Thursday, June 30, 2022
John Nolte who writes for Breitbart has decided that Fox News is as bad as the rest of them, meaning MSNBC and CNN. I agree Fox has made a few poor calls, ones I'd rather they'd skipped, but they are still the best of the bunch. I've tried watching the truly conservative upstarts but their production values don't make the cut.
I believe Nolte is letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. Fox News mostly does a good job, they aren't perfect but then, who is? Would we want them to be the conservative version of MSNBC or CNN? I know I wouldn't.
I mostly watch Bret Baier's Special Report, which is the FN news hour. I tape it for watching during supper. He covers stuff the other cable news channels don't, like the border mess. And his panel normally has one or more solid conservative voices like Mollie Hemingway or Hugh Hewitt. Nolte doesn't convince me to skip Fox News.
The pseudonymous Sundance who writes at The Conservative Treehouse criticizes President Biden for blaming the coming food shortage on Putin and the Russians. His (?) point is that many things have caused the food shortage, and in a complex world that is almost always true.
However, the major cause of a shortage of wheat is the Russian attack on Ukraine's south coast which has cut off their wheat exports, some of the largest in the world. Most of that wheat moves by ship and the Russian navy has blockaded the Ukraine ports. In normal years Ukrainian wheat feeds a lot of poor folk in the Middle East and Africa, not this year.
We are unlikely to experience food shortages in the U.S. except for odd shortages caused by government meddling like the infant formula mix. We'll experience higher prices but in places where people are lucky to earn $1 a day higher prices equal skipped meals, famine, and perhaps death.
There are plenty of mistakes for which to legitimately criticize President Biden, but the world wheat shortage shouldn't be one of them. That really is on the Russians.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
The Associated Press isn't known for being friendly to conservatives, in spite of which the Daily Mail (U.K.) runs an AP story concerning a public opinion survey of Americans. Here are the key 'graphs:
Eighty-five percent of U.S. adults say the country is on the wrong track, and 79 percent describe the economy as poor, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Even among Democrats, 67 percent call economic conditions poor.
The poll shows only 39 percent of Americans approve of Biden's leadership overall, while 60 percent disapprove.
The national dissatisfaction is bipartisan, the poll shows. Ninety-two percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Since last month, the percentage of Democrats saying the country is headed in the wrong direction rose from 66 percent.
I give the AP credit for running a story that can't have been popular in their newsroom. Perhaps we'll have results we like in early November when the midterm ballots are counted. The way we defeat vote rigging is to win so big the rigging doesn't matter.
Appropos of the previous post, NBC News runs an opinion piece by a Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis who is probably retired as it omits the usual disclaimer "the opinion expressed is not that of the U.S. military." Davis argues that NATO should not accept Finland and Sweden as new members.
His argument is basically that they (a) face no threat by Russia, (b) risk being dragged into a conflict they could otherwise avoid by being neutral, and (c) paradoxically increase the risk faced by NATO's current members of having to defend them. Clearly for starters, (a) and (c) cannot both be correct.
What Davis entirely fails to explain in why two nations which have maintained a neutral stance for decades have suddenly decided that they are at risk of a Russian invasion? He presents no evidence of an 'epidemic' of paranoia in either nation.
It appears Putin's invasion of Ukraine has convinced a majority of people in both nations that, under its current leadership, Russia cannot be trusted to respect the integrity of neighboring sovereign nations. The invasion of Ukraine has been an object lesson illustrating the truth expressed in a Ronald Reagan campaign video, "there really is a bear in the woods" and it is dangerous.
Turkey has withdrawn its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. It is likely both have given Turkey private assurances that they will be less supportive of Kurdish independence activities based on their soil.
With all the hoo-hah about various Supreme Court decisions, not much attention has been paid to this change of heart. Potentially this is much the bigger deal, although how it will affect daily lives of Americans is less straightforward.
Membership for Finland and Sweden plugs a Baltic “hole” in the NATO bulwark and improves the security of NATO members Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Denmark, and Poland. Unlike some former joins, both of these new members have significant military resources and preparedness already in place.
Their decisions to join after decades of neutrality are reactions to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and another loss for Putin and Russia as they strengthen NATO. Once their membership is complete, any attack on either commits the members to come to their defense.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
An assistant to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, one Cassidy Hutchinson, testified Tuesday before the Jan. 6 show trial committee. She indicated that President Trump has a temper, reacts viscerally to bad news, and was taking his frustration at the outcome of the 2020 election out on those who worked for him. None of this is much of a surprise.
She also claimed he insisted on following the demonstrators to the Capitol and got physical with the Secret Service driver who refused to take him into a dangerous situation. This latter claim was hearsay, she wasn’t in the car with POTUS and the Secret Service agents. She claimed to be recounting what someone had told her.
A Daily Mail (U.K.) story reports there are Secret Service personnel who are reportedly ready to deny under oath that the latter claim is accurate. As several pundits have observed, her testimony broke little new ground and hardly justified calling a last-minute session of the show trial.
A local story I’m following is the long, slow slide Rep. Liz Cheney (RINO-WY) is taking out of politics. Following the Dobbs decision in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Cheney announced her longtime support for the pro-life side of this issue.
Whereupon Democrats, who have praised her anti-Trump antics on Pelosi’s hand-picked Jan. 6 show trial panel, turned on her like the proverbial fair weather friend she showed herself to be. That should put paid to her efforts to get WY Dems to change registration to vote for her in the primary.
Cheney’s energetic anti-Trump motivation seems to arise out of Trump’s disrespect for her daddy, former VP Dick Cheney, upon whose career she seems to have modeled her own. Trump doesn’t conceal his disdain for the whole George W. Bush presidency, which hindsight shows to have been rife with missed opportunities, wasted efforts and pointless wars.
Monday, June 27, 2022
The Supreme Court has released its end-of-term decisions and much teeth-gnashing has occurred. I want to share some reactions and this is my forum for doing so.
The most recent three justices to join the Court were quizzed about Roe v. Wade during confirmation hearings. All answered that Roe was established precedent protected by the doctrine of stare decisis.
None would answer how they would rule concerning it, but senators chose to believe the candidates considered the matter settled. Obviously, that was not the case. They told the truth, but wisely failed to elaborate.
The nominees answered out of their experience as appellate judges who probably rarely violate stare decisis. Rules for the Supreme Court are different. The lawyers at Power Line indicate stare decisis is important, but does get overturned from time to time.
The decision about a high school coach praying on-field after a football game appears to have upset some who are concerned the players might feel coerced to join in. Nonsense, I grew up among people who pray. All I ever had to do was tip my head forward and stand or sit quietly until they finished. I showed respect for their faith without ever sharing it.
I was almost never quizzed about my faith or lack thereof. If something is important to people I otherwise like, I don't knock it, I let it slide. If they make it an issue, I tell the truth which is I don't share their belief.
The journal Medical Xpress reports research at the University of Texas, Houston, which finds getting an annual flu shot protects people against developing Alzheimer's disease. The findings will appear in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.
People who received at least one influenza vaccine were 40% less likely than their non-vaccinated peers to develop Alzheimer's disease over the course of four years, according to a new study from UTHealth Houston.
We found that flu vaccination in older adults reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease for several years. The strength of this protective effect increased with the number of years that a person received an annual flu vaccine—in other words, the rate of developing Alzheimer's was lowest among those who consistently received the flu vaccine every year. (emphasis added)
Since there is evidence that several vaccines may protect from Alzheimer's disease, we are thinking that it isn't a specific effect of the flu vaccine.
This side effect is very welcome. The DrsC have gotten annual flu shots for a couple of decades, and plan to continue. Paraphrasing the Bene Gesserit litany against fear, Alzheimer's is the mind-killer.
Sunday, June 26, 2022
However - hat tip to Rawhide - these "dogies" aren't "disapprovin'," they're volunteers. The Washington Examiner reports Census Bureau data shows the exodus from big blue state cities continues.
All 15 of the 15 fastest-growing cities and towns between July 2020 and July 2021 are in states that Republicans govern: Arizona, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Idaho. And 14 out of the 15 fastest-declining cities during the same period were in states that Democrats governed at the time.
Amid skyrocketing crime and homelessness, the government-enforced destruction of children's innocence, and the gross enabling of political violence, cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago have had little to recommend themselves lately. That is one reason those four cities, the top four population losers in last year's data, lost on aggregate the equivalent of Miami's entire population.
The Washington Examiner's editorial concludes this means:
The classic bread-and-butter services that governments are supposed to provide (sanitation, law enforcement, a judiciary) are more attractive to taxpayers than the performative wokeness that has replaced useful governance in such places. People want their tax dollars spent to repair roads, not to force depravity onto their own children.
That sounds about right to COTTonLINE. I'd add the caveat that at least a few of those moving to red states do so because their employers chose to move and they've elected to hang onto their jobs and go along.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee writes for RealClearPolitics as follows:
There is indeed a specter haunting our country that threatens to destroy American normalcy and tear the very fabric of our Republic’s democratic way of life.
The threat is coming from the Democratic Party, which is seeking to completely subvert American law and order and use it as a tool to suppress their political opponents.
Pelosi’s apparent refusal to act on knowledge that was widely available to her in the days leading to Jan. 6, 2021, and her subsequent decision to stage what is effectively a series of show trials trying to blame President Trump for what occurred that day, proves this.
Minority Leader McCarthy says Pelosi was offered National Guard troops when the planned rally that became the Jan. 6 incursion was announced. He says she had her minions turn down the offered troops, claiming "bad optics."
The Washington Examiner reports the findings of a McLaughlin & Associates poll. They write:
While the Supreme Court’s decision overruling the 1973 Roe v. Wade right to abortion has dominated today’s network and cable coverage, the latest McLaughlin & Associates poll said just 5% of voters call it a top concern.
Just below abortion, at 1%, is reviewing the 2020 election, over which the media are also obsessing. By comparison, 54% cited the economy.
Media bias much? Topics the media obsesses about are things of secondary-at-best importance to voters. It turns out, for example, the Jan. 6 committee is preaching to a tiny subset of Democrats.
Who believes a group of unarmed hooligans being a noisy nuisance in the Capitol threatened to topple our government? The idea seems preposterous to most people.
Friday, June 24, 2022
Few people are indifferent to the overturning of the Roe and Casey decisions legalizing abortion which was the outcome of the Dobbs decision released today. Whether you love or hate the decision, two men should get most of the credit or blame for it: former President Donald J. Trump and then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Trump for appointing truly conservative justices, as he promised to do while campaigning. McConnell for shepherding (sherpa-ing?) the nominations through Senate approval. The current conservative majority in the Supreme Court is very much the result of their efforts.
What is truly ironic is that the two men don't much like each other. Trump is a CEO outsider who often finds government systems ridiculous and frustrating. McConnell is the consummate insider who knows how to make those arcane systems produce results.
Yesterday I wrote Putin might do something ugly in response to the EU accepting Ukraine and Moldova as candidates whose desire to join the EU will be under study by the existing members. Today I read that, in a speech in St. Petersburg he indicated it was not a big deal since, unlike NATO, “the EU is not a military alliance.”
He sounds like a guy backed into a corner claiming he is there by choice, at least to me. His situation at home may be more precarious than it superficially appears.
Writing for New Statesman (U.K.), Lawrence Freedman concludes a survey of Putin's actions and options vis-a-vis Ukraine with this upbeat assessment.
From the start of this war, its most important feature has been the asymmetry of motivation. In the end the Ukrainians are fighting because they have no other choice. Russians have the option of going home.
I'm not certain his summary is correct in all its particulars, but I do like the hope implicit in the asymmetry it identifies. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.
Power Line’s Steven Hayward, riffing on the Supreme Court’s big week of supporting the Second Amendment and overturning Roe and Casey.
When looking at the Court this week, sometimes you just have to take the sweet with the sweet. Or perhaps we should say that someone’s emanation just got clobbered by a penumbra.
Emanations and penumbras, very nice arcane terminology.
It is widely reported that, as expected, the Supreme Court has today overturned the Roe v Wade decision that claimed to find the right of abortion in our Constitution, which document never mentions the practice. It is important to be clear about what this decision means.
It does not mean a Federal ban on abortion, although many reactions would have you believe that canard. What the ruling does is find that abortion is one of the many topics (including murder) which are subject to state legislation.
As a consequence, there will be states where the procedure is legal, states where it is sometimes legal, and states where it is never legal. The battle moves from Washington DC to state capitals where state legislatures will decide.
The really finicky bits will be efforts by some legislatures to penalize their citizens who choose to go to another state to obtain an abortion, and any who assist them to do so. It is even possible that extraditions will be attempted and resisted.
Believe it or not, expect the interstate commerce clause to become an issue in this tussle. And efforts to circumvent it with private party lawsuits as has been attempted in TX.
One thing seems clear, the days when the Supreme Court could be counted on to provide “rights” that a minority of people wanted us to have, when legislatures wouldn’t enact them, are over. At least that is so with the current court membership.
Downstream, one can wonder to what extent the present “originalist” court will undo other decisions which discovered “rights” in the constitution which the framers never considered or mentioned. Will they stop here or forge ahead unspooling the Warrren and Burger court legacies? I’m guessing a halt, at least for now.
Expect trouble tonight, and maybe all weekend. The gnashing of teeth in the media will be cacophonous. Don’t we live in interesting times?
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Gateway Pundit reports Wyoming's one and only House member - Liz Cheney (Rino-WY) - is sending flyers to Wyoming Democrats asking them to change party affiliation so they can vote for her in the Republican primary. I guess the theory is that they might as well do it since whoever their party nominates is going nowhere in this very Republican state.
I don't actually know any WY Dems so I can't call one up and ask them if it's true. GP quotes the wording of the flyer as follows:
HOW DO I CHANGE MY PARTY AFFILIATION TO REGISTER AS A REPUBLICAN SO I CAN VOTE FOR LIZ?To change your party affiliation or to declare a new affiliation, complete the Wyoming Voter Registration Application & Change Form and submit it to your county clerk’s office not later than 14 days before the primary election. You may also change your party affiliation at your polling place on the day of the primary or general election, or when requesting an absentee ballot.
I suppose a few Ds will do so, probably most will not. With the exception of her opposition to Trump, her votes in the House have been mostly conservative.
I've seen little anti-Trump agitation or sentiment locally. I figure Cheney is toast in WY politics, and knows it. Probably a fat K Street lobbying job awaits her; she won't miss the flights back to WY from her actual northern VA home.
Possibly this is the most important news today, and yet it will probably get little airtime. Just the News reports the European Union has granted Ukraine and Moldova "candidate status." Their applications to join the EU have been provisionally accepted into the process by which nations eventually receive membership.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted in response to the EU's announcement, "Sincerely commend EU leaders’ decision... Ukraine’s future is within the EU."
Moldovan President Maia Sandu also celebrated the news, calling it an "unequivocal & strong signal of support for our citizens and #Moldova's European future."
This announcement is the EU poking V. Putin with a sharp stick. He has to be furious at the insult. Don't be completely surprised if he does something dramatically ugly in reply.
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
At her blog, the other DrC has pix of the Teton mountains and valley. If you’ve wondered what caused a pair of native Californians to transplant themselves here, the pix should answer that question.
Our own valley (local term “hole”) is merely very pretty. Jackson Hole is spectacular but too expensive for non-billionaires to live there unless one’s family bought in the ‘30s and passed it down in the family. Even so, the property taxes must be fierce.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
As noted a week ago, today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. It is also the official beginning of summer which will last through the first three weeks of September.
Keeping track of this sort of celestial 'landmark' helps me stay grounded. Regardless of the craziness to which members of our species get up to, the earth heedlessly continues its circling of the sun, our star.
Gaia did so when the first mammals were grubby little rodents dodging the last of the dinosaurs. It will do so even if our species manages to commit suicide.
The celestial dance will continue until our sun goes nova. In the variety show that is life on this globe, our brief "act" is in full swing. How long our "time on stage" will last is anybody's guess.
Perhaps we humans will launch ourselves out to the stars, as Musk imagines, or wear out our welcome here on Earth. Whichever happens, Gaia will continue her stately dance around the sun, perhaps eventually becoming a worn-out hulk as Mars appears to have done.
Sunday, June 19, 2022
The Daily Mail (U.K.) runs a series of photos taken in Southern California in the 1960s and 70s. The subject is the "cruising" scene engaged in by many young people. I grew up there, participated and it was a fun time.
The photographer has been somewhat selective in choosing attractive people to portray cruising. Not unrealistic but picking out attractive kids and cars. We also called it "draggin' the main."
It is hard to believe reports that kids today aren't car-crazy, we sure were. I drove a "nosed and decked" 1950 Chevy 2-door hardtop, two-tone - white top over maroon body. It was good looking, but not precisely reliable.
As we drove, our radios were tuned to a "top 40" pop music station. Sometimes it was pirate station XERB from Mexico featuring DJ Wolfman Jack with his trademark catchphrase "Hot Mercy, Baby, yo' gonna luv it to death!"
Saturday, June 18, 2022
Friday, June 17, 2022
Favoring intact families (in spite of praise by the New York Times), the Institute for Family Studies posts a sobering report entitled:
‘Life Without Father’: Less College, Less Work, and More Prison for Young Men Growing Up Without Their Biological Father
How serious is the problem? Here is the data extracted from Census Bureau reports.
The percentage of boys living apart from their biological father has almost doubled since 1960—from about 17% to 32% today; now, an estimated 12 million boys are growing up in families without their biological father.1 Specifically, approximately 62.5% of boys under 18 are living in an intact-biological family, 1.7% are living in a step-family with their biological father and step- or adoptive mother, 4.2% are living with their single, biological father, and 31.5% are living in a home without their biological father.
And the results of this?
Economists David Autor and Melanie Wasserman observed that “male children raised in female-headed households are less likely to have a positive male adult household member present,” are “particularly at risk for adverse outcomes across many domains, including high school dropout, criminality, and violence,” and, consequently, “the diminished involvement of the related male parent may magnify the emerging gender gap in educational attainment and labor market outcomes.”
COTTonLINE adds: It is reasonable to blame President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs for the much increased prevalence of fatherless-homes. These programs made single motherhood a viable "career track" which generations of poor women have found useful.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Today my F-350 diesel needed fuel, I bought 26.6 gallons of diesel and spent $149.08. Eighteen months ago that same fuel would have cost half that.
Do I not love thee, President Biden? Let me count the ways I do not. Let's see: Afghanistan debacle, open borders, uncritical embrace of every victim group, inflation, pandering, corrupt family, refusal to enforce laws, etc.
Polls show I have lots of company, a fact from which I take very little comfort. Literally millions who now say the don't like Biden evidently voted for him.
They do not have my sympathy. Unfortunately I and millions like me get to share their punishment without sharing their guilt.
We believe for government agencies to have employees or CIs planted in organizations which are angry with the government is inappropriate if, and only if, those individuals act as agitators and cheerleaders for unlawful acts. Enough bad behavior happens naturally without the government stirring up more.
Getting bored with waiting around for something unlawful to happen and urging immediate action, in our opinion, becomes entrapment. It is then difficult to know if, without government encouragement, anything unlawful would have occurred.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchers? The following is reported in Trending Politics:
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in scathing cross-examination of the FBI’s Executive Assistant Director Jill Sanborn on January 11th asked her about the Feds’ involvement in the Capitol building events. Her responses were downright chilling to watch:
“I want to turn to the FBI,” Cruz said. “How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of January 6th?”
“Sir? I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods,” Sanborn replied.
“Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of January 6th?’ Cruz went on. “Yes or no? January 6th?”
“No, sir,” Sanborn responded. “I can’t, I can’t answer that.”
“Did any FBI agents or confidential informants commit crimes of violence on January 6th?” Cruz continued.
“I can’t answer that, sir,” she replied.
“Did any FBI agents or FBI informants actively encourage and incite crimes of violence on January 6th?” he pressed.
“Sir, I can’t answer that,” Sanborn responded.
There is more, but you get the drift of what is happening. If the answers were all "No," there would be no reason to equivocate or hide behind the "sources and methods" dodge. One could wish Sen. Cruz had asked something like the following:
In a hypothetical situation in which Congress suspected that inappropriate or unlawful sources and methods had been intentionally employed by the FBI, who could we ask who would be authorized to respond? How could Congress determine if our suspicion was or was not correct?
Study Shows Kids Who Are Homeschooled Could Miss Out On Opportunity To Be A Gay Communist
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
A week from today, before the sun rises in our mountain time zone, the summer solstice will occur. Days will continue to get longer through the 20th, after which they will begin to shorten until they reach their shortest three weeks into December.
Next Tuesday, springtime officially ends, and summer begins. At our altitude and latitude here in the Rockies, it is now not completely dark at 10 p.m. (2200 hrs). The aspens are still silhouetted black against a darkening sky. And yet it may snow here tonight, freezing temps are expected.
A couple of hours drive north Yellowstone has taken a beating from serious rains and flooding. The park has been temporarily closed and both visitors and employees evacuated, though the rangers will stay and the road crews will be busy - for the rest of the season it appears. Gaia does as she chooses, and we humans are left to cope.
Four decades ago on roughly this date we were in Fairbanks, Alaska, having driven up the Alaskan Highway. I stepped outside the RV at 1 a.m. and, with much younger eyes, was able to read a newspaper by ambient light. The voracious mosquitoes made sure I didn't linger.
Real Clear World links to an article at 19fortyfive.com with this provocative title: "There Is No Military Path for Ukraine to 'Defeat' Russia." I've read it, and that is the conclusion reached by conventional military analysis.
Instapundit links to the same article, and adds this comment which I find more persuasive: "I wouldn’t make too much of this statement. There was no military path for Vietnam to defeat the United States either. Or for the Taliban. And yet."
Gengis Khan got away with genocide. I'd like to think Vladimir Putin can't.
As long as outside arms and ammo keep trickling in, and the indigenes keep wanting independence, the result depends on Russia's appetite for a "forever war." The more powerful and repressive USSR tired of it in Afghanistan. What's your guess?
Monday, June 13, 2022
Power Line's John Hinderaker writes about former president Trump's obsession with the 2020 election having been, in his view, stolen. Trump's harping on this has become tiresome.
I believe that election was hinkey, many liberties were taken by local officials in the name of compensating for the Covid pandemic. I'd agree with columnist John Kass that it was, as they say in Chi-town, "rigged" with the help of Zuckbucks. But probably not actually stolen.
Trump's anger at not anticipating the electoral fiddling, and acting to forestall it, should be directed at himself and his campaign people. Sadly, like Joe Biden, he blames everyone but himself. Let me share Hinderaker's conclusion.
Republicans need to nominate candidates who will appeal to voters across a broad range of issues on which we conservatives have the advantage–a range which very much includes election integrity. What we do not need is candidates who are obsessed with righting the alleged (and to some extent imaginary) wrongs that Donald Trump suffered in 2020. I don’t blame Trump for being unhappy, but his emotional state cannot dictate the future of the Republican Party.
Listening to someone moan "I wuz wronged" is a downer. Tell us about the future you want to help us build.
Sunday, June 12, 2022
For decades John Kass was the lead columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Now he writes for you and me, and he posts columns at johnkassnews.com. Today's effort is a humdinger; he's bitter, he's angry, and in well-crafted prose he shows why so many Americans feel as he does.
I won't try to summarize his message, beyond there being millions of us who seek electoral revenge on the creepy ghouls running things in Washington DC and in too many statehouses and city halls. November will be a reckoning, a big one by all indications.
It is a long essay but well worth reading. It is time, and beyond time to vote the America-haters and criminal-abetters out of office.
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Demographer Joel Kotkin shares with historian Victor Davis Hanson the seeming ability to generate a thoughtful column daily non-stop, 7 days a week. Both are enviably prolific authors.
Today Kotkin's topic for City Journal is Rick Caruso's attempt to be elected mayor of Los Angeles. Caruso runs on a platform of battling "crime, corruption, and homelessness."
The conditions Kotkin describes in today's LA seem headed toward the future LA imagined in the 2013 Matt Damon sci-fi film Elysium. It portrays conditions like those you'd find today in a Third World barrio or favela.
Elysium depicts an LA with near-universal poverty, unpaved streets, unschooled children and ramshackle buildings. Elysium's story arc is ho-hum, but whoever imagined and depicted its future LA deserved a set-design Oscar.
If Republican-turned-Democrat Caruso wins, he'll have a struggle with the lefty city council. I wish him luck, he'll need it.
Candidates from Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI won every presidential election (and most other elective offices) during the 1929-2000 period. All political negotiations that mattered took place within the ranks of the PRI, horsetrading between various PRI unions and power blocs over whose agenda would prevail.
Japan has operated in much the same way with the various coalitions within the Liberal Democratic Party controlling the Diet or legislature for most of the post-1945 period. Again, nearly all important decisions have been thrashed out among the members of that party.
California seems to be headed in the same direction. Caruso's choice to become an electable Democrat, in order to pursue a Republican-flavored agenda for LA, appears to be a major step on this path. It marks Caruso as a practical realist and California as a de facto one-party state for urban and statewide elective positions. Some less urban CA regions do send GOP representatives to Congress, including minority leader McCarthy.
Friday, June 10, 2022
Our Wyoming primary election happens on August 16, roughly 2 months from now. Various candidate signs are posted here and there.
In our county in western WY I have seen plenty of Hageman yard signs, zero Cheney signs. We're a conservative county, one of 22 such.
WY has only one county (Teton) with a narrow Democrat majority in registrations. Its Jackson Hole is another Aspen or Vail, home to big ski resorts and many of the super-wealthy who have a WY residence to avoid state income taxes. Next time I'm in Jackson I'll look for Cheney signs, though I saw none while there last Sunday.
Gannett, the largest chain of newspapers in the U.S., has reached an entirely reasonable policy decision. The chain, which includes USA Today and many local papers including Guam's Pacific Daily News, is getting out of the "opinion" business. The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports:
At a recent editors committee meeting in April, editors said in a presentation: "Readers don’t want us to tell them what to think. They don’t believe we have the expertise to tell anyone what to think on most issues. They perceive us as having a biased agenda."The company will do-away with opinion pieces almost entirely and they will also not allow any endorsement of politicians aside from in local races. They will no longer endorse presidential candidates, or candidates in House and Senate races.
Any opinion a paper expresses may turn off half of its potential audience. Reporting what is happening and allowing the reading public to make up their own minds is financially prudent. Less fun but a better business model.
I view this move by Gannett as an early indicator that boardrooms are waking up to the bitter truth of "get woke, go broke." Another indicator, Disney just fired a senior executive closely associated with Disney's denunciation of the "anti-grooming" law passed in Florida.
Recently Netflix warned its employees that the firm may book entertainment whose content they find offensive. And if they find it intolerable, they should consider alternative employment as Netflix cannot cater to every employee sensitivity.
It isn't too soon to hope the cultural tide could be turning.
Later ... Steve Hayward at Power Line takes a dim view of Gannett's decision about op-ed pages. I am more sanguine, it could work.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
Long-time political analyst Jeff Greenfield writes for Politico about the Democrats' presidential candidate dilemma in 2024. He makes the argument that they really have no good choices.
A quick summary of his argument follows. Biden is too old and shaky, Harris too unpopular. So ... who are the other choices? No one in the Cabinet is obviously a strong candidate, there are some not-bad governors but few who've distinguished themselves as DeSantis has. Greenfield's three conclusions:
- Age will be a serious, legitimate issue if Biden runs again; but he’s the only candidate who would preserve party unity.
- If Biden did not run, Harris would enter a presidential race carrying a 747 full of baggage.
- Any attempt to find an alternative to Harris risks fatally alienating the party’s most essential voters.
In case Greenfield wasn't clear, "the party's most essential voters" are African-Americans. BTW, he proposes no solution for this dilemma.
The British and French have made taking a dim view of each other’s policies a cliche. Normally in the U.S. we find the British view more aligned with our own interests.
The Association of European Journalists reprints a Financial Times article (behind paywall) which is yet another example of both tendencies. In it, former MI-6 chief John Sawers (M in the Bond films) writes that French President Macron is "playing a risky game" with regard to Putin and the Ukraine invasion.
French president Emmanuel Macron has said that it is important not to “humiliate” Russia over its invasion.
The problem is that a ceasefire now would lock in Russia’s military gains on the ground. There is no reason to think that Vladimir Putin would agree to pull back.
Ukraine’s leaders want to fight on, and they certainly do not want a ceasefire now, at what could well be the high-water mark of Russia’s military advance.
It is striking that Macron has not bothered to visit Kyiv in the more than 100 days since the war began, while he has kept in frequent telephone contact with Putin. French companies have been the most reluctant to leave Russia.
If another round of European diplomacy leaves Russia once again sitting on its military gains in Ukraine, then Putin will regain political strength at home and feel empowered to launch new military adventures in the future.
Macron might argue not humiliating Putin is the quid pro quo for avoiding nuclear war in Europe, a goal most would share. Sawers argues that humiliation is a reasonable price to pay for invading a neighboring nation, and not winning. And many would agree we should punish aggression.
I'm inclined to agree with M.
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
The reliably left-wing New Republic posts an article with this fatuous title:
Don’t Let Anyone Tell You the January 6 Hearings Don’t Matter
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Gideon Rachman writes about international relations for Financial Times (U.K.). Today he writes that history may well view the invasion of Ukraine as the beginning of the second phase of the Cold War, in much the same way as it views the two World Wars as two phases of one interrupted conflict.
Rachman draws parallels between what is happening now and what happened during the Cold War. His argument is interesting and, perhaps, persuasive as well. It is worth your time to read.
We see the groupings once defined as the First, Second, and Third Worlds have reemerged as recognizable players in the game of geopolitics. This is now the case, after a hiatus during which the lines were not so clearly drawn.
They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. This time around the leader of the Second World is China, with Russia as the junior partner. Nevertheless we have V. Putin to thank for getting the band back together.
Monday, June 6, 2022
On this date in 1944, the greatest armada ever assembled brought thousands of U.S., British, and Canadian troops to the beaches of Normandy, in German-occupied France. There they stormed ashore against formidable defenses, scaled cliffs, fought their way up bluffs, and began the long-anticipated drive across France to help the Russians defeat Germany. While this amphibious assault was happening many airborne troops were deposited behind the beaches via gliders and parachutes, suffering great losses.
If you get the chance, visit Normandy. See the difficult terrain our troops assaulted, and the remains of both Germany’s Western Wall defenses and the artificial harbor the allies created on those shores. Then visit the nearby French museum dedicated to that historic landing.
While in the neighborhood, go visit Bayeux and its famous ‘tapestry’ which depicts an earlier successful invasion, of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. It is a linen scroll some 200+ feet in length with scenes of the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings embroidered on it. It is not a tapestry in the true sense but is named such for lack of a better descriptor. Think of it as cartoon-like history for those who cannot read.
Sunday, June 5, 2022
The College Fix is a publication dedicated to reporting about college faculty and students. It writes about predictions the percentage of job offerings requiring a college/university degree will continue to decline.
Employers begin to believe they aren't getting their money's worth hiring graduates. Degrees often don't bring specialized knowledge applicable to the firm and may bring woke attitudes for which the firm has no patience.
The other DrC and I spent the bulk of our careers as university faculty. The deterioration of higher education we've noted in the two decades since we retired is substantial.
We both believe we got into the career at an excellent time, and got out before it went completely crackers. We were there for its glory days, and got out before the hard left turn - what unbelievable luck.
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing. To most Americans, it was not an especially big deal.
I remember it well because, quite coincidentally, the other DrC and I were in Taipei, Taiwan, when it happened. If geography isn't your strong suit, we were 90 miles off the South China coast, halfway between Shanghai and Hong Kong.
We were staying at the then-Sheraton which I am informed is now named something else. We found the angry opinions of the local Taiwanese concerning the events in Beijing fascinating.
Taiwan was one stop on an Asian vacation that, if I'm not mistaken, also included stops in Singapore, Bali and Bangkok. We had planned to go from Taipei to Hong Kong (still a British colony) and by boat up river to Canton (now, and perhaps then, Guangzhou).
We changed our plans and did not enter mainland China on that trip. We believed with some reason China might be nervous about foreigners during a period of internal unrest.
Oddly, we had visited Tiananmen Square some 3 years earlier, also as tourists. Remembering earlier video of that vast square filled with people waving Mao's little red book and shouting "Death to America," we marveled that absolutely no one paid us the slightest attention as we wandered about the empty square and took photos.
The young student from the University of Foreign Trade who was guiding us while perfecting his English, had a headache and stayed in the minibus. His name translated into English as "Stones" and we nicknamed him Rocky.
Having made a career of dealing with college students, we asked him if he had a girlfriend and he did. Was she from the upcountry province Stones called home, we asked. He answered: "No, she is Pekinese." I am proud to report we both, with great difficulty, kept straight faces and didn't laugh.
Later in the hotel we broke up. We had imagined her with long hair and a snub nose, barking. I wonder if Stones' English ever got good enough to realize his designation of her was funny to Americans, and perhaps other English speakers.
Afterthought: For young readers, English speaking countries called Beijing "Peking" until sometime in the 1980s. The delicacy Peking duck still bears that name, and pekinese simply means "from Peking/Beijing," even when it names a breed of small dog thought to originate there.
In the aftermath of Uvalde, Power Line's John Hinderaker writes:
The U.S. once had a mental health care system, but it was dismantled after a couple of unusually stupid movies portrayed closing down mental hospitals as a species of liberation. Now the mentally ill are either tossed out onto the streets or remitted to the care of their families, who often are entirely unable to deal with them.
Until this country develops an actual, functioning mental health care system that includes identification and hospitalization of the dangerously mentally ill on a reasonably consistent basis, we will continue to see high crime rates as well as occasional explosions of mass violence by the deranged.
He makes an argument I have made for over a decade. We once warehoused the addicted and the not sane. Now we imprison the most violent, but leave many to live rough on the streets while they self-medicate with illicit drugs. How is that humane?
We have been far from unique in observing that former President Donald J. Trump, while advocating and pursuing great policies, has rough spots in his public persona that turn off some voters. Newsweek makes the claim that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may be the new and improved version.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ... lately seems bent on executing just about every page of the former president's political playbook—only with a sunnier demeanor, less offensive language and fewer of the personal antics that make Trump so polarizing.
Of his strengths, the article adds:
His every utterance seems calculated to send progressives into a frenzy. He's one of the most prolific political fundraisers in America. His endorsements of other like-minded America First conservative candidates help those beneficiaries pull ahead in crowded primaries.
There's his ban on instruction of critical race theory and discussion of sexual identity in public schools (a.k.a. the "Don't Say Gay" bill). Limitations on how schools and workplaces can handle race and gender discrimination and new penalties and restrictions on protestors. Outlawing abortion after 15 weeks. New rules on voting and transgender women playing women's sports. He's even battling Mickey Mouse, after Disney's CEO spoke out against the governor's agenda.
A strength the article doesn't mention: unlike Trump who was new to government, DeSantis knows how government operates and is accustomed to working within the framework to get things done.
My guess - if in 2024 Trump runs, DeSantis won't. He's still young at 43 and won't be over 50 in 2028.
The Wall Street Journal has an article (behind paywall) whose title tells you everything you need to know about the author's experience.
I Rented an Electric Car for a Four-Day Road Trip. I Spent More Time Charging It Than I Did Sleeping.
Translation: Electric cars are practical around-town runabouts, grocery-getters and commuter cars. We are, however, accustomed to our cars being practical for occasional intermediate distance (200-500 mile) road trips.
Electric cars are not yet, and may never be, practical for distances beyond the range of a single full charge. If you sometimes do intermediate distance jaunts, you need a fueled vehicle for those. I see no particular reason you can't have one of each, but that isn't what the "vow-of-poverty greens" would have us do.
Plus there are those of us who by necessity or choice live significant distances from the nearest airport or serious shopping. Making the 100-200 mile roundtrip to see a medical specialist, buy non-routine items, and visit a beyond-burgers restaurant happens more often than once a month. "Occasional" doesn't quite describe our need, it is routine if not weekly.
Friday, June 3, 2022
It's time to remember Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe" which takes place on June 3. One of the all-time great country-pop crossover lyrics, and a great artist to perform it. Sorry, I still don't know what they threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge.
Former Labor Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair describes how the behavior of his successors on the left, in both Britain and the U.S., has become dysfunctional. Politico has the quote:
Its primary purpose is to make itself feel good about itself, right? To convince itself that it’s principled, right? But that is in the end, something that leads you to self-indulgence.
He describes the politics of Bernie Sanders, AOC and Elizabeth Warren to a T. His is a plea for practical politics, and will therefore probably fall on deaf ears.
The outmigration from so-called "blue states" continues apace, people moving from high tax, high cost of living, high regulation jurisdictions to those with lower tax, costs, and regulations. PJ Media runs a column which looks at the 2020 numbers. They report Wirepoints' findings about the losers:
- New York was the biggest loser, netting a loss of almost 250,000 residents, who took with them a net of $19.5 billion in income — fully 2.5% of the state’s entire adjusted gross income (AGI) in 2019.
- California did second-worst, losing a net of 263,000 residents and $17.8 billion in income.
- The third biggest loser was Illinois, whose 101,000 emigrants took income worth $8.5 billion with them.
- Massachusetts came in fourth with a net loss of $2.6 billion.
- New Jersey took fifth place with $2.3 billion in lost income.
- Florida was Americans’ number one destination, netting 167,000 new residents who brought with them $23.7 billion in new income — a hefty 3.3% of Florida’s total 2019 AGI.
- Texas took second place with a net income increase of $6.3 billion.
- Third-place Arizona gained $4.8 billion.
- North Carolina took fourth place with an income increase of $3.8 billion.
- South Carolina came in at number five with a net increase of $3.6 billion.
One of the peculiarities of living in our part of the Rockies is "White Day." Not to be confused with the Japanese holiday of the same name, it is the day here when virtually every shrub or tree that blooms produces white blossoms, and they all do it synchronously, or nearly so.
Yesterday there were hints, today is White Day. Everywhere I look out my office window, or any other for that matter, there are shrubs and near-trees covered with small, quarter-sized white blooms. In a day or so they'll all be gone, to reappear next year at roughly this time.
Our forest is mainly aspen trees and they produce things humans don't recognize as blooms or flowers. What blooms on White Day is the intermediate understory - various bushes, shrubs, and berry plants. The wild flowers are not included, they'll bloom off and on all summer and be multicolored. The grasses do their own thing but that "thing," similar to the aspens, isn't recognizable as flowers, even if it serves the same reproductive purpose.
Afterthought: I just made the connection to a sale day once celebrated by Macy's Department Stores - White Flower Day. I worked for the organization briefly in the early '60s and remember every Macy's floor walker wore a plastic white carnation in his buttonhole and many did a credible imitation of Capt. Peacock from Are You Being Served.
Second Afterthought: The name White Day has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with identity grouping and race. It happens all these plants simultaneously produce snow white flowers, most of which are from the serviceberry plant, according to the other DrC.
Various leaked intelligence reports have Russian President-for-Life V. Putin ailing, perhaps dying, and this information (if that is what it is) begins to be known inside Russia. Writing for the website 19fortyfive.com, professor Alexander Motyl asks what happens after Putin is no more?
Putin’s successors will, like Lenin’s and Stalin’s, probably divide into hard- and soft-liners. In normal circumstances of relative political and economic stability, who would win would be a toss-up. But conditions in today’s Russia are anything but normal. The economy is in freefall thanks to Western sanctions. And the war against Ukraine is almost certain not to end in a Russian victory.
Other things being equal—and of course, they never are—these conditions will favor a soft-liner willing to embark on some reforms, end the war, and repair relations with the West. Putin’s comrades know this and are probably planning their next moves accordingly.
Hard-liners probably understand that the longer Putin remains in power and the economy and war continue to deteriorate, the worse are their chances. Coups are now not just thinkable, but probably even inevitable—especially as the U.S. intelligence community also affirmed that Putin was the target of an assassination attempt in March.
All the United States can realistically do is prepare for the power struggle, recognize that Russia is likely to become a very unstable place very soon, and reinforce its ties to Russia’s immediate neighbors, who, for better or for worse, will have to bear the brunt of Russia’s descent into instability.
As Mort Sahl would quip, with an evil smirk, "the future ... lies ahead." As we've noted, being an autocrat is like grabbing a tiger by the tail. The hard part - letting go - is nearly always fatal.
Thursday, June 2, 2022
The shooting in Tulsa at a hospital involved a man shooting the orthopedic surgeon who operated on him a month or so earlier. Both the shooter, who suicided, and the surgeon-victim died. Others present were shot, some fatally. The shooter was unhappy with his surgical results and perhaps with a lack of follow-up.
Conventional wisdom holds that back surgery often does not provide the desired relief from pain. Given its reputation, I'm pretty sure I'd only have back surgery if life without pain relief had become not worth living.
If I went ahead, I would hope for relief without necessarily expecting it. Apparently, the former patient in Tulsa didn't have that understanding of the uncertain likelihood of success, or chose not to believe it.
Neurological surgery is an iffy thing, I've had three procedures for a non-life-threatening but quite painful condition not in my back. The first was successful for 8 years, after which the condition returned.
The second, while done at one of the premier institutions for that procedure by people I trusted, had zero therapeutic effect. The third done almost 9 years ago was, thank heavens, successful and there has been no recurrence so far. I've been warned recurrence is definitely possible.
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
I'm thinking about the 12 "propositions" in the prior post, and wondering with which I mostly agree and which I question more than a little. I don't quibble much with the first six, although I do sense somewhat a slowdown in technology breakthroughs (#3) which may however be temporary.
I'm not convinced either way about #7. There is some evidence that China will burn out in the same way, and for many of the same reasons, that Japan did. Meaning, it won't collapse but its meteoric growth will stop and it will settle into the national equivalent of a "comfortable middle age." For Asia to become dominant, would require India to develop more unity and less division than they've managed to date. Ditto for Indonesia and the Philippines. So far, I don't see the evidence.
Except for their raw materials, I'm not convinced that - long-term - either side much wants to buy the fickle friendship of third world satraps and emirs (#8). Russia can't afford it, and if China loses its oomph, as predicted above, it won't be so anxious to throw money around.
To me, #9 and #10 are true to some extent, but are exaggerated in the minds of the committed globalists of Davos.
Finally, I'm on board with #11 and #12; I blame Murphy for 11, Biden and Covid for 12.
Postscript: The DrsC visited Davos (the city, not the conference) several years ago, seeing Switzerland on a rail pass. Meh - we spent a hot night in a "luxury" hotel which had tiny rooms and no air conditioning.
We weren't impressed with Davos but loved Switzerland's fantastic scenery, great trains, decent food, and amazing tidiness. Stacking firewood precisely and artistically is a Swiss art form and weeds are simply not tolerated, at least in the German-speaking regions.
It's a country one could be proud to call home. If Disney ran a country, it would look like Switzerland, and be just as expensive.
The Financial Times' (U.K.) Martin Wolf covered Davos and came away with what he calls "twelve propositions" which I take to mean "near-consensus views" held by attendees. Minus his thorough explanations, here they are:
Proposition one: the world is menaced “by the sword, by famine and by pestilence”, as Ezekiel warned.Proposition two: “it’s the politics, stupid”.Proposition three: technology continues its transformative march.Proposition four: the political divides between the high-income democracies on the one hand and Russia and China on the other, are now deep.Proposition five: despite the rise of China, the west, defined as the high-income democracies, is hugely powerful.Proposition six: yet the west is also deeply divided within countries and among them.Proposition seven: over the long run, Asia is likely to become the dominant economic region of the world.Proposition eight: the high-income democracies will have to up their political game if they are to persuade emerging and developing countries to side with them against China and Russia.Proposition nine: global co-operation remains essential.Proposition ten: The rumours of globalisation’s death are exaggerated.Proposition eleven: given the immense political and organisational challenges, the chances that humanity will prevent damaging climate change are slim.Proposition twelve: inflation has been unleashed in a way not seen for four decades.
In considering these - particularly #10 - I'd ask you to remember that the attendees at Davos are nearly all committed globalists. As a conservative nationalist, I understand that alternatives to certain of these views may be preferable.
It has been reported in several places that President Biden is unhappy with his staff following around after him cleaning up and correcting his “misstatements” of both fact and long-held U.S. policies. They have an easy way to avoid his unhappiness, put away the pooper-scoopers and leave his faux pas out there for the press to step in.
The staff won’t do this, of course, because they care more about the Democratic Party than they do their boss, who was a compromise choice about whom few were excited. Left to his own devices, and free to ramble on extemporaneously, Biden would do the party (and himself) great harm.
They’ve left VP Harris to engage in uncorrected freeform word-salad and the results have been predictably awful. She was a terrible presidential candidate and, no surprise, is an equally bad VP.
Future historians may write of the “Biden rule” which is to select a VP running mate so inept even those who despise you will pray for your continuation in office. It may become Biden’s enduring contribution to our nation’s political lore.
It is alleged that the FBI maintained a “secure workspace” inside the premises of the Perkins Coie law firm. Employed by the Clinton campaign, Perkins Coie was where the recently acquitted Michael Sussmann was a partner at the time he brought later-disproven allegations of a Trump-Russia connection to the FBI.
The seeming collusion between FBI and Democrat politicians motivates Power Line’s John Hinderaker to write:
Andy McCarthy says that John Durham’s mistake was prosecuting Michael Sussman as though the FBI was the innocent victim of Sussman’s lies, a dupe, when in fact the FBI was a willing collaborator in the plot against Donald Trump. That case certainly becomes stronger with the revelation that the FBI has had a close, secret, decade-long relationship with the Democratic Party’s law firm. Michael Sussman’s law firm.
Perhaps the FBI found being “untouchable” had become inconvenient.