Speaker Ryan?

Seems that a lot of people want him in the position – and he’s highly reluctant to do it. Partially this would be because as Chairman of Ways and Means, he’s already one of the most powerful people in Washington; another part would be that Speaker is a thankless job…but I think another part of it would be a supreme lack of ambition on the part of the man. And that, in and of itself, commends him highly for the job.

First off, let me say I’m not one of the scorched-earth variety of conservative. I do believe that compromise is necessary to get anything done in DC, unless by some miracle you wind up with the White House and a massive majority in Congress – and everyone is pretty much on the same page. That happens very rarely. Running through the history I can really only think of three times it happened – early in the Civil War when the secession of the South left the GOP is absolute control in DC, and when the Democrats blew out the GOP in the 30’s and 60’s. Other than that, if you want to get things done, you have to offer at least something to the minority party, even if it is in practical terms eye wash.

That said, I do believe that the problem with the Congressional GOP is the fear of a fight on principle. Part of this is, of course, because some of them lack any principles – they are in politics for purely personal ambition and they are only GOP because they wound up living in an area of the country where the GOP is dominant…move some of them to the San Francisco Bay Area and in a week they’d become ultra liberal because that is how you get ahead (and don’t let us kid ourselves – a lot of liberal Democrats are just like that…move them to a GOP area of the country and watch them shift to the right to maintain electoral viability). Another part of it is that a lot of people who go into politics are really small people – pitiable creatures who are kept up awake at night by a hostile leading article in a newspaper; who worry what their perceived betters in the socio-economic food chain might think of them; who’s greatest fear is being found on the “wrong” side of an issue. The combination of this has hamstrung the GOP, especially – because our leaders, unlike the Democrat leaders, are mostly a mixture of the two things – the unprincipled and the afraid. Of course, Democrats do have it easier – the MSM, largely being of the left, shields the Democrat leadership from the fires of public scorn. But even with that advantage, the bottom line is that the Democrat leaders are willing to fight. Say what you will of Reid and Pelosi, they do go to the mat and get down and dirty in the political game…more then willing to take a hit in order to advance the Democrat ball.

These facts are just common to democratic governance – the chances that any particular person entering politics will be a genius along the lines of Lincoln are just as good that any particular person entering music composition will be a Mozart. That is, the chances are just about zero. These people who rule in our name are made of the common clay of humanity – heir to all the follies of humanity. But in the normal run of events, most of the time the people who rise to the top do have something extra…that extra bit of drive or intellect or simple desire to make things work. They are willing to take risks – even risks which can ruin them, if it comes out badly. For some reason or another, since the fall of Gingrich, the Congressional GOP has lacked anyone on top who has that little extra. This is why I welcome this bit of disarray in our ranks – it means that we’re about to shake things up. Now, maybe we roll snake eyes and get even worse leadership…but maybe we get lucky and hit the jackpot.

I don’t know if Ryan is the jackpot – but he’s certainly better than the current crop of leadership, while still retaining that “insider” status which makes him acceptable to the unprincipled and the afraid. And, just perhaps, he’ll be able to craft a strategy to advance our agenda, and prove he has the mettle to stand up to the slings and arrows…making himself the willing target of abuse. I guess we’ll see – if Ryan accepts it, and then if he can do the job.

Wednesday Open Thread

Been working on a long new article and the thing I use for a brain just isn’t cooperating. So, I’ll just throw up a few links for now.

There’s a company called Glencore. Apparently our crack-jack financial industry has just noticed they have piled up $100 billion in debt which they might not be able to pay. Does the word “Lehman” ring any bells, folks?

Gallup won’t poll during the primaries, and may not poll during the general. Just getting too hard to accurately poll, I guess. Keep that in mind while you watch the polls.

Speaking of which, in swing States 60% think Hillary is untrustworthy – which indicates that as many as 40% of swing State people just haven’t been paying attention.

Ted Cruz neatly rips the Sierra Club to shreds.

We keep hearing about the GOP’s demographic problem – well, the Democrats have one, too.

Out and About on a Sunday

Because you knew they’d say it – Joaquin is caused by Global Warming Climate Change Climate Disruption:

…Hurricanes love warm water and the sea surface temperatures in Joaquin’s path are the warmest ever on record.

Thank humans for that…

This winter there will be a blizzard…or, there won’t. It doesn’t matter. It’ll be Global Warming…

So, a new national poll shows Carson leading Trump. I’ve wondered if Trump would flame out. Well, strictly speaking, I expected him to flame out, weeks ago. He didn’t – but that just advised me of the depth of anger at the Ruling Class. But, maybe he’s on the way down, now? Time will tell. I hope we keep getting these flavors of the month until people realize that Bobby Jindal is like 10,000% better than everyone else in the race.

But I doubt that’ll happen. As an aside, Obama’s approval rating in the aggregate at RCP is 45.5%. Generally, the President’s party scores right around the President’s approval rating on election day. There is nothing which will happen over the next 13 months which will improve Obama’s rating – and plenty of things can happen which will drag it down. Really, we can win this thing next year – imagine how hard it will be for Hillary to out-poll Obama…

Obama says that Syria is not some sort of super power chessboard. It is precisely that. Really, that is all we need to know about Obama – he hasn’t a clue.

Jake Tapper – who is a pretty smart guy – just doesn’t get it about Islam. In fact, of course, no one in the Ruling Class really does. The reason they don’t is because they, themselves, don’t really believe in anything in the sense of being willing to sacrifice life or, at least, comfort for it. Those who believe in something – even if you consider it a wrong thing – will always win out over those who don’t believe in anything. We can be friends with the Muslim world – but only if we are very firm in our own beliefs and show ourselves full willing to sacrifice in their defense.

The thing about immigration in Europe is that the Europeans have no real reason to keep them out – it is not like they are of a mind to defend a Christianity they don’t adhere to, or a liberty which is already vanishing anyways. Even if you want to think that they’d like to keep, say, Germany German for the sake of Germany’s children, you’re up against the fact that Germans have 1.4 children per woman – far below replacement level. There aren’t a lot of German children for Germans to be concerned about. Unless the people of Europe radically change their world view, they are doomed.

“Christianity is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities…” The Ball and the Cross, chapter 7

Russia and The 1980’s

Things are going so badly for the Obama administration on foreign policy that it just might be time for another speech on Climate Change. This post has to be sarcastic in nature because of the fact that the reality is so devastating that it is hard to comprehend. Putin has shown the world how feckless Obama is on the world stage and has upstaged and outwitted Obama at every turn. The sight of John Francois Kerry standing next to his Russian counterpart yesterday speaking of “deconfliction” was an absolute embarrassment. In the foreign policy debate of the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney correctly pointed out that Russia was our main geo political foe, a comment of which was met with ridicule from our Idiot in Chief, and the idiot is now confronted with that exact reality. Obama is no match for Putin, and Putin knows it. In fact the world knows it. The United States of America has been marginalized in the eyes of our allies, and mocked by our foes and that is hard to take for those of us who actually care about this country. The USA is presently in more danger than at any other time in it’s history and all you need to know about our political opponents is that they still consider Republicans to be more of a threat than any current external force. The Democrats and the Progressive media are more focused on the defunding of PP, the “right wing conspiracy” against Hillary, and immigration, than they are with the growing threat of ISIS, Russia, and Iran and that fact should alarm everyone. The deal that Obama just cut with Iran poses a monumental threat not just to the stability of the Middle East but to our national security. The single greatest national sponsor of terrorism is Iran, and thanks to Obama they now have the means and the confidence to expand their reach. Our political opponents are as dangerous to this country as any terrorist group could ever be, and we need to treat them as such. We should initiate impeachment proceedings immediately.

Carly Fiorina and the Limits of Executive Ability

There has been much comment on Carly Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard – some calling it a complete disaster, others calling it a success. For political purposes, what is most important to remember is that Fiorina was running neck and neck with Senator Barbara Boxer in 2010 until Boxer came out with an ad attacking Fiorina’s actions at Hewlett-Packard. To be sure, the Boxer ad was lurid but the bottom line is that it worked: there’s nothing a Democrat likes better than to run against the CEO of a large corporation. It just works perfectly: the former CEO is, of course, very rich and, also, probably made at least some decisions which can be second-guessed (or monstrously twisted) in hindsight. There really is no defense a GOPer can have in such a situation (Democrat CEO’s who run for office are not so handicapped – because the MSM simply won’t give the Evil CEO meme any play and, of course, the GOP is ill-positioned to attack CEO’s in the public mind).

There is an element, though, in Fiorina’s tenure which I think important for all of us to notice – from Bloomberg Politics:

Carly Fiorina said Sunday that neither she nor Hewlett-Packard should be faulted for the sales of millions of HP printers in Iran when such business was prohibited by U.S. law.

Appearing on Fox’s Fox News Sunday, Fiorina said that despite being the CEO of HP when the Iranian sales took place via a third party, she was unaware of them.

“First, HP, you need to remember, was larger than each of the 50 states,” Fiorina said. “It’s a larger budget than any one of our 50 states, and a global enterprise. And so it’s impossible to ensure that nothing wrong ever happens. The question is what do you do when you find out.”

“Are you saying you didn’t know about it?” host Chris Wallace asked.

“In fact, the SEC investigation proved that neither I nor anyone else in management knew about it…” she insisted…

There are two things which will make me doubt a statement:

1. The prior knowledge that the person is a habitual liar.

2. That the statement is just absurd from the get-go.

I have not seen any evidence that Ms. Fiorina is a habitual liar so I will not accuse her in this instance of being such. For the second part, it is not an absurd statement. Ms. Fiorina prefaces her answer by noting HP is larger than the 50 State governments. This is no exaggeration – HP has more than 300,000 employees and more than $110 billion in revenues. That revenue amount is about the same as the State of California; all other States go from “a lot less than HP” to “this would be HP’s chump change”. It should be noted that HP has a reputation for being one of the most honest companies out there – and for our Progressives, it is all squeaky clean on Progressive politics: even Greenpeace gives HP high marks. On the other hand, in 2014 HP had to fork over a $108 million fine because they were bribing officials in Russia, Poland and Mexico to secure contracts. To be sure, the bribe case was long after Fiorina left but I bring it up because it shows this point: it is highly unlikely that the CEO of HP has more than the haziest notion of what is going on, day by day, in HP operations.

The bottom line is that once an organization gets above a certain size, no one can really know what is going on. The boss only knows what his or her immediate subordinates choose to reveal. Of course, a diligent boss can harass the staff into providing more information, or taking more immediate action – but even then, only about things which occur to the boss. If the boss doesn’t take a mind to a particular issue and no one volunteers any information about it, it simply will not be known. The best executive in the world with the most noble motives simply will not be able to oversee the entirety of an organization once it is too large. And too large probably shows up above 10,000 people for most executives, and about 100,000 for the best. To put it in perspective – Douglas MacArthur had three armies under his command at the peak (6th, 8th and an Australian army); Dwight Eisenhower had 9 (1st, 3rd, 7th, 9th, 15th, a British, a Canadian, a French and an Airborne army). MacArthur nimbly moved his armies over thousands of square miles of ocean and land and no forces under his command ever lacked for any necessary item…Ike’s armies ran out of gas – as in gasoline – just when they could have finished the Germans off. MacArthur’s forces were small enough for him to keep control – Ike’s forces were so sprawling that no one was keeping tabs on making sure the supplies got there, regardless of any difficulties.

Human beings are not built for managing massive enterprises. We just can’t do it. We’re not smart enough or energetic enough. The fundamental problem with Big Government, Big Corporation or Big Anything is that no one can mind the store. No one can grasp the whole thing and make it go the desired course. You can by diligent efforts hammer it into getting a few desired things done, but you can’t watch and regulate the whole mass. If someone – or 10,000 someones – are goofing off out of 200,000 people, how can the boss possibly know? Only if something really bad happens. And the bad things will happen because people are people – in any aggregate of humanity there will be a subset which is stupid and/or corrupt.

With a private corporation it isn’t to terribly bad because the bad shows up faster and demands action sooner – or even the big bosses will be out of a job. With government, it is just terrible. You see, a bureaucrat at the VA gets paid the same whether he processes one claim or twenty claims in a day. There is no incentive – other than personal honor – for him to work diligently to process the twenty. And, so, very often only one gets done – and to make it even more hideous, that bureaucrat processing one a day, if he gets caught, is protected by civil service laws and contracts from being fired. This actually works out as an incentive to goof off.

Any candidate saying they are going to make government work is kidding us – and themselves – unless the primary action of reform is to make government smaller. At least in the sense of breaking it up into smaller entities which are easily accountable to the people’s elected representatives for performance. But best in the sense of just having a lot fewer bureaucrats. More of them merely means more of them to make mistakes – and less chance that anyone will catch the mistakes.

We laugh when we hear Obama’s claims of “I read it in the papers” when yet another disaster besets his Administration. And, true enough, some of Obama’s claims are laughable – but not all of them. For the simple reason that he probably really didn’t know until the story broke. Until the disaster happened, that is. But we don’t elect Presidents to not know what is happening – but we can only have a President in the know if the organization is small enough for him to keep an eye on. We’ll never have effective government until it is smaller – no matter who we place in the White House.

Out and About on a Sunday

Sources say female troops were given special treatment to pass Ranger School. The thing is no enemy of the United States is going to cut us any slack. Any woman who wants to be in a combat unit should have to meet the exact same standards as the men – and no lowering of standards. In fact, I’d like to see the standards raised for all military services – perhaps even a smaller overall Army and Marines, but each soldier and Marine trained up to Special Forces quality. 250,000 such soldiers and Marines could make mincemeat of most global military forces.

Bill Clinton has identified the culprit in the Hillary e mail scandal: the Republicans.

Trump is claiming that his GOP rivals want to start World War Three over Syria. This is an exaggeration, of course – but that is Trump in a nutshell. But it must be kept in mind that unless we decide we want to back the Assad regime (and there is a case to be made for this – I’d set our price at the removal of Hezbollah from Lebanon), there is a risk of war with Iran and Russia, who are backing Assad (so, if we decide to fight Assad, they might decide to fight us). Careful thought is necessary in the Syrian mine field.

Hey, fellow Conservatives, just because it is a defense program doesn’t mean it isn’t a boondoggle. I’m pretty sure that about 1 in 3 dollars spent by Uncle Sam is waste, fraud or abuse. And that goes for military spending, as well. British Admiral Jacky Fisher in the early 20th century managed to reduce Naval spending while also providing Britain with a vastly more powerful Navy – big spending doesn’t necessarily translate into a strong military. I bet we can actually cut defense spending and get a more powerful military – and as we set about trying to get rid of regressive, anti-human social spending, we’ll need to find some military cuts so that our proposed reforms don’t come out as “cut welfare and spend on military”. Politics is an art – and you’ve got to play the game to win.

Corporations are selling each other corporate bonds in order to buy back their own stocks. I’m sure this will end well…

A lot of my fellow conservatives have taken strong issue with some statements by Pope Francis. Well, here’s something he said which will make you happy:

In this place which is symbolic of the American way, I would like to reflect with you on the right to religious freedom. It is a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own. Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate. But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.

In other words, liberals, religious liberty means we’re allowed to act upon our religious beliefs even in the public square.

Boehner to Resign

Now this is some stunning news:

Just last night The Hill reported that Boehner ally Patrick McHenry was sniffing around to find primary challengers for Mark Meadows, the GOP rep spearheading the “oust Boehner” movement in the House, presumably to scare Meadows into backing off. Twelve hours later, Boehner’s on his way out. What happened? Did Boehner decide to quit awhile ago and kept his secret so well that even pals like McHenry didn’t know? Or did Boehner himself only make this decision very recently?

He hung on long enough to meet the Pope, but not long enough to totally disrupt news coverage of the Pope’s UN address this morning. Huh…

There has been a revolt brewing in the House for a while against Boehner – and the revolt is because Boehner simply will not fight for core, conservative ideas. It is inexplicable to me that he hasn’t passed 100 conservative bills to cut this, defund that, reform the other…it doesn’t matter if they can’t get thru the Senate or, if they do, that they’d be vetoed by Obama. That, indeed, would be the whole point of the exercise: to demonstrate to the American people that the reforms they want and need are being blocked by Senate Democrats and/or Obama. But Boehner doesn’t do it. For all the world to see since 2011, Boehner has been completely helpless against the President – and even giving him a GOP Senate to work with hasn’t helped.

And now he’s out. The Establishment will try to get someone as pliable as Boehner as a replacement but I think the line has been drawn: if you don’t fight, you will be forced out.