How Does He Take A Punch?

In politics, being lucky is the critical difference between being John Kerry and Barak Obama. Kerry, for all his faults, is an able politician. You don’t get to be senator by not having some political skills. He played the game carefully and made sure to take care of all the right people. Obama, on the other hand, is not a great politician, but he is a very lucky one. He bumped into the right people who helped him move up the ladder and he had the right opponents. That’s why he’s president and Kerry is not.

There’s another angle to this. Some politicians make up for bad luck or bad timing by being plucky and resilient. They figure out how to take a punch and keep standing. Bill Clinton is a classic example of the political survivor. Scandals that would have landed most pols in prison never slowed him down. Clinton could take a punch. We don’t know if Obama can take a punch. He’s been so carefully protected, no one knows if he has a chin. Even at this point in his tenure, we don’t know if the man can take a punch.

It looks like we will find out. The Left has decided to break ranks and abandon him over this Syria business. Grayson is a nut and probably should be in a mental ward, but he is a bellwether of sorts. If he is breaking ranks, that means the fever swamp is losing faith in their man over this. Then there is the international scene where Obama is getting embarrassed by Putin. There’s now a viscous cycle at work. As domestic support flags, international support flags, which drives down domestic support.

Obama is headed for an embarrassing defeat unless the GOP saves him, which is always a possibility. They think it sells with their voters to be on the warmongering side of every issues, so to them this looks like a good way to score points. That could be bad for Obama. The other choice is to cowboy up and go it alone, but that is not his style. Plus he does not seem like he is all that excited by the venture. Either way, he is going to have to win a few fights against some of his own people to get his way on this.

No matter how this plays out, Obama is going to take a hit politically. The question is how does he respond. Bush just put his head down and ran forward. Clinton found some low hanging fruit he could grab to change the subject. That’s what veteran pols do when they have been through some tough times. They develop a way to handle a loss. That’s why the best politicians usually have a loss early in their career. Obama has lived a charmed life up to this point. Now we find out if has that something extra to bounce back from a defeat or if he makes an early transition to lame duck status.

Why The GOP Must Die

For all of my adult life, the GOP has been called the home of the Right. If you are a conservative, however you wish to define it, you are supposed to support the Republicans. Even when the Republican option is is a useless squish like Mitt Romney or a beady-eyed climber like Paul Ryan, the argument is they are better than whatever the Democrats are offering. Bill Buckley used to say he voted for the most right-wing electable candidate, which resulted in guys like George Bush running the party.

The disaster that was George Bush the Younger was justified on the grounds that he was better than Kerry or Gore. You can’t blame sensible white people for falling for this argument. Al Gore was having a nervous breakdown in the 2000 campaign. John Kerry is as dumb as a goldfish and surrounded by people who are not much better. That does not change the fact that the GOP works hand and glove with the Democrats to keep moving the political center further to the Left. It’s always heads they win tails we lose.

In Britain, this game worked for a long time with Tory voters, but it appears to be getting a test from UKIP. Those weirdos attacking the Tories from the right are not buying the old argument. They point out that the Tories are in a partnership with the Liberals, which makes them the enemy of the working man by definition. UKIP exists for one reason and that is to destroy the Tory Party. Their reasoning is a fake conservative party is worse than no conservative party. That’s true in the US as well. We need a new party.

Proof of this is right here. Here we have alleged “conservatives” looking for an excuse to undermine their own policy. We’re supposed to believe that these guys want to reduce the size, expense and scope of government. Yet every time they have the chance, they try to expand the size, expense and scope of government. If you are a small government type, this is why you should be sitting out elections. If you keep voting for these idiots, you are the idiot. The only orderly way forward is to destroy the GOP.

The Relevancy of Russia

Now that the GOP is riding in to rescue Obama’s war plans, the stage is set for a week of video game coverage of the attacks on Syria. It’s always hard to know if this is just media blather or real preparations for an attack. What we see with Obama is the strange habit of confusing talk with actions. That’s why the managerial class hated Dick Cheney. He did not confuse talk with action. This is how we ended up in two pointless wars of choice in Afghanistan and Iraq, so there is something to say for talking rather than acting.

Anyway, lost in the run-up is the questionable relevancy of Russia’s opposition in world affairs. Putin keeps making noises one would expect from a tough guy with some punch, but he is slowly coming to the realization that words speak louder than actions. Syria’s main patron, the one moving ships into the area and providing arms to Assad is now on the fence. Rather, Russia appears to be on the fence. It’s hard to know as Putin is doing as much talking as Obama, who is probably bluffing about all this.

Regardless, the US, with or without support from Europe, can launch an attack on Syria knowing Russia will do nothing but complain. Obama could take out Assad if he chooses, knowing that Putin is not going to war over it. He can help facilitate waves of Muslim migrants flowing into Europe and he can choke off energy supplies, but he can’t stop the US from doing what it wants. He just has to hope Obama gets cold feet, so he has no choice but to talk out of both sides of his mouth to buy time and let Obama sweat.

There are two reasons why Russia is becoming a peripheral player in world affairs. The first is Russia simply lacks the military resources to do much outside her territory. One of the things we learned after the fall of the Soviet Union is that their technology was very crude compared to what the West was using. The years since the Cold War have given greater access to technology, but military tech is as much a part of culture and the Russian culture is still deeply warped from 70 years of communism.

In the case of Syria, the Israelis probably have terrific intelligence about Syria’s air defense systems, as well as her missile locations. The Israeli missile defense system is more than enough to ward out the ad hoc attacks that could come from a full-on attack on Syria by the US. Then there is the fact the US can own the airspace within hours of a conflict and deliver missile attacks anywhere it wants. We could take out the Russian naval assets deployed to the region. Putin certainly knows this.

The second reason is money. The wealth of nations is now controlled by central banks, specifically the Federal Reserve and the ECB. Those two banks control the world’s financial system. Putin and Gazprom may have hundred of billions in energy resources, but that’s not worth a whole lot when the Fed can destroy their currency. Russia, like China, needs to be connected to the grid and that means remaining on good terms with the United States, which is the world’s banker and money exchange.

That’s the big reason the Russians have to tread lightly. Of course, geography plays a big role here too. While vast distances have protected the Russians from invading armies from the West, it keeps her on the periphery of European life. As a result, these sorts of adventures are not really meant to confront the United States, but to keep western government from ignoring the Russian. If the Russians took on the attitude of the Swiss or the Swedes, there would never be a reason to think about them.

Magical Food Thinking

Food fetches always seem to be a part of various types of cults. Sex is another thing that is common, but food is almost a universal in cults. The ancients had all sorts of dietary rituals tied to piety. The first known vegans were in Ancient Greece. Pythagoras was a zealous vegan, believing it was beneficial in all sorts of ways.  He would fit right in with the modern vegans of today. The Jews, of course, still have weird food rules, as part of their cult. Until recently, Christians had rules on what to eat when it could be eaten.

Today, the food fetish is mostly a thing for Progressives, which is another reason ti is a religion, rather than an ideology. There are vegetarians and vegans, but those are not all that popular on the on the Left. instead, being a foodie is the thing. This is a very feminine thing, as the act of enjoying food becomes a performance that is supposed to draw attention to the eater. Women are always posting pics of themselves drinking wine or having some exotic meal. Women love seeing themselves eating and drinking.

Then there is the food fetish by proxy, where liberal women demand their kids eat certain things or not eat certain things. Kids are calorie burning machines yet the scolds are trying to make them eat like an Ethiopian. Worse, they don’t want them eating meat or fat and instead give them carb laden diets. While you can pretty much feed kids anything not poisonous, growing bodies should have plenty of protein and fat. The former is integral to muscle growth and the latter is a source of energy. People used to know this.

Instead we see the opposite as the the food crazies are convinced that only through self-denial and even self-punishment can one be truly pure. There’s no science to back up any of it. In fact, the science points in the opposite direction. Low fat, high carb diets are not healthy at all. Low carb diets are not just beneficial, but more in line with our body’s food processing systems. Again, for kids, volume is what matters, along with plenty of physical activity, but if you going to skip anything, it is the carbohydrates.

On the other side of the coin, we get rants from people in favor of all sorts of extreme diets that are supposed to purify the soul. A lot of this is what gym rats call bro-science, but people want to believe in simple miracles. This stuff is not entirely without foundation, but the people pushing ti sound like evangelists. It’s not just about losing weight or maintaining a healthy diet. Being “keto” or some other regimen is supposed to indicate a purity of mind and good character, form dietary discipline.

People also want to believe their food is out to get them.The bread allergy stuff is a great example. A whole pseudo-science has built up around the gluten free fad, where people swear they gave up bread and their suddenly changed for the better. The reason people feel better when they cut out bread is they eat less. The reason for that is carbs burn quickly, so you eat more, because you are hungry more often. it’s why people always complain about being hungry after eating Chinese food.

The whole gluten free fad is looking a lot like a food racket, just like the organic food business. Neither are new. Big Food turned their waste product into margarine, when people were suddenly sure butter was bad for their heart. When preliminary data from the Framingham study seemed to show a link between high fat diets, high cholesterol and heart disease, Big Food was right there to cash in on it. There’s not a lot of margin in food production, so they are always looking for a way to sacralize the product.

Another funny thing about food fetishes is the current aversion to counting calories. It used to be an article of faith that the only wya to lose weight was to count calories. My mother was always writing down what she ate and looking through a calorie guide to avoid over eating. It was a nice hobby for her. Today, the food zealots rail against it as if it oogily-boogily from a primitive era. The fact is, counting calories will work, but most people today can’t handle that much reality, so they prefer the new oogily-boogily over the old.

Uncreative Destruction

Libertarians and conservatives love tossing out Schumpeter’s gale, the observation that new stuff destroys and replaces old stuff. The automobile destroyed the buggy whip business, but created whole new industries for the repair of cars. That’s fine and largely true, but Marx, from whom Schumpeter stole the idea, was also right. Capitalism will, if allowed to operate unfettered, destroy itself. It’s why Buckley said “The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.”

We are seeing this maybe in the cable TV business. Every home in America has cable or satellite now. There’s no growth in that business. The cable companies and content providers are trying to wring out more money by raising fees and charging more for the product. The response is people cutting the cord. News reports claim that the number of homes dropping TV has gone from under two million to over five million in the last few years. I know a few people who have pulled the plug. I’m considering it.

Some like to argue that the new services are driving the cord cutting. Why pay for cable when you can get Hulu or Amazon? Well, those services are pretty crude, so it’s unlikely that they are driving the trend. Instead, it is people responding to the declining quality and rising cost of cable television. There’s also a cultural element. If you are white, television is now an endless assault on your dignity and patience. You can only be called a racist for so long before you accept it and turn off the television.

The reason you need government to prevent consolidation in the marketplace is to not only protect customers, but to protect markets. In the case of natural monopolies, like power and gas, the state has to provide the role the market would play in setting prices and protecting consumer rights. By allowing cable companies to bundle channels and monopolize whole areas of the country, the cable business is in trouble. In other words, the market needs to be protected from itself in order to survive.

Another area where uncreative destruction is creeping into the discussion is cell phones. This is a huge scam based on cheap credit. That iPhone really costs something like $800, but the phone company finances it over the two year contract. With the juice you pay $1500 a year to send pointless texts to friends. You also get to carry around a devise that tracks your every movement and sells that data to marketing companies who beam ads back to that phone.This is good for Apple and Google, but very bad for you.

Some call this late stage capitalism, but I think they just think the term sounds clever, so they say it without thinking about it. In reality, this is late stage democracy. Once the voter rolls expand to cove all adults, the system becomes a bust-out. The elected officials no longer care about voters or public good. They are hired men paid for by a donor class who controls politics, by controlling the parties. It’s not an accident that politicians that lose election end up in cushy six figure jobs as lobbyist and consultants.

Syria: The Real Game

This is a sensible take on the Syria mess. One thing that is always true about the so-called conventional wisdom in Washington is that it is always wrong. The reason is the people chattering away on TV or on-line don’t know anything and they don’t really need to know anything. There job is to be a circus of distractions. The most these people amount to are flunkies and coat holders for the political class. That’s how they end up on TV, where they can make good money says whatever nonsense they are told to say.

The writer of that linked post is also right about the point of the Obama foreign policy strategy. Obama does not care about this stuff. His people may care, because they are doing the bidding of other interests, but Team Obama is all about domestic politics, not foreign adventures. Using this situation to score some political points against the warmongers in the GOP is good domestic politics. It also gets him off the hook with Israel who would love to see the US invade another one of their adversaries.

Obama is not the hardest working guy and he is no political genius, but Progressives never lose sight of their purpose. They always look to cause trouble for their enemies, real and imagined, so they always have a strategy. They know his party will vote in lockstep with the administration. A handful of peaceniks will be allowed to vote against it for effect, but 90% will fall in line.  Given the comically bad leadership of the House GOP, the predictable result is Boner crying on TV as his party dissolves into a food fight over Syria.

In the Senate, the leadership on the GOP side is better, but you have warmongers like that senile old fool John McCain ruling the roost. There the administration will have an easier time of it. He can count on forty GOP votes, allowing the very liberal senators to vote against it. Given the number of vulnerable seats this year, this is a great result for the Democrats. They get their enemy warring with itself and team Obama gets to avoid the trap of war in Syria. When you have a purpose, you always have a plan.

Lessons From The Tebow Experience

The New England sportsball team cut Tim Tebow yesterday, which resulted in celebration form every Progressive warren in the nation. It was not just cultists, but their bourgeois bohemian fellow travelers. The usual suspects on the Left have hated Tebow from the start, because of his overt Christianity and his decidedly southern sensibilities. The cold civil war, as John Derbyshire calls it, will always be with us and play out in a myriad of little ways. Northern whites, then as now, scarcely see southern whites as American.

Those racist, science hating rednecks are what hold the nation back from progressing into a glorious future! On the other side, southern whites see northern whites as God hating, self loathing lunatics enslaved by a radical European religion bordering on a cult. There’s no room for compromise when both sides see the other as the problem. Through no fault of his own, Tebow is emblematic of this rift and therefore too much of a distraction for NFL teams, given his talents. Therefore, his career now appears to be over.

Of course, the main reason Tebow was cut from the sportsball team is that he is not good at sportsball, at least not at the position he seeks to play. Professional sportsball is a merciless business. There are millions on the line and therefore no one can let their emotions get in the way of winning the sportsball contests. If Tebow could help a team win at sportsball, he would have a job, even if he was murdering people on the side. These leagues are loaded with criminals and deviants who are good at sportsball.

That’s not why the lunatics were cheering, of course. They hate him for cultural reasons, so they wanted to see him fail. Now, it is not just the cold civil war stuff. That certainly plays a role in Progressive thinking, but a growing aspect is the general hatred of maleness, particularly white maleness. In the Progressive hierarchy of evil, white males are slowing moving to the top, taking the place of mythical bad guys like Nazis and Klansmen. The Pale Penis People will soon be enemy number one.

Tebow is pretty much the emblematic white male. He’s not sitting around reading books or worrying about his privilege. He plays sports and likes hanging with his bros on the sportsball field. Then there is the religious aspect. His faith leads him away from the sorts of vices the ruling class likes to peddle to young white males. That makes Tebow a real problem if he manages to succeed at sportsball. Just imagine the comparison between him and the typical sportsball player. it raises a lot of uncomfortable truths.

That’s probably the main lesson from this. Even if you don’t care about sportsball, it is a part of the popular culture, so it is wise to pay some attention to it. The deliberate africanization of basketball and football is a foreshadowing of the browning of America that is planned for us by our betters. The subtle hatred of Tim Tebow, quintessential white guy, will one day soon be common in the culture. Today they hate this guy because he is a Christian, but tomorrow they will hate all white men for being white.