THE COLUMN: Winter and the Fourth of July

Here in rural New England, at the eastern base of the Taconics and the Berkshires, with New York State just over the hills and Boston a long 150 miles away, we have a saying about the seasons. There are basically two of them: winter and the Fourth of July, which is today. (Some also subdivide them into snow, mud, bugs, and leaf.) Independence Day used to be a day of fireworks, family, flags, and fun, but in Joe Biden's America it might just as well be a time of war and pestilence, of sackcloth and ashes.

These days, the Fourth is the holiday that dare not speak its name, thanks in part to the wholly inimical and widely debunked "1619 project," brought to you by Pravda and edited by the victim brigade of Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein. It's a "reframing" of the American story in mockery of our political origins, in defiance of actual history, and with the expressed purpose of sabotaging (via its introduction into government-school curriculums) our sense of national identity. As historian Tom Macaman, a noted critic of the project, wrote at the link just above:

Silverstein has staked his reputation on the 1619 Project. This has gone badly for him. His name will forever be associated with the secretive manner through which the project invented its false and error-ridden historical interpretation, as well as the orchestration of the cover-up that has followed.

Specifically, Silverstein bears responsibility for the exclusion of leading scholars of American history—who would have objected to the 1619 Project’s central historical claims—and the intentional disregarding of objections made by the project’s own handpicked “fact-checkers.” Silverstein penned the devious reply to leading historians who pointed to the project’s errors. He then organized surreptitious changes to the already published 1619 Project, and, when exposed, claimed that it had all been a matter of word choice.

Silverstein’s 8,250-word essay is just the latest in this long line of underhanded journalism and bogus history.

Run your boats under the guns, not in front of them.

Well, when the World Socialist Web Site is right, it's right. Never mind that slavery in the country known as the United States of America was legal only from 1776 to 1865, a total of 89 years. That's it.

As it happens, the last state to give up slavery was Biden's dead-end, dead-beat Delaware, a slave state that remained in the Union and to which the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply and "Juneteenth" was unknown and irrelevant. The bastard sliver of New Sweden finally abolished slavery, essentially at federal gunpoint, on Dec. 6, 1865, the day the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. Has Biden—who never met a Southern racist Democrat (George Wallace, Robert Byrd) he didn't want to buddy up with—ever acknowledged and apologized for his useless state's rancid history? Fat chance; instead, throughout his hacktastic political career, and in earlier delusions of running for president, he explicitly identified his state with the South during the Civil War as he pandered for support:

The same story went to quote a presidential primary campaign speech Biden had given in Alabama in which he said “we (Delawareans) were on the South’s side in the Civil War.”

Leave it to the Democrats, the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition that started the Civil War, to nominate and elect a senile dinosaur from the last human-bondage state in the Union. Their appetite for totalitarianism is boundless, as Biden, railing in his dotage, hurling executive orders and attacking the Supreme Court in seditious terms (overseas, no less), proves every day.

Before 1776 what eventually became the U.S.A. was a collection of British colonies; in 1619, when black Africans aboard a Portuguese slave ship, taken as bounty by English privateers (aka "pirates"), came ashore in the New World, they did so near Hampton in the British colony of Virginia. At that point, there was nothing "American" about it, other than its location. (The Portuguese, by the way, were among history's worst black-African slavers, directing the  bulk of the transatlantic slave trade to their colony, Brazil. Yet somehow slavery is "America's original sin.")

Instead, slavery was a cause for which hundreds of thousands of Americans died. On these first few days in July 1863, in the midst of the Civil War that may have started as a rebellion but turned into a war to free the slaves, Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade electrified the nation with the news of their twin victories at Vicksburg, the last of the southern citadels on the Mississippi River, and at Gettysburg, a small town in southern Pennsylvania where Robert E. Lee's defective generalship finally caught up to his inflated reputation, and killed the Confederacy's hopes at point-blank range during Pickett's Charge. It was a blunder that made Grant's worst military decision, Cold Harbor, look almost sensible.

This is the same Grant who called the "cause" of the Confederacy "one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.” In a forgotten bit of history, the capture of Vicksburg also vindicated General Winfield Scott's "Anaconda Plan," which advocated choking the South to death by blockading its ports and seizing its principal waterways. Which is exactly what Grant—who served under "Old Fuss and Feathers" in the Mexican War—did.

Old Fuss and Feathers was right.

From that date, July 4, 1863, the Civil War, which had widely been thought near-lost on the Northern side -- was won. And yet it still took Sherman's capture of Atlanta the following summer to ensure Lincoln's 1864 re-election. Indeed, just 15 months before Vicksburg, Grant had nearly lost the battle, his command, and maybe even the war, at Shiloh. The defeatist Northern newspapers howled for his head and he was briefly demoted by the crown martinet and leading REMF of the U.S. military, Gen. Henry Halleck. Sometimes it's darkest before the dawn.

And sometimes it isn't. On July 4, we're already two days past the halfway point of the calendar; in the northern hemisphere the days are growing shorter, and even as we're enjoying, or used to enjoy, beer (ruined by hipsters and hops) and baseball (fubared) we're aware that winter is coming. We can't say we weren't warned: in 2020, even before he took office, Biden warned of a "dark winter" ahead. Little did we know he meant that all four years of his term would bristle with defeatism, misery, and death, like Delaware but on a grand scale.

Which brings me to our present circumstances. In these darkening days of the Republic, the Left is both triumphant and morose, dreading its fate when and if the scattered forces of MAGA regroup and oust them beginning this fall with the midterm elections. The Right, meanwhile is riven between the die-hard partisans of Donald Trump and those disinclined to risk a repeat of the unnecessary turmoil of 2016-2020 when younger and better candidates are now making their presence known.

Recently, on my Facebook page, many of my readers misinterpreted the lessons of my most recent book, Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All Is Lost, regarding Trump's continuing refusal to accept his loss in 2020 (however occasioned) and his disastrous behavior on Jan. 6, which led to the continuing incarceration of many supporters for their involvement in the Capitol Hill demonstration/protest/riot. One of the points of that book was that, in every battle cited, the losing side ultimately won. The Greeks lost at Thermopylae but rallied at Salamis and Plataea. The Romans were crushed at Cannae but chased Hannibal to his end at Zama.

Ultimate winners can suffer a tactical or even strategic defeat and continue to fight. Inspired by Achilles, Alexander crushed the Persians and conquered the world, in part to avenge the sack of Athens in 480 B.C. The Roman Republic rebounded from the Second Punic War and turned into the Roman Empire. After the Hungarian defeat at Szigetvar, the Turks were driven from central Europe. Custer died on Last Stand Hill, but Reno and Benteen mounted a brilliant and valiant defense on a hilltop a couple of miles away, and the Sioux lost the Indian Wars. The Soviets ate hot Wehrmacht lead at Stalingrad but held on to the turn the tide of the war and destroy National Socialist Germany.

Know when to change generals. You can still win the war.

At the start of the Civil War, Winfield Scott was 74 years old. He had fought in the War of 1812, overseen the Trail of Tears in 1838, became commanding general of the U.S. Army in 1841, captured Mexico City in 1847, and had been the Whig candidate for president in 1852, losing to the Democrat, Franklin Pierce. At the outbreak of the Civil War he held the title of Lieutenant General, the first man to hold that rank since George Washington. A native Virginian, he stayed loyal to the Union and, as Lincoln took office, was still on duty as the new president's chief military advisor, retiring in 1861 as George McClellan began to supersede him. He died in 1866, at the age of 79.

Never give up—but never hesitate to change generals when you have to. To equate the fate of our Republic with one man's loss—and, worse, to hold it hostage to his pique—is in absurd and dangerous. Scipio was a better general than Varro. Grant was a better general than McLellan. Ron DeSantis, 43, who has yet to put a foot wrong as governor of the free state of Florida, will be a far better general than Trump, who will be 78 years old in 2024. One geriatric president is enough.

Thanks to the Democrats' Jan 6 hearings, and in particular to the unforced and artless testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump has been irremediably damaged. America doesn't need a King Lear, railing about loyalty among a superannuated rum crew (Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani) while a younger, stronger, better man awaits his turn on the national stage. Let us hope, and pray, that the trial balloons regarding an early announcement of a Trump 2024 candidacy, designed to cut the legs out from underneath any challengers, are just so much Fourth of July hot air, to be borne aloft and away before the last hot dog dies.

Fight on, but fight the next war, not the last one. Winter's on its way, and while the graveyards may be full of indispensable men,  we're not ready for the cemetery yet. Have a happy Independence Day, America, and many more—if you can keep it.

Memorial Day, 2022

Welcome Back, Carter

I mentioned in my last post that environmentalist policies have been a major driver of the energy crisis that's currently eating up Europe. We are now beginning to see the same dynamic play out in North America.

West Texas Intermediate crude, America's oil benchmark, is trading at just under $80 per barrel, double what it was a year ago. Average gasoline prices in the U.S. are at their highest point in seven years. After years of having to compete with lean, mean North American resource companies, OPEC is back in the driver's seat and enjoying profits that come at the expense of American and Canadian producers who have been cursed (by their own customers, no less) with environmentalist governments. Justin Trudeau actually got reelected on the promise to continue to increase taxes on heat and energy in a cold country just before the winter. (Not that his opponent even attempted to hold him accountable). Joe Biden was cagier about his actual plans while campaigning, but the pledges were there for those that had ears to hear.

The nations of OPEC, whatever their other problems, have a better instinct for self-preservation than that.

But even with their green bona fides, Biden and Trudeau can't catch a break from Team Gaia. Despite a looming energy crisis, the eco-warriors are refusing to back down in their battle against Enbridge Line 5. The pipeline, which brings petroleum products from Alberta to Ontario by way of Michigan, has been the subject of protests and a simmering legal dispute with Michigan's Governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Here's what I wrote about the stakes in this fight back in May:

Some 540,000 barrels of Canadian oil and natural gas pass through Line 5 every day, between 40 and 50 percent of Ontario and Quebec's total supply.... It has been referred to as the “spinal cord of Ontario’s infrastructure,” and through Ontario, to Quebec and points further east as well. A shutdown would have devastating consequences for consumers in eastern Canada, leading to fuel shortages and price spikes. And then there's the effect on employment -- the government of Ontario estimates that killing Line 5 would cost that province 5,000 jobs directly and indirectly almost 25,000. Whitmer's own constituents would be effected as well -- half of the propane used to heat homes in Michigan passes through Line 5, and a great deal of oil bound for Ohio and Pennsylvania besides. But that's nothing like the effect a shutdown would have on Canada's two largest provinces.

All of that is still true, but this is running a lot hotter than was expected back then because we're seeing "fuel shortages and price spikes" as well as depressed employment numbers while Line 5 is still up and running!

Consequently, the Trudeau government have now invoked the Transit Pipeline Treaty of 1977 in court with the hope of sidestepping the local authorities in Michigan so they can begin negotiating directly with the Biden Administration about the future of Line 5. But who knows if that will improve the situation? After all, the same activists who have Gov. Whitmer's ear also have powerful friends in the White House, and then president hasn't exactly shied away from screwing over our neighbors to the north.

It's become almost a cliché to say the 1970s are back, what with rising crime, stagflation, and especially an energy crisis, while a feckless liberal president blames everyone but himself. But as John Robson has pointed out, what we're going through now is worse in one important respect:

[A]t least in the 1970s it was done by accident, through policies that achieved the opposite of what their architects hoped and expected. This one is deliberate. They said they would get rid of fossil fuels, mocked those who protested that it would cause economic disaster, and now that it is they’re doubling down. They really mean it.

We're getting a glimpse of the future they've been planning. If we don't change course, it's going to get a lot worse.

Happy Fourth of July!

A very Happy Independence Day from all of us here at The Pipeline!

May God bless you all, and God Bless America!

Happy Independence Day from The Pipeline!

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote:

I am apt to believe that [Independence Day] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

In these "times that try men's souls," to employ Thomas Paine's memorable phrase, let us never forget the "Toil and Blood and Treasure" expended to secure our liberties since the foundation of this Republic, and let us spare no expense of the same to defend what has been handed on to us.

Happy Independence Day, and God Bless America!