Monthly Archives: November 2020

An open letter to Joe Biden

Thank you for helping to remove Donald Trump from office. The last four years have probably been the most dangerous since the Civil War. And I think I can speak for everyone when I say I support your call to be the President for everyone, free from all parties, not just there for the people who voted for you.

However, if we’re going to start restoring correct political norms that will benefit everyone, one of the first norms from the public has to be that we can not give in to a cult of personality and that we have a duty to oppose those in power, and especially those whom we voted for.

I voted for you, not because I agree with much of the policies you proposed, but because you seem to be a decent human being and that is what we need right now (I’d prefer a decent human being who has the correct policies, but I didn’t have that as an option this time). And I think that many of the people who voted for you are in the same camp. We are moderates, a few practical Libertarians, and Never Trump Republicans. We didn’t vote for you to expand the ACA or tax the rich or bring about the Green New Deal, but because we needed someone to restore sanity to America. And that milquetoast victory speech that was more boilerplate than substance is not a good start—I can admit that a victory speech may not be the best time to pick a fight and it might be a tactical choice to wait until January 20th before picking fights, but there did seem some missed opportunities there, but again, I will write it up as a tactical choice.

Now, I hope that you are looking to be what we hope you would be, but I’m going to state what I think most of us believe, and hope that at least the ideas presented here will reach you in some form.

First off you need to bridge the gap with conservatives, real conservatives, not the populist hacks that have taken over the PR functions of the party. That means there should be three to four Never Trump Republicans in your cabinet. Just one token Republican in the Department of Transportation won’t do it. You need to make a sincere effort to reach across the aisle and find the best people for every position. It might be a bit too much to hope that you put Paul Ryan in as Secretary of Treasury, but something that blatant is needed. Further, you need to reject BOTH extremes, obviously the Trump wing of insanity must be rejected, but so must the Warren/Sanders/AOC wing of your own party—if you want to heal this nation then these illiberal extremes must be given exactly zero power—the illiberal left is just as dangerous as the illiberal right. To embrace the far left is just as bad as Trump’s embrace of populism, it is an illiberal philosophy that has no place in America and if you tolerate it, then your words of hope, opportunity, and healing are only words. Also, if you’re going to go after Trump and work on reforming the police through legal federal means, you’re going to need a Republican AG to avoid making it look like a liberal crusade—I have no idea who, but a conservative AG would deflect most the criticism from all but the Alex Jones crowd (and there was never any hope of getting their support).

Second, you need to calm the worries over the Supreme Court. The left is justifiably angry over McConnell’s court-packing and the right is worried about court-packing from the left (whether that’s rational or not, that’s what governing for all side is, you have to calm as many fears as possible, even the irrational ones). My suggestion is you go to Justices Thomas and Alito, who are both in their 70s and might want to enjoy the end of their lives instead of dropping dead waiting for another Republican president. Come up with a list of Libertarian/moderate justices who believe in abortion and LBGT rights but in limited government in all other things (those first two are about limited government as well so it would be looking for actually consistent justices) and work with them to find a pick they can agree that they will retire if you appoint that pick. This calms the left and the right, defends the most important right you care about, and restores faith in the Court for all sides.

Now let’s come to your goals. First and foremost you need to re-establish our place in the world. That means a heavy use of diplomacy, of not just reestablishing free trade but pushing it (rejoining TPP, ending the Jones Act, quickly getting a new trade agreement with the UK, rolling back all of Trump’s tariffs, and challenging China in the legal format of the WTO). Free trade is an absolute good, and it needs to be encouraged no matter how much the illiberal sides of both parties hate it. And while Trump has done a lot of stupid stuff, don’t compound the stupid by just reversing his idiocy—for instance moving the embassy to Jerusalem was silly, moving it back would be just as silly and petty. Don’t be petty. And while we need to re-establish our relationship with the world let’s not be groveling and begging forgiveness. The world wants the US to be the world cop and the stable one in the room they can all look to for support, that does not involve going around and groveling (like your former boss did). We can admit that Trump was wrong without acting like America is always in the wrong.

Next, you must establish limits on the Executive branch. You need to push for a Department of Internal Affairs that can investigate every president and every elected official and which is free from partisan politics. Presidents are not above the law and this needs to be made clear. A president who breaks the law needs to know that he or she can be arrested and hauled out of the Oval Office in handcuffs. If you don’t push for some kind of way to limit criminal behavior in the executive then you’ve missed what the mandate you were given was.

Further, you need to limit the capricious dictatorial power of the Presidency. A president who refuses to work with Congress and just says “I have a pen and a phone” and rules by fiat is not a president but a wannabe tyrant. This can no longer be tolerated from either side. You are the president, if Congress is being obstructionist, you have the bully pulpit and your job is to convince the people to push Congress to act. Now, part of this must be using that bully pulpit to push Congress to return power to committee created legislation and not just letting the House and Senate being the fiefdoms of the Speaker and Majority Leader respectively. I know full well this is a long-term project that you will not see the end of, but it has to start sometime, and the sooner the better.

In terms of economics, again: Free trade. You’re not going to bring manufacturing jobs back, because even if a company moved production back to the US it would be done by machines. But what you can do is open up more trade which will create more opportunities in new fields. I’m fine with more investment for vocational training and retraining but we are never returning to a 1950s manufacturing economy, and I have to hope your rhetoric on this point during the campaign was simply a pragmatic realization that right now you weren’t going to win without that voting bloc. But now act in that voting blocs best interest and bring them jobs for the future, not lying to them about bring back the past.

In terms of taxes. Don’t raise taxes. Just get rid of the myriad of stupid deductions that exist. You know all those loopholes that Trump uses to avoid taxes. Get rid of all of those. The smaller the tax code the better. And if the upper and upper-middle class can’t just deduct all their income then tax revenues will increase.

It goes without saying that immigration needs to be reformed. But it needs to be said again and again that there is no power given to Congress to regulate immigration. NONE. Any laws that try to limit immigration are unconstitutional along with evil and economically idiotic. ICE needs to be ended and the borders need to be opened.

The CIA needs to put anything they can into Putin’s water that will speed up his Parkinson’s.

Finally, there needs to be a return to a semblance of honesty, reality, and humility. Real daily press corp briefings, hold the White House Press Correspondents dinner and demand they do a full roast of you (I get there is a pandemic, but this is a norm that needs to be restored).

Of course, there is a plethora of other things that need to be dealt with, but let’s focus on these.

Now, Mr. President-Elect, you could be all talk, and like your former always willing to give into bitter partisanship, always foolishly throwing gas on a culture war fire, always only looking to play to the most infantile of your base…but I, and I think most of America, is hoping you’ll be better than that.

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What do to with the GOP?

Cathargo delenda est—Cato the Elder

I’m sure that quote means very little to most people. It translates to: Carthage must be destroyed. It was repeated over and over again by the Roman Senator Cato the Elder after the Second Punic War. If he gave a speech on the economics of Rome, he would end with Cathargo Delenda Est. A speech on the lack of morals in Rome, Cathargo Delenda Est. A speech on the new aqueduct…Cathargo Delenda Est. A speech on any…Cathargo Delenda Est. Cato the Elder believed that after the danger of Hannibal invading Italy in the Second Punic War that the only way to deal with the problem was to destroy Carthage completely. And he finally got his wish in the Third Punic War. Rome invaded the North African coast, laid siege to the Phoenician city where they worshipped Ba’al (you know, the god whose religion liked having babies thrown in the sacrificial fire), they defeated Hannibal for a second time, burned the city, crushed the stone, killed or enslaved the populace, and myth holds, salted the ground and cursed the earth that no one should ever dare rebuild on that spot. It seems a bit much, but I would also remind you of throwing babies into fires. And while Rome certainly then proceeded to make millennia of mistakes, one could argue that centuries of further conflict with Carthage would have been even more disastrous to all of human civilization.

Why do I bring this up? Because the Republican Party must be destroyed. And with all the finality of Carthage.

This is a party that has completely sold its soul, spine, and balls to a mentally stunted wannabe tyrant. The Republican Party must be destroyed.

It is a party that is beyond even hypocrisy—because hypocrisy requires you to have principles to be hypocritical about. The Republican Party must be destroyed.

A party who is seriously who is comfortable putting a person who wants a theocracy to replace the republic in a place of power. The Republican Party must be destroyed.

An embrace of racism, nationalism, white supremacy, crimes against humanity, a continued attack on free trade, and at this point meeting every single charge laid against King George III in the Declaration of Independence. The Republican Party must be destroyed.

They are encouraging a police state, unashamedly preaching that might makes right, will defend none of the rights enshrined in the constitution, and are making brazen attacks against liberty, capitalism, the free market, and rule of law. The. Republican. Party. MUST. BE. DESTROYED!

There is no reforming the Republican Party at this point. Yeah, Mitt Romney is still a man of character, virtue, intelligence, and maturity. There are probably still a few people in other offices who still have a soul, but their existence is few and far between and more proofs that there is nothing but rot and decay left in the Grand Old Party.

Even as late as the 2016 election the GOP still hadn’t fully shaken off the, by modern standards, minor crimes of Richard Nixon—if the party does not die it will bear the mark of Trump for at least a century if not more. That is not the vehicle to advocate for liberty, rule of law, and free markets. It can’t be. It is no longer and never again will be the party of Lincoln, Goldwater, and Reagan. It is the party of Trump, and that is all it ever can be from this moment on.

As I discussed before we need something new to grow in its place.

But to do that, say it with me now, The Republican Party Must Be Destroyed.

The name, the leaderships, the PACs, the mottos, the imagery. Everyone must go.

The good news is that history shows that it takes only 8-12 years after the collapse of a party in America for something new to take its place, but that is only after the party dies. The Whig party died a quick death after Willam Henry Harrison’s election…but the Federalists before them hung on as useless rump party for slightly nearly a decade after their last presidential election. We need a quick death. Why? Because it’s not like the Democrats are all that great. They have no understanding of how economics works, and while the liberal attitude to social issues might be better than the conservative one, it’s hardly the enlightened libertarian one. And while there are some Democrats who still understand foreign policy, too many of them are just as vile as Trump on this issue. They’re simply not a solution. No, we need to kill the Republican Party to ensure we have as short as a time as possible between now and when there is a viable alternative to the Democrats. (Sorry, Libertarians it will never be you—you’re simply not a party for adults.)

So how do we kill this evil?

First, stop voting for them and stop giving them money. In all forms. No politician, no PAC, nothing. Places like the Institute for Justice, Lawfare, and sane outlets like the Bulwark are fine, but at this point, I can’t think of a single previously conservative think-tank that hasn’t been polluted by nationalism and Trumpism (even my formerly beloved AEI is too welcoming to this evil). But anything that associates with the GOP cannot be supported.

The same goes for voting for them. Vote for the libertarian until we can get a sane party back.

If you can stomach it, ugh, you might want to join the Democratic Party and be involved in trying to push neoliberalism instead of progressivism (which is just populism under a different name). You probably won’t win, but you will show other neoliberals that they’re not alone and prime them to leave the Democrats whom they will eventually realize have nothing in common with the progressive idiots.

And it would be wonderful if we could boycott every company that supports Republicans and forces them to let the vile party wither from lack of funds. But the fact is that most companies give to both parties (they want to access no matter who wins, and I can’t entirely blame them for what is otherwise good business policy). But what you can do is look at what you can do is look for things you buy that you could do with two brands equally well and write to the company that gives more the GOP that you will not buy their product until the balance is changed greatly. And then actually boycott them, and tell everyone about why you’re doing this, don’t be pushy, but make it known. Granted there are only a few areas where there two equally useful products that it makes little difference what you pick but there is a lot of stuff with reasonable substitutes (I’m sure we could never get a firm consensus on whether Ben & Jerry’s or Baskin Robins is better, but we could all suffer through our lesser preferred one if we had to boycott one). I loved Sam Adams beer but then their CEO said nice things about a Nazi and I shifted to craft beers. And I know this is usually not worth your time, the last boycott I remember working was…well the Montgomery buses is all that comes to mind, but there has to be something more recent, but you get the point it’s not effective. But if you do decide to boycott you need to then put in the time to send letters to the company letting them know why they need to be boycotted. A letter, a tweet, and a post about why the company is supporting evil are probably more effective than you just not buying their crap.

The second thing we need to do is support any organization we can that is focused either on policy or legal changes (like the Institute for Justice) or that is working to restore some dignity and reason in politics (like Stand Up Republic, even though I know they haven’t entirely given up on reforming the GOP). And being involved as much as you can in local government. Especially difficult in these pandemic times…but I didn’t say this would be easy.

And then we get to the really hard things we need to do.

Like being involved in charity or community service of some kind. Again, I get this is difficult, near impossible in the middle of a global pandemic, but these are the kind of activities and interactions that actually build up community and social bonds. People retreat to tribes when they don’t have connections with the world around them. Now you won’t be able to reach everyone this way, but it will offer a way to build up a bulwark against further degradation. Find out what your church or other local community has for charity and community service going on in these wacky times we live through and do your best.

Finally, what should be the easiest, but will prove to the most difficult for all of us. We need to stop sharing news and posts and memes that make us angry or gleeful at seeing the other side gets hurt. We need to focus on policy, on actually working to hold to truth and facts and forcing our elected representatives to do the same. We need to check where things come from…for instance every few times TurningPointUSA will put out a meme or an accurate quote…but given that they are a bastion of populism, idiocy, and hatred of core American values, we can’t give them a free platform by reposting or reblogging or retweeting their crap. It might be true, but don’t give the vile shits who know that the most effective lies come between two truths. We’re all guilty, I know I am, but we have to be better. Honestly if it’s that good, just remake the meme…it’s not like it’s all that hard these days, even a five-year iPhone can mix text and pictures you find on the internet. If you reblog a meme, attach a real article that explains it and doesn’t let fools read into it things that aren’t there. If you an article that makes you angry, check it first, see if you can find a more authoritative version, make sure everyone agrees on the facts, and more importantly focus on remedies for what made you angry rather than reveling in the anger.

In counseling, you will hear that successful relationships are ones that look for the solutions for the future and unsuccessful ones look to cause blame while looking to the past or judge who is right and wrong in the present but only looking for solutions works. In relationships, we call society and the government has to be the same. We need to look for solutions, not blame or judgment, solutions. And in doing that we will simultaneously eat away at the foundations of the GOP and lay the foundation for whatever comes after it.

And this is made all the more difficult that this 67 million idiots country just doubled down on the evil of the Republican Party. But it has to start somewhere. Sure any new party will have to include some of this useless scum that voted for Trump, it’s simply not practical any other way…but a huge number of them are more sheep than human and will follow just because it’s the party opposed to the Democrats. Just so long as the party is structured to make sure this degenerate sector never gets control of the platform or the primaries we’re good.

Cathargo Delenda Est

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