And in Other News …


President Trump spent a good part of this week focusing on foreign policy. He spent a couple of days at the UN, speaking to the General Assembly and chairing a meeting of the Security Council.

We were told at the start of the Trump administration that we were headed for a massive foreign policy disaster. I haven’t seen it yet. Neither has Savatore Babones who has a post up over at The National Interest titled Trump’s Foreign Policy Successes Show Principled Realism in Action. He notes that Trump has defied the resistance of Our Betters in the expert class and delivered significant results.

Yet Trump has overcome internal resistance and external pressure to deliver an as yet uninterrupted string of foreign-policy successes : North Korea’s “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un hasn’t launched a rocket in ten months; America’s NATO allies are finally starting to deliver on pledges to increase defense spending toward the 2 percent of GDP target agreed in 2006 ; Mexico has seemingly come to terms on long-overdue NAFTA reforms; the United States has stayed out of the Arab world’s interminable wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen; and the U.S. embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem in May without sparking the Third Intifada predicted by Trump’s opponents.

Perhaps just as important (from a U.S. perspective), America’s long-term enemies are nearly all on the run. The Russian economy is crumbling. The Venezuelan economy has crumbled. The Iranian economy, which boomed after the nuclear deal was signed in 2015, has come back down to earth since Trump took office, and stagnated since he pulled the United States out of the deal in May.

Trump’s success comes from his understanding of the true nature of America’s power. Yes, it’s true that we have have the strongest military force in the world, but the real power behind it comes from the infrastructure and the people and society supporting it. There’s much more to American power than armed force.

The secret to the Trump team’s success is its embrace of principled realism: in its simplest terms, the faith that America’s goals are just and American power should be exercised to support those goals. Since taking office a year and a half ago, Trump has forcefully applied American power—while avoiding his predecessors’ equation of power with military force. As a result, America is getting its way on the world stage, generally without putting American lives at risk to get it. That’s about as win-win as things come in international relations.

Read the whole thing.

Our Betters were wrong. Trump may not be doing everything right, but his track record in foreign policy is the best we’ve seen in decades.

“Speech is Powerful”


During a 2016 campaign rally in Kentucky, Donald Trump asked that some disruptive protestors be removed. He said, “Get them out of here,” and, “Don’t hurt them.” The demonstrators who were removed sued Trump for, among other things, inciting a riot, which is a cause of action under Kentucky law. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has found that Trump did not incite a riot and that his words were protected under the First Amendment.

Here’s their opinion—

If the embedded document is not displaying properly on your browser, you can read it here.

And here’s the money quote—

“Speech is powerful.” Snyder, 562 U.S. at 460. Yet, as a nation, we have chosen to protect unrefined, disagreeable, and even hurtful speech to ensure that we do not stifle public debate. Id. at 461. The First Amendment demands governmental tolerance of speech, in the name of freedom, subject to “a limited number of categorical exclusions.” Bible Believers, 805 F.3d at 243. The speech that forms the premise for plaintiffs’ incitement-to-riot claim does not come within any of these limited exclusions. It follows that, even if the allegations were deemed to state a plausible claim under Kentucky law—a proposition we do not accept— prosecution of the claim would be barred by the First Amendment.

BTW, Bill Schmalfeldt tried use Nwanguma as a case law in support of his LOLsuit VIII last year.

Even if Nwanguma had been on point for his case, and it wasn’t, it’s fitting that the Dreadful Pro-Se Schmalfeldt would try to rely on an case that would clearly going to be overruled.

Res Ipsa Loquitur


That’s a Latin expression commonly used by lawyers. It means the thing speaks for itself, and it seems a fitting headline for a post on yesterday’s hearing on the Kavanaugh nomination. I was about to try writing something thoughtful about the event, but when I read a piece by Victor Davis Hanson over at NRO this morning, I found that he’d beaten me to the punch again. This is from his opening paragraph of a short essay about the accomplishments of the Trump administration—

The Brett Kavanaugh opening hearing turned into a progressive circus, with shouting would-be Democratic presidential candidates vying with screaming protesters to see who could be the most obnoxious. Ossified senior Democrat senators appeared bewildered how to match or somehow channel the street theater of activists on their left flank and ended up being sort of punked by their own protesters. It will be hard for network news to find a soundbite from all that to look presentable, given that democracy cannot function when elected officials join the mob.

The odds are overwhelmingly against the Democrats being able to stop the Kavanaugh nomination. Yesterday’s circus was and the succeeding days will be political theater aimed at energizing each parties “base” for the midterm elections. The tactical question for the Democrats should be whether they are energizing Trump’s voters more than their own.

The real thrust of VDH’s piece is contained in the first sentence: “Donald Trump in his Twitter storms apparently has no idea that he is winning.” Hanson would have Trump let his accomplishments speak for themselves rather than engage in such shameless self-promotion, He goes on to recite various economic and foreign policy achievements of the current administration, and concludes—

In other words, Trump’s superb foreign-policy team (Pompeo, Mattis, Bolton, and Haley) and his economic and judicial-appointments advisers have real accomplishments that reflect well on the Trump administration, and thus are driving the media and the Left into abject hysteria.

All this is missing is a little silent forbearance on Trump’s own part to allow both his achievements and his critics, respectively, to speak for themselves, without need of his Twitter editorialization.

It reminds one of the saloon-brawling scene in Shane, when the bloodied Joe Starrett and Shane keep beating up the Ryker outfit, apparently oblivious to their ongoing success — until the bartender shoos them out and orders them to quit brawling, with the verdict: “You’ve won.”

VDH is an insightful historian. Trump is an insightful marketer. It will be interesting to see how things play out.

Meanwhile. if you think the Democrats have gone crazy over this nomination, just wait until the next time Trump gets to nominate a Supreme Court justice and make the balance 6 to 3.

UPDATE—Stacy McCain comments on yesterday’s circus here.

Jackson, the Bank of the United States, Trump, and the Deep State


There’s an interesting post over at Da Tech Guy Blog about the similarities between how Andrew Jackson handled his opponents and how Donald Trump deals with his.

I suspect the dirty little secret is folks in DC in general and the FBI and in justice in particular know about dozens if not hundreds of Manaforts and Cohens who have been operating in DC and NY for years doing the very same things that these two men have been convicted of or pleaded out to, however as they were in the service of folks like the Clintons or the Obamas or any of the establishment bigwigs in either party they have and will continue to be allowed to function secure in the knowledge that as long as they serve the right masters rather than the wrong one they will be allowed to thrive.

If they succeed in “getting Trump” then the deep state will be able to function without fear. After all VP Mike Pence’s association with President Trump was almost incidental. Prior to being picked as VP he not only functioned within the deep state but showed a willingness to back down when confronted by the left (remember the religious protection law in Indiana cave?)

However they have forgotten one important thing, that Trump is not a regular pol so the normal standards that might drive others out of office don’t apply …

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE—Roger Kimball has some related thoughts over at American Greatness.

The crime at the center of this deep-state initiative is the election of Donald Trump. The tort? He was elected without the permission of the ruling class, its jesters and its scribes and moralists. Pete Wehner does not approve of Donald Trump. Bill Kristol thinks he is infra-dig. Psychiatrists are still trying to figure out what Mad Max Boot and Jabbering John Brennan think.

But this, Ladies and Gentlemen (and unlike the MTA and the London Tube, we still use the phrase “Ladies and Gentlemen” here), this is the crime: Donald Trump was elected. That’s it. That’s the crime. It’s not in the statute books, but a little thing like that never stopped a diligent bureaucrat, especially one armed with a phalanx of partisan prosecutors and an unlimited budget.

Read all of this one too.

Good Populism


Victor Davis Hanson is a classist and historian. That background is apparent in his post over at The New Criterion called The Good Populism. He points out that there have been two types of populism in the West since ancient times. One is populism of the urban mob—the Roman turba, the French Revolution, Antifa. The other is the populism of the middle class—the mesoi, the American Revolution, the Tea Party. Hanson suggests that it was the middle guy being feed up with the “elites” catering to the mob that paved the way for Donald Trump.

So Trump was a populist nemesis visited upon the hubris of the coastal culture. When he took on “fake news,” when he tweeted over the “crooked” media, when he railed about “globalists,” when he caricatured Washington politicians—and ranted non-stop, shrilly, and crudely—a third of the country felt that at last they had a world-beater who wished to win ugly rather than, as in the case of John McCain or Mitt Romney, lose nobly. As a neighbor put it to me of Trump’s opponents, “They all have it coming.”

The targets of Trump’s ire never quite understood that the establishment’s attacks on him, and their own entitled appeals to their greater sensitivity, training, experience, education, morality, class, and authority, were precisely the force multipliers that made Trumpism so appealing.

In 2016, pundits and experts had focused mostly on the populism of the race, class, and gender brand, and its would-be champions Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who sought to channel the new identity, youth, and feminist politics for their own advantage.

All had forgotten that there was also another populist tradition, lying dormant. It was a quieter but far more potent bomb just waiting to blow up—if someone ever would be so uncouth and angry enough to detonate it.

Read the whole thing.

The Water’s Edge


It used to be said that America’s domestic politics stopped at the water’s edge. That doesn’t seem to be true today. Angelo M. Codevilla has a post over at America Greatness examining that failure in the context of the recent Helsinki summit and the event’s press conference.

This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of U.S. intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by U.S. intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?

The classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.

The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful. It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars.

Not so long ago, American school kids had to read George Washington’s farewell address, which warned in the most emphatic terms at his command to avoid that sort of thing for the sake of peace with other nations as well as among ourselves.

What that ignorant “journalist” was demanding of Trump—precisely what the credentialed experts should know better than to have demanded—was that the president of the United States scream at the president of Russia for all his evils. Competitive “virtue signaling” has become the way of political life in America. To the extent that it bleeds into America’s foreign policy, we are all in big trouble.

The post also has an interesting analysis of what the two leaders may have actually accomplished. Read the whole thing.