Red line? WTF Obama

So… Syria is falling apart and for some reason Obama wants to go in there and bomb stuff. There is al qaeda in there. There is Bashar Al-Assad who is a jerk. There are Syrian local rebels who don’t like or support either. It’s a three way war. And Obama wants to start bombing, why

Lesson learned from the war in Iraq is that the USA needs better methods if finding out who is members of terrorist networks. Have we made developments in this area? Are we not going to learn from the Iraq war?

I supported the Iraq war and still do. It was needed. the thousands of dead terrorists were well worth the cost in men and money. The liberation of the 30 million Iraqis was worth the cost, even though the birth pangs of Arab democracy are still going on. (It took the USA 200 years to figure out democracy starting in the very early 1600s with the house of Burgesses in Virginia and the General Court in Massachusetts.) The people in Iraq are learning all that in ten years, all the fighting other countries went through to develop modern democracy is accelerated in Iraq. It’s going to be bloody, and if it lasts for another decade, it will probably survive.

Are we going to invest another 800 billion over 10 years into Syria, sacrifice another 4000 soldiers? I don’t think it will come that cheaply. Mistakes from the current fronts int he War on Terror are that we don’t let our combat troops engage in real combat. We force them to endure all kinds of handicaps. The focus from DC isn’t victory, but making Arabs and Central Asians like us. We should not worry about being liked and worry more about being respected.

Unfortunately the people who run the State Department seem to be xenophobic and ethnocentric. This can be exampled by Hillary Clinton’s “reset” button to Russia that didn’t have the word “reset” on it, but some other word. You’d think the State Department would have people who know Russian, our major world wide rival and number 1 diplomatic point of communication…

Many people have compared Iraq to Vietnam in order to justify an excuse to protest the war. They were absolutely wrong as tactics and methods go. But they were right as far as government operational mindset was concerned. Seeing what I just posted, the Idiots in DC have decided not to fight for victory, but for social goals. Social goals in a war. Social goals in economics, in education, in business, in legislation, in everything. The government of the USA cares too much about social alteration than management of their duties.

And all of this is connected to Obama denying that he set a “red line” on Syria. The link i posted has both videos. The Setting and the Denial. Obama is so arrogant, so protected by the media, that he believes he can just deny he did something and the public will support him. He can get away with murder because the media will deny the victim ever existed.

And he might be right…

Ladies, ladies, ladies

Read this list of female governors.  The reason I put it up Is while reading last night, I came across the name Ma Ferguson.  She was elected Governor in 1924 of Texas. I don’t recall this being covered in my Women’s History class. But I found it Amazing. Digging Deeper, in  Nellie Ross of Wyoming was also elected in 1924 and managed to be the First woman elected. Both Ross and Ferguson were widows of previous governors which helps explain how they got elected so long ago.

Looking at the List it seems that as we get closer to modern times, female governors become more and more common. The list says 5 women currently hold seats as Governor. 5 out of 50 ain’t bad.

This list also helps to destroy some stereotypes about the Republican Party. Nikki Haley and Susan Martinez are both women of color and are both currently sitting Republican elected officials from southern states.  (unless New Mexico isn’t southern enough for you, then One is southern, one is western.)

I found this rather nifty.

A rant on poverty, and a rant on the poverty pimp meida who tries to make it worse than it is


Hoover Flag

Yesterday the AP had a headline “4 out of 5 Americans face poverty”. When you read the story it admits that those 80% who face poverty actually only faced it for a period in their life. We know the poverty rate is 15% so if 80% face poverty, but only 15% are in poverty that means 65% extracted themselves from potential poverty.  People are still rising up economically. 

Another aspect of poverty is the myth of the starving child.  The census reports that of the 50 million in poverty only 1.6% (or there abouts) actually miss a few meals a week. Not starve to death, just miss two or three of the 21 meals most people have a week. This is not great news. In a country of cheap food, food stamps, food banks, and the ability to dumpster dive (which rich kids do a lot more than poor families, see freegans) how can nearly a million people be missing meals.  what are they doing wrong? why are they ignoring all the handouts and easy access to food?

These questions bring me to the point of my rant. Poverty in America is a choice for most people.  True there are people brought here to work, often illegally across the boarder or across the sea. There are still sex slaves who are forced to be poor by their pimps. There are a few other examples of forced poverty that I am not thinking about right now, I’m sure. But for the most part, poverty is a choice.

I am not saying people wake up and say “let’s be poor!” its more like they wake up and say “School is for chumps”. then they say “Working for the ‘man’ is for idiots!”. Then they say, “Why should I have to do that, this, and that thing?” This is what i mean by poverty being a choice. Learning the skills needed to be productive and paid well is a choice, and too many people make the wrong choice when they are teenagers and adults.

Some people would say that they had no role models as kids. I could agree. I’ve seen too many kids copy their deadbeat parents. This doesn’t wash once those kids become adults and have access to all kinds of secondary education and libraries and today the internet.  Furthermore the political situation that thrives on poverty is encouraging them to be poor rather than rise up. If the state gives you money to survive, how often will you vote against the statists?

The mentality of keeping people poor by keeping them uneducated and on the dole isn’t always malicious.  I have encountered European and American socialists who are proud that they “maintain the poor” without realizing the irony that if you maintain the poor, they stay poor.  You aren’t helping the poor do better, you are kicking them down.

Examine American wealth transfer programs. They provide just enough support to keep you alive, and voting, but threaten to take it all away if you start to earn your own money or save up your surplus. The programs encourage the users to spend all that money and be anti-frugal. (just like a bureaucrat in baseline budgeting.) This may not have been designed to keep people poor, but it has that effect. And when anyone wants to change these programs, the proponents scream “THEY WANT YOU TO STARVE TO DEATH”

1) this assumes that people wont go get jobs, or are too stupid to care for themselves.

and 2) this assumes the reforms wont work.

how nice of them, “you are too stupid to live on your own, let us help you… just vote us in in November…”

If you think these programs help, look at historic poverty rates. In the late 1940s the USA had about a 30% poverty rate. By the end of JFKs term it was down to 15% that is 13 years of decline. then LBJ in 1965 passed a lot of wealth transfer programs. Ever since then poverty rate has bounced between 12% and 15%. When the state subsidized poverty, poverty became attractive and people chose not to get out of it.  But this isn’t quite as bad for the poor as it would seem.

every few years the Heritage Foundation pours through census data to find out what life is like in poverty. In 2006 and 2011 they put out these reports with some astounding information. Poor people some times own 2 cars, several TVs and computers, a good chunk of the poor actually own a home. They have video games, they have washing machines, they almost never go hungry (that 1.6% number again). Poverty is a pretty sweet thing in the USA, not like poverty in Somalia…

According to a number of studies, American poor have more living space than European average income people.  They have access to cheaper goods. Poverty really is relative.

Too bad people rarely crunch the numbers to see the broader picture.

Party Rant

So, a few stories popped up on drudge that are connected but not by current events, but by theme. The civil war in the republican party. There is a civil war in the democrat party too, but that is swept under the rug and not reported on. Democrats have been good of keeping their infighting, back stabbing, and nights of long knives out of the lime light.

The NSA Spying scandal and the potential government shut down over obamacare are the topics of the stories that I read and they are connected in this way: The parties (both of them) are both splitting up over the key issues of the power of the government to run our daily lives.  Both parties have blocs that oppose these things, and blocs that support these things.  As a historian what came to my mind was the 1850s and how both major parties of that era the Democrats and the Whigs were split over slavery.

The Whig party, much like the Republican party was much more independent with its membership and when the split got too large the party shattered into pieces, several of which were swept up into the new Republican Party, including Abe Lincoln.  The democrat party seems to me to always be a lot more united. Ever since it formed in the 1820s It has been much more unified keeping its doctrinal disputes in the smoke filled rooms.

Slavery divided both parties and in the 1860 election the Democrats ran 2 candidates, one northern and one southern. This is how Lincoln won the election. But the issue that keeps coming back is the death of the Whig party. The Whigs could not find a way to differentiate itself from the democrats on a growing key issue.  I think the government intrusion into our private lives as seen by the NSA scandal and Obamacare runs a good chance at destroying the Republican party.

The first Republican party split up after 1824 and the election of John Quincy Adams. The Federalist party split up after many of its issues were rendered moot, or absorbed by the old Republican party. The Whig party split up over issues of slavery and states rights.  Maybe the new Republican party will be the next major party to die.

Observations on American Political Parties

ImageThe two party system is a function of our election system. Single member districts and winner take all elections allow for two dominant parties and from time to time local parties that crop up. I have studied the various political parties of the United States, but not in great detail. The major ones are easy enough to Identify. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists under the Washington Administration. The Anti-Federalists morphed into the Republicans under Thomas Jefferson (Historians call them Democratic-Republicans to distinguish them from the 1854 Republicans). These two parties fought each other back and forth until the war of 1812 happened and the Federalists began to disintegrate. Under James Monroe there really was only the Republican party and it began to absorb some of the national goals of the old Federalists.  As I have discussed in previous posts the nature of politics changed around this time and the National Republicans split into 2 parties. Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren set up the Democratic party in the 1820s after the fiasco election of 1824. John Quincy Adams lost the popular and electoral college vote, but since none of the four men who ran got a majority, the congress picked the winner. Jackson started a new party to protest. The rump Republicans re-branded themselves the Whigs and lasted until the 1850s.

The first observation I point to is how Van Buren organized the new Democratic party. He created a very loyal machine like system. Party bosses, spoil systems, The machine was key. I do not yet have enough information to know how the Whigs themselves were organized but famous organizations like Tammany Hall in New York City are what I look to when I say Machines. They ran social programs to help the poor, and get out the vote. By get out the vote, they would beg, borrow, or steal voters and get them to as many polling places as possible.

Ultimately Slavery would split the country and destroy the Whigs. Between the 1830s and 1860 the conflicting forces of “Slavery is a good thing” and “Slavery is an abomination” would work to replace and erase the idea of “Slavery is a horrible thing but we have no other way of doing business”. Radical southerners who embraced slavery as a glorious thing following the likes of John C Calhoun would fight to the death to defend their Peculiar Institution. William Lloyd Garrison and Fredrick Douglas would spear head abolition activities in the north. (From what I have gathered Garrison was far more radical about his abolition than Douglas who had actually endured slavery and survived his escape attempt.) These two forces would split the country and because there was no major anti slavery or pro slave containment party, the electorate found the two choices nearly indistinguishable.

By the 1850s several groups of Free labor (that is not against slavery, just against slave labor competing with them), Free soil, and abolitionist parties formed the Republican Party. They picked up a lot of northern Whigs and Some anti slavery democrats and in 1854 nominated John C Frémont for president. Buchanan won the job (side note, first known gay president).  By 1860 the party had grown stronger and Abe Lincoln ran. Because the northern and Southern democrats each ran their own man, they split the ticket and Lincoln was able to pick up the win.  Thus came the civil war and subject for a different post.

After Lincoln, no democrat would be elected until 1884, and after cleveland who was also elected in 1892 (only non contiguous 2 term presidental office holder) no democrat would be elected until 1912 (when the republicans this time split the ticket).

What I noticed about men like Grant and TR, is that they are huge facemen, they are character people, they are leaders. People flocked to their ideas and words. I noticed that very few Democrats were like that, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton, Obama (Which suggests a strong shift in the later 20th century.)

The democrat party as of late has been about the Machine. Hillary ran in 2008 and the politicals said “it was her turn” yet Obama upset her and annexed the machine to his own ends. What I mean by Machine is this: In the republican primaries as of late (the last 20 years) a bunch of people run and tear each other apart by airing all the dirty laundry and who ever wins faces a democrat opponent (who did the same thing) but the main stream media never repeats the democrat dirty laundry list, yet will say smugly that the republican cant possibly win if they had that much problem with their own primary. Clinton and Obama fought a long and savage race in 2008, and after Obama climbed to victory, bloody, beaten, and bruised it was never spoken of again. The democrats aligned lock step behind him, even feminists and radical anti male democrats.

The republicans never recovered from their 2008 or 2012 primary seasons. All kinds of gaffes were recorded and expounded over and over again by not only their democrat party foes but by their republican party members.

This leads me to conclude that democrats care more about the success of their party and republicans care more about the success of their ideas.  The greatest example would be in 2012 when many republican voters failed to vote for Romney.  The republicans took the house in 2012 showing a geographic majority, yet Obama won the white house, showing that the geographic majority didn’t like Romney enough to vote for him.  The party lost the president because the partisans in the party couldn’t look past Romney’s liberalism. They couldn’t hold their nose and vote for him, like the democrats could for Obama.

This is the key difference between the two parties as far as their base goes.