice in the matters she would have to handle as President. The others I am not seriously considering.

See the Cup as Already Broken

A hugely unsurprising headline: popular biker bar destroyed by fire. Wolf and I used to hang out there.
Porpoise Pub was opened in 1961, according to its website. It was first famous as a beer garden with a large swim tank for a porpoise....

Over the years, according to its website, the pub played host to several rock bands, including Foghat and Quiet Riot. It also frequently hosted fundraisers. An American Heart Association event was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, according to the bar's Facebook page.

UPDATE: I have a few pictures of this classic establishment.

Space Invaders above the bar.

Skeletal ghost with top hat.

One of several hanging devils or skeletons.

Indoor biker-bar firepit, oddly enough not the source of the fire that burned the place down.