Why the United States just bombed Syria

I’ve noticed that the typical sources that are normally all too excited to “explain the news” to you are doing reporting on this issue that requires more back-story to make any sense. I suspect that this is the case because the details behind this story don’t fit a sensationalist narrative or partisan agenda. Whatever the case – Since I happen to have been following at least the base components at play, here is my Rich-plaination for y’all on the key points of what just happened and why…

Since 2011 there has been a Star Wars style “Rebels vs The Empire” war going on in Syria.

President Obama announced to the world that if that if the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against the rebels there (really dirty painful internationally illegal cruel way of killing opponents) then that would be a “red line”, implying a line that, if crossed would come with severe consequences.

Assad used the weapons and Obama did nothing, exposing the empty threat and embarrassing the United States to a degree to where even The Obama Administrations Secretary of State John Kerry had to later admit was a costly disaster.

Thanks to this Obama failure, ISIS now has chemical weapons.

Fast forward to 2017: Assad used chemical weapons on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which, at the time of this writing is reported to have killed at least 85 civilians, 23 of whom were children.

As a direct response to this, the new Trump Administration launched missiles at a Syrian airbase. President Trump explained:

Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread of chemical weapons.

That announcement was made Thursday night from Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Many are scared about what this means for international policy while others (read: this guy) find it refreshingly badass to have a president working out of his Florida luxury resort where he pauses meetings with foreign leaders to announce that it didn’t take more than a day for the country he leads to follow up with a punishing military response to a country killing children and civilians with chemical weapons. More:

The U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles from the USS Porter and USS Ross destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean against the Shayrat air base, where the U.S. says the planes that carried out a chemical weapons attack originated. The missiles targeted aircraft and aircraft shelters, ammunition, air defense systems and radars.

U.S. officials said planners did everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and are still doing battle damage assessment to determine the exact results of the raid.

Whether you too find this response refreshingly badass or not, you shouldn’t be scared about too much further foreign war entanglements. Trumps stated intentions are to curtail the spread of chemical weapons, so if Assad stops using them, there is no reason to believe there will be further strikes against Syria by the United States. That appears to be the deal.

Trump ran a non-interventionist campaign that was backed with promises to also not allow “red line” moments to happen under his watch. At the time of this writing, this test on those claims appears to have been passed.

For more info, this link at The Guardian has some helpful maps and video on the subject.

There’s no reason to FEAR Trumps victory

So Hillary Rodham Clinton, lifelong politician, just lost the presidency to Donald J Trump, reality tv star (and billionaire businessman, but the first one is funnier).

U mad?

Okay. I’m being flippant while you’re sensitive. I apologize. But seriously though:

What are Hillary supporters upset about right now, exactly?…

That the pro-war Wall Street crony tax-raising lifelong crook who takes money from countries who murder gays lost an election to the anti-war small government lifelong successful businessman who is the most consistently pro-gay candidate to run for office?

Why, again?… Because those policies are all Left Wing and Liberal (see the difference here), so you must simply fear and abhor the man personally rather than professionally.

Why? Because he accurately noted what the Fusion network reported  about 80% of women illegally trafficked from Mexico being raped and/or that he unhappily commented on crime by illegal immigrants and you believed the lie that he claimed “Mexicans” were rapists and murders?
Cuz if so, the solution is simple: just be less racist and don’t equate all illegal immigrants with Mexican nationals. Then you won’t be prone to believe such a goofy smear of a claim that opposition to criminals from Mexico means you hate non-criminal Mexicans.

Why? He has such a great relationship with his daughters and surrounds himself with strong and powerful women who guide and manage him and keep him in check. Where is the evidence he has anything against women? Is it because of the 11 year old “hot mic” audio that was uncovered in where Trumps “locker room talk” included the observation that his power, wealth, and stature gave him amazing prowess with women who would let him do “whatever” to him, in where he used as an example “grab em by the pussy”? Because how would women letting you manhandle them because they are impressed with you be a sign that you hate them? Or is it because you bought into the Democrat attack line that that private comment constituted “assault” on women, even though the audio is publicly available to be heard and verified that no assault was mentioned and in fact the very nature of the premise was precisely the astonishment that this kind of crude contact was allowed and desired – not unwanted and resisted? If so I have another easy fix to brighten your day: don’t believe every summary of everything you hear and instead actually listen to what happened. If you got the wrong impression and, say, at a Presidential debate (lets use “the second one” as an example) the person in question says that no mention of an assault was stated and that the person stating that it did must not have understood what was said – maybe go ahead and fact check which person is telling the truth instead of just blindly believing the ugly charge.

This is the weirdest one, that I’m both happy to report but also sorry to say that it is 100% invented out of wholecloth with no merit or even basis whatsoever. Donald Trump is the most pro-gay candidate to have run in… ever. Even if he wasn’t, though, as his Vice President Mike Pence isn’t (Pence isn’t personally opposed to the legality of counseling people on sexual attractions that they may deem unwanted, which fearmongerers equate to supporting some kind of government led forcing of gays into so called “conversion therapy” to un-gay them en masse), there is nothing Constitutional law can do to persecute gays. People claiming that Trump would overturn the Republican issued ruling making same sex marriage a national right (a ruling made by the Log Cabin Republicans and argued by Republican and former Bush cabinet member Ted Olson in where Republican appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the winning ruling on), know nothing about the law or are intentionally lying to you about it in addition to lying about Trumps position and policy on the issue. Not only is overturning that ruling not possible and not wanted by the President-Elect – he lacks a single negative stance on gay issues.
If you are still terrified of a Trump led gay persecution, just open your eyes to reality and remember that issue by issue, Gays will receive the most benefits from a Trump presidency.
Gays earn more income and thus will be disproportionate beneficiaries of Trump tax cuts.
Gays are disproportionate beneficiaries of a more stringent vetting process on immigrants from countries that support Islamic terror, the likes of which was responsible for the slaughter at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

PayPal co-founder and tech billionaire Peter Thiel was the first openly gay person to speak at a Republican convention and will almost surely have at minimal an advisory role in a Trump administration, and perhaps more (the rumors are Supreme Court, but I think he is more likely to just be close to the administration as an advisor) and as Caitlyn Jenner noted: Donald Trump is a Champion for Women and LGBT people – suggesting that a lifestyle perspective isn’t what pigments a person to these smears, but rather a victim mentality and willingness to see oppression and hate everywhere, whether it exists as a valid source or not.


You may notice a theme here: All your concerns are fear-propaganda based and originated from specific sources who duped you. That is – they are smears invented to play on your existing concerns and leverage your confirmation-bias into feeling terror over a non-threat.

That’s pretty disgusting. Thus your scorn and contempt should be reserved for the perpetrator of the smears, not the target of those smears.

Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t support Trump in the primary, didn’t think he ran a good campaign, and only reluctantly supported him against his crooked counterpart. He’s inarticulate and often careless with his speech, crass, rude, and imprecise and i’m not looking forward to having gaffes and easily-taken-out-of-context moments run around by opportunistic parties to sensationalize and profit from.
But the charge of racism is stupid. 30 years on the public stage and the man is never accused of such a slander and then all of a sudden when he threatens a political establishments corrupt power structure, we’re supposed to believe he is a KKK supporter? Please. Be real.
The charges of being anti-woman are wholly silly and unserious at every level for the same reasons as above.
The charges of being homophobic are just invented entirely out of wholecloth with no basis in truth whatsoever.

You’re being used by people fomenting fear to gain political power and you ought to fight back, not let yourself be victimized by this shameful tactic.

A brief hall of shame:

& then of course the appropriate response to this melodrama:

Yes, spreading terror is effective in mobilizing Useful Idiots into a panic that motivates them into supporting your thirst for power, but that’s also pretty evil.

Even if your pet issue on why you find Trump terrifying isn’t listed in this post: keep in mind that Trump needs Congress to pass anything and that he faces 100% Democrat opposition and a sizable chunk of “NeverTrump” members in his own party.

Again: It’s understandable to be bummed out right now if you were really looking forward to paying more taxes, getting into more wars, and having tons of new rules of engagement to have to go through in operating your business or securing healthcare under a Clinton Administration – but if that isn’t the source of your anxiety right now and instead you are terrified for women, racial minorities, or gay people – you have been scammed.

Get a grip and focus on the things that actually matter. Like the things that actually exist.

2016 Election Voter Guide

Obviously you should vote the way I am and I am casting my ballot under the following strategy: Vote for Trump, but with understanding of all his shortcomings and even if you desperately don’t want him to be President – vote for him anyway and just hope that Clinton wins (which I predict she obviously will).
*UPDATE: I thought she would be a shoe-in given her smear campaign with endless personal attacks that usually work well with an electorate but if I won’t just be ding dang damned – it failed like it should have. Way to go for that America. Even though President Trump isn’t a dream-sounding proposition for anyone outside of his immediate family, there are lots of reasons to have optimism and zero reasons to panic or be depressed, no matter what side you’re on.



Both candidates are awful public speakers with obnoxious mannerisms in their speech patterns and who are prone to saying weird things of different natures (Trump being insensitive, Hillary being calculated and cold in robotic gaffes). Neither will be an honor to serve the nations highest office. It comes down to what they will do for the country and TO the country…

Trump would be annoying but completely harmless because the president needs Congress (the house and senate) to support any laws they pass except military actions (which he doesn’t advocate) meaning he wouldn’t do shit unless the country was completely behind it since he would have 100% of the democrats against everything he wants to do and half of his own damn party opposing him too. Hillary on the other hand would have 100% Democrat zombie support and then peel off a decent percentage of republican pussies to support her shit and be able to do whatever she wants.


CLINTON: higher taxes, more regulations that stifle small businesses like mine, big government favoring big business and more control over individuals lives, pro-war and foreign intervention but soft on Islamic terror pursuit and immigration from Islamic nations, soft on illegal immigration.

TRUMP: lower taxes, less regulation to allow small businesses to compete with big corporations, small government favoring the individual (“the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen”), anti-war and anti foreign intervention unless americas interests are directly threatened, would dramatically reduce illegal immigration and vet immigrants from nations that are known to support and produce terrorist organizations.


CLINTON: uses victimization propaganda to make people feel weak and needy so her policies of big government control can rescue them. Clintons staff has been caught on film bragging about instigating violence at Trump rallies.

TRUMP: has a victim mentality about himself but doesn’t spread it as a philosophy uses motivation of self reliance and hard work with help from the government that doesn’t make you dependent on it.


CLINTON: Is personally and professionally corrupt with a history of scandals, most recently including making hundreds of millions in shady political dealings. Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton have ever had had a job outside of politics. Hillary Clinton is being investigated by the FBI and if elected would be put in control over the very institution investigating her for corruption.

TRUMP: Is personally a douche and professionally successful despite a fair share of business ventures that also didn’t work out (in other words: his business record is excellent, but not without flaw or failure) with no black eyes as far as scandal or corruption in his business record over 3 decades of being in the public eye. Successful manager – never been a politician.

No offense but your gun control arguments are kindov dumb

Cultural trends have made it an American tradition to freak out over gun laws as the culprit for the blood spilt after there is a mass murder with a gun (while mass murders using other more legally obtained objects like box cutters on 9/11 don’t share a similar discrimination after the event) and the Orlando gay club massacre was no different.

Obviously this is dopey, since murder is the bad part of the situation – not the thing a murderer uses to murder. So why is it so not obvious to so many? Emotional confirmation bias, mostly, is my guess. Because when you actually examine the prudence of what gun laws in America are vs the claims of what they should be, you don’t come up with a lot of murder prevention but you do come up with a lot of “protecting against getting murdered” prevention. The truth is that the so called loopholes in gun laws aren’t aiding any kind of pattern of gun abuse, and of course the blaring fact that America is awash with guns and crime is at a record low. So what’s the deal, yo?

Even though I don’t like guns and kindov want them all illegal, I don’t see the prudence in restricting them to the mass public when there are so many in the free flowing market to those with murderous intent. If you think laws are the answer to gun murders, why don’t you just make murder illegal, you dumb hippies? What makes people think that pre-meditated murder can be curtailed by laws offering punishment on the use or access of special kinds of weapons used to murder is beyond me – but more importantly – it’s beyond the people who think that as well, evidently. I know because I ask these people all the time and the lack of having thought about the fact that there is already a life sentence or lifetime imprisonment penalty in place on pre-meditated murder is always the most glaring take-away from the exchange.

As much as I don’t love being on the so called “gun nut” side of the issue, it seems fairly clear that more gun control measures than not are shady attempts at 2nd amendment suppression than they are stopping crazy people from getting deadly weapons in service to the public safety and I’m more interested in solving problems (see: preventing murder) than I am feeding my emotional distaste for weapons that easily (with the squeeze of a finger) take precious human life.

But these arguments that keep popping up all over the popular punditry and social media in the wake of a mass shooting are so non-persuasive that I get disappointed at those persuaded by them.

For instance, the idea that “semi-automatic”(“fully automatic” –aka- machine guns aren’t legal for civilian use) guns shouldn’t be legal. What? People should have to reload their weapon after every shot? So if you have multiple attackers you just have to call a time-out in between reloads? And I’m tired of hearing the canard about the 2nd amendment being made for (and thus only applies to) single firing muskets… Ignoring the history that that’s not even accurate since there were “multiple shot without having to reload in between every firing” firearms – or what we now call “semi-automatic” in existence at the time of the 2nd amendments drafting – the logic just doesn’t hold up to level-one scrutiny.

The right to protect yourself with projectile weaponry (that doesn’t require you to be physically strong, agile, or studied in martial arts or swordplay) is not changed by modernization any more than the right to speak freely without obstruction or persecution from the government is changed by modern methods of broadcasting and distribution. You dummies who think you’re so clever saying the 2nd amendment only applies to muskets that need to be reloaded after every firing are accidentally arguing for the First amendment to apply only to paper distribution of words and real-time vocalized speech (making it extra ironic when people make the “2nd amendment was for muskets” argument on digital distribution platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube – which I’m more than 90% sure wasn’t in circulation around the time the first amendment was drafted).

Usually the fall-back argument for this and every other Government led freedom restriction goes back to saying “you don’t need it though” as the crux of the argument justifying taking something away. It’s basically the essence of Leftism in one sentence, really: “I will decide what you need and then use the force of government [backed by guns] to make sure you don’t get more than what I have decided you need”.

A less totalitarian, less civil-liberty encroaching argument would be a focus on “if you are X, Y, Z [criminally ineligible to access firearms] then you cant have a gun” rather than the argument of “*you don’t need* [a gun that I think looks scary]”.

Why isn’t all of this obvious? The scary part is that I think it is but its just that emotional issues let individuals emotions redirect from the obvious.

I find that a lot more terrifying than non-restrictive gun laws.

I endorsed destroying everything that made America great today

“I voted for Bernie Sanders today” was not something I expected to ever be guilty of saying but I desperately wanted that “I voted” sticker and the polling place had free donuts (I’m only human, after all).


If you’re excited at my ideological conversion from Liberal to Leftist-Marxist (i.e: away from thinking “individual liberty” is a superior value to “equality of outcome”), then don’t be.

Democratic Socialism remains such a bad idea that people regularly flee from, not to it (a subject a little too Real for the Bernie buddies), but Bernie was the only choice in the race since Trump is a waste and Hillary is horrible + horrible policies, meaning I throw in with the guy who has a savvier campaign and isn’t horrible (for a Politician) but has horrible (really horrible, illogical, not even half as good as claimed, vapid) policies.

While math will ultimately be the force that crushes the Sanders campaign today – Let it be known that the Bern was felt in 2016 across Richardland.

Prediction: Mitt Romney will vanquish Trump and save America

Don’t shoot the messenger, Trumpeters but: no, my Loves, Donald J Trump will neither be the Republican nominee for President in 2016, nor will he be elected to the office. He will be defeated by a cooler head and saner mind, but not that which by the name of Carson, Kasich, Cruz or Rubio (also the order of which those candidates will drop out).

No, children. The savior of this nation who will gallop to our aid on a glowing white horse will be one Willard “Mitt” Romney, the Republican nominee from the 2012 election who tragically lost to President Obama despite being right about absolutely everything.

I’ve been promoting and predicting a Romney 2016 Presidential nomination since 2012, halfway out of wishful thinking but half serious-prediction as a review of my commentary on each shoe dropping throughout the past few years shows will show, but I have a bit of an addendum as of February 2016: Romney will not run in the Primary as I was even until recently holding out hope that he might do (California, New Jersey and a few others allow for such a late filing) but rather will unite the party in strategic opposition to the looming Trump-disaster and remind the country that it can do better. His play won’t be conspiratorial or for his own gain (that’s MY plan, not his) but will set the dominos up for the possibility that he be considered for the position. Again: I see no evidence that he is pulling any strings to con his way into the position despite my wish that that was what is going on. More likely, he is pushing for his VP pick and current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan to be the nominee at a brokered convention (Ryan/Romney 2016 would be great even though I don’t like Ryan as much and think he was a mistake to be chosen for the 2012 ticket). Regardless of those details though, my prediction is merely that Romney will save the day. My wet dream *hope* is that his day-savery results in these idiot elephants coming to their senses and brokering a Romney coalition in where Attorney General Chris Christie, Surgeon General Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing[orsomesh*t] John Kasich, and Antonin Scalia replacement Supreme Court nominee Ted Cruz, (while Rubio is dispatched to run for Florida Governor next go-around or something) all unite in a Romney/Latino 2016 ticket that eventually even Trump supports in a rousing speech at the convention where everyone is friends and truly Makes America Great Again.

*UPDATE* WEDNESDAY MARCH 2 2016: Mitt Romney has announced he will hold a press conference on “the state of the 2016 race” tomorrow… dude…

Prediction: No, it’s not an announcement of candidacy but no he is not endorsing another candidate.  I know both because 1- the location of Utah is not the place to make an endorsement of one of the remaining candidates and 2- the absence of any leaked info whatsoever + what *is* being buzzed about it does not at all sound like an announcement that he is jumping in the race.

Instead I suspect he will calmly and rationally tell the party why Trump is not the candidate that can bring victory, add anecdotes on his own loss, and say nice things about the remaining 3 candidates in the race (Carson dropped out finally, today).

Update [March 3rd]: Still not having watched the speech yet, I was asked the effect a thing like this could possibly have, considering the source does not exactly enjoy Trump-level enthusiasm. In other words: how many supporters does Mitt Romney actually have at this point in order to make an impact? I would say there are at least 13… I think I should count double so maybe 14? but yes – the truth that for this to have an effect he needs “fans”, not just “supporters” and besides me and 4 other people in the fanboy department, the supporters are dwindling.

Meanwhile on the other side, another establishment figure being anti-Trump will only make the pro-Trump crowd more enthused for him. I hope Romney’s play is less “converting the faithful” and more “showing that the false-god bleeds and an uprising against him is possible” and for that I think there’s merit to it. I say “hope” instead of “think” because so far in this primary cycle, every Trump critic has foolishly thought they were going to win an emotional argument with logic (same mistake Romney made against Obama in 2012 and that Republicans do every time because they’re autistic nerds and out-of-the-pop-culture-loop populists).

I see it as having an effect on Trump getting nominated – just not in the obvious way in where everyone wakes up because the Mitt-siah revealed the truth from the mountain to them and now they flock to him instead (like they should). Rather I think this is less supposed to be an earth-shatter move as it is a long play as it may be a necessary event in the timeline that lends credibility to the Trump fracturing at delegate-count time so the argument that the nomination is being stolen from Trump doesn’t fly (because the record can easily show that key factions of the party had been increasingly against Trump + his lack of number-needed delegates means the remaining ones should pool against, not for him, and a stunt like this by Mitt aids in that future process).

That’s at best. At worst, then it’s just a less embarrassing version of when Rick Perry tried to do this same thing 5 months ago and Mitt can at least be in the “we tried…” camp.

Explaining the Obvious Logical Rules on Replacing a Dead Justice

Alternate title: The correct yet totally hypocritical party stance of replacing Scalia.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Shawn Calhoun

Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep on a hunting trip, leaving a vacancy on the Supreme Court which now raises a bunch of questions regarding which party gets to nominate someone to fill that vacancy.

The rules on replacing a retiring or life-retired (read: dead) Justice are: The President nominates a person for the vacancy and the Senate Judiciary Committee (Senators who are part of a kind of “judge pickers club”) publicly interviews them with questions and then the Senate votes on whether or not to confirm the nominee as a Judge on the Supreme Court. Right now the White House is filled by a Leftist Democrat and the Senate (and its judiciary committee) is controlled by center-Right Republicans. So who gets to fill this seat?

In an interesting plot twist: both Republicans and Democrats are factually correct (in different areas) and yet total hypocrites on the issue.

Specifically, Democrats claim President Obama should obviously be appointing the new judge for a speedy confirmation by the Senate and Republicans say since President Obama has less than 1 year left as President, the new one that takes office in January 2017 should be the one to make the nomination (which they hope will be a Republican).

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may be a total partisan hack who peddles easily debunked talking points from her hippie base on the regular, but she’s right in her comments on this subject…

“Senator McConnell is right that the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. In fact, they did — when President Obama won the 2012 election by five million votes,” Ms. Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, said in a statement.

“Article II Section 2 of the Constitution says the President of the United States nominates justices to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate,” she wrote. “I can’t find a clause that says ‘…except when there’s a year left in the term of a Democratic President.’”

She added: “Senate Republicans took an oath just like Senate Democrats did. Abandoning the duties they swore to uphold would threaten both the Constitution and our democracy itself. It would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the Constitution is just that — empty talk.”

That’s all true in the most “duh” of fashions. Unfortunately for Warren though, the same Constitution they all took an oath to uphold, applies to the other party as well, and the unmistakable fact of the matter at hand is that of course Congress can deny Obama this appointment.

Consent means the Senate is under no obligation whatsoever even to hold a vote on any presidential appointment. The Senate’s obligation is to do what the Senate wants, and only what the Senate wants. Those are the rules. To try to hold senators to a different rule is to try to change the rules on them–and people tend to resent that. Everyone is free to disagree with the positions individual senators or the Senate as a whole take on individual nominations or prospective nominations. But there is no question that senators individually or collectively can deny their consent to any actual or prospective nomination for any reason–just as the American people can vote for whomever they want, for whatever reason they want.

Indeed, President Obama isn’t even entitled to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia–or at least, Congress can deny him that right. The Constitution gives Congress the power to decide how many seats there are on the Supreme Court. In 1789, there were only six. Given sufficient congressional support (i.e., veto-proof majorities in both chambers), Congress could reduce the number of Supreme Court justices from the current nine to eight. McConnell, Cruz, and Rubio could propose doing so right now. It seems strange to criticize senators who are merely expressing in what circumstances they will withhold their consent when Congress has the power to deny the president the ability to fill this vacancy entirely by itself eliminating this vacancy.

At the same time Democrats turn a blind eye to President Obama repeatedly ignoring constitutional limits on his power, they claim Republicans would dishonor the Constitution if they use powers the Constitution clearly grants them. That is unlikely to dissuade Senate Republicans from delaying a vote on Scalia’s successor until 2017. Nor should it.

So now that it is established that it is both an easily verifiable “duh” that yes, the President can go forward with this process as usual but yes, the Senate can halt this process as usual – the real question is what *should* happen logically, morally, and reasonably.

Here’s where the derpiness starts…

Seems to me that the timing of an election should play no role in judicial appointments and claiming otherwise is just playing politics in the kind of loophole bullcrap ways everyone hates about politics.

As a historical precedent, however…

There is ample precedent for rejecting lame duck Supreme Court nominees.

[T]he Senate does have an obligation to fulfill its “advice and consent” obligation. Says the Constitution, the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court…” A preemptive rejection of any possible Supreme Court appointment is self-evidently in conflict with that obligation. The phrase “do not let it become about whoever Obama names” makes that explicit.

A man as versed in the Constitution as Senator Cruz should be embarrassed to posit that the nation could owe a debt to Scalia, that a “debt” to a dead man should play any role in a process governed by the Constitution, or that a sitting president’s nominee should be preemptively rejected before his or her identity is known. There is no agreed upon standard of what legitimate advice and consent entails. But any standard that rejects a nomination before it is even made fails the laugh test.

James Madison’s Constitution is not a living, breathing document that changes in meaning as an election approaches. A president is no less legitimate as a lame duck. The Framers intended for the Senate to give up-or-down votes based on a nominee’s merit, however it’s defined. The timing of an election should play no role.

The precedent of the Senate halting a nomination process was upheld by some pretty key Senators in pretty recent history, however. Mainly: New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. And former Senator Joseph Biden. And former Senator Barack Obama. – i.e. – the current sitting President and Vice President who are now arguing the opposite position on account of being total hypocrites in regards to Senate rules applying to a Presidency.

In Bidens case, it’s especially egregious because his argument was made in the absence of a vacancy. He was just pre-emptively making the case that “in case this happens, the president should be advised that this is the normal way of doing things and it would be wrong to do it any different way”… Oops…

Sorry Hippies: Welders do make more money than Philosophers

In the 4th debate for the Republican nomination to be the contender for President that faces off against the Democrat (see: “Hillary Clinton“) in the 2016 election, a question was posed about about whether the government should force employers to pay their least important and profitable employees a higher amount (instead of allowing the labor market to dictate pay based on the value and demand of the work a position holds). Amidst the candidates comments supporting freedom of choice over government meddling in the private decisions workers and businesses make for their own lives, Florida senator Marco Rubio cut to one of the causes of the question by noting the useless degrees many students choose to go into debt over more prudent vocational education.

“Here’s the best way to raise wages: Make America the best place in the world to start a business or expand an existing business, tax reform and regulatory reform, bring our debt under control, fully utilize our energy resources … repeal and replace ObamaCare, and make higher education faster and easier to access.”

He added:  “For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

His closer of “You’re going to make people more expensive than a machine. We need more welders and less philosophers” was noted that proper grammar in such a context is “fewer philosophers”, not “less”. Others had more aggressive criticism of the comment in what seems to me to be merely a transparent attempt at finding something to attack more than anything resembling an actual legitimate point of contention.

While the points that people shouldn’t make themselves less valuable to employers than machines and that they should instead should go to school for an actual reason and not just to burn money and waste valuable years on completely non-beneficial titles for fields they don’t get employed in seems pretty unassailable – it was heavily assailed non-the-less. The reasons why are obvious, even though the point itself is an obvious one: aside from the academic industry not wanting dilution of its brand, there are a lot of people who have already wasted their time and money on useless degrees and want to feel better about that waste by continuing to laud them, not to mention opportunists who are merely looking for an excuse to take down Rubio’s rising star.

Evidently, Rubio was so sterling in his debate performance that this Welders vs Philosopher salary thing was the biggest trending story of the whole debate in articles and social media afterward.

The refrain in most of the reaction was in claiming that Rubio’s statement is wrong and that Philosophers actually make much more than welders.

Except they don’t, and here is how Rubio’s critics are making the false attack:

CNN notes that “Most critics cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which lists the median annual salary for welders at $37,420. For philosophy teachers, the wage is significantly higher: $63,630.” The obvious answer to this should be a resounding “so what?” as this means nothing.

A welding teacher is not necessarily a welder so why would anyone accept the bogus premise that a philosophy teacher is a philosopher? This is a fallacy of changing the goal posts since it is using imbalanced criteria to make a point. You either compare welding teachers to philosophy teachers (i.e: teachers compared to teachers) or you compare welders to philosophers (i.e: people gainfully employed doing the act of welding vs people who philosophize as their profession) but you can’t claim to un-make Rubio’s accurate point by keeping only half of his statement and changing the other half.

The other dubious debunking of Rubio’s claim rests on changing the context of his comment. The Washington Post headlined “Sorry Rubio. Philosophy majors actually make more than welders”. But why would Rubio a “sorry, but…” statement about yet another irrelevancy to his point? Again, the criticism requires changing the comments of the criticized, which in turn doesn’t go on to debunk a point but rather just goes into an irrelevant tangent that uses some of the same words in the original point.

Someone with a degree in Philosophy is just “someone with a degree in Philosophy”. You don’t become a lawyer by studying law in college – you become a lawyer by becoming a lawyer. Likewise, you don’t become a welder by studying welding – you study welding to become a welder.

Rubio didn’t say “those who study Philosophy” in his comparison, so what are his critics so afraid of that they can’t just respond to what he actually said? Probably because the context of his remarks make it clear that he was just using shorthand for “useless liberal arts major” in the context of minimum wage workers and as I noted earlier – that is impossible to argue against. But his critics couldn’t just let him go and make such an obvious and accurate point like that without appearing to counter it, so they engage in all this nonsense to obfuscate the truth.

But even playing the game of literalness these critics are using, the numbers and logic just don’t support the claims against the comment. To accurately fact check the legitimacy of Rubio’s point about “welders making more than philosophers”, one has to look at the number of people who studied philosophy and used that study to become employed as a philosopher vs those who learned welding and made a living from being a welder. Sorry, Philip Bump, who wrote that WashPo article, but what you study isn’t the same as what you do for a living. By Bumps metric, he’s conceivably including the hypothetical person who majors in philosophy in college and then went on to become a welder. But replace “welder” with anything and you’ve got the same non-point. A doctor, lawyer, scientist, politician, entrepreneur or other business professional might very well have majored in philosophy but they’re not “Philosophers” and it ain’t their philosophizing that earns them a higher salary than a welder.

The most bizarre criticism is from the people butthurt about an alleged attack on Philosophizing as a profession. You would think someone learned in the art of using logic and reason to understand reality would… do any of that… and then realize that making an obvious statement regarding advice about career trajectories is not an attack or statement that having a skill used in that career is useless.

I’m regarded as pretty self absorbed and I can’t imagine feeling similarly about such an obvious statement on the fields that apply to me. I’m an improvisational actor and would agree with a candidate saying we need more welders than improv performers. I also think improv should be taught in high schools, business schools, and elsewhere because of its inherent skill while at the same time telling everyone who will listen to absolutely not count on it as a career and instead learn an actual skill that actually builds things. Pretty simple to see the non-competition within those points, if you ask me, but others had trouble with Rubio’s comment as if he made some kind of condemnation on knowing anything about philosophy.

By using the intellectually dishonest metrics of “philosophy teachers” and “philosophy majors” to be synonymous with what a “philosopher” is, Rubio’s point is ignored, not fact-checked or even rebutted.

To revisit: Rubio’s point was about the responsibility of government and the individual. He said the responsibility of government is to make America the best place to start or grow business and that the responsibility of individuals is to train themselves for preparation in such a business climate by learning necessary skills for their career goals. He didn’t say anything against majoring in philosophy, one assumes (if they are to honestly appraise the argument he’s making) for a reason: such a major could very well fit into a larger career goal. His comment made an observation about preparation for success in the workplace and it was accurate: On average – welders earn more money than philosophers, so choose your education spending wisely and with a plan in mind.

There are a lot of welding jobs and there are very few philosopher jobs. There are essentially no philosophy jobs outside of entrepreneurially creating your own business or website, advice column, book, or becoming a thought leader that can command hefty speaking fees.

But even going off of the pre-mentioned fallacy about Philosophy teachers being “Philosophers” instead of what they actually are (“teachers”), the numbers don’t add up since the number of people who have risen to the title of tenured professors in philosophy is far smaller than the number of employed welders. Likewise, majoring in philosophy (or any other liberal art) that is not a requirement or aid to your intended profession is a waste, even if such major holders go on to make a good living outside of the field they majored in.

There is just no possible honest angle that makes Rubio’s comment incorrect.

Sorry Hippies, but the fact remains that most liberal arts majors made bad decisions with that choice and their inability to use those majors in the workforce illustrates it.

Marco Rubio gets the most important question right

On the eve of the 3rd GOP Primary debate, the campaign for Florida Sen Marco Rubio released this nifty lightning-round style question session of the candidate titled “15 Questions Marco Won’t Be Asked at the Debate”. It’s a good social media spot that highlights the Senators natural demeanor and quickness that subliminally contrasts him with the Democratic frontrunner, a slowly calculating robot named Hillary.

Thank friggin goodness he got the most important question right. When asked who would win in a fight between my 2 favorite SuperHeroes since childhood – Spiderman or Batman – Marco answers perfectly.

Rubio answers every question quickly and concisely with minimal deliberation but one from the bunch causes the candidate to pause in consideration. He starts to deliver what to the layman seems like the obvious answer by starting the “SSS” of “Spiderman” but then, thoughtful analyst that he is, takes a moment to really weigh the opponents. He confirms with the off-camera questioner, his choices: “Spiderman or Batman?” and pauses with a “hm” and a look to the side as he accesses the logical areas of his brain to retrieve the relevant and necessary fact points and then delivers the correct answer: “Probably Batman”.

It’s actually not just the correct answer, but the perfect answer, for the following reasons:

Spiderman vs Batman is a matchup that requires a moment of thought. An immediate answer doesn’t reveal accuracy but rather reveals which character you simply like better and would root for to win. If such a question is to be taken seriously, at least a moment of analysis is required before blurting out an answer as the heroes are not so obvious in the outcome of their strengths and vulnerabilities could suggest.

Rubio showed himself to be a serious and thoughtful servant of the public in taking his time to reflect on the choice posed to him before blurting out an irresponsible answer.

Surveying the fighters: Spiderman has meta-human strength & agility, tactile gadgets, unparalleled acrobatic ability and a super sense that alerts him to surprise attacks while Batman has “the peak of what the human body is capable of without chemical or meta enhancement” and an array of gadgets.

After analyzing the data in detail, an objective mind puts the odds on the bet that Batman would win against most comic book foes, Spiderman included, which is initially counterintuitive until one explores the reasons this is so. Fully understanding why Batman is such a formidable foe despite constantly being out-gunned and out-powered by rivals is something I’ve explained at length before but to summarize: Batman has the stealth power of superior strategy. In combat, the only thing that matters is strategy and if your superior strategizing can blindside your opponent then you are more likely to successfully defeat them. Batman is both routinely over-prepared and massively underestimated, allowing him to pull dark-horse victories against extremely deadly meta-humans, monsters, machines, armies, aliens, and fellow heroes.

Some hypothetical battles can be predicted with certainty and most are various degrees of likelihood. A Batman vs Spiderman battle isn’t obvious, and there are certainly a number of ways the Wall Crawler could defeat the Dark Knight (those are both nicknames for Spiderman & Batman, in case i’m losing you there), but the right answer is in fact “probably Batman”.

You cannot be President of anything important or hold any office of any consequence whatsoever without getting this question right and Sen Rubio hit it out of the park.