Monday, October 31, 2022

Pelosi Attack Followup

On Bret Baier's Special Report on Fox News tonight I watched the San Francisco DA make a live presentation of the misdeeds with which the Pelosi attacker will be charged. It was a nice, linear, cohesive account with relatively few holes or gaps. 

Its key features: it makes Paul Pelosi appear an innocent victim, and it ascribes political motives to the perp. The new DA is an impressive woman and she did a good job of presenting it.

Now ask me how certain I am that what she described is what actually happened? My answer: not very. Nor am I at all certain we will ever know the true story. 

The narrative she presented could be true, but it seems too neat and tidy, too linear. Life involving messed-up people is seldom so orderly. 

The primary questions I have are these: why didn’t the extremely wealthy Pelosi family have private security protecting the house? They can certainly afford it without having to cut corners or economize elsewhere. Why didn't their alarm system alert the police when the back window was broken to effect entry? What caused the perp, a lifelong leftist, to try to attack an icon of the left who is disliked by the right?

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Assume for a moment the midterm election goes the way it is widely predicted to go, and Republicans win control of both houses of Congress. What is to become of all the Democrats who have claimed that this outcome will be the end of small d democracy in the U.S.?

In this newly “autocratic” U.S. will they emigrate? Drink the Kool Aid and commit mass suicide? Declare civil war? Take holy orders? You and I know they won’t do any of these.

Some will wisely ask “What could we have done differently to win?” Some will conclude they didn’t offer us enough socialism to be really exciting (looking at you, Sanders, Warren and the Squad). Some will carry on as before, getting rich by pandering to lobbyists. Some will retire from the field and become lobbyists. Some will sojourn in a think tank, this era’s version of the monastic retreat.

In spite of their recent predictions of democracy ending, I expect them to begin prepping for the 2024 election right after the New Year. Their behavior will signal small d democracy still exists after all, mark my words.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Satirical Headline

Here is a wonderful headline from The Babylon Bee, the well-known satirical website.
After Using FBI To Suppress Son’s Crimes And Raid Political Rival’s Home, Biden Warns Democracy In Danger

Biden never realizes he poses the danger to democracy we worry about.


The man who attacked Paul Pelosi is yet another example of the drugged-out, mentally ill individuals who should be in a locked treatment facility somewhere, but aren’t. His life is a dumpster fire and now he’s nearly killed someone. 

It is way past time we should have gotten over Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Logic demands we reinstitute non-optional treatment plus custodial care for the addicted and the addled, who are often the same individuals.

Leaving such broken individuals to live in homeless encampments and, in his case, an old school bus, leaves our communities looking trashed and ourselves at risk of attack whenever their delusional-voices-in-head demand it. Basta, enough.

Later ... Some sources are speculating that the violent attack at Casa Pelosi was a gay assignation gone bad. Apparently rumors of such activity have followed Paul Pelosi for several years. It would appear that we don't yet have the whole story of that event, including hints a third unnamed person might have been present.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Public Employee Unions

I spent most of my working life as a government employee. It is ironic as my degrees were all in business and I taught business management, although I only worked in the private sector for a couple of years.

I have worked for county government, the federal government (two branches), a community college district, three state governments, and one territory - Guam. All but four years of that was as a teacher or professor. Although at times I was represented by a union, I never joined one. 

The elaborate panoply of employee protections most civil servants enjoy constitute protection enough from employer predation. Add to that the facts that governments essentially never go bankrupt nor do they experience M & A activity that threatens job security.

For those reasons, I am firmly of the opinion that government employees should not be able to form unions, bargain collectively with their government employer, and strike. Teachers unions - the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers - are particularly glaring examples of why public employees should not be unionized. 

As presently constituted, many of the public schools of this country exist primarily for the benefit of the teachers, administrators, and staff. The poor test scores of their student results make this emphasis clear. 

The teacher unions fight tooth and nail against efforts to give parents alternatives to the public schools - charter schools, private schools, and home schooling. They've got what is almost a monopoly and don't want any competition.

Saturday Snark

Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures."

Friday, October 28, 2022

China's Claimed Growth Overstated

Some interesting research points to a tentative conclusion that China has been overstating its economic growth statistics by somewhere between 40-60%. Lawrence Person's Battleswarm Blog has the story.

There is a known correlation between night sky lights seen from space and level of economic development. You've seen the photo showing North and South Korea at night, where the south is a blaze of light and there are a few "freckles" of light in the north. That photo shows an extreme case of this phenomenon.

China's night sky photos don't add up. Their night sky is too dark for the claimed level of development. It appears China has been overstating their annual economic growth by something like 50%. 

It turns out such overstatement is common in autocratic countries, sometimes called "command economies." Underlings lie to their bosses in such countries because failure to achieve targets is punished. Central planners may actually believe the numbers they issue, as they too can be punished for missing unrealistic goals. Hat tip to Stephen Green, posting at Instapundit, for the link.


If a postmortem is ever done on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I expect it will be found that the failures of the Russian army are a result, in part, of exactly this phenomenon. Officers covering up deficits in their units' manpower, weaponry readiness, and maintenance in order to stay eligible for promotions. The deficits only became apparent when actual combat demonstrated the long-concealed unreadiness.

The Covid Party Line

Michael Senger writes The New Normal at Substack, and has the following observation concerning the swamp's conventional wisdom about Covid. 
The prevailing narrative of the mainstream left is that any upside of the response to Covid is attributable to the state-ordered closures and mandates that they supported, while any downside was an inevitable consequence of the virus independent of any state-ordered closures and mandates which never happened and which anyway they never supported.

Having it both ways was always their style. 

Elon-Buys-Twitter Snark

Images courtesy of Not The Bee.

Friday Snark

Images courtesy of Politico's The Cartoonists' Week in Politics, #13, 4.

Trump’s Symbolic Truths

At Politico, Jack Schafer writes a quite negative article attempting to debunk the idea that the press helped elect Trump. He points out all the negative coverage Trump attracted early, late, and in between. And then he writes something quite profound about the Trump phenomenon, perhaps explaining better than I’ve seen elsewhere Trump’s political genius.

His supporters don’t care that much about whether he’s telling the truth as they do about his positions or affectations about the culture war, race, immigration, abortion, grievance, police, trade, guns and political elites. Trump knows that when he stretches the facts, the press will call him out on it. But he also knows that his supporters will perceive his falsehoods as symbolic truths and cheer.

Does Trump exaggerate? Absolutely. Does he sometimes state what he’d wish were true as being true? Yes, he does. Do his supporters view this as lying? Not particularly, it is just a flamboyant, bigger-than-life showman doing his shtick. 

Trump communicates what he feels, and millions know they feel the same things, wish the same things, hope to achieve the same things. They hear and resonate with his metamessage which he has learned to convey despite the MSM's carping and negativity.

Imagining the Postmortem

When Democrats think back about what they could have, indeed should have, done differently with regard to the 2022 midterm elections, what lessons will they draw? My hunch: the abortion issue raised by Dobbs was much less potent than the skyrocketing cost of living.

The percentage of voters who have any realistic anticipation of a personal need for an abortion is less than 25%. The percentage of voters who will buy newly expensive groceries and gasoline every week is nearly 100%. 

Thus, availability of abortion is important to some people, the zooming cost of living is important to nearly everyone - young or old, male or female, especially those living paycheck to paycheck - and they are reminded of it multiple times a week. 

If Democrats can get beyond the basics, it may occur to the less ideologically driven among them that Soros-backed “bail reform” DAs and their soft-on-crime policies were millstones Dems didn’t need to have tied to their party. Every time an accused violent criminal - free while awaiting trial - is apprehended for a second violent crime, it reminds people their Democrat city prosecutor sympathizes with criminals, not with victims and the law-abiding.


In campaigning for and getting a third term in office, China’s Xi went full Mao. 

The lesson of modern Chinese history: never go full Mao.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

A Progress Report

A reasonable question to ask is how conservatism is doing in other countries? Fortunately, Politico happens to have a current article which looks at that very question. 

Mind you, author Camila Vergara isn't in favor of what her survey of recent elections finds, but she reports it honestly enough. Here is the key paragraph which is one enormously long, run-on sentence. 

The far right is currently ruling in: Hungary with Viktor Orbán, who has come out against race mixing in Europe and was a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas this summer; Poland with the Christian nationalist party, Law and Justice, which opposes gay marriage, abortion and immigration; India, the most populous representative democracy in the world, with Narendra Modi, who has pursued Hindu-nationalist policies against religious minorities; Turkey with the imposition of Islamic nationalism and the ethnic cleansing against Kurds by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; Brazil with Jair Bolsonaro, who has denounced “homosexual fundamentalists,” called indigenous peoples “parasites” and advanced agribusiness by promoting the burning of the Amazon basin; and more recently, Italy with Giorgia Meloni, heir to Mussolini’s fascist legacy, the new prime minister after her right-wing coalition achieved a majority in Parliament.
Vergara calls the movement represented by these governments "Christian nationalism" which seems odd.  One is clearly Hindu nationalism and another political Islam; perhaps "predominant religion nationalist" is too awkward to say or write. I suspect her "Christian nationalism" label reflects a Western bias.

Late Breaking Poll

Power Line's Steven Hayward links to a just-released USA TODAY poll of voters. See what they found:

On a generic ballot, one naming parties but not individual candidates, those surveyed now support the Republican congressional candidate over the Democratic one by 49%-45%, a turnaround since the USA TODAY poll taken in July, when Democrats led 44%-40%.

Now 40% of Hispanics and 21% of Blacks are backing the Republican candidate. To compare, Republican Donald Trump carried 12% of Blacks and 32% of Hispanics in the 2020 presidential election, according to network exit polls.

If exit polling substantiates these minority turnouts for the GOP, there will be much gnashing of teeth at the DNC. Those are voters without whose support Democrats have little hope. 

Several pundits have opined that a large Hispanic turnout for the GOP could cause Democrats to change their view of the Trump wall on the southern border, from opposition to favoring its completion.

Under the Big Tents

RealClearPolitics has a description by historian Victor Davis Hanson of the convulsive changes that have occurred in recent years in our two dominant political parties. If you read this blog, and stay current in American politics, you’ll not read anything in Hanson’s piece that you’ve not previously seen.

It is, however, a good comprehensive summary of the changes that have left Republicans pols like Cheney, Romney and former President Bush and commenters like William Kristol complaining futilely that this new populist GOP wasn’t what they signed up for. So be it, they are its past, not its present.

In a similar vein, centrist Democrats of the sort Bill Clinton at least claimed to be, and Manchin and Sinema try to be, are likewise being kicked aside by today’s progressive Democrats. Again, so be it, patriotic centerist Dems like Sam Nunn and Scoop Jackson are distant memories.

Where we are today: Republicans represent the broad middle class in America, of all races. Meanwhile the Democrats represent the inner city poor, the college educated coastal elites, and the uber-wealthy, uber-woke techno-rich and corporate elites who can be woke at zero personal cost or inconvenience. 

To VDH’s list of Democrats, I’d add the various self-identified racial, sexual and disability “victim” groups whose Venn diagram blobs often overlap in multiple, dare I say “intersectional,” ways.

The “Boy” Problem

Writing for City Journal, Kay Hymowitz looks at an issue that the “genderists” want to ignore, the fact that boys and men aren’t doing particularly well in school and in life these days. She cites the usual statistics about girls making up 60 percent of college students, and similar preponderances of grad students.

She argues that girls having better reading skills is a big part of the problem, and it’s likely she is right. She also notes that some evidence suggests “redshirting” boys - starting them into school a year later - appears to mitigate the problem to some degree. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Democrat Debate Debacles

I tend to read more sources that look at the world from a MAGA Republican perspective. Given that, a whole bunch of commenters appear to think that recent debates in PA, NY, MI, etc. didn’t go well for Democrats. Plus the left-leaning MSM isn’t touting any of these as successes for their side.

Even MSM sources appear to believe that Fetterman did himself some serious harm in the PA Senate race debate against Oz. The Zeldin-Hochul debate in NY apparently did her no favors. In AZ the Dem. refused to debate, not a good look.

Some of it is individual candidate weakness, but most of it is that the issues all the polls say voters care about most are issues voters believe Republicans are better at solving. In a debate Republicans hammer away on crime and cost of living and Democrats mostly have no come-backs that find a widely receptive audience. 

Renewables Not Affordable

Economist Jeff Currie is head of commodities research in the Global Investment Research Division of Goldman Sachs. He was interviewed by Joe Keenan on CNBC and Climate Depot has a transcript of what Currie said.

At the end of last year, overall, fossil fuels represented 81 percent of overall energy consumption. Ten years ago, they were at 82. So though, all of that investment in renewables, you’re talking about 3.8 trillion, let me repeat that $3.8 trillion of investment in renewables moved fossil fuel consumption from 82 to 81 percent, of the overall energy consumption.

Bottom line, there isn’t enough money in the world to replace with renewables all of the fossil fuel energy we use. Get over it, it won’t happen because it can’t happen. Let’s get busy developing technology to enable us to cope with whatever comes climatically

Gender-Affirming Treatment for Minors: Who’s For and Against

If you’ve been following the controversy over whether or not minor children should be able to choose to undergo largely irreversible “gender affirming therapies,” RealClearInvestigations has a mostly even-handed summary of where this struggle stands at the moment. The article takes no position on whether or not such interventions are desirable, ethical, or appropriate.

It turns out various states are taking radically different approaches to this issue. Some are whole-hearted supporters and some find the entire topic anathema. The article reports how the subject is being treated in various states, the degree of variation is striking.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Taking Different Paths

Sometimes an interested and sympathetic foreigner like deTocqueville sees our country more clearly than we do. British journalist Justin Webb, formerly the BBC’s North America editor, writes at UnHerd about the growth of states rights as a result of the new “originalist” majority on the Supreme Court, courtesy of Donald Trump. Webb believes the state differences may be greater going forward. 

It is a good read that makes some interesting points. His contrast of the paths taken by Vermont and New Hampshire is excellent. I’ll give you another example.

My summer home and legal residence in western Wyoming is in a valley down which the border with Idaho runs. In most places the valley is less than 10 miles wide. The terrain, weather, and scenery are identical on both sides. Yet most of the valley’s residents live on the eastern, WY side. 

Beautiful, picturesque home sites go begging on the western, ID side. All four of the valley’s tiny towns are in WY. Why is this so? ID has a state income tax, WY does not. 

My winter home is in Nevada, which has long been a libertarian outlier among the states with its legal gambling and, except in Clark and Washoe counties, legal prostitution. Plus for decades it had the only quickie divorces. Now it is absorbing a fair amount of the CA diaspora.

It is part of the magic of the American experience. Your citizenship entitles you to make your home in a state with culture, policies and politics of which you approve, presuming you can support yourself there. 

Sometimes economics or family make moving to a more simpatico locale impractical. One of our household’s few progressive friends, a teacher and single mother, feels stuck in Texas while her heart pines (pun intended) for leftist Vermont.

The current movement of people to FL, TN and TX suggests the proverbial “Great Sort” continues. I wonder why there isn’t a counter movement of progressives to MA and CA? There seems to be one to CO which irritates my conservative relatives long resident there.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Bias Was Overt

Power Line's John Hinderaker writes about former Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's recollections of the tensions in Israel-U.S. relations during the Obama administration. This may surprise some, but not me.

My recollection of the Obama administration is that they actually favored Iran over most other players in the Middle East. This was largely influenced by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President, who was born to American parents living in Iran and speaks Persian. 

Another pro-Iran influence was Secretary of State John Kerry whose daughter Vanessa is married to an ethnic Iranian physician and surgeon who practices in the U.S.

The Obama administration negotiated the widely criticized JCPOA nuclear agreement which favored Iran. It then shipped Iran literal pallets of bundled cash which they've subsequently used to our detriment. This is the agreement that Donald Trump cancelled and Joe Biden has been trying to renegotiate, so far without success.

If Iran hates anybody worse than the U.S., it is Israel. No wonder Obama, who hoped Iran would become the local hegemon in the Middle East, wasn't welcoming to Israel's Netanyahu.


Canada is nice, and superficially could be mistaken for the U.S. We are much more libertarian, they have no Second Amendment. Fox News reports Canada's government has just made the acquisition of hand guns by Canadians as close to impossible as their Prime Minister could arrange. 

Canadian Customs are very tough on anyone, Canadian, American or other, bringing a handgun into Canada, and have been for decades. I've seen them pull aside an RV and literally unload everything in it onto the pavement looking for hidden guns, drugs, or both. BTW, they don't put the stuff back, that's up to the RV owner and could take hours.

I am reminded of an interesting interaction I had some years ago with an RV campground in Montana. It turns out that snowbird Canadian RVers like handguns and buy them in the States. When they go home in late spring, as they must to keep their socialized medicine coverage, they need a safe place to stash their weapon before leaving the U.S. 

This campground had developed a sideline in storing Canadians' shooting irons over the summer until they are picked up in the fall as Canuck RVers head south to avoid winter. For every gun held, the camp could count on two nights RV site rental year after year, and a gun takes up very little space to store securely. 

You can imagine the camp generated much customer good will doing this. Plus some percentage of guns are never retrieved; retirees get too old or sick to RV south and a weapon unclaimed for 2-3 years probably never will be. I presume unclaimed weapons are sold to MT locals, for a pure profit.

Saturday Snark

My friend in southern AZ says it happens there, too.
I seem to be liking food memes today, I must be hungry.

One for Sarah Conner fans.

How come they get away with it and we don't?

And maybe a few jerrycans of diesel, gas or both.

All images from either Power Line's The Week in Pictures, or the Comments section thereof.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Wrong "Segment" Identified

Earlier today I posted the findings of the Trafalgar Group poll about sex change operations for children. As noted below, most people believe that is a decision only a competent adult can make for him/her/itself.

Now John Hinderaker at Power Line poses a fundamental question.

Presumably there must be a reason why the Democratic Party has chosen sex change operations on minors as a hill to die on, but I can’t imagine what that reason might be.
Why have liberals gone crazy over an issue–or, perhaps, a fad–that was unknown a few years ago? Over a segment of the population that barely exists?

I believe Hinderaker knows the answer but doesn't want to invite a firestorm of criticism by spelling it out. Democrats are involved because the LGBTQ+ group is a significant Democrat voting group and an even bigger donor group. 

It didn't take long for T to get incorporated into the non-cis (LGBTQ+) identity group. I'm sure a moment's consideration will reveal to the interested reader why that might be the case. (Hint: "slippery slope")

Friday Snark

It works ... with dogs.
Image courtesy of Politico's Week in Political Cartoons, #7.

The “Democracy’s In Danger” Nonsense

Ever since Joe Biden’s inauguration, Democrats have been trying to get Americans to care about the unarmed, unhappy people who misbehaved at the Capitol on Jan. 6. A revolution it was not, an insurrection it was not, a demonstration and acting out of their displeasure and frustration it most surely was. And the DC police and prosecutor have spent the intervening time making sure the perps are sorry they did what they did … so be it.

Democrats have been entirely unsuccessful in getting Americans in general to care much about that event. This failure is driving many journalists round the twist. Why won’t we worry that our small d democracy is in mortal danger? 

In part, of course, because we have a republic, not a democracy. But more fundamentally, because we will go to the polls in a couple of weeks and there prove that our representative government once again represents us, and hence is in no danger of doing otherwise. Of course that worries progressives who have never constituted a majority in this great nation.

Afterthought: In a nation where privately owned guns outnumber the citizenry, no revolution will happen without lots of gunfire. At the Capitol the only shot fired was a panicked Capitol cop fatally shooting an unarmed woman protestor.

Poll: 78+% Oppose Sex Change for Minors

The respected Trafalgar Group poll asked likely voters the following question:

Do you believe underage minors should be required to wait until they are adults to use puberty blockers and undergo permanent sex change procedures?

Nearly eighty percent (78.7%) answered “wait” while 21.3% answered “don’t wait.” Even a majority of Democrats (53.2%) answered “wait” while the percentage of Independents (84.6%) and Republicans (96.8%) answering “wait” was much higher.

This is clearly an issue on which the medical community got way out beyond the Overton Window with regard to who should be able to access this largely irreversible “treatment.” 

How Russia’s Ukraine War Might End

Writing in The Japan Times (?) Leonid Bershidsky writes about how the war in Ukraine might end and why the kind of redevelopment that happened in Germany and Japan after World War II is essentially impossible for Russia. If you accept his premises I suspect he is correct. 

Bershidsky doesn’t have a lot of insights about the nature of post-war Russia. He successfully (I believe) debunks some of the hopes about that outcome that have been expressed. 

Russians fleeing the country in large numbers to avoid service is not the behavior of patriotic folk. What Bershidsky doesn’t deal with is the extent to which public sentiment in Russia may have changed in the post-Soviet period. I suspect that is the wild card whose value neither we nor the current leadership there fully understands, one which makes predicting outcomes especially haphazard.

The Great Game Continues

Geopolitical Monitor reports on an uptick in the continuing violent separatist uprising in Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan, which is adjacent to Iran. There is a certain poetic justice in this development.

For years Pakistan clandestinely supported the Afghan Taliban against both Russians and later the U.S., now it wouldn’t surprise me if India is indirectly supporting the Baloch rebels against Pakistan. The usual comment on such matters involves a sauce befitting geese and ganders.

The logic of doing so is obvious, if Pakistan is busy dealing with internal unrest it will be less likely to foment trouble in India’s Kashmir. As in “the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or at least potential ally.”

Tribal battles in Central Asia are a fine old tradition that goes back several hundred years, or more. The Brits - the colonial power in this region - had agents called “politicals” whose exploits setting the warring tribes against each other were legendary, if not uniformly successful. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Is Trump 2.0 Even Possible?

Without ever using the term, Politico co-founder John Harris argues that Donald Trump is sui generis. That is, one of a kind, someone whose feats cannot be duplicated by others who would try to be his successor.

If you've followed the political part of Trump's career with interest, you will likely find Harris' arguments interesting. As you read them, however, ask yourself if Harris really makes the sale? 

He mentions DeSantis and Lake as possibles, but finds both lacking. DeSantis may be deficient in the platform charisma department, but Kari Lake has spent more years on-camera than even Trump and she has the show biz chops. 

Should Trump for whatever reason decide not to run in 2024, I'd guess DeSantis has built in FL a track record of doing Trump-style populist shtick and trolling Democrats that could get him elected. 

We don't yet know a lot about Lake's performance in office, but her on-camera skills are first-rate. I am of the opinion we won't know for certain until someone tries to be Trump 2.0 and either succeeds or fails.


My Take: Oddly enough, the public person who seems to be following the Trump developmental path is Elon Musk,. His next step would be as star of a popular TV show to hone show biz skills. Musk is still maybe a decade away from being ready to step into Trump-sized shoes.

Non-Whites Are Racists Too

John Sexton of Hot Air reacts to Thomas Edsall’s article for The New York Times (behind paywall) concerning the overt racism problems in the Los Angeles City Council. Along the way he quotes Edsall as follows:

The sun is setting on the Democratic Party’s coalition. At the end of the day, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians are very different: different languages, different histories, and different viewpoints. And they don’t care for each other as much as progressives would like us to believe.

That is some serious understatement from Democrat Edsall, who wishes it wasn’t true. Latinos and Asians aren’t unhappy to be here, having come voluntarily seeking the benefits they (accurately) perceived available here and understanding they’d need to fit in to attain them.

A Warning

Now that you’ve refreshed your eyes with the pix linked to in the previous post, see Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s takedown of the open racism on MSNBC. The parallel he draws with the radio station that incited Rwanda’s Hutus to slaughter a half million Rwandan Tutsis is chilling. RealClearPolitics has the Carlson broadcast transcript.

Carlson writes that anyone spewing the hate Black hosts and guests on MSNBC express about whites, if said about any other group, would cause an explosion of condemnation and probably censorship. And yet NBC lets it run. These are not good times; a boycott of NBC channels could be warranted.


Some neat photos at the other DrC’s blog, take a look.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Two Headlines

Headline in the August 18, 2022, Washington Examiner:

Majority see FBI as Biden’s 'personal Gestapo' after Trump raid

Headline in The Federalist:
The FBI Has Announced Indictments Of 22 Pro-Life Protesters And Zero Pregnancy Center Firebombers

Political bias at the policy levels of the FBI would seem self-evident. It's leadership is in need of a thorough housecleaning. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll posting at Instapundit for the links.

Placing Blame

This Federal Reserve chart pictures the performance of various measures of inflation, including several versions of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), before and after the election of Biden. 
Source, Power Line.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

The Other Canyon of the Virgin

Today we drove the section of I-15 that traverses the northeast corner of Arizona, on a road trip to St. George, UT. I write to recommend the few miles which traverse the canyon of the Virgin River as an amazing drive, worth your time to see in daylight.

I wouldn’t describe the arid terrain as “beautiful” but it is certainly is immense, spectacular, and capable of making you feel really small. I’ve seen it many times but still am impressed by both the scenic grandeur and the engineering and construction difficulty involved in carving a four-lane, divided interstate (literally) highway up the deep, narrow, winding canyon cut by the Virgin through the southwest’s signature sandstone.

If you can’t place the Virgin, it is the same river that carved Zion Canyon around which the “overloved” national park was formed. It flows down out of UT, across the corner of AZ, and into NV before ending up in Lake Mead and the Colorado River. 

Zion NP is more famous, but the canyon down which I-15 heads on its way south to Las Vegas and beyond is impressive too, even at 70 mph. That a small river flows through this bone dry land is its own kind of miracle. It drains parts of south central Utah that go over 10,000 ft. in elevation and thus get substantial snowpack that spends the summer melting. The river was a lifeline for early settlers of the region.

Iron Curtain 2.0

Since I’m writing about foreign affairs today, let me call your attention to a Center for European Policy Analysis article entitled: “Europe’s New Military Frontline.”  The author’s key points are that the new Iron Curtain is much longer than the old one, and much further east, closer to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

This helps explain, though not excuse, V. Putin’s paranoia about an encroaching NATO. Unwilling to “play nicely” with other European powers, and still in thrall to dreams of lost empire, Putin’s situation isn’t enviable, but it is self-inflicted nonetheless.

Still Unipolar

My favorite foreign policy analyst, George Friedman, writes at his Geopolitical Futures website a very upbeat appraisal of the current U.S. role in world affairs. He believes that we remain top dog. Friedman concludes thus:

Russia is weakening, … China is managing its relationship with the U.S. carefully, and … the international architecture created after World War II, though more complex, essentially remains in place. It is a unipolar world.

He views our approach in Ukraine as exceedingly subtle, and takes a less pessimistic view of China than many analysts. He may be wrong about China, but it’s an interesting, optimistic tour d’horizon

Monday, October 17, 2022

Poll: Trump Has Highest Favorables

A new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll is the subject of a John Nolte story at Breitbart. The chart in question is on p.14 of the poll, scroll down. 

The methodology of the poll was to ask respondents if the strongly approved, somewhat approved, somewhat disapproved, or strongly disapproved of various figures in American political life. There were also categories for unknown and no opinion. For contrast, they added in Vladimir Putin as the final name.

First they combined “strongly” and “somewhat” scores for each, and ranked them by total reporting either strongly or somewhat approval. Of all those, Trump had the highest approval rating at 47%, followed by Mike Pence at 44%, Joe Biden at 43%, Bernie Sanders at 42% and Kamala Harris at 40%. Everybody else ranked lower on total approving.

Next the polling folks subtracted total disapproved from total approved yielding a net score. Trump’s net was 0 meaning in addition to the 47% who approved, another 47% did not. Mike Pence’s net was +4, meaning only 40% disapprove of him. The only two other individuals with net positives were Gov. Ron DeSantis (+6) and Sen. Tim Scott (+3), but they weren’t as widely known. Sanders’ net was also 0, his disapprovals equaled his approvals. Biden and Harris had nets of -8 and -10 respectively.  

People in Senate and House leadership all have poor rankings. The only person ranking worse than Pelosi (-22) and McConnell (-22) is Putin (-64) , and Schumer (-12) is nearly as bad as those two. Oddly, they didn’t ask about McCarthy.

Breitbart’s Nolte concludes Trump is America’s most popular politician. You could also make an argument for Pence or for DeSantis. The numbers do not augur well for Democrats.


The recent hoo-hah with the Los Angeles City Council involved the overt racism of Hispanics against Blacks. No whites were involved beyond tangentially as targets of some spill-over Hispanic racism. 

Many were amazed, I was not. Racism is a part of the human condition. It is almost as normal, if not as esssential, as breathing. I believe it fair to say it is our human “default setting.” 

In addition to the anti-Black bias of Hispanics, the anti-Asian bias of Blacks is well-documented. Given their ferocious work ethic, it wouldn’t surprise me if Asians consider everyone else to be slackers or worse.

Like body odor and flatulence, racism can be deplored, and combatted. It probably cannot be destroyed or permanently done away with. 

For its own selfish reasons, the Left would like you to believe racism is the sole property of white people. That is a self-serving lie, and they know it to be so.

There is more white racism in the U.S. because there are more white people. In countries where there are more of a non-white group, that group’s racism becomes the target of choice for reformers. 

Autumn Transformation Complete

The other DrC has beautiful pix of the high country autumn leaves at her blog. We’ve only been gone since Friday and I’m missing it already. To the extent to which the wandering DrsC have ever given their hearts to a locale, western Wyoming is it.

On the other hand, our new NV backyard landscaping - which we’d never seen before - is even better looking than the neighbors’ photos indicated. When we left it was bare dirt and some construction rubble. Now it truly looks like a xeriscape layout in Sunset magazine. I am both amazed and impressed.

We now get reacquainted with our winter home and environs, and try to get over the post-Covid lassitude that made getting here a chore.

Biden in One Sentence

 Instapundit Glenn Reynolds sums up our President in a single sentence.

Nobody much likes Biden, who’s senile, demented, corrupt, and incompetent. 
Our election in 2020 of Joe Biden presents a relatively compelling argument against small d democracy. The demos aren’t always right. Plus Reynolds left out Biden’s creepy hair-sniffing, which is icky.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Autumn Musings

This has been an especially beautiful autumn in the Rockies. The weather has been sunny and the leaves are spectacular. The aspens have put on an extra-fine show and where the two mix, the contrast between the aspens’ yellow and the conifers’ dark green is amazing. The mountain maple are still doing their orange-to-red fall colors and the skies have been blue as can be. 

Days have been getting up into the high 60s and low 70s and the nights dropping to freezing. We could have stayed in the high country another month, but appointments we’d made in NV would have been awkward to reschedule. So we left today and are en route to our winter place in NV.

Shutting down our summer home and packing the RV to make the trek south was exhausting. One of the lingering aftereffects of Covid is fatigue, of which I’ve had my share and then some. Of course, advancing age is a factor too.

In NV we have brand-new backyard landscaping upon which we’ve never laid eyes, though kind neighbors have sent pix and it looks great. High temps there are no longer in the 100s, more like low 90s and high 80s.

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween and a very thankful Thanksgiving. I hope the election results are to your liking as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Counting the Days

In less than a month we will have the results of the midterm elections. Election Day is four weeks from yesterday. Polls are looking somewhat more positive for the GOP. 

Most voters don't imagine an abortion in their medium term future. Every voter buys and consumes groceries and danged near everyone buys gasoline or diesel. Interest on home loans is up, which results in owners' equities going down as home prices go down. Stock portfolios are down. These are not the best of times.

Don't be surprised if the consensus conclusion concerning this election is a mantra made famous by Democrat James Carville. Namely, "It's the economy, stupid."

The DrsC have sent in their absentee ballots, the other DrC says she fears the election count will not be an honest one. Since there are fewer pandemic-related excuses for last-minute rule changes, I'll reserve judgment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The Spike in Crime

The main way we control crime in the United States is to identify career criminals and imprison them for long periods of time. The "three strikes" laws which essentially locked up more or less permanently persons convicted of a third felony were a major step in this direction.

A disproportionate share of persons who were locked up for long periods were Black. Wrongly claimed to be discrimination, this was actually because a disproportionate share of those committing repeat felonies were Black.

The Daily Caller has an interview with former New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton who makes some pointed observations regarding the surge in crime.

My own belief ... is that the crime surge in America right how has been politically created, and in cities where it’s occurring most dramatically, [sic] are those cities that ... have elected district attorneys, prosecutors who are embracing the criminal justice reform movement, bail reform, if you will.

You cannot point out one city in America that has one of these criminal justice reform district attorneys where crime is going down.

"Bail reform" DAs often won't charge criminals, or release them without bail. Not locked up, they end up back on the street, and predictably commit more felonies. 

Most of the so-called "reform DAs" have received campaign donations from organizations connected to philanthropist George Soros, who may bear ultimate responsibility for much of the rise in crime. Having vast wealth, he doesn't live where the crime happens.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Happy Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day, a Federal holiday which may have been renamed Indigenous Peoples Day. As a cranky old guy, I will keep calling it Columbus Day. 

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit posts a long quote from Samuel Eliot Morison's magisterial Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus. The quote ends this way:

Christopher Columbus belonged to an age that was past, yet he became the sign and symbol of this new age of hope, glory and accomplishment. His medieval faith impelled him to a modern solution: Expansion.

I've been to Europe, repeatedly; it is nice enough and pleasant to visit. I am, however, more glad than I can easily express that my English, Scottish, and German ancestors migrated to North America, the first arriving in 1633. 

Muchas gracias, Almirante Colón, however inadvertently, you led the way.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Speed Bumps

Since I told you about a week ago the DrsC both got Covid, an update is in order. I experienced it as a cold, with usual cold symptoms. The cold is mostly over except for some minor lingering cough. The only odd symptom I had was a quasi-metallic taste in my mouth which maybe was a result of taking prescribed Paxlovid for 5 days.

The other DrC had fewer symptoms, also cold-like, or perhaps I should pun "cold-lite." She happens to be taking prescription hydrochloroquine for an unrelated condition and believes, perhaps correctly, that drug lessened her Covid symptoms. 

I find that one entirely unexpected result of having had Covid is that I no longer fear it. I'm not young and not thin, but it was just another cold, in a lifetime of averaging two colds every three years. Colds are not fun but also no particular threat to most of us most of the time. Speed bumps on the road of life, some of the bitter that comes with the sweet.

Friday, October 7, 2022

4-H Going Woke

USDA doesn't advertise their ownership of 4-H,  but they don't hide it either. USDA also owns the 4-H National Convention Center on Connecticut Avenue which various branches of USDA use for meetings, one of which I attended. Since celebrating LGBTQ culture and pride is now official federal policy, 4-H dutifully follows the party line. 

At a Substack website called Tilting at Windmills, Tom Knighton writes about parents in Kansas getting weirded out by 4-H going "woke" and pushing the LGBTQ agenda plus CRT hate-America stuff on their 4-H member children. At some sleepover regional meetings 4-H was housing children with the gender they identified with. 

So the Kansans spun off their local chapter and declared it an independent organization called Heritage Youth of America. My supposition is that the new organization will do much of what the old one does, minus the culture wars propaganda and the USDA support.

4-H could end up like the Boy Scouts, which is a shadow of its former self since 90,000+ pedophile claims were filed. 

Afterthought: Agitation is already happening to add pedophiles to the alphabet soup victim group. The woke madness knows no bounds.

What Maniac?

A maniac who sniffs hair, showers with his daughter and 
considers the Presidency a part-time gig.
Image courtesy of Politico, # 6.

Teixeira 3.0

Over three weeks noted political scientist Ruy Teixeira has written at his Substack blog about three things he believes the Democrat Party needs to do to get its mojo back. The first two were (a) move to the center on cultural issues, and (b) promote an abundance agenda.

This week he spells out the third thing he believes essential:

Democrats Must Embrace Patriotism and Liberal Nationalism

For as he notes about modern Democrats:

Today’s Democrats have a bit of a problem with patriotism. It’s kind of hard to strike up the band on patriotism when you’ve been endorsing the view that America was born in slavery, marinated in racism and remains a white supremacist society, shot through with multiple, intersecting levels of injustice that make everybody either oppressed or oppressor on a daily basis.

Democrats have tried uniting the country around the need to dismantle “systemic racism” and promote “equity”….and failed. Democrats have tried uniting the country around the need to save the planet through a rapid green transition…and failed. It’s time for Democrats to try something that really could unite the country: liberal nationalism.

Nationalism, as Teixeira notes, is popular with Hispanics, Asians, and more than a few Blacks. It's not popular with the "faculty lounge" crowd currently making Democratic policy choices, they are Davos-style globalists.

I'll repeat what I noted when reporting his first two needed changes. Absent a really disastrous midterm election loss, current Democrat leadership is unlikely to adopt any of Teixeira's three part reform policy.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Naming (and Shaming) Those Responsible

Michael Shellenberger writes for the following sensible article:

It's Time to Mandate Treatment of the Dangerously Mentally Ill

Dangerous psychotics are abroad on our streets, endangering and killing law-abiding citizens, Shellenberger correctly pins the blame for this on organizations which advocate for the insane's right to be (my words) "as crazy as they want to be."

This is due largely to the influence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and lesser-known disability rights advocacy organizations and coalitions, which have sought to de-fund psychiatry, de-police cities, and de-stigmatize untreated mental illness.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York affiliate of the ACLU, and other progressive “disability rights” groups have sought to weaken the law (Kendra's Law), claiming it is authoritarian and racist, while also seeking to prevent police officers from responding to 911 calls relating to the mentally ill.

Why do the ACLU and other progressive organizations do this? An attorney for the ACLU told me that her organization believes the mentally ill are too impaired to be held accountable for breaking the law—but not impaired enough to justify the kind of legal guardianship we provide to people suffering from mental disabilities such as dementia.

The underlying problem is that the ACLU and other progressive libertarians view the mentally ill as victims of society deserving of special rights, including the right to avoid the consequences of their behavior. They hold the view that, “Quite simply, there is no place for coercion,” in the words of a recent disability rights coalition’s letter to the governor of New York.

Add to this the too-willing assistance of the so-called "Soros DAs" who refuse to prosecute. As a result urban dwellers get to live (and die) "inside the asylum," alongside the homicidal insane. Coercive treatment, with safeguards, is exactly what is required.

“Be Prepared” Still a Good Motto

I avoid NPR on stories with political content, they are too Maoist for my taste. On the other hand, I liked this story about a housing development near Ft. Myers which survived Hurricane Ian with barely a scratch. This outcome was by design, no accident. The developer did a lot of things right.

For starters, they are inland so they avoided the storm surge. Plus they built understanding the worst that FL weather can deliver and prepared for it - underground electric lines, drainage ponds, etc. When FL begins to rebuild, they could do worse than follow this model to the extent possible.

Based on preparedness, many of the development’s residents did not evacuate, nor need to. That has to be worth a fair amount in additional upfront cost. 

Seems reasonable that insurance companies are looking at this story and, going forward, will quote rates based on the extent to which properties follow the Babcock Ranch model. Hat tip to the nearly defunct Boy Scouts for loan of their motto.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

An Own Goal

The oil cartel, OPEC+, was talking about cutting world oil production, which will raise gasoline prices here and be bad for Democrats in November. If you think about it, you know our diplomats could have determined OPEC were set on that policy and weren't amenable to jawboning.

The White House somehow decided Foggy Joe could persuade them to change their minds and produce more oil instead of less. He tried, he failed, and he looked impotent, which at his age ... is likely, but why flaunt it? Why do his handlers let him do foolish things? 

I understand him demonstrating his lack of influence is good for Republicans in November but it is bad for our country. We appear to be stuck with him until January, 2025, and the world is currently a place where both we and the free world need, but don't have, leadership.

Do you miss Trump yet?


On Monday I wrote the DrsC had come down with Covid. If you want details the other DrC has them on her blog.

So far, the only way I know I don't have a regular cold is that the test said so. I've not lost sense of smell or taste, and I'm cycling through the usual hacking cough, runny nose, productive cough, insignificant fever, minor body aches, and general lassitude that says "cold." 

As my dear lady reports, we've been quarantined through today. Starting tomorrow we can go out but must wear masks around others, which we will scrupulously do. Nice friends have done some grocery shopping for us, but we do need some food.

We've been dosing ourselves with homemade chicken soup, which may actually help. The trick now is to avoid a relapse. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Weird Dietary Science

The New York Post reports vegetarians are twice as likely as meat eaters to be depressed. As is often the case, the article contains an implicit presumption that failing to eat meat causes depression. It is just as likely that depression causes vegetarianism.

In fact I’d argue it is even more likely that depressed people metaphorically grope around trying to find something to make themselves more cheerful. A number of them decide to eliminate meat from their diets and a viola a correlation is created. Of course it doesn’t work, except for whatever placebo effect is triggered.

I’ll bet, if studied, you’d find that depressed people are also more likely to use street drugs, practice yoga, try intermittent fasting, and whatever other quack nostrums are being offered.

Monday, October 3, 2022

A Bump in the Road

Guess what, the DrsC have Covid. Yep, been coughing and such so we got tested this a.m. and we both have it. The other DrC feels pretty good, I'm not so lucky. I have a dry, hacking cough that's no fun.

Our medical people prescribed Paxlovid, which turns out to be two drugs taken together: nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. What's even more weird, they just handed us the two packages, one for each of us. Normally one is sent to the pharmacy for meds, being handed them at the clinic is unusual.

We must quarantine for five days, at which point if still feeling ill, we stay in for another five days. If okay after five days, we can go out but must wear our masks for another five days.

Right now, while I'm not comfortable, my discomfort is no worse than a cold. I hope it stays like that, a life encompasses more than a few colds. 

The timing of this illness could have been better. We had a bunch of tasks on our agenda for the next 9 days, many will be cancelled or postponed.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Hispanics, Asians Shift Right

Images from The Wall Street Journal, echoed at Power Line. Steven Hayward suggests Democrats might view these with trepidation.

Teixeira: Seek Abundance

Rua Teixeira is a Democrat, he roots for Democrats. He also thinks his party is headed in the wrong direction to attract and retain voters from the majority of our population which has no college degree.

Writing at Substack, last week he advocated that his party move to the center on cultural issues. Which made sense because the center is where most Americans are. Needless to say, it's likely few will heed his advice.

This week, he writes that his party has been captured by Greens who want to decarbonize the environment and get everyone to live with less "stuff." He argues that working class voters who are trending Republican seek not frugality and greenness, but abundance, more "stuff." 

It is abundance that lifts the living standards of most workers. Abundance is more important to his target group than "equity" which is the redistribution of the existing (limited) wealth. 

Again, don't expect any significant bloc of Democrats to follow his advice. The affluent people controlling the party will not suffer if "stuff" is limited, if energy is more expensive. But the voters Democrats are losing will suffer if a "limits to growth" program is enacted and applied, and those voters know it well.

He titles his series of position papers "The Liberal Patriot" which is what one would hope Democrats would be. Too many, however, eschew patriotism. I fear he may be a prophet without honor in his party.

Afterthought: The Republican Party should definitely embrace abundance and living well as goals for Americans.