The Politics of Liberal Economic Policies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 18th, 2013

Economics 101

What doesn’t Kill You Makes you Stronger

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  And you can see that in military basic training.  There have been some good movies showing what military basic training is like.  Perhaps one of the best is Full Metal Jacket.  Where Gunnery Sergeant Hartman played by R. Lee Ermey wasn’t acting as much as reliving his days as a Marine Corps drill instructor.  Watching it you may come to hate Sergeant Hartman for he was pretty sadistic.  But they didn’t design basic training to be a pleasant experience.  They designed it to prepare recruits for the worst thing in the world.  War.

In the miniseries Band of Brothers we follow Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, from basic training through D-Day and to the end of the war.  Airborne training followed basic training.  And was harder.  Fewer people make it through airborne training than they do basic training.  Ranger training is even harder.  And fewer people make it through Ranger training.  But airborne units and Rangers get the more difficult missions in combat.  Because they can do more.  For their training is more difficult.  But it didn’t kill them.  So it made them stronger.

Perhaps the most difficult military training is the Navy’s SEAL program.  Where if they get a good class of recruits they may have 1 in 10 complete training.  For it is that hard.  In fact, some have died in training because they refused to give up.  That’s why you will find few tougher than a Navy SEAL.  They are tough.  And they never quit.  Which is why we give them the most difficult missions to complete.  Missions that others would find impossible.  Proving that the more brutal and difficult training is the stronger and more able we get.

During the 20th Century the American Left has tried to replace Rugged Individualism with the Nanny State

Those who founded this nation were tough people who worked hard and never gave up.  They provided their own housing, food, clothing, etc.  If they needed something they figured out how to provide it for themselves.  They worked long hours.  Survived brutal winters and hostile environments.  But they never gave up.  In fact, they raised families while doing all of this.  With no help from government.  As there were no government benefits.  Yet they survived.  Even prospered.  For what didn’t kill them only made them stronger.  These rugged individuals could do anything.  And did.  Which is why the United States is the leader of the free world.  And the world’s number one economy.  Because of that rugged individualism.

This is the way America was before the progressives came and softened us.  And made rugged individualism somehow a bad thing.  Beginning with Woodrow Wilson.  Then FDR.  LBJ.  And then President Obama.  A long line of American presidents who eschewed individualism.  And thought in collective terms.  When the Americans rejected socialism they gave us progressivism.  When we rejected communism they gave us liberalism.  The 20th century has been a tireless attempt for those on the left to replace rugged individualism with the nanny state.  With their brilliant selves in power.  Managing the economy.  And making life fair.  To undo the unfairness of laissez-faire capitalism.  To make the United States better.  And more according to their vision.  Just like the socialists did.  And the communists did.  Yet no socialist or communist state became the leader of the free world.  Or the world’s number one economy.

Those who lived in those socialist and communist utopias learned one thing.  It was better to live someplace else.  And their ultimate destination?  The United States.  Yet those on the left refused to believe that life was worse in those states where they put people first instead of profits.  Like that unfeeling and cruel laissez-faire capitalism did.  Which is why Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Obama worked tirelessly to move the United States in the direction of socialism and communism.  Because they cared for the people.  Or the power they got by making so many people dependent on government.

Someone receiving a Comfortable Level of Benefits will not be pushed to Leave their Comfort Zone

So is it about the power or that thing about helping people?  What is it exactly that progressives/liberals really want?  Well, we can look at the historical record to determine that.  By looking at a point in time when America really changed.  With the assassination of JFK.  JFK’s chances of reelection weren’t great.  Which is why he went to Texas.  As he needed LBJ to deliver Texas to the Democrats.  Instead of electoral victory, though, he fell to an assassin’s bullet.  The great outpouring of grief and love for their fallen president exceeded the love he got before the assassination.  The heightened emotions allowed LBJ to pass the many programs of the Great Society into law.  In the memory of JFK.  The greatest expansion of the federal government since FDR’s New Deal.  Making the welfare state the largest yet.  In an attempt to put people first.  Not profits.  In fact, LBJ declared a war on poverty.  By providing government assistance to lift everyone out of poverty.  And he championed civil rights.  LBJ was going to make the United States that utopia socialists and communists always dreamt about.  For everyone.  Blacks.  And whites.  Especially blacks.  Who were suffering great discrimination then.  But things would be different for them.  Starting in the Sixties everything was going to get better.  And how are blacks doing today?  Well, if you use employment as a measure, not good (see Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age by the Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Unemplyment Rates by Race Age Sex Rev 2

The federal government has done a lot for blacks.  More than any other minority group.  Affirmative Action was to correct all past wrongs.  By making it easier to get into college.  And to get a job.  Yet we don’t see that when looking at the unemployment numbers.  In fact, the group the government does the least for—white men—is doing the best.  They don’t need any help because they won life’s lottery.  By being born white.  According to liberals.  So there’s no Affirmative Action for them.  Yet they have half the unemployment rate black men have.  While white women have half the unemployment rate black women have.  And white 16-19 year olds have half the unemployment rate black 16-19 year olds have.  Brilliant progressives/liberals have been trying to make life better for blacks for 50 some years now and have failed.  Despite this blacks have never been more loyal to them.  Which answers the question what the Democrats care more for.  The people?  Or the power the people give them.  By getting them dependent on government.  Who they tell over and over again that they would have nothing if it weren’t for them.  The Democrats.  For blacks just can’t make it on their own without help.  Even though after receiving all of that help blacks are suffering the greatest levels of unemployment.  Clearly something isn’t right here.  And it goes back to that thing that made America great.  Rugged individualism.

You know what the difference is between a white SEAL and a black SEAL?  Nothing.  Blacks have equality of opportunity in SEAL training.  And that’s all they need.  They don’t need special treatment.  And the Navy doesn’t tell them that they do.  All they need is the strength.  And the will.  Which will be there if you don’t keep telling people that they can’t succeed without the government’s help.  Because if you keep doing that they will come to believe that.  And they will keep voting Democrat.  Looking for help.  Whereas those who face adversity and overcome it grow stronger.  Because what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger.

Handing out government benefits will make people like you.  But it won’t get them a job.  For someone receiving a comfortable level of benefits will not be pushed to leave their comfort zone.  And while they languish in their comfort zone they will not gain work experience.  Allowing others to gain experience and move up in their careers.  Making them more employable.  While those with less experience and less education are less employable.  And that’s what Democrats do when they buy votes with government benefits.  Make people less employable.  And blacks have been especially useful to them.  As they can stoke the fires of racism to drive blacks even further to the Democrat Party.  By calling Republicans racists.  Because they want to take away their benefits.  Just because they hate black people.  Or so goes the Democrat line.  So they keep voting Democrat.  While losing their rugged individualism.  And suffering higher levels of unemployment than everyone else.

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Osama bin Laden is Dead

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 2nd, 2011

SEAL Team Six

Early reports credit SEAL Team Six with the take down of Osama bin Laden.  Despite losing a helicopter, they executed the mission with extreme precision.  Which is the way SEALs like to do it.  A grateful thanks goes out to all our men and women in the armed forces, especially those in the Special Forces community.  Much of what they do never ‘officially’ happens.  So they are truly America’s unsung heroes.  And a special thanks goes out to Navy SEAL and Rogue Warrior Richard Marcinko.  He created SEAL Team Six and made it the potent asset it is today.  It’s not easy to become a SEAL.  And Marcinko made it harder still to get into SEAL Team Six.  A lot of what they do isn’t humanly possible.  And yet they do it.  Because that’s their business.  Doing the impossible.

A Work in Progress

Number 1 on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list took awhile to find.  Starting in the Clinton administration even before 9/11.  Yes, he was killing Americans before 9/11.  There were the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.  And the 2000 USS Cole bombing.  Then came 9/11.  Which intensified the manhunt (see Getting Osama bin Laden: How the mission went down by Mike Allen posted 5/2/2011 on Politico).

In the biggest break in a global pursuit of bin Laden that stretched back to the Clinton administration, the U.S. discovered the compound by following one of the terrorist’s personal couriers, identified by terrorist detainees as one of the few al Qaeda couriers who bin Laden trusted.

“They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden,” a senior administration official told reporters on a midnight conference call. “Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, or his nickname, and identified him as both a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11th, and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the former number three of al Qaeda who was captured in 2005.”

Officials didn’t learn the courier’s name until 2007. Then it took two years to find him and track him back to this compound, which was discovered in August 2010.

It was this courier that led us to bin Laden.  Identifying him was key.  So important that President Bush authorized some forceful interrogation techniques (see Woman who died as a human shield was one of bin Laden’s wives: White House posted 5/2/2011 on The Toronto Star).

Torture and interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Romania and Poland extracted the courier’s name from Mohammed and his successor, Abu Faraj Al Libi, the Associated Press reported.

Former U.S. president George W. Bush had authorized the CIA to use torture; Obama closed the prison system.

Which of course led us not to some cave in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.  But inside Pakistan.  In relative comfort (see US kills Osama bin Laden decade after 9/11 attacks by Kimberly Dozier and David Espo, Associated Press, posted 5/2/2011 on Yahoo! News).

Long believed to be hiding in caves, bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy…

The compound is about a half-mile from a Pakistani military academy, in a city that is home to three army regiments and thousands of military personnel. Abbottabad is surrounded by hills and with mountains in the distance.

Critics have long accused elements of Pakistan’s security establishment of protecting bin Laden, though Islamabad has always denied it, and in a statement the foreign ministry said his death showed the country’s resolve in the battle against terrorism.

Still, bin Laden’s location raised pointed questions of whether Pakistani authorities knew the whereabouts of the world’s most wanted man.

And there he was.  Hiding in our ally’s back yard.  With all the comforts of home.  Including a wife or two.  For years.  And all that time not that far from under our very noses.  Was Pakistan complicit?  Time will tell.  Of course, Muslims helping Westerners to hunt down and kill Muslims is a tricky business.  Helping Americans isn’t exactly in their best interests.  They may have been hiding him.  But there were no communication lines going into that compound.  The only contact with the outside world was via those couriers.  So, yes, he was there.  But what exactly was he doing while he was there?  Probably not a lot.  So even though he wasn’t in Gitmo or dead, he may have been, for all intents and purposes, neutralized.  Which would have helped American national security interests.

From Osama bin Laden to Egypt

So bin Laden is dead.  Does it change much?  Perhaps.  But not in the way most would think.  Since 9/11 bin Laden hasn’t been all that active.  It’s hard to be active when you’re always hiding.  The real al Qaeda threat of late has been in Yemen.  Not Afghanistan.  The recent attempts (the underwear bomber and the printer cartridge bombs) were launched from Yemen.  So killing bin Laden may actually have a negative impact on U.S. security.  Because it brought him back from relative obscurity.  Perhaps offering a rallying call for our enemies.  Especially when the U.S. acted unilaterally inside a sovereign Muslim Pakistan.  Where the local population doesn’t much like the U.S. to begin with. 

Osama bin Laden may still have been active.  And taking him out sends a message to other terrorists.  But it is a distraction from more disturbing developments in the Middle East.  In Egypt to be specific.  Where a whole lot of change is happening.  Some of which may not be for the good.  Such as the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Opening the Gaza border crossing.  Their brokering a unity deal between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  And Egypt’s move to normalize relations with Iran.  Little good can come from these developments.  And a lot bad can.  So, yes, bin Laden got what he deserved.  But the developing theater in the War on Terror may now be in the Middle East.

Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood Condemn the Killing of Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden was a Saudi.  ‘Was’ being the operative wood.  The Saudis were glad to see him go (see Saudi hopes bin Laden death will aid terror fight by Mahmoud Habboush, Cynthia Johnston, Joseph Logan and Mark Heinrich, posted 5/2/2011 on Reuters).

“An official source expressed the hope of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist al Qaeda organization would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism,” the news agency said.

It added that Riyadh hoped that bin Laden’s demise would also help break up al Qaeda cells and eliminate the “misguided thought” it said was drives militancy.

He and the Wahhabi sect had been a problem for the Saudi kingdom.  They were glad to get rid of him first from the kingdom.  Then from the living.  And when the U.S. offered them bin Laden’s body for burial they refused.  They did not want him buried in Saudi soil.  But not everyone in the Middle East shared Saudi opinion (see Hamas condemns killing of al-Qa’ida leader by Reuters posted 5/2/2011 on The Independent).

Hamas condemned on Monday the US killing of Osama bin Laden as the assassination of an Arab holy warrior, differing sharply with the Palestinian Authority, the Islamist group’s partner in a new unity deal.

“We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs,” Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters. ..

Hamas, classified by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group over its violence against Israel, is due to sign a unity deal this week in Cairo with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s more secular Fatah movement.

Israel has condemned the agreement, saying it could sabotage any efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians. The deal envisages an interim unity government comprised of independents and Palestinian elections later in the year.

This is no surprise that Hamas would condemn bin Laden’s killing.  They share his hatred of Americans.  And the State of Israel.  What is troubling, though, is the unity deal between the secular Fatah in the West Bank and the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Especially with that unity deal being brokered in post-Mubarak Egypt.  This is very troubling indeed.  For the Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel.  Which is still in the charter.  Which begs the question, what will be a unified Hamas/Fatah position on Israel?  Especially now that the Muslim Brotherhood, who supports that proviso in the Hamas charter, is ascendant in Egypt.  Perhaps we can learn by the Muslim Brotherhood’s reaction to the killing of bin Laden (see Egypt Muslim Brotherhood condemns Bin Laden death by the Associated Press posted 5/2/2011 on Yahoo! News).

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative organization with links around the Islamic world, has condemned the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces as an “assassination.”

The Brotherhood, which seeks the establishment of a state run according to Islamic principles through peaceful means, is Egypt’s most powerful and organized political movement.

Post-Mubarak Egypt is not looking good.  If current trends continue, it may be like exchanging a Mubarak-Egypt for another Iran.  On the all important Suez Canal.  And but a short walk from Israel.  Public enemy number one for radical Islam.  And let’s not forget that Iran is working on a nuclear program.

The Dawn of a new Islamist Day in Egypt?

It’s hard to find a bigger mistake in the Middle East than forcing Mubarak from office.  For Egypt has a lot more radical Islam fomenting in their populace than they do democracy.  Even bin Laden’s number two, Ayman Al-Zawahri, is an Egyptian.  And he may shortly become al Qaeda’s number one.  Which is cause for concern.  Because he’s not as nice a guy as Osama bin Laden was (see Egypt’s Al-Zawahri likely to succeed bin Laden by Hamza Hendawi and Lee Keath, Associated Press, posted 5/2/2011 on the Daily News Egypt).

With bin Laden killed, Ayman Al-Zawahri becomes the top candidate for the world’s top terror job.

It’s too early to tell how exactly Al-Qaeda would change with its founder and supreme mentor gone, but the group under Al-Zawahri would likely be further radicalized, unleashing a new wave of attacks to avenge bin Laden’s killing by US troops in Pakistan on Monday to send a message that it’s business as usual.

Yes, the mentor bin Laden was the less radical one.  The protégé, Al-Zawahri, may very well take it up a notch.  At least to avenge his mentor’s death.  Unless the U.S. gets to him first.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden Enemy No. 1 to the United States. But he likely could never have carried it out without Al-Zawahri. Bin Laden provided Al-Qaeda with the charisma and money, but Al-Zawahri brought the ideological fire, tactics and organizational skills needed to forge disparate militants into a network of cells in countries around the world.

“Al-Zawahri was always bin Laden’s mentor, bin Laden always looked up to him,” says terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University.

Osama bin Laden may have put out the call for jihad on 9/11.  By Al-Zawahri made it happen.  And created an international terror network to boot.

Al-Zawahri ensured Al-Qaeda’s survival, rebuilding Al-Qaeda’s leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan border region and installing his allies as new lieutenants in key positions. Since then, the network inspired or had a direct hand in attacks in North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 transit bombings in London.

It was Al-Zawahri, not bin Laden, who was responsible for post-9/11 al Qaeda.

But before Al-Qaeda — and before Al-Zawahri focused his wrath on the “far enemy,” United States — his goal was to bring down the “near enemy,” the US-allied government of then president Hosni Mubarak in his native Egypt.

And in what may prove one of the greatest blunders of national security, Al-Zawahri’s ‘far enemy’ took out his ‘near enemy’.  And now all that radical Islam that’s been simmering below the surface can boil over now.  Because the U.S. got rid of the guy that contained it.  Hosni Mubarak.

At the same time, Al-Zawahri began reassembling Islamic Jihad and surrounded bin Laden with Egyptian members of Jihad such as Mohamed Atef and Saif Al-Adel, who would one day play key roles in putting together the Sept. 11 attacks.

The alliance established Al-Zawahri as bin Laden’s deputy and soon after came the bombings of the US embassies in Africa, followed by the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, an attack Al-Zawahri is believed to have helped organize.

Apparently these Egyptians went to work for bin Laden because they were not welcomed in Egypt.  Of course, that may have all changed.  Egypt is moving closer to Hamas.  And Iran.  And there’s talk about pulling out of the Camp David Accords with Israel.  No doubt these Egyptians are now feeling that there is no place like home.  And they’re probably going back to Egypt.  Eager to take part in the dawn of a new Islamist day there.

Developments in Egypt are of Greater Concern

President Obama acted boldly by giving the go ahead for SEAL Team Six to take down Osama bin Laden.  And some are already talking about how this will help his 2012 reelection chances.  Of course, Osama bin Laden may be moot by then if the economy is still in recession.  George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton after riding record approval numbers after his victory in the Gulf War.  Because it was the economy, stupid.  Osama bin Laden is big.  But his he bigger enough to overcome a recession?

But Obama has a bigger problem, though.  He told Hosni Mubarak he had to go.  That was a mistake.  And it can have huge consequences.  On the War on Terror.  On Middle East stability.  And on world peace.  Bad things are already lining up to happen.  The degree of bad may very well determine the 2012 election.

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