Category Archive: These Are The Crazy Years

Many reasons Democrats seek Trump’s impeachement

blares the headline over the letter to the editor in Monday’s WSJ.  A gentleman from Massachusetts opines that an op-ed from May 26 “notes that ‘many Democrats want to impeach Mr. Trump because they simply don’t like him.'”

He continues,

That’s a misleading oversimplification. Many Democrats (at least the ones I speak to) are happy to explain why they don’t like him. They don’t like him because he makes America unsafe, because of his disdain for important American principles (e.g., inclusiveness, heroism, respect, etc.), valued American institutions (the White House, FBI, science) and for his manifest disrespect for potential allies and essential friends. The president’s behavior, rather than making America great again, is weakening and defacing America’s integrity, making us more vulnerable.

OK, but what’s your point?  Absolutely none of that refutes the statement from the op-ed, and proves once again that the Democrats who have been agitating for Mr. Trump’s impeachment since the day after the 2016 election really don’t understand what constitutes grounds for impeachment.

The fact is that nobody cares that you don’t like him.  Hell, a lot of people who voted for him aren’t really all that fond of him.  But what seems more ludicrous to me is that most of the shoe this fool gentleman wishes to fit to Donald Trump actually fits his predecessor much, much better.  Let’s take this apart a bit.

He makes America unsafe:  Obama drew a line in the sand in Syria and promptly wimped out when the Syrians crossed it.  His SecState allowed the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi to be overrun by insurgents.  We took out Osama bin Laden on his watch, but by all accounts, he just sort of stood around and watched while Seal Team 6 did the dirty work, and then took the credit.  His “leaders” in the DoD left us less prepared to go to war (and more prepared to go to culture war) than we’ve been since before World War II.  Our allies considered him a joke and borderline undependable.  He clearly hated Israel and actively strove to undermine Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election bid.  And of course, there’s the whole Iran “deal”.  And the recognition of Cuba, which simply resulted in a bunch of our diplomatic folks having to come home because the US embassy there was being bombarded by sonic waves that made them all sick, and Trump finally bringing everyone home and suspending the opening Obama made.

Conversely, Mr. Trump has fearlessly asserted US interests in Syria and the WestPac (now known as the “Indo-Pacific”) and has called Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear bluff.  Folks like the editorial staff of the WSJ think Trump is going to be steamrollered by Kim at the Singapore summit, but I suspect Kim is not going to like some of the things he hears at the summit table.  Trump, not Obama, put ISIS on the run in Iraq and elsewhere.  Whigning that “the plan was Obama’s” doesn’t wash, because Obama didn’t execute.  Trump, not Obama, has developed excellent relations with reform-minded (and Israel-neutral, at least) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.  Trump’s SecDef “Mad Dog” Mattis is demanding that the Pentagon shape up and that the services resume preparing for war rather than turning them into the Diversity and Inclusion Corps.  Trump has got Vladimir Putin over an (oil) barrel and isn’t taking Putin’s shit, regardless of all the screaming about “collusion” from the left (and if they want to complain about collusion, let’s not forget Obama’s open-mic “after the election I’ll have more flexibility” gaffe). Trump is alternately kissing up to and smacking around the Chinese to the point where I don’t think they know if they’re coming or going, and while that can be dangerous, it’s still better than letting the Chinese get away with whatever they want.  Hell, even the Japanese are growing some of their backbone back and getting themselves on a war footing, now that they have some assurance the Americans will not back down in the IndoPac.

The only thing I can think of that Trump is truly getting wrong is remaining in Afghanistan, but he didn’t make that mess, he’s just trying to clean it up.

Frankly, even if we go back into Cold War mode because Trump is asserting US global power, that’s fine with me.  We’ve sat on our complacent asses spending the non-existent “peace dividend” for far too long.

His disdain for important American principles (e.g., inclusiveness, heroism, respect, etc.):  Come on.  This is Obama projection writ large.  Obama never met an American principle he didn’t disdain.  Any time he stepped up for Americanism, it was because it was part of his job, not because he believed in it.  He certainly pooh-poohed the concept of American Exceptionalism, and his wife made it clear that the only thing that made her happy to be an American was the election of her worthless husband.

Trump, on the other hand, is all about American Exceptionalism.  He includes everyone, doesn’t care if they’re white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian, gay, lesbian, what the hell ever.  For goodness’ sake, his daughter married an Orthodox Jew.  His only criteria is patriotism and a love of this country.  He came down hard on the NFL anthem kneelers because he found their attitude unpatriotic and not a little rude to the people who were paying their inflated salaries.  To this day, mediocre NFL player Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job because he is unrepentant and has cost the NFL billions of dollars and millions of fans — not because Donald Trump tweeted about what a jerk he is.

Trump is all about heroism.  He supports our military and wants it to excel as it has in the past.  He is deeply respectful of all of the things that make America great.  He clearly dislikes cowards, traitors, and people who want to tear America off the pedestal it has occupied since it became the World’s Policeman after WWII.

Now, if someone would just take his Twitter account away…

[His disdain for] valued American institutions (the White House, FBI, science): Um, what?  Apparently the Obamas left the White House in tatters, and Trump’s comments about the White House right after his inauguration were about infrastructure maintenance (the replacement/installation of new air conditioning ductwork, as I recall) that was making the House unlivable.  Because the White House generally doesn’t get redecorated on the taxpayers’ dime, for people like the Obamas who don’t give a shit, it’s not a priority, and yeah, the place was probably fairly ratty after eight years of neglect.

The FBI…how do you write something like that with the shit that is coming out about the FBI?  The inspector general’s report is apparently scathing.  Things haven’t been this bad at the FBI since Hoover was running it.  In fact, as bad as Hoover was, the folks who have been running the FBI for the last decade or so seem to have been even worse.  How can you blame Donald Trump for “disdain” of the FBI when it’s starting to look like that’s an attitude mirrored by the majority of the citizenry?

And since when is “science” a “valued American institution”?  Science in this country has been going to shit for years, turning into a biased handmaiden of diversity and the left.  I note that the writer did not come right out and say “climate science”, because that’s really what has most people’s knickers in a knot.  I disdain climate science, too, because it’s international propaganda bullshit aimed at making the US no better than any other shithole country in the world.  And yes, there’s that word:  “Shithole”.  Which is what the Obamas were trying to make of America for eight years.  So thank you Donald Trump for withdrawing us from the joke of a Paris Agreement.

[H]is manifest disrespect for potential allies and essential friends:  Again, what?  Sorry, again, that’s Obama projection.  May one simply mention “Israel”?  And one presumes that the writer thinks Iran was a potential ally and essential friend?  Man, has he drunk the Kool-Aid, with extra-strength cyanide.

Donald Trump knows who our allies and friends are.  Well…we don’t have any friends.  Because there are no friends in global diplomacy.  We have allies, of course.  But anyone who has ever studied American Diplomatic History (raises hand) knows, nobody is our friend, and we should not be acting as if they are — not even the “special relationship” Brits.  Trump’s genius is that he knows how to pat an ally on the back until the tip of a hidden knife blade appears from between his fingers and pricks the ally’s skin — and then he promises to remove the blade if the ally will simply agree with him that America’s interests come first.

I keep trying to tell people that you have to evaluate Trump as a businessman — not as a politician.  Politicians are always hail-fellow-well-met types or they don’t succeed in politics.  Trump is not a politician.  He’s a businessman and he makes deals.  You make business deals by making an offer that’s probably outrageous in some way, the other side counters with something a little less outrageous, and then you meet somewhere in the middle.  If other countries truly understood how Trump is trying to use tariffs, we wouldn’t be dancing around the edge of a trade war.  But with Trump, it’s always about the Deal, and the Deal is always negotiable.

The president’s behavior, rather than making America great again, is weakening and defacing America’s integrity, making us more vulnerable.  Nah.  This is the Democrat/progressive short view.  They can’t take the long view anymore because they’ve weakened their intellectual chops so badly as a result of their Gramscian march through the institutions.  They simply aren’t capable of pulling all of the things Trump is doing together and seeing how there is going to be some short-term pain for long-term gain.  But that’s what has to be done, because frankly, the progs have dropped us so deeply into the pit that we’re going to be a while getting out of it.

What the progs really want is a third Obama term, and they thought Hillary! was going to give it to them.  The American people seem to be a little smarter than that.  Although in fairness, the progs’ champion ran a pretty poor campaign for someone who’s been in politics for most of her life.  Must be pretty harsh to get beaten by a guy who’d never run for a political office in his life.

The bottom line here is that it looks to me like Mr. Lawrence H. Climo of Lincoln, Massachusetts, simply made Allen Guelzo’s (the author of the original op-ed) case for him, viz., “Many Democrats want to impeach Mr. Trump because they simply don’t like him.”  Mr. Climo has brought absolutely nothing to the table to refute that and has made himself and his compatriots simply look more petulant and silly than Mr. Guelzo intended.

Progressive Trump Derangement Syndrome.  On second thought, let us not go there.  ‘Tis a silly place.

Here is a fucking non-story

Newsweek (they’re still in business???) opines,

“Trump’s White House Won’t Acknowledge June As LGBT Pride Month, Even As Everyone Else Does”

ORLLY?

I don’t acknowledge June as LGBT Pride Month, pretty much the same as I don’t acknowledge February as Black History Month or March as Women’s History Month.  Sounds like an appeal to authority to me — because frankly, “everyone else” more than likely doesn’t.

I doubt many people I know — even the gay ones — give June much thought, other than, “jeebus cripes it’s fucking hot already???” and “fuck my life, where did all these damn bugs come from?”  (Then there’s my wife, yelling, “Why am I not at the beach?“, but hell, she yells that all the time.)

Frankly, I’d be perfectly happy if the White House didn’t acknowledge any of these special days, weeks, or months.  The President is not my daddy and doesn’t need to celebrate holidays (or soi-disant “days”, “weeks”, or “months”, for that matter) as an example to me, and he shouldn’t need to be setting an example for anyone else, either. His job is to run the damn country, not fuck about like a royal and spend half his time on photo ops, ribbon cuttings, and special proclamations.  He’s not a king (even if his predecessor thought he was).

Oh, and about his predecessor?  First crack out of the box, the article bemoans, “After years of precedent set by Barack Obama, President Donald Trump is breaking from tradition by failing to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month.”  Snort.  Excuse me.  “Years of precedent.”  Not more than 8 years, surely.  Some tradition.  Breaking with tradition would be, oh, more like Trump not issuing a Thanksgiving Day proclamation.  Or not lighting a White House Christmas Tree, or (like Obama) being a fucking traitor to his country.

Come on, let’s face it.  LGBT activists (who, like most activists, probably don’t actually speak for the vast majority of the people they claim to represent) are simply a bunch of whigney bitches who are upset because President Trump refused to recognize “their” month.  Please see above for my attitude about random celebratory days, weeks, and months.

Frankly, if we’re going to celebrate such things, we ought to be celebrating American History Year in perpetuity, and be on our knees daily thanking G-d that we live in a country that is still as free as this one is.

All these days, weeks, and months “celebrating” various bits and pieces of our “diverse” heritage do little more than Balkanize us, which I am certain is the point; get us all going for each other’s throats instead of co-existing peacefully as unhyphenated-Americans in a grand melting pot of cultures.

Which, by the way, is what made us the greatest nation on Earth.  That’s what Barack Obama and his ilk truly hate about America.  The only proper response to that sort of hatred is, “Go fuck yourselves.”

The left will not like living under the new rules.

So at work, I have two support engineers/trainers who are declining to train a client of ours who happens to be on the discredited SPLC hate group list.  One is flatly stating that he won’t work with them because of that, the other is hemming and hawing and saying he doesn’t feel competent to train on the subject they want trained on, but I know it’s the same problem at base.

What neither of them seem to realize is that this is EXACTLY what the Christian baker and Christian photographer were getting at when they refused to bake a wedding cake and do a wedding photography package for LGBT couples.  And then got their asses sued off for it and were forced to do it anyway.  Goose, meet gander — you can’t have it just the one way, it has to work both ways or it doesn’t work.

Another support person who also trains from time to time (but who lives on the other side of the world, so generally he doesn’t train American customers due to time zone differences) wrote me to ask what I thought about this, as he’s being asked to do that training now that the other two have declined.

I said that we had a lot of clients whose political and religious views clashed with mine, but that didn’t make any difference, because in business, you have to work with the cards you’re dealt.  I didn’t sell the product to any of those clients, but I work for the company and if I expect to continue doing so, it’s my job to work with clients regardless of their religi-poli stance.

I also pointed out that it’s the law in this country that we don’t have any choice but to do so, unless we want to have our asses sued off.  We did, after all, not have any trouble selling them our very expensive software.  That the group in question is a bunch of lawyers who aren’t afraid to take legal action makes it even more ridiculous that we’d refuse on any grounds to provide training for the product they purchased, even if we really had a good reason (like we stopped doing training altogether).

It’s going to be interesting to see how this turns out.  Thankfully, I don’t run the training department.

 

Musings on the GDPR and other insanities

I wonder what would happen if a company that has absolutely no presence in the EU, but which may from time to time service customers who are citizens of the EU, were to basically toss GDPR requests into the trash and refuse to respond to them?

This doesn’t apply to the company I work for, since we do have a presence in the EU, but to me, the GDPR is yet another attempt by a national or multinational entity to make its law hold sway outside of its borders where it has no business poking its nosy legal nose. Consider for instance the Polish law that recently went into effect stating that any person anywhere, regardless of nationality, could be prosecuted under that law for insulting the poor widdle psyches of Polish citizens by asserting that the Poles were responsible in any way for the Holocaust. Which, by ignoring what was going on in their own back yard, they were. If that be a violation of Polish law, so be it. The truth is still the truth. Soylent Green is still people.

Consider, for that matter, the ICC, which the US refuses to ratify, because to do so would, among other things, leave American warfighters open to spurious charges of war crimes to be tried by the ICC.

Consider also the strange tendency of late of our courts, including the Supreme Court, to take the laws of other countries into account when deciding matters of strictly American law. The problem with doing that is that there’s absolutely no basis for applying what foreigners do in their own countries to what Americans do in the US. Our judges are supposed to apply American law to American questions of law, and if some other country’s law conflicts with American law in such a case, it is of exactly zero moment.

It is a strange world we live in. Sometimes I wish we’d have told the world to go police itself after the Second World War. Although I probably would have used a word other than “police”. Probably one that started with “F”.

GOPeity GOPeity GOPe.

Well, apparently Ralph Peters (former Fox News contributor) and John McCain (soon to be former US Senator from Arizona, God willing) have both lost their minds over the President today.

Peters, who ought to know better, is pissed off because he believes Fox News is little more than a propaganda machine for Donald Trump.  I’m not so sure I’d go that far.  But Peters is just another Nevertrumper who can’t see the forest for the trees.

McCain is bashing Trump for being a nice guy and congratulating Vladimir Putin on his “electoral victory”.  I put that in scare quotes because anybody who doesn’t know that election was rigged is a naive dreamer.  I will guarantee that Trump’s message of congratulations was heavily steeped in irony.

But these are just continuing reminders that, with friends like establishment Republicans (otherwise known as the GOPe), who needs enemies? No wonder we call it the Stupid Party.

This is how you lose the House and Senate, boys.  The Democrats know that you have to close ranks and maintain party discipline (they’re very Soviet in that way).  The GOPe has a problem understanding that survival as the reigning political party requires adhering to the party line, booting people from the party who won’t toe that line, and backing the president to the hilt when he’s from your party, regardless of what you think of him as a human being.

Peters in particular is an egregious ass, with his statement that Fox is acting as a “propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.”

You can be as patriotic as you want and you can be as honest as the day is long, but the fact of the matter is that politics is our great national sausage machine — and if you can’t deal with the way sausage is made, maybe you ought to stay the hell out of the political commentariat.

Besides, if Trump is so “destructive and ethically ruinous”, why hasn’t Special Counsel Mueller managed to toss anything at him that sticks?  Mueller has no reason to handle Trump with kid gloves, and plenty of reason (he’s a Democrat, you know) to do otherwise. It’s clear that there was no Russian meddling in our elections (or, if there was, it was mistimed and completely ineffective), and it’s just as clear that there was no soi-disant “collusion” between the Trump organization and the Russians…but plenty of evidence that a whole bunch of Democrats, up to and including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were awash to their necks in nefarious dealings with the very same Russians.  Can you say “Uranium One”?  Of course you can.  If you can find the news articles about it in our left-wing press.

I won’t even discuss what John McCain has to say because John McCain is a dying and possibly borderline-senile old man who believes he should have been president.  Anything he says at this point about a sitting Republican president is sour grapes and has to be viewed in that light.  I respect the hell out of John McCain for his service (and time as a POW) in the military, but I’ve never really respected him as a Republican senator, and it’s high time he was removed from his comfy seat in the Senate by the good people of the State of Arizona, who could probably do a lot better.  He’s a shining example of someone who’s been in government far too long (31 years this coming November) and it shows.

The fact is, after eight years of Barack Obama, what exactly did either of these men expect?  No normal GOP politician would have had a chance in hell of beating Hillary Clinton, because no normal GOP politician would get out and fight for the job like Donald Trump did.  The fact that Trump won as many votes as he did is testament to the fact that people on the right are sick and tired of the pale, stale political pablum served up by the GOP establishment — a thin gruel, indeed! — and they, like Lincoln before them, could not spare this man — “He fights.”

What’s truly sad about the GOP is that so few of their tenured officeholders got primaried out of their seats in the last cycle, and we’ve been treated to another round of the same old same old by the GOPe.  And now a bunch of them are probably going to simply lose those seats to the Dumbs in November, which is hardly an optimal result.  You want a Constitutional crisis?  Because that’s how you get a Constitutional crisis.

No thanks to people like John McCain and Ralph Peters, we’re probably going to get one.  Hang on tight, folks, and keep your powder dry.  This ride ain’t over yet.

UPDATE, 21 Mar 2018:

________________________
* There may be a reason Peters retired as a LTC — who retires as an LTC?  The one I know personally at least got a promotion to full bird when he retired.

The Kozinsky allegations smell ever so slightly of fish.

The latest attempt to take a head in the Great Sexual Harassment Orgy of 2017 is directed against a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Alex Kozinski.  Yeah, OK, it’s the Ninth Circus, so what?  As it turns out, a lot what.  About this, I wrote elsewhere, in response to a comment that implied Kozinski was little more than an incompetent liberal activist:

For what it’s worth, this guy was appointed by Ronald Reagan. I don’t think he’s a liberal activist in the pure sense of the term. If you look at his Wikipedia entry, the decisions he’s been influential in haven’t been liberal wins. He’s pro-death penalty, for one thing, with the interesting twist that he doesn’t believe in lethal injection, but prefers firing squads, the electric chair, the gas chamber, etc. In Wood v Ryan, he wrote in dissent, “Sure, firing squads can be messy, but if we are willing to carry out executions, we should not shield ourselves from the reality that we are shedding human blood. If we, as a society, cannot stomach the splatter from an execution carried out by firing squad, then we shouldn’t be carrying out executions at all.” That squares with my own long-held opinion that if you’re going to execute someone for a capital crime, do it in the public square.

Now, none of that means it’s impossible for him to be a sleazy scumball who hits on his female clerks, but as usual, I find it interesting that these ladies waited so long to make their allegations, and also that “many” other women who clerked for him say that they were never approached in this way. The WaPo article says, “The Post reached out to dozens of Kozinski’s former clerks and externs for this report. Many of those who returned messages said that they experienced no harassment of any kind and that their experience — which entailed grueling work into the wee hours of the morning every day — was a rewarding one. They noted Kozinski’s wry sense of humor.”

Again, not saying that proves his innocence, but I for one am raising an eyebrow at the very least — and this goes right along with my previous post this morning:  “This business will get out of control — it will get out of control, and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”

With all due respect to Admiral Fred Thompson, it’s already out of control.  We’re just in the “sit back and eat popcorn” phase.  I sure hope Roy Moore wins tomorrow — I want to see the left go even more completely apeshit than they already are.

Too late!

In re: the latest allegation of a poor defenseless girl woman being abused by Roy Moore:

Funny that she waited till the day before the election, if this happened “months ago”.  And that she’s now apparently “protected” her tweets from being viewed by the great unwashed.

Young millennial women are clearly too fragile to be allowed to work in journalism, or anywhere outside the home.

“I can kill you with a thought.”

The WSJ had a big scolding editorial this morning about how Trump needs to repudiate Roy Moore because they think the Dems put Trump in check by forcing Franken’s ouster.  The problem with that is their deadline was last night, and Franken’s announcement wasn’t till this morning…

So I have to wonder how that crow they’re eating right now tastes, given that Franken was a total ass about the whole thing, and didn’t actually resign today? Instead, he gave himself a wide window to defenestrate, er, change his mind. And you never know, Roy Moore might lose yet.

The WSJ thinks Trump is playing chess with the Dems. He’s not playing chess. He’s playing four-dimensional galactic troll kriegspiel, and the WSJ hasn’t figured that out yet, much less the Dems.

Musings on all that sexy boozy druggy stuff in the Nation’s Crapital [sic]

It occurs to me that the depth and scope of the scandal now brewing in Washington, DC, amongst our Nation’s Finest *eyeroll* (otherwise known as our Congresscritters and Senileators) is the product of our permanent, year-round government.

It used to be that Congress met for short periods to do the nation’s business — not to simply do the nation, as seems to be all too prevalent these days — and went home to tend their farms or businesses or law practices or whatever illegality they practiced that brought them to the attention of their state legislators (Senileators, before the 17th Amendment *spit*) or the Great Unwashed who balloted for them at the local polls (Congresscritters).  In part, this was due to the genius of the Founders and Framers, who placed the national capital in a fetid, malarial, unlivable swamp in a day when air conditioning was unknown.  If you think that wasn’t done on purpose, you may want to guess again.  The Founders/Framers knew the danger of letting people spend too much time loitering in the corridors of power.

Damn Willis Carrier, anyway.

The fact that the people’s business has become a year-round, full-time job, with elected officials living in the Capital and (sometimes) not even maintaining a real home in their district, seems to have created and nurtured a class of elites with far too much spare time on their hands and far too much power to be trusted not to be tempted by the availability of all that…well, I hate to say, “free pussy”, because some of these soi-disant elites are female, and some of them of both sexes bat for the other team, as it were.  And the perception of all of it being “free” is, of course, in the mind of the beholder — and as we are finding out lately, not so much in the mind of the beholden.

The fact is, our elected representatives are, with a few notable exceptions, vile and disgusting people who ought to be ridden out of the country on a rail.  And if they didn’t spend all of their time away from home, their predilections (not to mention their depredations) would be a lot more obvious to the people who send them to Washington.  On top of that, they’d have to actually work for a living, so they might better understand the plight of the “little people” (again, those who, you know, VOTE for them).

As an American, there is nothing that makes me more ill than a career politician.  Unless perhaps it’s a career politician who thinks he or she is immune from sanction for activities that would get the rest of us fired from our jobs for even thinking about.  Take that fat slob Al Franken, for instance — apologizing but not resigning from the Senate like any decent reasonable guilty human being found to be compromised by such a situation would do.  He’ll be lucky if the people he represents don’t do his resigning for him the next time he stands for election.  (And here again, Franken becomes yet another poster child for the repeal of the 17th Amendment, right up there along with Elizabeth “Fauxcohontas” Warren and — much as I hate to malign a true American hero — that traitor to his party John McCain.)

Then there are Congresscritters like John Conyers who make term limits seem like an obvious addition to the Constitution — given that today’s voters can’t seem to simply toss them out like yesterday’s newspaper.  In what actual Framer’s mind did the idea of spending 52+ years in the House of Representatives make a lick of sense?  And Conyers isn’t the longest serving Congresscritter ever, either — he’s #3.  John Dingell was in Congress for over 59 years.  Jamie Whitten was in Congress for 53 years plus.  Of course Conyers has #1 seniority for those currently serving in the House.  Don Young is #2 with nearly 45 years.  Jim Sensenbrenner is #3 with nearly 39 years.  Hal Rogers, Chris Smith, and Steny Hoyer round out the currently-serving seniority list with over 36 years each.

That’s too fucking long.  These people are ossified in place and cannot possibly have any clue about the people they actually represent.  The Framers anticipated that a man might serve a couple of terms in the House, certainly no more than one or two terms in the Senate, and then go home to resume living his live — in the mold of our home-grown Cincinnatus, George Washington, who left office after two terms as President and WENT THE FUCK HOME.

People today don’t realize how badass it was for Washington to simply drop the reins of power, pick up the reins of his horse, and leave Philadelphia only rarely to look back.  The only thing he did post-retirement was accept a commission as lieutenant general from John Adams so he could serve as Commander-in-chief of the armies in case of what looked like an imminent war with France.  That commission lasted 17 months until his death and the war with France never materialized — and he delegated most of the work to Alexander Hamilton.  His example of short tenure followed by a return to civil life was so revered that the two-term presidential limit held without need for codification until Franklin Roosevelt thought so well of himself that he broke the rule and ran for a third and fourth re-election.  That quickly led to a Constitutional amendment formally limiting the President to two consecutive elected terms — it was said, to prevent Truman from capitalizing on Roosevelt’s violation of the tradition, and running for a third term (which would actually have been his second elected term, since his first term was most of Roosevelt’s fourth).  The fact is, Truman probably just wanted to get the hell out of Washington and go back to Missouri at that point, but that didn’t matter to the Republicans who held Congress at the time.

Unfortunately, Congress didn’t see fit to limit itself at the same time.  And today we have the mess that we have.  On top of that, we have the 18-20 year old set voting, which I’ve thought was a mistake since I was old enough to vote.  Nobody my age had any business voting in 1978, although it was nice to be able to cast a vote for Reagan just before my 21st birthday.

But what is most ridiculous about our system is that it enfranchises people who have no business voting because they are, to all intents and purposes, wards of the state.  Nobody on welfare of any kind should be voting — they have a vested interest in preserving the status quo of bread and circuses, and because they vote, the people who created our modern welfare state are still in charge of it, and still expanding it.  Nobody who doesn’t pay income taxes should vote — especially anyone who takes advantage of the Earned Income Credit or other dodges that help them avoid paying for the government services they receive.

Shoot, I’m not that many years from retirement, and I won’t be able to afford to live without Social Security payments, and I think anyone on Social Security should lose their vote, given that Social Security is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme rather than a real investment for one’s retirement.

If you subtracted out the people who receive government benefits from the eligible voter rolls, there would be a lot of Democrat ‘critters and senileators out looking for work, because there wouldn’t be enough votes to keep them in office.  And we wouldn’t need term limits, because the voters who were left wouldn’t put up with the bullshit that poses as representative government today.

And without the bullshit, and with people in office who actually viewed it as a public trust and not as a personal wealth and power generator, the kind of sleazy crap that is coming out of Washington today wouldn’t be happening.

At least I don’t think it would.

No matter how wonderful you think your Congresscritter or Senileator is, if he or she has been in office more than a couple of terms, and looks like they’re going to just keep running, it might be high time to primary them.

We can’t fix the problems in Washington without draining the swamp.  Trump gets that, and within his limited ability to man the pumps and clear the drains, he’s doing what he can.

Are you going to help, or are you just going to sit on your ass and keep re-electing the same failed, sleazy, lame-ass people to Congress?

The Framers left it in your hands.  Don’t let them down.

Let us now denigrate famous men

It occurs to me that every step taken to blot out the historical record by pulling down monuments and removing commemorative plaques, or rewriting history to teach that great men who happened to have flaws were simply flawed, and not great at all, misses the point of why we honor and remember them in the first place.  And reminds me that those men will never be forgotten by true patriots and lovers of liberty, regardless of how many statues are toppled and memorials are erased from human view.

Sure, Washington and Jefferson and many of the other Founding Fathers were slaveholders.  Benjamin Franklin, one of the most famous American Freemasons after George Washington himself, inventor, publisher, man of science, etc., was also known as (or was at least alleged to be) a great rake, who enjoyed the voluptuous and frequent company of women not his wife.  John Dickinson, a member of the Continental Congress while it debated the great question of Independence, refused to sign that document, because he saw himself as a British subject, not as a rebellious colonial, and believed that the issues between the colonies and Great Britain could be worked out without resorting to the clash of arms — yet he returned home to Pennsylvania and took up arms against the British invaders regardless, being made a brigadier general of the Pennsylvania Militia, and fought with honor even as he was denigrated for his attitude on independence.

[Edit 11/3/2017 to add:] Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence with all of its soaring words about freedom and liberty and the rights of man, was nevertheless a slave-holder.  Yet he nearly derailed the adoption of his own magnum opus (and the cause of independence with it) over his insistence that it must include a passage charging George III with perpetuating the slave trade, stating in part, “This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain” — a passage he was forced, in the end, to remove, in order to gain the acquiescence of the Southern colonies.  And he railed against slavery all of his life, while keeping his own slaves to work his land until he freed them all at his death — a pragmatic and somewhat cynical nod to the idea that he would not survive financially if he had to pay them for their labor.  Yet today he is scorned by some not only because he was a slave-holder, but because (reputedly, and backed up to some extent by genetic research) he had the gall to dally with one of his slaves (and produce children with her) after the death of his beloved wife Martha.  The people who huff about his relationship with Sally Hemings usually tend to class him along with common rapists, claiming that as a slave, she had no choice in the matter.1

Benedict Arnold was a great general and leader of men, and also a traitor.  He is remembered today more for the latter than for the former, but readers of history know that his leadership was crucial to American victories before he turned his coat.  As much as Americans despise a traitor, we yet remember him, even as we spit at his name.

Robert E. Lee served the United States honorably, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army before the Civil War began.  This was in a day and age when the loyalty of many a man remained primarily to his state rather than to the United States as a whole, because that was how the Federal Constitution was written.2  His family held slaves; he was a slaveholder.  Yet he fought honorably for his state and ultimately for the Confederacy to which his state had cleaved, not for the institution of slavery per se.  At the end of the Civil War, he did the best he could for the men who served under him, urging them to sign the amnesty petition and not to take to the hills as guerrilla fighters continuing to battle for the Cause, now irrevocably lost.  He himself petitioned for amnesty and signed the amnesty oath, not that it did him any good; his amnesty oath (dated October 2, 1865) would be lost for over a hundred years and finally found bundled with a stack of State Department papers in the National Archives in 1970.  His status as a full citizen of the United States was restored posthumously in 1975, backdated to the date on the amnesty petition, June 13, 1865.  That it took so long for this to happen was simply a matter of malice and spite, as the Secretary of State at the time could simply have approved it and been done.  But that wasn’t the way William Seward operated.  And Lee wasn’t going to ask twice.

Ask any grunt Southern soldier why he was fighting the Yankees.  He would have told you it was for his rights.  He didn’t own any slaves, and he wasn’t the rich owner of a big plantation (if he was lucky, he might be a sharecropper farming 40 rented acres and his family nearly starving to death in the process).  But he had a sense of honor, and that sense of honor had been pricked by a bunch of damn Yankees trying to tell his state, and by extension, him, how to live — and then having the gall to make war on him to force him to live that way.3

On the other hand, we practically deify Abraham Lincoln — or we did till the other day, anyway — for freeing the slaves and saving the Union, yet Lincoln himself said that if he could save the Union without freeing a single slave, he would do so.

But ask any Northerner of the day — or any Millennial alive today who has had the misfortune to be educated in our public schools and universities — why the South seceded and went to war, and they’ll tell you it was because of slavery.

Because slavery was evil, and the men who owned slaves were evil, and the South was beaten and the Confederacy destroyed because the righteous Northerners were on a crusade to stomp out slavery, that horrendous institution originated by Americans —

Well, now, wait a minute.

They can believe that all they want, but the fact of the matter is, slavery has been an institution in the world since Og bashed Gog over the head with a club and forced him to do his bidding.  All of the early civilizations utilized slavery.  The Greeks and the Romans, those great democrats and republicans, had slaves.  Egyptians had ’em — who built the Pyramids?  Jews have an entire holiday dedicated to their escape from Egyptian slavery.  And the list goes on.  There is practically no civilization in history, up until modern times, that didn’t institutionalize slavery in some form or another.4  And slavery, institutionalized or not, continues to be a problem all over the world.

The African slaves who made it to American shores were, like as not, members of tribes conquered by other tribes and then sold by their conquerers to the white men in the ships, who rarely if ever ventured past the beach.  Arab slavers from northern Africa had no scruples about buying the human spoils of tribal wars, either, and then selling them on to whoever would pony up the price.

The slave trade to the Americas largely withered after the British Navy began its official policy of suppression.  Moreover, the importation of slaves into the United States ceased as of 1808, due to the agreement by the Founding Fathers that after that date, the Congress could prohibit it.  (It’s in the Constitution.  See Article I, Section 9.)  So after 1808, slaveholders were limited to the slaves they had on hand — not that slaves couldn’t procreate, but look, folks, that’s a slow process of increase no matter what.  Certainly it’s a lot slower than bringing slaves in by the shipload to Charleston or Savannah.

OK, so what?  What about these supposedly great men who nevertheless owned slaves?  How can we honor them as great Founders or heroes when they lived high and mighty off the labor and sweat of men who were not free?  That’s offensive to modern sensibilities!

With all due respect:  Fuck your modern sensibilities.

When I was in college, as a history major and later as a graduate student of history, I was taught that in order to do history properly, one had to leave their preconceived notions at the door and rely solely on the historical record as it was presented in primary texts and the physical record.  Even secondary texts were suspect, to a degree, because they were subject to the author’s bias.  The late historian Paul Fussell embodied the philosophy in this way:

Understanding the past requires pretending that you don’t know the present. It requires feeling its own pressure on your pulses without any ex post facto illumination.

The fact is that these were all men of honor — even Arnold, until his treason (which was largely the fault of his overly-large, insufficiently-stroked ego), and Lee (who believed in a Cause — namely, the defense of what he saw as the rights of the people to live as they saw fit, not as some faceless government ordained).  The further fact is that slavery was simply what it was.  No slave owner was in the business of oppression for oppression’s sake, unless he was simply a sadist who didn’t care that he was laying waste to his own personal economy.  Indeed, by the time the Civil War rolled around and put paid to slavery (not to mention the lives of well over 600,000 Americans on both sides), there’s a good historical chance that slavery would have ended on its own within another generation.  That’s because farming cotton or any other crop was going to be financially ruinous to the plantation owners who tried to do so with slave labor, as opposed to their competitors who could get a lot more done for a lot less money by investing in mechanization.5  Prior to Sumter, it wasn’t the government or the Army that was going to end slavery, it was Eli Whitney’s cotton gin.

“So, Mr. Curmudgeon,” you say, “are you really saying that it would have been better to let slavery run on for another 30 or 40 years than to end it right then and there in 1865?  What kind of monster are you, anyway?”

First, I ain’t no monster.  Second, yes, that is precisely what I’m saying.  It would have been better because it would have been gradual.  It would have (in my opinion) prevented the rise of the Klan; it would have prevented the disaster known as Reconstruction; it would have resulted in better relations between the races; and it would not have resulted in the deaths of so many fine American men on the field of battle.  Think of the possibilities:  No Jim Crow.  No Brown v. Board.  No need to send the National Guard in to ensure that black children could attend public schools.  No Civil Rights Act (it wouldn’t have been needed, because it was already anticipated by the 14th Amendment).  No Great Society (which wasn’t needed anyway; it just made things worse).  No inner-city ghettos (to my point).

Possibly a lot fewer bigots on both sides of the race divide.6

And none of this burning desire to destroy history simply because it makes people feel icky.  Man up, for God’s sake.

But back to my point about men of honor.

Let’s look at the Founding Fathers.  Men of honor, most of them veterans of the Revolution, the ones who weren’t (because of age or whatever reason) were nevertheless viewed as respected philosophers and thinkers of the day.

They devised a system of government that served us well until certain elements subverted its clear meaning in order to enslave the people.

They were, as a group, probably the most amazing assemblage of intellect and reason since … since … well, since ever.  And certainly no similar group has appeared since.  (Possibly they were all aliens, or time travelers from the far future.  Who knows?)

Certainly they had more honesty and integrity in their little fingers than our entire current Congress has in all 535 of its bodies.

They believed in freedom.  They believed in the truth of the Biblical verse that every man should sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and that none should be afraid.  They believed that all men were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that no king, prince, or potentate could deny those God-given rights.

Some of the slave owners among them vowed to free their slaves, and some of them did.  (We’ll not think less of them for waiting to do so until they had passed away.)

They had a vision of America as a shining city on a hill, a new Jerusalem, a new start for free men in a free society united by patriotism, brotherhood, and the love of God.

And because of all this, the places where they visited and certain items associated with them became almost holy.  Even if George Washington didn’t really sleep at your inn, you would be excused the untruth, because everyone revered Washington and knew that you must revere him, too, or you wouldn’t put up the sign that said he did.7

So you take a church in Alexandria, Virginia, where both George Washington and Robert Lee belonged and attended divine service.  In 1870, the year Lee died, the congregation thought enough of both men to erect plaques honoring them in the sanctuary of the church.  And nobody has said boo about that since that time (so far as we know).  But in 2017, with every liberal moron in the country screaming about how awful it is that we actually have statues and monuments honoring Confederate generals and soldiers and victories — because of all that awful slaveholding that most of them didn’t actually have any part of — now comes Christ Church of Alexandria with an announcement that those plaques, honoring two of their own former parishioners, will be removed sometime in the next year and will be relocated elsewhere in the church.

Just because both of them owned slaves, and I suppose because one of them fought a war that wasn’t really about slavery as much as it was about whether or not the Federal Constitution afforded states the kind of rights the Southern states believed it did — up to and including the right to say, “to hell with that,” and leave the Union.  After all, they had to agree to join the Union, and there’s nothing in the document that says they can’t leave.  The powers not enumerated in the Constitution are reserved to the States and to the people, and the document doesn’t say “no secession”.  Go look.  I’ll wait.8

But again, that’s not the point.

The members of the church in 1870 wanted the two men honored in the sanctuary.  What of their wishes?  What would they say if they could speak from their graves?

Remember what Fussell said.  You can’t understand history if you insist on looking at it through the biases of your own time and your own experiences.  If you think either man was unworthy of recognition because he owned slaves, your bias is showing.  You cannot respect those churchmen who decided to honor two of their own because you have refused to put yourself in their place.

Let us now praise famous men.

That is what they would have said, along with statements about honor and patriotism and forgiveness.  Turning the other cheek, and all that good stuff.  Accepting Lee’s remorse for what he had done.  Understanding that both men were men of their times — times in which slavery was acceptable, until suddenly it wasn’t.

Succeeding generations honored that legacy.

Until they didn’t.

And our history fades, monument by monument, statue by statue, plaque by plaque.  When they come for the history books, let me know; because our liberty won’t be far behind.

In volumes two and three of his magnum opus, The Civil War: A Narrative, Shelby Foote caused the following to be printed as an epigraph.

 

ALL THESE WERE HONOURED IN THEIR GENERATIONS AND WERE THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES
THERE BE OF THEM THAT HAVE LEFT A NAME BEHIND THEM
THAT THEIR PRAISES MIGHT BE REPORTED
AND SOME THERE BE WHICH HAVE NO MEMORIAL
WHO ARE PERISHED AS THOUGH THEY HAD NEVER BEEN
AND ARE BECOME AS THOUGH THEY HAD NEVER BEEN BORN
AND THEIR CHILDREN AFTER THEM
BUT THESE WERE MERCIFUL MEN
WHOSE RIGHTEOUSNESS HATH NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN
WITH THEIR SEED SHALL CONTINUALLY REMAIN
A GOOD INHERITANCE
AND THEIR CHILDREN ARE WITHIN THE COVENANT
THEIR SEED STANDETH FAST
AND THEIR CHILDREN FOR THEIR SAKES
THEIR SEED SHALL REMAIN FOR EVER
AND THEIR GLORY SHALL NOT BE BLOTTED OUT
THEIR BODIES ARE BURIED IN PEACE
BUT THEIR NAME LIVETH FOREVERMORE
Ecclesiasticus xliv

You may or may not recognize it.  I’ve alluded to the passage already, above:  “Let us now praise famous men” is its first verse.  This quote is verses 7 through 14.  It comes from the Apocrypha, the book called variously Ecclesiasticus, or The Wisdom of Sirach, and it must have struck a chord with Foote, as the second volume of his history is concerned with many battles between great armies, resulting in thousands of casualties and deaths — mostly of “some there be which have no memorial, who are perished as though they had never been born.”

Of Washington and Lee, and our other “famous men” of history, only the future can tell whether the same will be their fate.

Yet all these were honored in their generations, and were the glory of their times.

These were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.

No matter how many monuments and statues and plaques and books are destroyed, as long as we remember them, their glory shall not be blotted out.  Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name liveth forevermore.

So mote it be.

_________________

1 Her descendants don’t seem to take this attitude, unless I’m missing something.

2 It still is, even though states have surrendered most of their autonomy to the Federal government.  While many Americans today inaccurately peg the beginning of that slide to FDR’s New Deal, in point of fact it began with Abraham Lincoln and the extension of federal control made necessary in order to fight the Civil War.  Historians also note a subtle change in language at about the same time; while prior to the Civil War, it was normal to read “The United States are“, that is, the nation referred to as a collective plural, after the War the country was referred to by the more familiar (to us) singular form:  “The United States is“.  I contend that this is at least partly why modern Americans have so much trouble understanding how any person born in the antebellum world could have held his loyalty to his state above his loyalty to his country.  The states were (and would be today, if they had the spine to stand up to federal usurpation of their prerogatives) no less than independent nations that had bound themselves together for mutual defense and the promotion of personal and economic liberty.

3 Never mind that the South fired the first shots, and that a rich plantation owner and legislator from Virginia, a fiery advocate of secession, was offered the opportunity to fire the first cannon at Fort Sumter; he at least had the decency to decline, declaring that he could not fire the first gun of the war.

4 The point could be made that it’s still an institution in North Korea.

5 See also: Cliometrics.

6 My only hesitation in making such sweeping statements is what the white man did to the red man in the wake of the Civil War.  Would we have still gone to war against the Indians and forced them to choose between life on the rez and death?  Fuck me, I don’t know.  Humans being humans, I figure the chances are about even either way.

7 After all, what was it people said?  “Well, you know, he slept everywhere.”  With a knowing nod and wink.

8 Not that I agree that you can; we sort of settled that in 1865.  The answer is, “No, and if you try, we’ll send in Federal troops to end you.”  So California and Texas can both take a flying leap if they think they’re going to secede.  Not that we hear much from Texas about secession since Barry left office, but the fruits and nuts in California have taken up that banner now that Trump is prez.  It never ends.

 

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