Jefferson vs Hamilton, and why I am a Jeffersonian

Source: Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution–and What It Means for Americans Today | Amazon.com

Reasons for my preference for Jefferson over Hamilton, aside from the former’s primary authorship of the Declaration of Independence, and his agrarian ideal:

“While Jefferson is better remembered today, it is actually Hamilton’s political legacy that has triumphed – a legacy that has subverted the Constitution and transformed the federal government into the very leviathan state that our forefathers fought against in the American Revolution. How did we go from the Jeffersonian ideal of limited government to the bloated imperialist system of Hamilton’s design?

“Acclaimed economic historian Thomas J. DiLorenzo reveals how Hamilton, first as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and later as the nation’s first and most influential treasury secretary, masterfully promoted an agenda of nationalist glory and interventionist economics. These core beliefs did not die with Hamilton in his fatal duel with Aaron Burr, but were carried on through his political heirs.

“The Hamiltonian legacy wrested control into the hands of the federal government by inventing the myth of the Constitution’s “implied powers,” transforming state governments from Jeffersonian bulwarks of liberty to beggars for federal crumbs. It also devised a national banking system that imposes boom-and-bust cycles on the American economy; saddled Americans with a massive national debt and oppressive taxation, and pushed economic policies that lined the pockets of the wealthy and created a government system built on graft, spoils, and patronage.”

Other than that, not a bad system… *ironic smile*

 

WV Gov Joins Push To Annex VA’s 2A Sanctuary Counties | Bearing Arms

WV Gov Joins Push To Annex VA's 2A Sanctuary Counties

The governor was joined by Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell Jr. in supporting Virginia counties that want to leave the state and be annexed by West Virginia.

Source: WV Gov Joins Push To Annex VA’s 2A Sanctuary Counties

In a move that is more than a little ironic, the State that was formed in opposition to the Confederacy has turned more Confederate – whether it realizes it or not – than the one that was the capital of the Confederacy (which has, sadly, taken a violent swing to the Left). Here’s West Virginia Governor Jim Justice:

“A long time ago, the infringement of fundamental values is what really created the beginning of West Virginia. Now, in doing so the government of Virginia was probably significantly out of step, and therefore all of a sudden counties moved and West Virginia was formed,” the governor said during today’s press conference…

Gov. Justice pointed out that a number of West Virginia lawmakers have recently introduced resolutions inviting Virginia counties to “come on down,” and said he echoes that sentiment.

“If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere you may be. We stand strongly for the Second Amendment and we stand strongly for the unborn. There are so many great things about West Virginia, and we’re on the verge of moving in a way that you can’t fathom.”

Wouldn’t mind if Maryland’s western counties – which are in a similar place, sociopolitically, to those of Virginia – would join up, too!

It is true that, as this article points out, “Given the fact that the Virginia General Assembly” [ditto Maryland’s, if that were to happen] “would have to give approval for any county to be annexed by West Virginia, I’d say this movement is more aspirational than practical.” But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea!

 

Democrats Seek Civil War, But Will Get Revolution | American Thinker

Democrats understand that an armed America can say, “No!” And they can’t have that.

Source: Democrats Seek Civil War, But Will Get Revolution – American Thinker

“Democrats conspired with foreign agents, lied, cheated, and denied due process to Donald Trump. If they were willing to do that to a duly elected president in order to obtain power, what should Americans expect them to do to them should they refuse attempts to be disarmed?” […]

“Democrats want this war.  Someone should tell them they should be careful what they wish for.”

I fervently hope and pray that it doesn’t come to that – that the worst may yet be averted. But if it does, I think this article is correct: the radical Left is going to get a radical surprise.

 

Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay | The Brookings Institution

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Source: Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay

I am still struggling, myself, to be honest; but back when I was really struggling, I used to (try to) make this point on a number of occasions, when well-meaning friends and relatives tried to tell me that “any job is better than no job.”

Well, no, it isn’t. If it doesn’t make ends meet, it may be worse than no job at all, b/c it may make you ineligible for public assistance… and you still can’t live on it.

People who have never been abjectly poor have no idea how horrible a position that is to be in, and it is often in many ways the “working poor” who have the worst of it, because they are overlooked by most assistance programs: “oh, they don’t need help, they have a job.” Not necessarily true!

This is also why I am not in complete agreement with Mike Rowe, although I respect what he’s trying to do. It is also why I am distrustful of many conservatives’ faith in “the market” to do the right thing: “the market” is made up of fallible, mortal – and often greedy and selfish – human beings, and these do not always do the right thing.

Yes, there are a good number of jobs out there, looking for workers. That is true. But many (most?) of them do not pay a living wage. In which case, what I wrote above kicks in…

[Note: Although many people do it, taking a second job – and sometimes a third – is not really a viable solution long-term, either. I am leaving aside short-term stints, to get extra money for holiday shopping, a vacation, or maybe to fund an unusual purchase; I am also leaving aside “hustling” to turn one’s sideline into one’s career.

I’m talking about working two or more jobs, consistently, to make ends meet. The more hours you’re working, the fewer you have to a) look for a better job, b) perform ordinary but necessary maintenance / domestic tasks, and c) get the rest and sleep you need in order to perform any job(s) at a high level of efficiency.]

As the linked article points out, two-thirds (64%) of low-wage workers are in their prime working years of 25 to 54; more than half (57%) work full-time year-round, the customary schedule for employment intended to provide financial security; and about half (51%) are primary earners or contribute substantially to family living expenses (FWIW, I am currently in all three of these categories).

We have a problem, here, as a society; and we need to work together, as a society, to find reasonable, workable, and effective solutions. The problem is, we’re largely talking past each other.

The Left wants to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, which has the effect of increasing automation, and forcing smaller businesses to lay off workers or even close. The neoliberal/libertarian Right says “just get a job” – which as both the article and my comments point out, isn’t necessarily, by itself, a viable solution to poverty.

I’m not sure what the solution is; if I knew, I’d be making tons of money, myself, from appearing on early-morning talk-shows and giving presentations to well-known think-tanks! But I do know we need to find one. If we don’t, the future looks dire, for a lot of people: and therefore, for society as a whole. This is important!

 


N.B. Perhaps this Chesterton quote, and the concept it embodies, may have relevance for us as we struggle toward a solution…

 

The killing of Qasem Soleimani | MelaniePhillips.com

Qasem Soleimani

Source: The killing of Qasem Soleimani | MelaniePhillips.com

The inestimable Melanie Phillips comments on the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard general and Quds force commander, Qassem Soleimani:

“Soleimani has been described by some outlets as a terrorist leader. This is vastly to underestimate his importance. The al Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is part of Iran’s hugely powerful proxy army, and Soleimani was the regime’s key military strategist and military commander.

“He launched countless military operations against US, Israel and others. He was responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq. He was the invaluable architect of Iran’s territorial drive for regional incursion and hegemony…

“How will the Iranian regime react to this devastating blow to their prowess and prestige? … [It] will almost certainly use its still considerable malign power to retaliate.

Whatever now happens, however, Trump has achieved something of incalculable benefit for America. He has got it off its knees.

[…] “Faced with attacks on American assets, Carter ran away, Clinton prevaricated, Obama actually helped fund them – but Trump ruthlessly and decisively killed the attacker. America is now back as a force to be reckoned with.”

 

Another one bites the dust: drone strike takes out Quassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian “Quds Force”

In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.

Yesterday, January 3rd, 2020, in a drone strike authorized by President Trump, US military forces took out Maj. Gen. Quassem Soleimani, long-time head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRG) “Quds force,” just outside Baghdad in Iraq. The Quds force is a division which has been described as “primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations” (Wikipedia).

This is another way of saying “a terrorist force,” and Soleimani was a terrorist mastermind. A commentary essay in USAToday – far from a right-wing source – notes that “Iran, using Soleimani’s Quds Force as its spearhead, was responsible for more than 600 American deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, 17% of all U.S. dead in that conflict.” I have seen accounts that put the number closer to 1000 American dead.

The essay – which notes that “Trump had been a model of restraint in the face of increasingly aggressive moves against American allies and interests by Iran and its proxies” – points out that

“The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds force which Soleimani commanded was a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, which gave its members the same status as al-Qaida, the Islamic State or any other such group. According to the Pentagon, Soleimani was actively planning attacks against American forces, something he had done many times in the past,”

and further notes that “Iran has been escalating conflict in the Middle East for years. Iran supports insurgent and militia groups in Yemen, Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, among others,” largely through the Quds force, and its commander, Soleimani.

That drone strike couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellah.

Anyone who thinks it was a coincidence that Soleimani was in the Baghdad area at the same time as the US Embassy there was under attack by a pro-Iranian, militant Islamic militia, Kataib Hezbollah, is probably incapable of adding two and two, and getting four.

The Kataib Hezbollah militia – founded by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also killed in the attack – is closely connected to Iran, Iraq’s next-door neighbor to the east; and it is one of the country’s most loyal proxies in Iraq, according to analysts. It is difficult to conclude that Soleimani was there to advise, perhaps direction, and – if things had gone differently – gloat over the capture of the American Embassy.

Regarding al-Muhandis (a.k.a. Mohandes) – killed alongside Soleimani in the drone strike – Samuel J. Culper, intelligence analyst and founder of Forward Observer, notes:

“More than the news is telling you… Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes was the chief planner of the 1983 Beirut Bombing and the 1983 Kuwait bombings with attacks on six key Kuwaiti installations and US and French Embassy’s on 12 December 1983, two months after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings.

“He was sentenced to death in Kuwait for involvement in the 1983 bomb attacks on US and French embassies there but fled the country.

“Mohandes also oversaw Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella grouping of paramilitary groups mostly consisting of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias that was formally integrated into Iraq’s armed forces.”

These are men who, as the old country saying put it, “needed killin’.” But of course, there are the usual explosions of hyperbole – primarily from the Left, naturally, but also from a certain sub-sector of right – about how this is a “dangerous escalation,” and may lead to another Iraq-war-like quagmire, or even “World War Three.” Well, anything is possible. But as this essay in National Review puts it,

“We have no clue how Iran will react to the elimination of its terror chief Qasem Soleimani. Religious fanatics tend to be unpredictable. One thing we can be certain of, however, is that every time the United States acts in its self-interest in the Middle East, a bunch of pundits and policy experts will start spouting lazy tropes about the Iraq War.”

Yep. The thing is – as this essay goes not to note – the issue with the Iraq War was not the Iraq War. We won that, handily and speedily. The problem was the interminable occupation and attempt at nation-building which followed. And as to that, the essay continues,

“As far as I can tell, there’s no evidence that Trump, or anyone else, has any appetite to invade Iran or force regime change. Many brave Iranians are already trying to do that on their own.”

They are, and I wish them well! As to Iranian reaction to the strike,

“Of course an Iran reprisal is likely to come sooner or later, and Americans will also likely be in danger. We shouldn’t dismiss these serious concerns. They are nothing new. Iran has been conducting a terror campaign against the United States and its allies for 40 years. It was the mullahs, not Trump, who ‘escalated’ tensions when Iranian-led militias stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

“Until recently, the Iranians faced few repercussions for hundreds of Soleimani-coordinated murders and the maiming of thousands of American troops. And let’s not forget either that there is not a single conflict in the region that Soleimani wasn’t fueling or coordinating in some way. If this is not an enemy worth knocking off, who is?”

Indeed!

A Tale of Two Embassies… and two Presidents.

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US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, burning on September 11, 2012, following attack by Islamic militants that killed four Americans, including the Ambassador.
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U.S. Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAFTF-CR-CC) 19.2, prepare to deploy from Kuwait in support of a crisis response mission, Dec. 31, 2019.

This was originally written for my Facebook timeline, and is posted here with minimal editing.

Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012. Under attack by Islamic militants, the US Embassy requests assistance. None is forthcoming.

As a result, four Americans die, including the Ambassador, Chris Stevens – the first U.S. Ambassador killed in an attack since 1979 – along with Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs, who fell trying to defend the Ambassador against overwhelming odds. The Embassy is burned.

Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019. Under attack by Islamic militants, the US Embassy requests assistance. Within a matter of hours, 100 Marines are airlifted into the Embassy grounds via Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by Apache attack helicopters; further air assets are reportedly overhead.

Shortly after, 750 soldiers – an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the elite 82nd Airborne Division – are wheels-up on their way to Kuwait, with an additional 4,000 troops gearing up to follow, in case additional support is needed.

Now, it’s possible to argue that we shouldn’t be there in the first place, and I might agree with you. But we ARE there: that’s the reality of the situation; American lives were in danger, and the response was quick and, so far at least, has proven effective.

Do some of y’all understand, now, why some of us support President Trump, despite the fact that we might not like or agree with everything he says or does? He puts America first, as an American President should, and when Americans are in danger, he protects them to the best of his ability.

Based on past history, if Hillary Clinton was President currently, we might be looking at another dead Ambassador and another gutted Embassy. That is the difference. You either get it or you don’t. If you don’t, I quite honestly feel sorry for you…