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Secession is the Answer Update

Well, it’ll be on the ballot in California in 2016:

A proposal backed by venture capitalist Tim Draper to divide California into six states has received enough signatures to make the November 2016 ballot, according to the nonprofit Six Californias…

I expect it to be crushed at the polls – the last polling on it showed 59% of Californians opposed.  But, you got to start somewhere; in a democratic republic, nothing happens right away and, very often, the first time something is tested on the ballot, it goes down in flames. It takes education and political activity to bring something to majority support – and this is something that needs majority support.  In fact, this is the single most American political proposal in more than 100 years.  After all, the Founders were secessionists.

Draper’s proposal will fail – and part of the failure can be traced to the way he’s drawn the borders of the Six Californias. The purpose of secession in California is to free the people of California from the oppression of those who currently run California – San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Sacramento area. That should be one State, rather than being broken up into three…and the one State shouldn’t be rewarded with the Lake Tahoe area, especially as Tahoe has nothing in common with the Pacific Coast area it’s shackled to in Draper’s plan. No, no, no: liberal nitwits in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento have made California into a mess where a lot of people would like to get out – and no one other than the nitwit liberals of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento should be stuck with said nitwits. Draper’s “Jefferson” should be called “Northern California” and it should include the Tahoe area. Central California (though Central California could be called either East California or West Nevada) and South California are fine – so, with those modifications, you actually get Four Californias, not Six…and that would have a better chance of winning votes.  Of course, the other part of possible failure is that the poorer areas of the State (in my division, Northern California and Central California) might be scared off from secession because they would technically lose some benefits of taxes in the rich areas…but even here, a good public education campaign can show that what they’d lose in State spending they’d more than gain in economic growth by not being tied to the anti-growth liberals in West California (ie, SF, LA and Sacramento).

Getting back to the basics of it all, the primary purpose of secession is to provide political organisms which are united by a general set of common interests and thus are protected against rapacious or indifferent outsiders. That is, ultimately, what American government is all about.  The British government was rapacious and indifferent – and so we cut ourselves loose from it and made a government which wasn’t.  Or, more accurately, 13 governments which weren’t and which ceded enough of their power to a central government to protect us against foreign encroachment. To be sure, the theory can be carried too far – as it was in the Civil War when the South had all the protections it needed in its local relations, but decided to pull out altogether because they worried that at some theoretic point in the future, someone from the North might want to intefere directly in Southern life. But because someone once took it too far doesn’t mean the essential principal is wrong.

Not only does California need to be broken up, but so does New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada and probably several other States where population and economic changes over the past century have caused various parts of the States to develope organically into entities which have little or nothing in common with other parts of the State.  Take, for instance, Nevada – back when Statehood was secured, mining was pretty much it for the State; it is what Nevada did.  But now over time changes have come over it – mining is still huge but only in the northern part of the State, while the south (ie, Las Vegas) is nothing but gaming and tourism.  These days, Neavda politicians in the south of the State greedily eye mining profits in the northern part of the State and propose to tax such profits to pay for things in the southern part of the State (and, of course, dependent upon gaming and tourism – ie, bribed by gaming and tourism industry lobbyists – southern Nevada pols never seek to tax heavily their own gaming and tourism)…but what matter is it to, say, a person living in Winnemucca what the class size is in Las Vegas?  Why should a mine which pays enough taxes for the locals in Winnemucca (and provides good jobs for people in Winnemucca) pay for the schooling of kids in Las Vegas?  The State should be broken up – so that Tourist/Gaming Nevada will have to take care of it’s own while Mining Nevada will take care of it’s own, with neither being able to do anything to the other.

Now, to be sure, such a break up of the States would result in more Senators – which is not necessarily a good thing.  But it would also be a bit more fair – and I think we’d also have to increase the size of the House from 435 members to right around 651 in order to ensure good representation of the people. But the resultant government – at the State and federal levels – will be more responsive to the needs and desires of the people, and less able to be controlled by the fat cats of a few large, urban areas. Ultimately, I think it would strengthen the union if there were more parts to it – and that is why I praise this effort in California and hope that it will grow and spread over the next few decades.

 

 

 

 

Odds and Ends Open Thread

As far as the situation in Gaza goes – every drop of blood spilled is the responsibility of Hamas.  They are the people pledged to the destruction of Israel; they are the people who make the rockets to be fired pretty much at random into Israeli territory. Until Hamas gives up that sort of nonsense, the war is their fault – as are all the deaths, on both sides. As an aside, I don’t trust Hamas’ word, at all – so stories and pictures of alleged Palestinian deaths mean precisely zero to me.  Unless and until a completely neutral third party (and the UN and the MSM are not neutral, third parties) verifies such deaths, I put them in the realm of “possible” rather than actual – understanding, of course, that if there have been civilian deaths in Gaza it is (a) Hamas’ responsibility in general and (b) often deliberately and purposefully Hamas’ responsibility as they put their military forces right behind women and children – because they are cowardly terrorists and know no other way to fight.

A bit of a global warming hoax update:

If you are lucky enough to be reading this from the comfort of your blankets, it might be best to stay there, as Brisbane has hit its coldest temperatures in 103 years.

Not since July 28 1911 has Brisbane felt this cold, getting down to a brisk 2.6C at 6.41am.

At 7am, it inched up to 3.3C.

Matt Bass, meteorologist from BOM, said the region was well below our average temperatures.

“If it felt cold, that’s because it was, breaking that record is pretty phenomenal for Brisbane,” Bass said.

“The average for this time of year is 12C, so Brisbane was about 9C below average, it is pretty impressive really, to have the coldest morning in 103 years is a big record.”

Impressive, indeed – I’m sure that Al Gore and the rest of the science-denying anthropogenic global warming fanatics will soon get on their private jets to fly around the world telling us to cut our carbon emissions.

For the zillionth time, Attorney General Holder proves that he is a racist:

Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday he and President Obama have been targets of “a racial animus” by some of the administration’s political opponents.

No, Eric, we don’t like you and your boss because you are a pair of corrupt, stupid, arrogant jerks.  Really has nothing to do with your skin color, at all; that you think it is the result of white racism proves you are a racist – figuring that white people have a built-in racial animus is a racist belief.

“Smidgen” apparently means “so much that it slops over“:

The two items in question are ones which we’ve already discussed here. One – perhaps the most damning in recent months – was the shocking (meaning, not shocking) revelation that Lerner had previously told her co-workers that, “we need to be cautious about what we say in emails” and wanted to know if instant messaging texts were recorded.

The second was the oh-so-understandable “misunderstanding” about whether or not she had printed out any of her e-mails. And let’s face it… who can be sure what was meant when somebody asks you if you printed something? Did they mean “print” the documents, or print print the documents? It’s all terribly confusing.

Lerner, et al know they are completely secure as long as Obama is President – but they’ve got to be worried that a GOP just might manage to get into office in 2016 – and the statue of limitations will not have expired come January 20th, 2017. Now, to be sure, our RINO half will be wanting us to MoveOn…but there’s still that chance that the next President might decide to review all this…and if he does, then a very large number of highly placed bureaucrats and elected Democrats will be going to jail.

Well, heck – it looks like we do leave people behind.

When McCain says the borders aren’t secure, you know you’ve got a problem.  Remember, I’m the amnesty supporter here…but we’ve really got to deport a very large number of people in order to just make it clear that you can’t just waltz in here without so much as a “by your leave”.

If you’ve heard the stories about Gaza not having bomb shelters, then think again: Gaza does have bomb sheltersfor the bombs.  The people?  F ‘em; the more that die, the better it is for pro-Palestinian propaganda.

Did you know the GOP might win the governorship of Hawaii?  Hope and Change might work out for us, after all.

Reid continues his career as an acute national embarrassment.

Media bias – its a feature, not a bug.

If the economy is in good shape, why as U.S. power usage flat lined since 2006?  As an aside, there are 20 million more people in the United States than there were in 2006.

Intellectual Idiocy

Matt McCaffrey over at MisesEconomicBlog makes note of a common trait among our intellectuals:

…“For [a revolutionary] atmosphere to develop it is necessary that there be groups to whose interest it is to work up and organize resentment, to nurse it, to voice it and to lead it.” Enter the intellectuals.

The intellectuals are a paradoxical product of the market economy, because “unlike any other type of society, capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest.” Like Hayek, Schumpeter described intellectuals broadly as “people who wield the power of the spoken and the written word.” More narrowly, “one of the touches that distinguish them from other people who do the same is the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs.” That is, intellectuals do not participate in the market (at least not in the areas they write about), and do not generally rely on satisfying consumers to earn a living. Add to this their naturally critical attitude—which Schumpeter argues is the product of the essential rationality of the market economy—and it is easy to see why intellectuals would be hostile to the market.

In other words, intellectuals are often out of place in entrepreneurial societies. The growth of the intellectual class is not a response to consumer demand, but to the expansion of higher education. Passing through the higher education system does not necessarily confer valuable skills, but it often does convince graduates that work in the market is beneath them…

That is all very true, but I’d add something else to it: our intellectuals are, for the very largest part, amazingly un-intellectual. For people who pride themselves on an alleged ability to think, they don’t think about much – and this is mostly because they don’t know very much. Marx wrote a book about what the laboring class wants when he had never done a lick of laboring work in his life. Lenin wrote a book about the development of capitalism in Russia when he had never entered the marketplace, at all.  What on earth could such men think they were writing about?  It’d be like me trying to write an in depth, philosophical work about surgery. I might have some interesting comments to make on the subject, but to take me for an expert in it, no matter how much I claim to have thought about it, would be absurd. Unless you get out there and see how its done, you’ll never really know.

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In Congress, July 4th, 1776

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

…We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

World War One

On June 28th it will be 100 years since the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire – Franz Ferdinand – was assassinated in Sarajevo, triggering the First World War. While I have over my life studied much history of war, I believe I have spent more time on the First World War than any other.  This is because there is something horrendously tragic about the whole thing – thought not, in my view, for the reasons most often given.

For most people with a cursory knowledge of the war, it is just a bloody, miserable waste.  Four years in the trenches with men being sent senselessly to their deaths by insensate commanders.  There is a bit of truth in that, but it does really get to the bottom of the matter.  In my view, our civilization committed mass suicide during that war – over a long period of time prior to the war, starting really in the 16th century but getting rolling in the 18th, we had stripped ourselves of that patina of Judeo-Christian morality which prevented us from doing really horrible things, while at the same time a false sense of security was created by the rising, capitalist prosperity (for some, not all).  We thought in 1914 that we had thrown off the shackles of a dead past and were moving inexorably into a bright future.  What we found is that we had lost our moral compass and were descending into a nightmare.

The men of 1914 went off to war singing.  In all the belligerent powers there was a sense of destiny and awe – we were going to have this thing out and then build a new world of peace, justice and prosperity. Listen to Rupert Brooke:

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there’s no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

Brooke ended up dying in the war – sadly, not in a heroic battle, but of blood poisoning.  But that doesn’t take away from the reality of what he did, and what he believed in. In his poems we see the whole spirit which animated all those caught up in the cataclysm. A few years on, Siegfried Sassoon wrote this:

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

That is quite a change.  One can put it down to the sheer horror of war, but it is more than that, it is the betrayal of an ideal.  It was an ideal of patriotism, of manly courage, of the surety that your nation was glorious and deserved dominion unchecked because of the good that was in it. That it proved a false ideal doesn’t make the betrayal of it any less an affront.  Indeed, it might make it worse.  Marching off to war the men thought one thing and found something very different.  What the found was that ideal was non-existent.  What they didn’t know – and most people still have discovered to this day – is that the ideal was wrong because it wasn’t founded upon a firm understanding of God.  To be manly and patriotic is a grand thing, as long as one firmly recognizes that God is Sovereign.  Solzhenitsyn said that the problem of the 20th century was that Man had forgotten about God.  Indeed – and in the searing abyss of World War One, men found that as they had not God, they had nothing and all the patriotism and manly courage in the world could not redeem the fact that 9 million men had died in battle, and victory had been bought so dear by the victors that it was indistinguishable from defeat.  The real pity of it was that people did not, on the whole, turn back to God.

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Is the Solution to Obama a Parliamentary Government?

Part of the genius of our Founders was the really clever way they blended three forms of government into one.  We are part monarchy, part Republic, part democracy.  The Democracy, of course, is the House – one man, one vote and everyone counts.  The Republic is the Senate – each constituent State has equal representation regardless of population.  The monarch, of course, is the President.  Most people don’t fully realize this aspect of our government – but the President is as much a king as anyone who ever sat a throne except for one thing:  his term of office is limited by years rather than by his life span.

It is interesting that in Churchill’s history of the First World War – The World Crisis – the description he gives of the American government observes that in practical terms, in 1917, the American President held more power than any other single individual on earth.  That was written before the enormities of Stalin and Hitler, but by Churchill’s lights at the time, it was correct – even though Russia had a Czar and Germany and Austria-Hungary had Kaisers. The President is at once party leader, head of State and head of government.  A vigorous person in that office is able to impose his will upon Congress and the people and move policy in the way he desires, even without violating the Constitution. And the President can pretty much get America into war any time he wants by simple fact of moving military forces under his own authority anywhere he wants, and letting the resultant events almost compel a declaration from Congress.

I believe that our Founders set this up quite deliberately – that they wanted a system which embodies what they perceived as best in all forms of government, but with each side checked vigorously by other Powers in government. And it worked very well – we had our leader who could act decisively in an emergency while also ensuring that final power to actual change things was in the hands of elected officials, with a final referee, as it were, in the Supreme Court to ensure that neither President nor Congress strayed beyond the bounds of settled law.  There was, however, a weakness in the system and it is a weakness which cannot be avoided in any system: it is dependent for its operation upon the actions of human beings.  Human beings are Fallen and thus get things wrong; usually very often. But we had a great bit of good luck at our start in that our first President – our first King, as it were – was George Washington.  Here was a man who genuinely held himself to be no more than the first magistrate of a free people and while he could have stayed in office until he died – and, indeed, at one point could have gotten himself crowned as actual king – he voluntarily gave up office and retired to private life.

This example of humble Presidential leadership stood us in good stead for quite a long time, but by the time Theodore Roosevelt took office, it started to wear thin as he and most of his successors thought of themselves not as agents of an impartial government, but men of destiny who had to place their indelible imprint upon the nation and the world.  From Theodore Roosevelt to Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama is a pretty straight line, only slightly pushed off course by Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan, who did have a much more Washingtonian ideal of the Presidency than most over the past century.  It was Theodore Roosevelt who first denied the limitations of power in the Founder’s system – saying that unless something was specifically forbidden a President in the Constitution, the President was free to do it.  This was a watershed event – and quite in contrast to Roosevelt’s recent predecessor Grover Cleveland who routinely vetoed legislation for the sole reason that he found no warrant for the law in the powers granted to the government by the Constitution. Now we’ve finished the task and in Obama, we’ve got a President who is essentially claiming that unless someone can actually stop him, he can do as he wishes – the pen and the phone are mightier than the Constitution.  And, so, how do we fix this?

The Founders thought they had provided sufficient safe guards against such things by inserting into the Constitution the power of the legislative to impeach the executive. It was thought that out of a jealous desire to preserve legislative power that the legislature would vigorously oppose the executive and be willing to use the extreme sanction of impeachment when a President started abusing his office.  It didn’t really work out like that – the first impeachment of Andrew Johnson was the merest bit of partisan hackery where the legislative majority simply  wanted to do away with an uncooperative executive; the second against Nixon was only successful because Nixon’s own allies abandoned him; the third against Clinton failed because Clinton’s allies refused to abandon him even though it was clear that Clinton has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors”. And that was that – once it became clear that partisanship would rule the day in impeachment, then it became a requirement that the Senate have 67 firmly committed members to vote for conviction before impeachment would even be considered and given the partisan nature of things, this means a Senate wherein at least 67 members are from the opposition party.  You can look back in time and see how few and far between are the times when any party controlled 67% of the Senate seats.  This means that impeachment is functionally impossible. We need another means of controlling the executive.

We could decide to lower the bar on impeachment convictions, and that might be a sorta-good way to go.  Better than no restrictions, after all.  But if we made it so that only 55 Senators had to vote to convict, then we would see more partisan hackery in the matter of impeachment where the Senate majority just wants to get rid of a President who isn’t cooperative.  That is fatal to good government quite as much as an out of control executive.  Maybe, and this is just me starting to think it over, we should remove the President from day to day executive authority?  That would be to interpose a Prime Minister between the President and the operations of government on a day to day basis.  A Parliamentary regime.

We’d still want a Commander in Chief for war time and other such emergencies, but we also very much want a President who can’t use his pen and phone to alter law.  So, we amend the Constitution to command the President to nominate as Prime Minister the leader of the party holding the most seats in the House of Representatives, and that person – upon confirmation via the Senate – nominates the heads of the government Departments and monitors and controls their actions subject to approval or overthrow by the House. We would make it so that the President signs laws into approval, or vetoes them as he desires.  He would still command the armed forces, negotiate treaties (with the advice and consent of the Senate as now) and could recommend legislation – but in what the Departments would do, he would have no say. And the people who do have the say in the actions of the Department, they can be removed by a simple majority vote in the House – and if the people don’t like how government is going, then every two years they get a chance to change the composition of the House, and thus get a government hopefully more to their liking.

Yes, this could lead to a situation – as it does in France, from time to time – where the President and the Prime Minister are of different parties.  Would it really be that bad if they had to work together?  The PM can want this, that or the other thing, but he’s not going to get it into law unless the President agrees – ditto on the President’s side. Other changes can also be made (I’ve long been in favor of limit the President to one, six-year term, eg), but we do have to think seriously about how we are going to ensure the means of cutting off a President – like Obama, but also like Johnson and FDR and Wilson in the past – who doesn’t care what the law says and is just going to do what he wants, defying anyone to stop him, secure in the knowledge that his opponents won’t have those 67 Senators necessary to convict on impeachment. At any rate, if anyone has a better idea, I’m all ears.

 

Tied to the Mast of the SS Obama

Earlier today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) ripped into the IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, over the serial falsehoods of the Obama Administration regarding the IRS scandal.  The clip is here and Ryan points out that “nobody believes you” to the Koskinen.  I saw a small bit of Koskinen’s testimony and the clearest impression I took was of a man who is a smug, little Ruling Class (expletive deleted). He’s quite confident that he won’t be called upon to pay a price for his actions – no surprise, after all, he was very senior at Freddie Mac when the housing market melted down.  Rather than being forced out in disgrace, at the minimum, he’s now in charge of the IRS.  He knows with certainty – as we all do – that with Obama as President and Holder as Attorney General, there will be no criminal prosecutions over this case.

Just as Koskinen and the rest of those involved in the IRS scandal know they are immune from prosecution, so does everyone else in the Obama Administration involved in all the other scandals feel this sense of security. Say what you will about Barack Obama, he protects his own – if you are on his team, he’ll make certain that nothing bad happens to you.  As things go from bad to worse in all aspects of Obama policy, this is the rock upon which Obama’s people sit: they can do what they want and know they are safe.  This is why we get this arrogant disdain from them about the hard, factual basis of our opposition.  We can bring up all the indisputable facts of corruption we want, Obama and his people will just deny it all, call us all names for bringing it up, and go about their business in a quite shameless manner.  That explains Obama and Co, but what of the Democrats in the larger sense?  Why are they going along with this?  Obama can’t protect them all – and Obama’s policies are making the Democrat brand ever more toxic in American politics.  Its all well and good for Obama to just keep going, but come January 20th, 2017, he won’t be there any more…while Democrats will have to live with his legacy.  So, why haven’t any leading Democrats come out in public against him?  To be sure, some have in private and not for attribution; but there has been no public opposition (and none really even from red State Democrats facing electoral defeat because of Obama) – and I suspect there won’t be.

For better or worse – and I predict it will be much, much worse – Democrats can’t cut themselves away from Obama.  That he’s dishonest, corrupt and incompetent doesn’t matter.  In the electoral geometry of Democrat politics, there is simply no way Democrats can renounce their support for the first African-American President…just as, in the by and by, they won’t be able to renounce support for the first female, first Latino and first gay President, if such Presidents wind up being Democrat. You and I over here on the right don’t care that much about such things – if we nominate, say, a gay Latina in 2016 and she wins but turns out to be a numbskull, we’ll turn on her (and be called racist and homophobic for doing that – but, we’re used to that false accusation and so don’t care any longer).  Democrats can’t.  Their existence is based upon certain falsehoods being acted upon as if they were true – one of them is that an African-American of the proper politics and views can do no wrong (other examples: government spending increases national wealth; government unions are the same as, say, the miners unions in the 1920′s; “tax the rich” means that actual rich people will be taxed, etc, etc). Why do you think they still carry the Sharpton and Jackson albatrosses around their necks?  For goodness sakes, those two, old hacks provide nothing for the party or the movement.  But they can’t be denied – because they are black and of the “correct” views.  To deny them is by definition – in Democrat circles – racist.  To turn on Obama would be racist.  They can’t do it – if you could prove to them that loyalty to Obama will cost them a dozen Senate seats this fall and the White House in 2016, they still wouldn’t turn on him.

Ryan told Koskinen that “nobody believes you”.  This, I think, is the epitaph of the Obama Administration: nobody believes you.  I’m confident that nobody believes Obama – well, to modify that a bit:  your Democrat base probably still does, because they get all their information from the traditional MSM and have never thought about anything deeper than the latest reality show.  But outside of that demographic, nobody believes Obama, or anyone on his team.  We all know its a pack of lies – everything; Benghazi, “saved or created” jobs, Fast and Furious, green energy cronyism, GM, Syria, Iraq, Keystone Pipeline, DREAM Act, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, China, Libya, IRS.  Everything Obama and team have said about these things is lies.  As Democrats in the House today spoke up one by one to essentially apologize to Koskinen and claim the whole IRS scandal was a GOP witch hunt, I’m confident that most of them knew as the words came out of their mouths that they were lying – and were lying to defend lies told by Obama and team (I said “most of them” because it seems to me that a number of Democrat Congresscritters are mindless drones selected by the Powers That Be to be mindless drones – hacks who just vote as the leadership demands; such people are probably not much beyond the reality TV intellectual level of the Democrat base…and such people might actually believe what they say is true, as their clever aids write their statements up for them).  But, still: nobody believes you.  But the Democrats will still fall on their swords for Obama – because they have to; to them, to deny Obama is to deny their view of themselves (remember, they honestly believe we are all racists – but that they are untainted by such things; after all, they support Barack Obama, right?  That makes them non-racist).

We’ll see how things come out.  There is a school of thought – and it does have much to be said for it – that we’re too far gone as a nation.  That too many of us are demoralized, dependent and intellectually bankrupt.  Because of this, the majority will continue to back the Democrats no matter what happens.  This line of thinking is why many people – including some very smart and well-informed people – are certain that Hillary will be elected in 2016.  This could be true.  We might be doomed.  On the other side are people like me – who really do think that after a while, when you pile up that much dishonesty and corruption, there is a reaction against it.  if so, then this reaction will start in November and carry through to 2016.  But regardless – sure victory or sure defeat – Democrats are tied to the mast of the SS Obama; they will go down with the ship, if necessary, to prove to themselves that they are good liberals.  So, don’t look for a break in the ranks over there – don’t look for Obama to fall to, say, 30% approval ratings.  There is a solid rock of ignorance, corruption and dishonesty to sustain even an Obama, no matter what he does.

 

After Iraq and Afghanistan, What Should Our Policy Be?

There was just a small chance at the end of 2008 that our effort in Iraq would work.  By extreme exertions we had mostly pacified the nation and with a bit of luck and more hard work, Iraq might have slowly developed into a pluralist democracy, thus providing a both a bulwark against extremism and a model for the rest of the long-suffering people of the Middle East.  It did not, however, work out like that.  Rather than keep a presence in Iraq, we withdrew all our forces and essentially left Iraq to its own devices.  Power does abhor a vacuum and as we weren’t there and the Iraqis weren’t quite up to the task, other powers started flowing into Iraq.  Now we see the result of that – a clash which is now really more between some people who want to create a Caliphate without reference to the existence of Iraq as a nation, and the Iranians who are bound and determined to keep control of as much Iraqi territory as possible, also without reference to the existence of Iraq as a nation.  Those in Iraq who would prefer neither Iranian nor Caliphate domination are squeezed between the two and will simply have to choose which evil they think is lesser.

At the end of 2008, Afghanistan was seeing an upsurge in trouble as the Islamist effort in Iraq was beaten back and Afghanistan became the only place an Islamist could fight the United States.  In the 2008 campaign, Obama told the American people that Iraq was the distraction, but that Afghanistan was the war we had to fight.  This is why we cut out of Iraq and then surged into Afghanistan.  Not with the number of troops recommended by senior military leaders and while giving a time frame for our withdrawal, thus allowing the enemy to know how long they had to endure before we quit – but, still, the effort was made in accordance with Obama’s oft-stated premise that we had to fight the war in Afghanistan.  In Afghanistan, it also didn’t work out.  The enemy knew we weren’t there forever and continual restrictions upon the ability of our forces to conduct the sort of brutal war necessary to defeat the Islamist forces made certain that victory wasn’t possible.  Meanwhile, the Afghan government descended into ever worse corruption and clearly started making arrangements for what would happen after the United States departed – mostly in terms of giving power to those who were fighting against us.

After all is said and done, whatever we were hoping to accomplish by going into Afghanistan and Iraq has proven a failure.  For you liberals out there who are of the opinion that killing bin Laden was key and winning in Afghanistan was right because Obama said so: you were wrong.  For us conservatives who believed that we could build a democratic, Muslim nation:  we were wrong.  For those on the left who want to harp upon circa-2004 BUSH LIED!!!!1!! memes; just shut up and go away.  Seriously – no one wants to hear that nonsense any longer.  However one felt about the efforts, they have clearly failed and now it is time to re-assess our policies.

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The Un-Death of the TEA Party

The obituary of the TEA Party has been a regular feature in the MSM since about 5 minutes after the movement started. A good deal of the motivation behind this is the ardent desire on the part of the Ruling Class – and thus 90% of the MSM – that the TEA Party be dead.  The TEA Party is very much not wanted for the simple reason that if Congress ever has a working majority of TEA Party politicians – or, my goodness!, a TEA Party orientated President – then the game is up.

It cannot be over emphasized just how much of America’s rich and powerful are rich and powerful simply because they are juiced-in to Washington, DC.  The life of Harry Reid is an excellent illustration of it.  Harry Reid really did come up from nothing.  His life story would be an inspiring rags-to-riches story except for one thing:  he got rich by the power of government.  He really was the son of a hard rock miner and a woman who took in laundry to make ends meet.  He really did walk miles to school (I’ve driven over the rout; it simply must have been a long, hard hike when Reid did it way back when).  From that background of grinding poverty, Reid is now fabulously wealthy – but he’s never actually done anything.  All he’s been is a government office-holder on one level or another since he graduated from law school (I’ve talked to some who do advise that for a short period Reid was in private law practice…but I don’t see much evidence of it, and it certainly wasn’t enough to build up Reid’s current level of wealth).  Using his connections and his political power, Reid has managed to engage in various financial schemes to get rich – some of which were clearly legal, others a lot more questionable, but in every case greased along by the fact of Reid’s membership in the Ruling Class; none of these deals, bottom line, are open to people who are not juiced-in with government.  And Reid is legion.  There are millions of people like him at the federal, State and local level, in and out of government, but all sharing one thing in common:  the ability to tap into government to get rich.

There are several rules regarding membership in this Ruling Class:

1.  Never attack the Ruling Class, as an entity (its ok to turn on individual members who get caught in a jam, but no attacks on individuals must be allowed to spread to an understanding that the problem is systemic).

2.  Never defend the traditional forces of the Republic.  You can make noises about supporting the troops and such – especially for the Rubes on the 4th of July, etc – but never defend that which actually made America great.  The reason for this is simple: defending what made America great means attacking what is now making American small – the Ruling Class. Stern, republican virtues and emulation of people like Washington and Madison are kryptonite.  This goes doubly so for the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of American morality – go ahead and be Catholic, Evangelical or Orthodox Jew all you want, but for crying out loud, when it is time to choose between defending that morality or destroying it, make some insipid statement about being opposed on moral grounds but not justified in defending it on legal grounds.  It is a requirement, you see, that the Ruling Class destroy traditional forces and the old morality – in their view, it is the only way they can guarantee their power indefinitely.  Demoralized people will submit to be ruled.

3.  Never, ever, ever, EVER agree to reduce the size of government.  Doesn’t matter if you ran as a small-government conservative.  That was just for the hill-apes back home.  Once in the Ruling Class, your job is to keep government large and growing larger.  How else are the new-comers to the Ruling Class to gain their wealth?  The Ruling Class must judiciously bribe and corrupt small sections of the people in order to ensure that things remain as they are, and this can only be done by an ever larger government. At best, you are permitted to pretend to slow the rate of increase in the size of government.

You do all that, and you’ll get along fine and the rest of the Ruling Class will defend you, even if they are allegedly in opposition to you.  They’ll be your buddies.  They’ll ensure that you, too, are given your opportunities to increase your wealth via government-greased deals. They’ll write laws so that you and they can pretty much be openly bribed (and they’ll call it “campaign finance reform”, into the bargain!). True, some of you might have to be thrown to the wolves from time to time, but most of you never will – and even if you do have to lose your particular office, there will be book deals, television shows, etc to keep you on the gravy train.  Just be true to the Ruling Class and all of this will be yours.

And then along comes the TEA Party.

Its not that TEA Party types are particular against any person – individual members of the Ruling Class do become lightening rods of TEA Party criticism, of course, but it really isn’t a personal thing.  TEA Party types are those people who hold to the old morality and the stern, republican virtues of our Founders.  And thus they see that, in a sense, it doesn’t matter if someone like Reid never broke a law – he simply should not be rich.  The fact that he is rich proves the system corrupt. And from there comes the requirement that the system be radically changed.  This is bull in a china shop kinda stuff…and it crosses party lines, which really irritates the Ruling Class because they hope to keep it a party vs party thing and thus have us divided….but if the people get united in a general desire to change the system, then everyone in the system is cooked.   And, so, the Ruling Class unites to destroy the TEA Party – and continually writes the TEA Party’s obituary, only to have it come surging up again like it did in the Virginia-07 House race on Tuesday.

And it will keep surging up – it won’t go away until the system is changed or the United States is destroyed as a nation by an unchanged system.  As long as there is any body of people in the United States who can bother to read what the Founders wrote, who heard stories about grandpa and great-grandpa or who just understands that only people who work hard at a productive trade should be rich, there will be a TEA Party.  And as the Ruling Class shoves America closer and closer to dissolution as a nation, the TEA Party will just get more vehement:  time is running out, after all.

Cantor’s defeat caught all of us by surprise – but it really, in a sense, shouldn’t have.  Cantor is a nice guy and he’s not some wild-eyed liberal.  He’s a rather conventional GOPer of the Ruling Class.  His opponent wasn’t and ran a campaign which spoke to the public desire for leadership which would challenge the Ruling Class, rather than make deals to increase the debt limit or an amnesty program without any realistic border security provisions. Most of the time, unknown and unfunded TEA Party candidates will fail – simply for not being able to get their message out there.  On the other hand, some times they will win – and so the GOPers who are part of the Ruling Class better take note: you have a decision to make.

You can either dig your heels in to defend the current system, or abandon it and thus, perhaps, become instrumental in the reform and revival of your nation.  True, if you turn against the Ruling Class, as an entity, you might lose – you might be tossed out on your ear.  The TEA Party impulse in the United States might not be victorious and America might be doomed.  On the other hand, if you join with the forces of reform, then they just might win…and while you’ll have no way to make any money off the deal and the Ruling Class will treat you with disdain, you might be able to save the United States and go into the history books with the fame of an honorable name.  You’ll also be able to look yourself in the mirror.  But come what may, what isn’t going to happen as long as the Republic endures is the death of the TEA Party.  It isn’t an aberration – it is America trying to save herself.

Update: Mickey Kaus notes Brat’s last-minute pitch for votes:

The entire amnesty and low-wage agenda collapses if Cantor loses — all the billions of special interests dollars, all the favors, all the insider dealing — all of it is stopped in its tracks tomorrow if the patriotic working families of Virginia send Eric Cantor back home tomorrow. 

Tomorrow, the middle class has its chance to fight back. 

Tomorrow, the people of Virginia can show up to the polls and defeat the entire crony corporate lobby. 

Tomorrow, we can restore our borders, rebuild our communities, and revitalize our middle class.

Yeah, that sort of thing is precisely what the TEA Party is all about.

D-Day, Bergdahl and the End of American Warfare

Seventy years ago, today, of course. Allied forces landed at Normandy and after a hard fight, secured a lodgement upon the continent of Europe which ensured that, come what may, Hitler’s regime was doomed.  It was a bloody business, allied forces losing more than 4,000 dead on the first day, with the worst of it being a Omaha beach, which was a bloody shambles, redeemed only by the sublime courage of soldiers who even after everything went wrong, made the decision to press ahead against odds until the Germans were driven off the beach.

Many have made the observation that there does not seem to be that spirit alive in America any longer.  Our modern youth simply could not take on the sort of men who manned Hitler’s Atlantic Wall with any hope of success. There is a bit of truth in that – in the sense that some of America’s youth are so demoralized that they not only couldn’t wade under fire towards an enemy-held beach, but probably wouldn’t even be in the military, no matter what the stakes of the war were.  But there is also in America a large number of youth who would do it.  They are the men and women who are currently in our military today; and the several million who have passed through recently. We mobilized a bit more than 12 million personnel in World War Two and today, I think, even if we made it entirely voluntary, we could raise that amount for a putative World War Three – and keeping in mind that only about 10-20% of the WWII mobilized actually saw combat, that would be sufficient for us to crush any combination of enemies out there.

The big question becomes: would we actually desire to crush them?  That is where the Bergdahl case comes in.  We don’t know precisely what happened to him at this point – leave aside stories you might have heard, the bare-bones are that he was a US soldier who left his post.  Whether he left is post in a fit of pique, an abundance of folly or with malevolent design is entirely unknown. In brief, he is a deserter, but we don’t know much else about it.  But let us consider the war we had Bergdahl fight.  There is no demand for victory; no desire for victory; not much attention to the effort paid by the Commander in Chief; our enemies are free to use whatever tactics they think best while our troops are hemmed in by rules of engagement; and our enemies, if captured, are held in Gitmo – while our liberal friends paint that place as a house of horrors, it is really not all that bad a prison and it is absolutely clear that nothing bad will ever happen to the prisoners. Meanwhile, soldiers like Bergdahl can easily access websites which tell him – from American sources! – that our effort in Afghanistan is criminal and that we are the bad guys.  Small wonder that a soldier or two might get disillusioned and walk off.  The problem with Bergdahl is not that he deserted and its not even so much that five Taliban were released to get him back – the problem is that we aren’t fighting for victory and that there were five Taliban to be released.  Things used to be done a bit differently.

D Day was  pretty much a straight-up fight between professional armies – but even so many thousands of French civilians were killed.  By aerial bombardment, artillery, cross-fire – and I’ll bet because of horrific mistakes.  A squad of US soldiers hears a sound coming from a basement and tosses in a grenade or lights up the place with a flame thrower…only afterwards discovering that it was mom, dad and three kids hiding in there.  It happens.  It is horrible.  But these days it would be classed as a crime by our liberal elites, the MSM would go nuts and the soldiers would be lucky to get off with dishonorable discharges.  War is a nasty business.  It is best not to fight them – but once  you’re in a war then you are, indeed, in a war.  People will be killed.

But even in World War Two, there were irregular combats, and combatants. Later, after D-Day, a German mission was to put their troops in US uniforms and send them behind our lines to sow confusion and panic.  Some of these German troops were captured, in US uniform. Three of the German troops were captured on December 17th, 1944. They were given a court martial on December 21st, 1944.  They were sentenced to death.  The death sentence was carried out by firing squad on December 23rd, 1944. Six days from capture to firing squad, boys and girls.  That is war.  That is what you do with irregular forces who are captured.  The five Taliban we gave up for Bergdahl should have been dead years ago – and dead per the Geneva Convention, as those captured Germans were dead per the Geneva Convention (liberals love to throw the Geneva Convention out there – but I wonder if any of them have actually looked at the Convention in relation to irregular forces? I doubt it very much).

I’m reminded of a scene in the movie Breaker Morant – about a trio of Australian soldiers being tried for murder during the Boer War.  One of the accused explains how things work in this short scene:

The movie is great and I highly recommend it, because it points out the absurdity of trying to apply civil court procedures and rules of evidence to a war.  A war is by its nature an extraordinary thing.  It is bound by rules and some of these rules are iron-hard – but the purpose of your military in a war is to destroy the enemy.  Have many thought about that of late?  Destroy.  Wipe out.  Render incapable of any further resistance.  That is what is being sought – and you can’t do that by being gentle with terrorists, nor bringing your own soldiers up on charges because they did something in the heat of battle which you, safe and dry at home, feel was distasteful.

Soldiers are to be brave.  They are to defend the weak and oppose the strong. A good soldier will lay down his life for his comrades – and for women and children…but a good soldier might also shoot an enemy out of hand, or toss that grenade into the cellar, thinking it’s the enemy down there, when it later turns out it wasn’t.  Commanders in war are to seek victory – victory at all costs.  Since the end of World War Two, we haven’t sought victory at all costs…and over time we have told soldiers to be less and less like soldiers and act more and more like social workers with guns. But our enemies haven’t changed.  They want victory – and they are willing to give all they have to get it.  It is small wonder that we lost in Korea, lost in Vietnam…and will now lose in Afghanistan.  Small wonder, also, that some US soldiers get confused and walk off their posts.

We need a national debate about this – 2016 would be a good time for it.  The Presidential candidates should be asked just what does it mean to be at war.  They are seeking to be Commander in Chief, after all, so let us get some idea of what they think of the job.  Will they put on trial a soldier who urinates on a dead enemy?  Who kills civilians in a cross-fire?  Will they keep terrorists alive and well fed for years, or shoot them within 6 days of capture?  If we go to war, will it be for absolute victory, or just something to do to keep the poll numbers up until after the next election, and then flush the whole business down the toilet?  It is important to have this because it is important, also, that we, the people, consider what we want.  Do we even want to have an armed forces?  Do we understand what armed forces do?  Are we willing to send men and women into unimaginable horror with unclear orders and civilians second-guessing every move?  Or will we send them into that horror with orders to kill and to win?  The answers will go far to determine if, indeed, we could stomach another D-Day – whether we can ever win another war.