Bookworm Beat 10/18/19: Warren’s economic ignorance, Biden’s anger, Trump’s Syria wisdom

Why Now is the time to consider owning gold
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Warren proves her economic illiteracy; Biden’s anger is evil, not cute; and Trump was playing 4-D chess with his Syria pullout.

(This is a companion post to the No. 25 Bookworm Podcast which I uploaded yesterday. The content is mostly the same, although not identical. It won’t matter much, I think, whether you prefer to read or listen.)

The insanity of childhood gender transitioning. Before I get into the substantive part of this post, I must share with you one of the most on-the-nose political cartoons I’ve seen in a long time. Pat Cross sums up in four panels everything that is completely wrong with Progressive parenting when it comes to gender:

Elizabeth Warren’s socialized medicine claims reveal her historic and economic ignorance. Elizabeth Warren can call it Medi-Care for all but that’s just a euphemism for what she’s really proposing, which is the government takeover of the entire healthcare sector, aka socialized medicine. I’ll get to her refusal to discuss paying for it in a moment. Instead, I want to talk about the practical aspects of a takeover.

The English socialized their medical system in 1948. Back then, medical practice was a doctor’s office that might have a little lab in the back for running basic chemical tests, a local chemist who would mix up medicines that the doctor prescribed, and a local hospital, with an x-ray machine. And that was pretty much it. Co-opting those institutions was not complicated.

Think of the medical marketplace now: Your basic internist’s offices, stand-alone blood labs, stand-alone specialty offices, pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies, medical equipment supply companies and, of course, the insurance companies. Regarding the latter, according to a physician’s Quora answer to the question about the number of people employed in the American health insurance industry, the answer is above 2.5 million. These employees won’t be unwillingly sucked into the government maw; they’ll be out on the street. Surely that’s not good for the American economy.

When you consider that the federal government couldn’t even build a functioning website for medical insurance exchanges, you really have to wonder how badly the government will do when it comes to nationalizing one-sixth of the American economy – a plan that includes knocking 2.5 million Americans out of work.

And then there’s Warren’s refusal to answer questions about her healthcare plan. This moment highlights two things about Warren: The first is that she never answers the question asked and the second is that, if her answer is preceded by the phrase “clear,” you know she’s lying:

To the extent Warren speaks about funding all her plans, especially her medical care plan, she reveals that she does not understand economics and, more tellingly, that she does not understand the nature of American wealth.

When she speaks about America’s wealth, it sounds as if she’s speaking about Russian or African oligarchs – that is, people who got wealthy, not by building a better mousetrap, but by sucking taxpayer money out of the government. The best way to explain the “American millionaires and billionaires” who people Warren’s (and Bernie’s) imagination is to turn to one of my favorite books, Keith Richburg’s Out of America : A Black Man Confronts Africa. Richburg came back from his sojourn as the WaPo African bureau chief in the early 1990s thanking God that his long-ago ancestors suffered the horrors of American slavery so that he could be a free man. In the context of detailing everything wrong with Africa, Richburg recounts this popular African joke:

An Asian and an African become friends while they are both attending graduate school in the West. Years later, they each rise to become the finance minister of their respective countries.

One day, the African ventures to Asia to visit his old friend, and is startled by the Asian’s palatial home, the three Mercedes-Benzes in the circular drive, the swimming pool, the servants.

“My God!” the African exclaims. “We were just poor students before! How on earth can you now afford all this?” And the Asian takes his African friend to the window and points to a sparkling new elevated highway in the distance. “You see that toll road?” says the Asian, and then he proudly taps himself on the chest. “Ten percent.” And the African nods approvingly.

A few years later, the Asian ventures to Africa, to return the visit to his old friend. He finds the African living in a massive estate sprawling over several acres. There’s a fleet of dozens of Mercedes-Benzes in the driveway, an indoor pool and tennis courts, an army of uniformed chauffeurs and servants. “My God!” says the Asian. “How on earth do you afford all this?”

This time the African takes his Asian friend to the window and points. “You see that highway?” he asks. But the Asian looks and sees nothing, just an open field with a few cows grazing. “I don’t see any highway,” the Asian says, straining his eyes.

At this, the African smiles, taps himself on the chest, and boasts, “One hundred percent!” (Richburg, Keith B., Out Of America (pp. 174-175). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.)

Warren’s pronouncements indicate that she has no idea that the rich in America are private citizens who, while they certainly dream of government support, got rich by coming up with innovative ideas, whether it’s a new product entirely or a better way to do something that already exists. They then pay lots and lots of taxes: The top 20% of income earners in America account for 80% of taxes paid. (On the flip side, as Mitt Romney noted to his cost, upwards of 44% of Americans pay no federal income taxes at all.)

It occurred to me that a lot of Warren’s problem arises from the fact that, barring a short stint working out of her home writing wills and functioning as a real estate agent, she’s spent her entire career in academia. There’s a reason William Buckley once said he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston phone book than entire Harvard faculty.

The first problem with academia is that it’s entirely unrelated to the real world:

The second problem with academia is that the hermetically sealed world in which academics exist gives credence to Marx’s erroneous belief that the economy as a whole is a zero sum game. We know that the economy is not a zero sum game from the second our electric alarm clock or our smart phone, rather than the rooster or the sun, wakes us in the morning. Or perhaps we’re aware of it earlier as we sleep on comfortable foam mattresses and not straw pallets. Or maybe we figure it out when we drive a car to work, rather than plodding on foot or riding horseback – and, in the latter case, if horses were the dominant transportation mode in an urban area, those plodding on foot would be ankle deep in a soup of horse urine and feces. The economy has grown because there are more people and more ideas.

But academic – especially legal academia — is a finite world. No (or very few) law schools have opened in the past 40 years. While the bureaucracy in academia may have exploded thanks to the infusion of federal money via student loans and the demand for all sorts of diversity thises and that’s, in law school the professorship pretty much remains stagnant. If Prof. A gets a job, that means Prof. B goes without. No wonder unprincipled people invent imaginary Native American heritages.

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When Warren talks about the rich hogging resources, she’s thinking of academia and Africa, not real world America. She’s also economically illiterate because she doesn’t understand that, no matter how rich America’s rich are, they’re not that rich:

Bernie is evil. Everything I said about Warren’s understanding of wealth goes double for Bernie, except that his ignorance isn’t from academia, it’s from a lifelong commitment to socialism.

Before I get to that, though, I want to share with you Dan Bongino’s incredibly amusing riff goofing on Bernie:

In a less amusing vein, my friend Mike McDaniel, writing at Stately McDaniel Manor, perfectly captures Bernie’s Castro-ite stylings at the most recent Democrat debate:

He was his usual self: wild-eyed, actually screaming and angry, really, really angry, while wildly gesturing.  It’s not at all hard to imagine him in neatly pressed fatigues haranguing a crowd forced to show up, wilting in the hot, equatorial sun, for five hours.  He continues to tell us how we’ve failed him, and to show us the bold, revolutionary path forward, which will bankrupt the nation, and probably, much of the world, within his first term.  He really does seem to think money grows on trees on collective farms. He claimed he’s going to have a vigorous campaign schedule, but even crazed revolutionaries are going to have difficulty believing his health isn’t a serious issue, apart from being 78.  He’s not going to get the nomination.  The D/S/Cs made that abundantly clear in 2016, but Bernie’s revolutionary true believer.

It’s that last point that Mike makes – the one about Bernie being a true believer – that reveals that Bernie isn’t a crazy uncle joke but is, in fact, a truly evil man. The fact is that the socialist Revolution has failed in welters of blood, poverty, starvation and despair everywhere it’s been tried over Bernie’s 78 years. A short list of these failures is Soviet Russian, National Socialist German, Fascist Italy, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, China, Cambodia, every African communist experiment, and every Latin American communist experiment.

And let me say this again: All of these human disasters played out during Bernie’s lifetime. Socialist-supporting Millennials have an excuse for ignorance because most of these failures died in violence before they were born and their schools have assiduously blacked out the subject. Bernie, however, has no excuse. If he still believes in socialism, it’s because he wants that future for America and he wants to be in charge when it happens. That’s evil.

Some thoughts on the Syria pullout and the Kurds. I’ve already blogged about the fact that Trump is returning America a post-Wilson doctrine foreign policy holding that America is not responsible for making the world safe for democracy and a post-Obama foreign policy, which holds that America is also not responsible for making the world safe from America. Instead, he’s looking at foreign policy through an America First lens.

An America First approach doesn’t mean world domination; it means staying out of things that spill American blood and take American gold, without conferring a benefit on America.

That seems to have paid off because, after having a deadly temper tantrum, Erdogan has entered into seemingly successful ceasefire talks:

Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cut a deal for a 5-day cease-fire Thursday, in which Turkey will suspend its incursion into northern Syria to give Kurdish fighters time to clear out of the territory.

“Today I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria,” Pence said during a news conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of [Kurdish] YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours. All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.”

But Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu contradicted Pence minutes later, saying there was no cease-fire, just a 5-day pause in its operation.

The foreign minister’s words are just bluster. I’m sure Trump’s blunt letter, the one that so shocked the Dem pearl-clutchers inside and outside of the media had something to do with it. Trump is sure too:

This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago. There needed to be some “tough” love in order to get it done. Great for everybody. Proud of all! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019

And note the conciliatory tone Erdogan now voices:

DEFEAT TERRORISM! https://t.co/8WbnLPgWIK — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2019

The progress in Syria is great, but I still want to back up a step to look at what Trump is doing. After all, NeverTrumpers, soft Trumpers, and the whole Democrat conglomerate have been in hysterics about Trump’s pullout. By the way, regarding those hysterics, please keep in mind that it was Obama, not Trump, who sucked us into Syria. Remember, too, that he anti-war movement ended when Obama hit the WH and the pro-war movement began when he left.

The most interesting theory I’ve seen comes from Bryan Dean Wright’s twitter feed. Here’s the text without the Twitter framing:

There is a national security strategy behind Trump’s withdrawal from Syria.

You may not like it (neocons). You may doubt it will work (Beltway “experts”). Or you may just hate Trump (Dems).

But there is a plan.

Here it is…

Remember: We‘re in Syria to keep ISIS at a low boil, to minimize the terror threat.

Not to counter Iran. Or Russia.

(We can do that by simply withdrawing. More on that in a bit.)

Trump is thus asking: Can we leverage Iran, Russia, & Turkey to kill ISIS & achieve our goal?

Yes.

All nations involved — Russia, Iran, Turkey, & Syria — want ISIS dead.

But that’s where their alliances & shared goals end.

Russia & Iran have long been at odds w/ each other, incl who controls Syria.

Russia & Turkey want different things in Damascus too.

It’s a mess.

Trump is thus banking on two things:

1) All parties will attack ISIS / Islamic Sunni radicals (our goal), but

2) Remain so conflicted with each other that the war drags on, costing Turkey, Russia, & Iran major blood & treasure.

It’s their Vietnam.

Will Trump’s gamble work?

Quite possibly yes.

And if it doesn’t — ISIS / Islamic radicals again take root — we’ll work with the Israelis & others to take them out.

We’ve done it before.

We’ll do it again.

Meanwhile, no more money on stupid wars.

No more American men and women putting on a uniform only to come back taking off prosthetic limbs or spiraling into emotional chaos with broken minds.

For what?!

Enough.

America has had enough.

For DC “experts,” no Trump policy will be enough.

They want a democratic Syria, built by gunpoint. Or mass confrontation w/ adversaries.

And that’s why they all hate Trump’s move.

But remember: they’re the same “experts” who sold us the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan.

How smart.

Trump’s strategy has one major casualty: our Kurdish allies & the Syrian Defense Force.

Some are brave soldiers. Others are terrorists.

Some will now die. Others will quickly switch their allegiance to Assad to fight Turkey.

And that’s exactly what Trump and his team expect.

Caught in the fight are the Syrian people & many refugees who have fled to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, & Europe.

That is a cost created by Obama (Mr. “Red Line”) & Germany’s “Momma Merkel.”

Not Trump.

When nations get tired of fighting, diplomats will talk. People will return

Bottom line: Trump and his team have a credible foreign policy supporting this withdrawal.

We can still kill ISIS.

We can bog down the Russians, Iranians, Turks, & Syrians.

Yes, we lose a Kurdish ally made up of both honorable & terroristic fighters.

But there is a strategy.

Turkey’s goals – the ones that Trump facilitated – are not actually a problem for America. Moreover, standing up to Turkey would have meant going to battle against a NATO member. Per an article in The Spectator by John R. Bradley:

Turkey’s goal was to repatriate at least two million of 3.6 million Syrian refugees inside Turkey in a border zone controlled, until the invasion began, by the US-allied, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Ankara considers that group to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), which is also active in the region, has committed countless atrocities inside Turkey and is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and America.

Since Turkey was never going to back down, Middle East pundits appeared to be arguing that Trump should actually have risked going to war with a fellow Nato member that houses American nuclear weapons at its Incirlik Air Base. Worse, this would have been in defense of the Kurds, with whom the US has no defense treaty and whose ad hoc alliance with the US in Syria was formed with the explicit and limited goal of fighting the now defeated Islamic State. Going into battle against the Turks would also, of course, have meant betraying a historic ally, not to mention potentially causing the outbreak of a third world war.

J.E. Dyer at Liberty Unyielding has a great point about the way in which the Dems’ impeachment obsession may have driven Trump to take his unilateral step. Thus, she points out that Turkey was planning on making this move as far back as September, but Trump managed to stop it then. He’s not stopping it now. Says Dyer, “I also see what I suspect Trump does, which is that a Congress wracked by a quasi-formal but all-consuming impeachment process is an impossible partner for any U.S. policy that involves opposing Turkey head-on in Syria.”

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Moreover, America’s withdrawal will force the other players – Turkey, Russia, Syria, and the Kurds – to come to the table.

If Putin is smart (and he has shown a disposition to be, in this regard), he’ll see what he can do to broker something between Erdogan and the Kurds.  It may involve some Turkish forces moving into the safe zone.  My guess is that it will.  But if Erdogan knows that Russia will seek to exercise a jealous veto over what Turkish forces are doing – and Russia, with strategic reach over and around Turkey, is more than capable of that – he’ll be more careful than not.  NATO is not a prompt and enthusiastic backer of any Turkish move into Syria.  Erdogan vis-à-vis Russia, in this matter, is on his own.

Thomas Wictor, who sees things through a fascinating lens, different from other people’s, believes Trump is on to something brilliant vis-à-vis the Kurds:

The Trump plan is now clear, and it’s working.

Until now, the Kurds refused to negotiate with the Syrian government. Now they’ve made a deal.

The Kurds control one third of Syria, so they’ll end up with an autonomous region that’s part of Syria.

From what I can tell, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has not been engaged in actual fighting for years now.

But showing the flag is as good as fighting.

The Kurds are making it impossible for Turkey to continue the offensive.

***

So the Kurds and Assad are going to work it out.

The US can cripple the Turkish economy.

Finally the EU is on our side when it comes to Turkey.

The Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation–Islamist rebels–was totally destroyed by “al-Qaeda” in January of this year, so northwest Syria was cleared of jihadists.

This is the final battlefield of the Syrian Civil War.

Trump is ending the war without causing the same disaster that we caused in Iraq.

Remember:

Trump is using economic leverage on all our enemies.

Therefore we don’t have to go to war.

Assad was a puppet of the Iranian mullahs, and now he’s a figurehead. His army has not engaged in actual combat since late 2016.

Syria is full of GCC commandos posing as SAA and rebels.

After the Turks are defeated, there will be kabuki that allows Assad to go to Russia in retirement.

This is the endgame for Syria.

Iran, the Houthis, and Hezbollah are still threats, but regime change in Iran has to begin with the Iranian people.

It can’t be imposed from the outside.

So Trump didn’t “abandon” anyone. He simply said nobody is entitled to American lives.

So the Kurds stopped cutting bait and began fishing.

Finally, look beyond the media romanticizing of the Kurds and remember that they’re not all nice people. The Kurds current at issue in Syria are radical Marxists. They are not America’s friends.

At FrontPage Magazine, Andrew Bostom explains that the Kurds are Middle Eastern Muslims first and . . . well, not really second, but dead last, democracy-seeking friends of America.  He sums up Kurdish anti-Semitism and purges; the fact that the PKK (which is Turkey’s enemy) is a radical, violent Marxist movement; the fact that the Iraqi Kurds (“Kurdistan”) are sharia-following Muslims; and that 50% of Kurdish women are victims of FGM. (Just today, he added a new article about Kurdish anti-Semitism.)

A good rule of thumb when it comes to the Middle East is that nothing is simple, and you’ll definitely be misinformed if you rely on the mainstream media for  your information about that region.

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About Bookworm 1163 Articles
Bookworm came late to conservativism but embraced it with passion. She's been blogging since 2004 at Bookworm Room about anything that captures her fancy -- and that's usually politics. Her blog's motto is "Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts."