A Palace Coup?

Democratic Party grandees are very close to achieving their goal of securing their party’s presidential nomination for somebody, anybody, not named Joe Biden. These saviors of democracy mean to do so by convincing incumbent President Biden to hit the eject button on his chair behind the resolute desk in the oval office.  

In the event they accomplish their goal—and they are very close—they will have successfully overridden the votes of about 14 million Democratic primary voters. These are the voters who awarded about 99% of the delegates to the national convention pledged to Mr Biden. All to save democracy, of course.

Mr Biden can release his delegates to vote for someone else, which is the preferred poo-bah mechanism for a replacement nominee. The proximate cause for the panicky collapse of support for the incumbent is two fold. The first is polling data that shows the near impossibility of a Biden victory, especially in swing states. The second is action taken by major donors to withhold funds if Mr Biden remains at the top of the ticket. (Note that said money is routinely referred to as “dark money” when it goes to anybody else.) 

This was all presaged by Mr Biden’s catastrophic debate performance on June 27. Add to that the attempted assassination of rival Donald J Trump by an apparently unhinged 20 year-old and all the elements pointing to an incumbent defeat are there.  

It is important to note that the reason for Mr Biden’s (to put it charitably) unedifying  debate performance was the obvious deterioration of his mental acuity. That deterioration left him unable either to maintain a train of thought or to complete sentences. Those factors however, did not seem to be a primary motivator in the drive to dump Mr Biden. Neither did Mr Biden’s apparent inability to function at anything approaching normalcy.

So what did cause the revolt of Democratic Party elites?

First and foremost, they got caught. Remember that, aided by the mainstream press, Democratic elites spent the better part of 4 years claiming that Mr Biden was as “sharp as a tack”. By the time the debate rolled around it was apparent to even the most obtuse observers that Mr Biden was mentally struggling.  And now it is clear as a bell that the coterie of Biden sycophants that assured one and all that Biden was just fine has been lying the whole time. Either that or they were incapable of seeing what was right in front of their eyes. 

The obvious question now is: Why would anybody believe a word they say?

Beyond that there is what should be the most pressing issue. Namely, the President is, first and foremost, the Commander-in-Chief. And he alone has his finger on the nuclear trigger. Going by their public statements, that does not seem to have been a concern of Democratic Party elites. 

In fairness, it is always possible that the party actually has considered this, but did not want to say out loud what everyone was thinking. But if that is the case, they should have at least attempted to remove Biden via the 25th amendment. At the very least they should not be deliberating whether or not to keep him on the ballot. Instead they should let him know in no uncertain terms that they will publicly oppose him and his attempt to be re-elected. 

Let’s put it this way. Who among us wants to risk Biden being awakened at 3:00 AM because China has invaded Taiwan and he has to make a split second decision on how to respond. The question answers itself. 

So what to make of it?

The temptation is to think that the Democrats made their bed, let them sleep in it. The problem is, we are all in the same bed with them, like it or not. 

Consequently, we are now in a position where the leaders of the Democratic Party, those defenders of democracy, are either going to stage a palace coup in relatively short order, or they are going to acquiesce to running a man to be Commander-in-Chief despite the fact that his mental deficiencies are clearly disqualifying.  

Ordinarily the problem could be isolated. The  political party that acted as irresponsibly as the Democrats could be simply cashiered at the next election. But there are still 3 ½ months until the election is held, and 6 months until a new President is sworn in. 

There is only one solution for the mess we are in, and it is decidedly sub-optimal. Democrats should force the issue so that Mr Biden resigns and Vice President Kamala Harris takes the oath of office. 

But we still have the issue of the November election. Ms Harris is manifestly unqualified for the job. But so is Mr Trump. Perhaps, in the meantime, the Democrats will find and nominate someone who is competent and electable. They will have to look awfully hard. 


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Assassination Attempt

In the wake of an assassination attempt on the life of  ex-President and presumptive Republican nominee Donald J Trump, a virtual army of conspiracy theorists, armchair psychologists and amateur law enforcement wannabes are having a collective field day.  Their chosen place of battle, needless to say, is X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Perhaps it is time to take a deep breath and lay off; at least until actual facts come to light and in their proper context. That is very unlikely to happen because, among other things, the population at large distrusts the mainstream media and other assorted institutions. And truth be told, that distrust is well earned. 

Leaving aside the devout beliefs of the simpletons among us, there is not just one single reason for the degrading of trust in our institutions. Certainly the overheated rhetoric of politicians is one factor. Another is the change in incentives faced by media and other public players. When newspapers and broadcasters depended on broad-based advertising for revenue their incentives favored an appeal to a broad based audience. Now, however, narrowcasting changes that incentive structure. The same players now have an incentive to appeal to those who are highly motivated; they are often fringe players. 

Let’s not leave out politicians. That politicians routinely lie, and have lied for a very long time, is hardly a news flash. Recall it was Lyndon Johnson who in 1964 proclaimed “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves” before doing precisely that. 

But Johnson’s lie was an attempt to make a broad based appeal. Today’s lies are more specific and tailored to reach specific voting groups in a way that before would not have been possible. Only after a committed  interest group has been assembled is an attempt made to mainstream the underlying goal. 

It usually begins with a change in language designed to draw attention away from the underlying concept.  The “Trans” movement is a case in point; so is the abortion rights movement—it has reframed the issue as reproductive freedom. Challenges—both real and imagined—are routinely marketed as existential threats. For example, think climate change, pandemics, population growth, asteroid collisions, environmental degradation etc. etc. 

What is different from past eras is that we live in a DIY era in which people have been taught to disregard reason and instead follow their feelings. Unless, of course, their feelings contradict whatever the received wisdom of the day is, in which case they will be shamed into accepting “the science TM “.

Which, by the way, the public does not understand. They do not understand that science is about methodology and that scientific conclusions are contingent.  The public however, aided and abetted by an unthinking media complex suffers from white coat naiveté. As long as somebody wears a white lab coat and proclaims himself a scientist, he must be the font of all that is true and good. At least as long as he speaks the conventional wisdom. But I digress.

We actually know very little about the apparent  assassination attempt on Donald Trump. It is certainly legitimate to ask questions. But we should not assume the answer. For instance, it is perfectly reasonable to ask the obvious question: how in the world was the alleged shooter able to get into position where he apparently had a clear shot? But it is not reasonable to assume the answer ahead of time.

In any event, let’s wait for the facts to trickle in and not jump to any conclusions. We will probably know soon enough what happened and why. 


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Is Winning Really the Only Thing?

 “…Of course, for a Democratic Party warning that Mr. Trump is an existential threat to the nation, the race is about something much simpler: winning.” Shane Goldmacher, The New York Times July 6, 2025. 

“…the president’s prime-time interview with ABC News was an exercise in not just damage control but reality control”. Peter Baker, The New York Times July 6, 2025. 

“You really see a president in denial and in a bubble,” Julián Castro, The New York Times July 6, 2025. 

“[The interview] will not quell the growing anger and resentment among Democrats.”Paul Begala The New York Times July 6, 2025. 

Perhaps at this point it would be fitting to quote football coach Vince Lombardi, who reportedly said “Wining isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. That, in reality, is the sentiment that Democratic Party officials are expressing. 

You can take all faux agonizing and focus group crafted statements of the past several years and chuck them in the bin. They are finally saying what they really mean: Winning is all that matters. In this they have conclusively demonstrated that they are pretty much the same as Donald J Trump. The heated denials that will surely follow that statement are a testament to its truth.

Consider what it means when politicians put a priority on winning at all costs. Truth telling necessarily becomes subordinate to winning. Arguably, truth is not even a consideration.  For example, “I will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it” was an absurdity marketed by Mr Trump. 

When special counsel Robert Hur accurateley described Biden as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” VP Kamala Harris charged out to say “So, the way that the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts and clearly politically motivated, gratuitous…” Another obvious lie. Which also explains why AG Garland refused to release the interview tapes, duly and lawfully subpoenaed by Congress. Rule of Law and all that.

Another infamous quotation of Donald J Trump: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. …They’re sending people that have lots of problems, … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Donald J Trump

How about this story in Politico: “More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

It turns out that that letter was arranged by now Secretary of State Anthony Blinkin. And it was released on the eve of the first Presidential debate in 2020. And it was clearly a lie. 

Of course, let’s not forget Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election results on January 6, 2021. In the speech in which he whipped up the crowd he said  “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Peacefully and patriotically. Sure. 

Some were going to hang Mike Pence. Peacefully, of course. 

And when a mob of progressives chased Senator Krysten Sinema into a ladies room and then stormed in after her because she didn’t support the latest progressive legislation,  President Biden said it was “all part of the process”. Ditto for Senator Joe Manchin when a group of kayakers confronted him on his houseboat. 

And Mr Biden has yet to be heard from on the subject of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh being stalked by an armed man outside his home.  Perhaps being stalked by an armed potential aggressor is all part of the process. 

The list of strategic lies told by both parties is endless. Supporting one side or the other (it doesn’t matter which) regardless of obvious transgressions is a perfect example of willful blindness.  Citizens who rely on the rationale that the other guy is such a threat reward the practice.

Without a commitment to truth there is no accountability. And without accountability, democracy is nothing more than a cause for hollow laughter. Elections within certain limits specified by the U.S. Constitution, are supposed to facilitate a collective decision making process. Elections are not supposed to be about winning at all costs. 

Try telling that to partisans who are perfectly willing to believe anything, however improbable, as long as it supports “the Cause”. 


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Will He Stay or Will He go?

Amazingly enough, on the front page of the New York Times, the headline reads Biden Tells Governors He Needs to Sleep More and Work Less at Night. Which is akin to pretending to respond to a query about your worst fault during a job interview and answering that you work too hard. 

Right below that humdinger, also on the front page, another headline reads: Should Biden Quit? Democrats Weigh Potential Rewards and Steep Risks. And right below that, a story update claims that Biden is spending Independence Day trying to tamp down calls for him to drop out of the race. 

Note that together these stories lay out the following two hypotheses. (1) The real problem here is that the President had a bad day; everybody has them; it’s not a big deal; he is working too hard, and he just needs to get more sleep. (2a) And by the way, nobody believes him or the numerous variations of the story (he had a cold etc) and (2b) the principal if not sole driver of the calculations of Democratic Party pooh-bahs is electoral advantage. 

Just think about that for a moment. The Grandees of the Democratic Party are content to deliver their presidential nomination, and quite possibly the presidency complete with the nuclear football, to a man whose neurological deterioration is so obvious that it has stirred a revolt.  A revolt that the White House is desperately trying to tamp down. If press reports are to be believed that effort is being led by Jill Biden who never got elected to anything. And not to put too fine a point on it, this is the crowd that insists it is going to save democracy. 

Meanwhile the commentariat uses dueling leaks by self-interested parties to report on the machinations of the players going on “behind closed doors”. This maneuver serves a couple of inadvertently transparent goals, one of which is misdirection. 

The press reports as breaking news what for years has been patently obvious; namely that President Biden is unable to perform the duties of his office. What they don’t report is that they have been running interference for him for years.  So as cover, we are treated to a raft of gosh-can-you-believe-this type of reporting as if this is all brand new. In the end it will convince nobody. It will inevitably be seen for what it is:  a vain attempt to dodge the dishonesty of the mainstream press and the Democratic Party establishment.   

While all this is going on let’s remember that we are involved in two shooting wars (Ukraine and Israel) and potentially a third (Taiwan). You would think that some candidate somewhere would attempt to introduce those topics into the conversation.  But no. 

Or perhaps some candidate would deign to mention the subject of the $34 trillion in debt that the U.S. has managed to accumulate. In 2017 the accumulated debt amounted to about $20 trillion; by 2021 it was $28 trillion, and now it is about $34 trillion. 

Which means that in the Trump years we added  about $8 trillion, and thus far during the Biden years we have added $6 trillion and still counting. But that doesn’t seem to matter either. 

What we simply have here is two parties vying for power, and in the most irresponsible ways imaginable. Their calculations approach being exclusively electoral with little heed paid to the world situation or America’s role in it. Neither party is acting even remotely responsibly.

If it is the case that the President lacks the vigor and mental acuity needed to run for re-election, he should not be in the White House a moment longer. We have a mechanism for dealing with this. President Biden can simply resign and Vice President Kamala Harris can take the oath of office. 

How the Democratic Party chooses to deal with the fallout is up to them. But by running Biden the way they did,  changing the rules to shut off the possibility any real opposition, those protectors of democracy, the Democrats, made their bed. Now they can sleep in it.

Unfortunately, the rest of us have to plop in  there beside them. Either that or the alternative, Donald J Trump, quite possibly the most ignorant man ever to seek (and gain) the White House. If either party had run a normal candidate (and I use that term advisedly) they would win in a heartbeat. Instead we are left with the blank stare of a senile old man running against a narcissist whose chief talent qualifies him to be a circus barker.

I, for one, would like to vote for an adult who understands the way the world works; who willingly states the premises underlying her beliefs, and who is willing to persuade rather than coerce. Accordingly, I will be writing in the name of Nikki Haley when November comes rolling around. 


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Now What?

The Great Democratic Freakout over President Biden’s debate performance is in full swing. The real question is why. What did party leaders expect? The obvious decline in Mr Biden’s cognitive abilities has been transparently evident for well over a year.

What is the explanation for why party leaders, as opposed to the rank-and-file, have insisted that Mr. Biden was just fine, and any suggestion to the contrary was just propaganda emanating from the “far right”. As far as I can tell there are two possible explanations for the behavior of those party leaders. 

The first possibility is that Democratic party leaders actually believed that Mr. Biden was up to the job for another 4 years.  While this explanation is theoretically possible, it lacks plausibility to put it mildly. Consider the evidence.

Mr Biden has for some time studiously avoided any spontaneous public exposure. He has had almost no press conferences; one-on-one interviews have been few and far between and they have only been with friendly interlocutors. Similarly there have been plenty of videos where Mr. Biden has seemed to drift off into space not knowing where he was. Most recently that included the G7 meeting where on video (see below) he was assisted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Biden was similarly assisted by former President Obama at a fundraiser in California. And the Wall Street Journal just recently ran a front page story that presented evidence of Biden’s mental deterioration in closed door meetings.  

Is it really plausible to believe that the people who worked closely with Biden day-to-day didn’t notice any of this? If so, they are guilty of willful blindness, which also suggests that Biden is surrounded by delusional fanatics who are willing to believe anything provided it advances “the Cause”.  Given the current state of geopolitics that fanaticism is cause for alarm. 

There is, however, an alternative explanation that is far more plausible. It is that Democratic Party leaders saw Biden’s deterioration and lied about it because (a) they still thought that Biden was their best shot against a Trump restoration and (b) they wished to remain in power, no matter the cost. 

Let us consider some of the evidence for this hypothesis. For example, slightly before the first debate of the 2020 race, 51 intelligence officials (some of whom were CIA contractors) released their infamous letter stating that Hunter Biden’s laptop bore all the earmarks of Russian disinformation. We now know conclusively that that assertion was a lie. Further we know that it was arranged by Anthony Blinken, now US Secretary of State. 

Now let’s consider U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s refusal comply with a House Judiciary subpoena to turn over the audio tape of Robert Hur’s interview of Biden. That interview concerned Biden’s decision to illicitly retain (and share) possession of national security documents.  

Garland’s stated rationale for refusing to turn over the tapes was a claim of executive privilege. This even though he had already turned over the transcripts of the interview, which would seem to obliterate the executive privilege claims. 

As justification for his non-compliance Garland insisted that the Republicans would use the tapes to make commercials for the upcoming campaign. In this, Garland is probably correct. But it has no bearing on the question of executive privilege. 

Remember that, at the time, Hur declined to prosecute Biden. While he maintained that Biden did in fact willfully share classified information with his ghost writer, he concluded that as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, that he would not charge Biden. In his report he wrote “We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” 

Hur’s conclusion was subject to a storm of criticism by party Grandees. After Biden’s catastrophic debate performance, we now know why. Hur’s description of Biden was undoubtedly accurate and threatened the blow the lid off the cover-up of Biden’s rapidly diminishing mental capacity. Which means the inner circle was well aware of the problem and chose to support and encourage his candidacy anyway. 

We can go beyond the various investigations which, while not above the suspicion of partisanship, certainly invite a trench warfare mentality. So let’s consider a statement made by White House Communications director Karine Jean-Pierre. Ms Jean-Pierre came up with this doozy at a White House press briefing:

“Oh, my gosh, he’s the President of the United States, you know, he – I can’t even keep up with him,” Jean-Pierre told CNN’s Don Lemon. “We just got back from New Mexico, we just got back from California … just look at the work that he does, and look what he’s, how he’s delivering for the American public.”

Question: who is naive enough to believe that the (at the time) 47 year old Karine Jean-Pierre had trouble  “keeping up with” the then 79 year old Biden.  

Answer: Nobody.

This was simply a bald-faced lie, which most of the mainstream press happily consumed and regurgitated. 

And so here we have numerous examples of Mr. Biden’s rapid and conspicuous cognitive descent and the  accompanying lies of officialdom designed both to obscure  the fact and deny the obvious.  All of which was helped along by the mainstream press. 

Add to this the one-sided coverage of the Israeli-Hamas war; the “mostly peaceful” Black Lives Matter riots; the dismissive coverage of the Wuhan lab leak theory for the COVID-19 virus; the evidence-free assertions of mask-wearing efficacy; the widespread school shutdowns; the false claims of gender transition reversibility, and a whole host of other deliberate falsehoods. Simply put, there is a pronounced pattern of deliberate deception.  Which is to say the whole progressive agenda is shot full of lies. 

And necessarily so. Because the progressive agenda is at war with human nature. Anybody who doubts this should just pause for a moment and watch the shenanigans of the transgender movement.

People are not idiots. In the end the truth will be exposed and people will revolt.  In this respect the Biden debate episode simply demonstrates the utter futility of the progressive project; it depends on a perpetual cover-up of its results. How are those inner city public schools doing these days? How is modern monetary theory working out? And what is the state of the mythical Social Security Trust Fund?

Never forget that progressivism depends on scores of disinterested “experts” to guide (read coerce) society by transferring power away from individuals and toward the massive bureaucracy of the Administrative state. It necessarily robs individuals of their agency. By treating people as nothing more than cogs in a machine, it inevitably leads to identitarian politics. Not to mention its reliance on the ludicrous presumption that government bureaucrats are disinterested parties who seek merely to “do the right thing”.

In the end, the progressive project depends on a body politic that believes human nature is infinitely malleable; that history is on a predetermined trajectory and a public that buys into the polite (and not so polite) lies of officialdom. And the whole time, officialdom will seek more and more power over the lives of citizens, depriving individuals of their agency.

Ultimately, they will fail as they have done throughout history. They will simply encourage a revolt, which is precisely what is going on right now. 


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Modern v. Classical Liberals

“Governments are living things and operate as organic wholes.  Moreover, governments have their natural evolution and are one thing in one age, another in another. The makers of the Constitution constructed the federal government upon a theory of checks and balances which was meant to limit the operation of each part and allow to no single part or organ of it a dominating force; but no government can be successfully conducted upon so mechanical a theory.Leadership and control must be lodged somewhere; the whole art of statesmanship is the art of bringing the several parts of government into effective cooperation for the accomplishment of particular common objects,–and party objects at that.”

Woodrow Wilson, 1908. Emphasis added.

With their reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Garland v. Cargill (the bump-stock case) the disdain with which conventional American liberals hold the U.S. constitution is now on full display. In truth it has been on display to anyone who cared to look ever since the administration of political scientist and President of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson.  In the Wilsonian view, the U.S. constitutional system of checks and balances was an impediment to be overcome (see above). That view has been and continues to be the dominant view of contemporary American liberalism. 

In contemporary liberalism, as opposed to Classical Liberalism, the object of government is to follow the will of the people (vox populi). It is up to the President through the use of the bureaucracy, staffed by “experts” to interpret and implement that will.  It is this line of thinking that gave birth to the modern Administrative state. 

Note that the Wilsonian rationale for the Administrative state is one that is entirely at odds with the Declaration of Independence. In the Declaration the function of government is to secure pre-existing rights. Not grant rights, but secure them. 

Arguably Abraham Lincoln read that classically Liberal interpretation into the Constitution in his Gettysburg address, a portion of which follows below.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863. 

In this respect it is important to think of the Declaration as a road map that leads from the weltanschauung of the framers to its implementation via the US Constitution. This is made clear by reading the Constitution in conjunction with the Declaration, which reads (in part):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – 

In Lincolnesque and Wilsonian views we have a stark reminder of the differences between (a) modern liberalism that justifies the coercive power of the Administrative state and (b) Classical Liberalism that depends on the consent of the governed. Modern American liberalism vests authority in the hands of bureaucratic experts whose mission is to design policy that reflects the current whims of popular opinion. Rights are simply tools of an ever shifting majority. 

On the other hand, Classical Liberalism defines the role of government as one of securing pre-existing, meaning pre-political rights, rather than granting them. First and most importantly, because governments are not the source of rights.  Second, because the unmediated will of the people can quickly turn into mob rule. In this respect it is useful to remember that when Benjamin Franklin famously said  “…a republic if you can keep it” he did not use the word democracy. He said republic which, among other things, reflected the careful Madisonian checks and balances embedded in the system.

That was then and this is now. And in some ways the mob is now ascendant. So how did we get here?

The corrupt use of language, a sin committed by a whole host of players, is a key element. In fact an insistence on the proper definition of words is now seen as justification for righteous indignation. Consider the recent court case of Garland v. Cargill (the bump-stock case).

The Supreme Court held by a 6-3 majority that attaching a bump stock to a semi-automatic rifle does not in fact turn a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun. The Trump administration had enacted a regulation which asserted that the use of bump stocks created machine guns, the use of which by civilians is banned by the National Firearms Act of 1934. (By way of reminder, the ATF on at least 10 separate occasions, held that use of bump stocks did not qualify as creating machine guns.) 

That fact was insufficient to contain the predictable over-the-top  liberal response to the holding. For instance, in the Washington Post E.J. Dionne Jr. wrote:

Conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court have decided that more Americans must die in mass shootings because they have a quibble over the word “function.”

Note the word “quibble”. He then went on to say:

 “…the court’s six conservative justices not only put their ideological preconceptions ahead of rational policymaking. They also privileged an arrogant, misplaced confidence in their own technical expertise over a federal agency’s thoughtful effort to prevent the grotesque slaughter of innocents.”

Also, hilariously he scorns the Court for “…arrogant, misplaced confidence in their own technical expertise…”

And finally in his fire-breathing column he claimed that the justices effectively said:

 “We know how guns work, and we consulted several dictionaries about what words mean.

Ahh, the hated use of dictionaries…

Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Times opined: 

On Friday, the Supreme Court once more narrowed the power of the government to protect the American people from gun violence.

Note the claim “narrowed the power of the government to protect…”

Which of course implies that said government power (1) actually protects, and (2) does not require legislative authorization.  

The NY Times asserted:

 “It is one of the most astonishingly dangerous decisions ever issued by the court, and it will almost surely result in a loss of American lives in another mass shooting.”

Certainly more dangerous than Dredd Scott or Plessay v. Ferguson, wouldn’t you say?

Slate chimed in with this gem: 

This Supreme Court will be squarely at fault for the next mass shooting enabled by a legal bump stock.”

And so on.

Let’s examine a number of common threads in the display of outrage.

 (1) The Supreme Court was dastardly enough to pay attention to definitions used in the law as written—why—to quote E.J. Dionne once again, they even resorted to using dictionaries; 

(2) By reaching a conclusion that liberals don’t like the Supreme Court is responsible for future anticipated deaths. They are apparently unconcerned about the deaths  of unborn children that directly resulted from Roe v. Wade

(3) By implication we are invited to subscribe to the notion that mass shooters would otherwise be law abiding citizens who would never even think of harming their fellow citizens if bump stocks were illegal. (And by the way, how did that theory work out with prohibition, drug use, bank robbery, speeding etc etc.)

(4) Oh, Congress could change the law to take account of technological changes (as Justice Alito noted in his concurrence) if it so desired. 

So hilariously enough, the protectors of democracy are not interested in the hard work of convincing Congress to change a law to change policy, preferring instead to have the law re-written by the Supreme Court. But they are interested in creating a national law that guarantees and finances unlimited abortion on demand.  

That tells you all you need to know. 


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A lot of liberals are up-in-arms (figuratively speaking) about Justice Sam Alito (yet again). They cite 2 related reasons as proximate causes for their angst.  (1) Three years ago, Justice Alito’s wife hung an upside down flag in front of their house over a particularly nasty neighborhood spat. (2) The Alito’s have flown (and for all I know still are flying) an “Appeal to Heaven” flag over their vacation house at the Jersey shore.  

The facts of these cases appear to be largely uncontested; the motivations, however, are not. Is this a tempest in a teapot, or is there some substance to it? Let’s examine the cases, bearing in mind that political smears are used routinely when motivations are in dispute, especially when, as today, there is intense political polarization. 

In the first case, it appears that Martha-Ann Alito flew the offending inverted flag on January 17, 2021 outside the Alito home. Justice Alito is not accused of actually placing the flag himself. Further, the allegation is made that the upside down flag, traditionally a symbol of distress, was actually a signal of support for the January 6 rioters. 

At this point the question must be asked: Where is the evidence that (1) an upside down flag is a sign of support for the rioters, and that (2) Justice Alito was attempting to signal his support for the Jan 6 rioters? Or (3) are Justice Alito’s detractors attempting to make the argument that he should have demanded symbolic silence from his wife who was actually signaling support for the rioters? 

There is zero evidence for any of these theories outside of the fever swamps. But let’s acknowledge that the Jan 6 rioters included an awful lot of deluded kooks, some of whom were disposed toward the use of violence.  After all they did threaten to hang VP Mike Pence.

Let’s look at the flags some rioters flew. The flags included: a Three Percenters militia group flag; a Release the Kraken Flag; Kekistan Flags; Confederate Flags; Gadsden Flags; America First flags, Betsy Ross flags and, oh yes, plain old American flags. 

I for one have no idea what some of these flags are supposed to represent. I do know that an American flag in distress was often used by Vietnam War protesters. And progressives used an inverted flag to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade. But I would be hesitant to challenge the loyalties of anyone who flew an American Flag; an American flag in distress; a Betsey Ross Flag, or a Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag (to name a few). 

But what about campus protesters who fly the Palestinian flag? Or how about the routine use of T-shirts emblazoned with a Che Guevara  logo?  How about a Nazi flag? Certainly, Hamas, Che Guevara and the Nazis were bloodthirsty killers. Even if the best and brightest at elite schools haven’y quite figured that out yet. And the meaning of those symbols ought to be unambiguous (excepting of course for the afore mentioned best and brightest). And those who choose to do so, are well within their rights to express themselves with odious symbols. 

The Supreme Court has for a long time ruled that free speech rights, including symbolic speech, trump all else except in cases where imminent violence is threatened. In 1931, the Court ruled in Stromberg v California that expressive speech is a free speech right. That ruling was re-affirmed in Tinker v. Des Moines in 1969. Similarly the court ruled in 1989  in Texas v Johnson that burning the flag was protected by the first amendment. 

So Mrs. Alito, as long as she did not threaten imminent violence, was well within her rights to display an inverted American Flag, just as the couple were perfectly with their rights to fly an “Appeal to Heaven” flag over their vacation home.  The question then becomes: Should either or both have displayed either flag?

Let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that the symbolic meaning of those flags is completely unambiguous. Is the liberal argument that Justice Alito should have told his wife not to fly the inverted American flag. Hmmm. I would have thought that liberals would argue that women are not mere appendages of their husbands; that they are independent actors who make their own decisions. I guess in the progressive mind, that only counts where abortion rights are concerned.

But, the argument goes, Justice Alito should avoid even the appearance of bias. There may something to this argument. But again it assumes the Justice is responsible for his wife’s opinions and behavior.  That said, assuming the symbolic meaning of the inverted flag is unambiguous. Martha Ann Alito probably should have avoided displaying it, if only for appearances sake. But it is certainly not a hanging offense, especially for Justice Alito. 

The “Appeal to Heaven” flag non-controversy is another matter altogether. The charge that it displays sympathy for “Christian Nationalism” is pure bunk. Why? Because for one, (leaving aside the lunatic fringe)  the term is undefined. It is a term designed to signal disdain. It’s just another example of using language to change popular meaning.  Like for instance: Addict (preferred usage: person with substance abuse), Homeless (preferred usage, people experiencing homelessness), Sex change (preferred usage: transition), Breast feed (preferred usage: Chest feed).

By the way, the “Appeal to Heaven” flag was first commissioned and subsequently used by that old insurrectionist, George Washington. Who, truth be told, was an insurrectionist in the eyes of King George III. Here I must say that I would be hesitant to attempt to dissuade people from following Washington’s example of how to live. (And yes, I am perfectly aware that he owned slaves, probably didn’t admit to chopping down a cherry tree and like all humans, was not perfect). 

But let’s not kid ourselves. The uproar over the flag, to put it mildly, is indicative of a dual standard. All we have to do is recount some of the political commentary that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg insisted on making while on the bench. For instance, she is on record saying the following:

“I can’t imagine what this place would be – I can’t imagine what the country would be – with Donald Trump as our president,” Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

She followed that up, according to the NY Times by saying that her  late husband would have said it was “time for us to move to New Zealand.”

“He is a faker,” she said of Trump. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?” Ruth Bader Ginsburg on CNN

“It won’t happen,” she said. “It would be an impossible dream. But I’d love to see Citizens United overruled.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“I thought Heller was “a very bad decision,” she said, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told Clara Spera in the days before her death, NPR reported.

And on it goes. Not that she was wrong about Trump. I actually think she was spot on about him. But that is not the point. She was as political as they come. Except that she was politically aligned with conventional elite opinion, which means that it was quite OK.   

Some liberal commentators raised an eyebrow or two over those remarks, but there was no hue and cry demanding that she recuse herself on a whole raft of cases. And she did apologize, sort of, by saying she would be “more circumspect” in the future. But that just meant she intended to be more cautious about speaking her mind; not that she retracted her comments. 

So yes, if just for appearances, it would have been better if the inverted flag had not flown over the Alito house.  On the other hand, the “Appeal to Heaven” complaints are pure bunk. 

The real story is that a group of progressives are out to get Alito personally because he wrote the majority opinion in the Dobbs case that overturned Roe. And they mean to remake the Court by packing it. This is their latest excuse. The latest faux controversy is just another predictable tempest in-a-teapot. Good for bumper stickers, but that’s about it.

And, by the way, I haven’t heard any wailing lately (or ever) from progressive quarters about the leak of the draft of the Dobbs decision. Funny thing about that. 


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Is Donald J. Trump a Conservative?

At the moment former President and current Republican presidential nominee Donald J Trump is the defendant in a books-and-records criminal trial in lower Manhattan. Serious people doubt that the books-and-records charges should ever have been brought, much less blown up into 34 felony counts. In fact the argument goes, the Manhattan DA lacks the necessary jurisdiction to prosecute the case. That is because the predicate crime used by Mr Bragg (the elected Manhattan DA) to turn a misdemeanor into a felony and thus avoid a statute of limitations problem, is a federal offense over which he has no jurisdiction. 

But nobody seriously doubts that Mr Trump is lying through his teeth when he denies that (a) he had a sexual encounter with porn star Stormy Daniels and that (b) he ordered his fixer Michael Cohen to pay hush money (not illegal in itself) to cover-up this story (and others).  

I bring the trial up because it is germane to the question under examination, namely, is Donald J Trump a conservative?

He is routinely referred to as a conservative in the mainstream press. Sometimes he is referred to as being “far right” which in today’s popular usage roughly means being “very” conservative. 

Why is all this relevant to Mr Trump’s political posture?  It is relevant because conservatism in America has tended to  claim that it is founded on what we might call traditional values.  It has championed family, community, local governance, civil society, religion and limited government. It favored incremental change. It abhorred central planning and bureaucratic top-down commands from on high. Above all, character and culture mattered to conservatives. 

So the question must be asked: How does this rough description of the broad outlines of American conservatism align with either: (a) Mr Trump’s behavior or (b) his policy proposals?

The quick answer is: It doesn’t. 

It is simply beyond any doubt that Donald Trump is, essentially, a libertine. That is close to the opposite of a conservative. The idea that he would show any restraint in pursuit of what he considers to be in his personal interest is beyond risible. The man, like Bill Clinton, is a walking appetite. 

Further, his supporters have adopted the Clintonesque facade of separating his “personal life” from his public persona. They argue that he is a fighter who cares about them. That he is a disrupter who will clean the swamp. In short, he and his supporters have (probably unknowingly) adopted key underlying cultural precepts of progressivism. For Donald Trump, the personal is the political. 

Consider, for instance, the laughable claim that the 2020 election was stolen. There are only two possibilities here: (a) the highly unlikely possibility that Donald Trump actually believes this or (2) the far more likely possibility that he is lying, as usual. If he actually believes the election was stolen he is simply delusional, although it is much more likely that he is lying, again like Clinton. Either Clinton, come to think of it.

Consider the implications. In either case, the governing postulate is the idea of “my truth” which is to say Donald Trump’s “truth”. Not The Truth. Which is to say that the actual truth doesn’t matter. Because there is no such thing as Truth. That is a sentiment routinely voiced by progressive intellectuals, or as Nietzsche put it, “There are no facts only interpretations”. It is a sentiment fully embraced by Donald J Trump, even if unknowingly.     

Let’s get away from the personal for the moment and examine Trump’s policy proposals. One of the best places to look for a presidential candidate’s policy proposals is the convention platform. That presents a bit of a problem though because in 2020, the Republican Party didn’t bother to adopt a platform. Which says something about Trumpian egomania. So much for avoiding the personal; it’s all about him. 

Nevertheless we can suss out Trump’s policy inclinations from things he has said. But it is important to keep in mind his erratic and unpredictable behavior in any attempt at analysis. A couple of key issues: it is clear that Trump is hostile to a global free trade regime; he is a fan of industrial policy; he is antagonistic toward NATO and like Joe Biden, he loves spending giant wads of other people’s money that he doesn’t have, particularly for entitlements. 

None of these attitudes even remotely reflect a conservative policy outlook. Conservatives have been championing free trade at least since the Reagan years and arguably before. It is only recently (to their credit) that some liberals have come around to the benefits of free trade. Progressives— who tend to see the world in zero sum terms—are still hostile to free trade. They prefer using trade as a vehicle for industrial policy—as does Mr Trump. 

Support for NATO—and other allies—has mostly been an area of agreement between liberals and conservatives in the post WW2 era. But Donald J Trump has campaigned against what he terms “forever wars”; has threatened to walk away from our NATO treaty obligations, and has shown a remarkable liking for strong men abroad. These positions are hardly what conservatives—especially those in the Ronald Reagan mold—would support.  

Now consider fiscal policy. Mr Trump—along with President Biden—has pledged not to touch Social Security. To put this in perspective, keep in mind that Social Security benefits totaled $1.4 trillion in 2023. By way of contrast, the military spent $820 billion in 2023. The trustees of the Social Security System estimate that the so-called trust fund will be depleted by 2034, necessitating a 20% reduction in benefits. 

Entitlement outlays, which constitute the bulk of federal expenditures, are the main driver of spending in a federal budget that is already wildly out of control. Refusing to reform the system, continuing to add over a trillion dollars a year to debt  accumulation and effectively setting up a guaranteed reduction in benefits is hardly a conservative policy stance. 

So when it comes to his personal behavior or his policy inclinations either in foreign or domestic policy Trump can hardly be called an American conservative. But there is a sense in which he can be called conservative in another context. That context is the conservatism of continental Europe of the 20th century. 

Continental European conservatism, as distinguished from Thatcherite British conservatism, was distinguished as an altar-and-throne type of conservatism. It often featured a monarchial system backed by the Catholic Church. Spain under Generalissimo Franco was a perfect example of that. And truth be told, Continental European populist conservatives are making a bit of a comeback. 

There is, for instance,  Viktor Orban in Hungary. Giorgia Meloni of Italy gets a nod. Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands have recently seen strong electoral showings by right wing populists. 

In America Catholic Integralists, who display some similar characteristics, are starting to make a mark. Public intellectuals like Patrick Deneen, a political scientist at Notre Dame rose to fame with his 2018 book Why Liberalism Failed. Adrian Vermeule, a professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law has voiced support for Catholic integralism. Sohrab Ahmari, op-ed Editor of the NY Post is one of the more visible spokesmen for Catholic Integralists. 

But mainstream conservatives in America have kept their distance. In fact, Bret Stephens, a mentor and friend of Ahmari recently scorched him as Ahmari (who has gone through numerous ideological transformations) went from an “urbane, intelligent and unfailingly good-humored” mainstream conservative to exhibit the kind of personal nastiness that many on the right now seem to value. 

So what can we conclude?  That Donald J Trump is no conservative–at least by American standards–either with respect to his personal behavior or with respect to his policy inclinations. It would be more accurate to describe him as someone who has unknowingly adopted the philosophical beliefs of progressives and combined them with attitudes typical of European strongmen.


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Are Liberalism and Progressivism Compatible?

Robert Frost , the American poet, once observed that “A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel”. Which brings up an interesting question. Can American liberals differentiate their traditional brand of liberalism from progressivism? Or will they continue to drift into the “woke” culture-war camp? 

It’s an important question. Important because the philosophical roots espoused by the woke crowd are qualitatively different from those of traditional American liberalism. Very different. And the emerging fight between the progressive and liberal wings of the Democratic Party may very well decide the question. Hence the quotation from Robert Frost.

Traditional liberals—think Patrick Moynihan, Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson—used to favor efforts by the welfare state both to expand economic opportunities available to the working class, and to project American power and prestige abroad. Some of those efforts were doomed to failure. Lyndon Johnson’s attempt to engineer a utopian “Great Society” comes to mind. 

But there were big picture successes too. For one, the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall came down.  Steadfast support from traditional liberals was important to this effort. In addition, liberal internationalism set the stage for establishing the  global trade regime that lifted over 1 billion people out of crushing poverty.  

Domestically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968  greatly expanded opportunities for minority citizens. These laws, which were extremely controversial at the time, were premised on the idea that removing unjustified (mostly governmental) barriers to opportunity as a result of immutable characteristics  would allow all individuals to thrive—if they chose to do so. 

That is not where we are now. Not by a long shot. The dominant ethos, at least in elite universities, is that America is hopelessly and irredeemably racist; bound up in White Supremacy and that our rights are in name only. Those rights are merely tools used by special interests, White Supremacists and other powerful actors to maintain their grip on power. And let’s not forget that today’s graduates of elite universities are the journalists, artists, politicians and culture shapers of tomorrow. 

This battle is being fought out on the campuses of those elite universities. Nominally, the battle is over the conduct of Israel in its war with Hamas. But as Jeremy Peters noted in a New York Times piece dated May 1, “In their [the students] eyes, the Gaza conflict is a struggle for justice, linked to issues that seem far afield. They say they are motivated by policing, mistreatment of Indigenous people, discrimination toward Black Americans and the impact of global warming.”

It doesn’t take much of a leap to see that the campus protests are not simply about the Israeli-Palestinian War. The whole laundry list of progressive policy wishes is on display. And that policy wish list is one that President Biden has signed up for at the explicit urging of the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren et.al. 

Also on display is a particularly virulent antisemitism. For years left wing antisemites pretended that they were opposed to various policy stances of the Israeli government, including Zionism. But recent events have ripped that mask away. With Jewish students being assaulted on our supposedly diverse campuses and cries of “Globalize the Intifada” and “From the River to the Sea” protest leaders, who are not necessarily students, have made their intentions clear. They wish to annihilate the State of Israel and the Jewish people.   

Some liberals would like to believe that the so-called student protests are a one-off. But that presents a problem: To begin with, there aren’t protests directed at providing aid to Ukraine. Ditto for Taiwan. Which brings up another point. Both Ukraine and Israel have come under attack by invading forces that claim to be the rightful inhabitants. Vladimir Putin maintains that Ukraine is actually a part of greater Russia. Iran and its proxies claim that “the Zionist entity” as they call it, are on land that rightly belongs to a historical fiction that has become known as the Palestinian people.   

For that matter, Taiwan has been independent of (meaning separated from) mainland China since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.  That was 75 years ago. In the meantime it has built up its civil society, as well as its own institutions: economic, political and legal. 

China, along with Iran and North Korea, is a major supplier of war materiel to Russia. So it is more than obvious that Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan are different fronts in the same war.  Conceptually speaking, it really isn’t possible to separate these conflicts. Unless, of course, the point is to obfuscate. 

Which is precisely what the Biden Administration is doing. After asserting that U.S. backing for Israel is “ironclad” president Biden announced that the U.S. would not deliver certain weapons to Israel if it proceeds with its plan for a full scale invasion of Rafah. 

According to press reports, he U.S. is trying to convince Israel that a more targeted approach would be preferable to a full scale invasion. According to the Washington Post, United States officials insist that Israel, with U.S. help, can destroy the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah by identifying senior Hamas leaders. Which, if true, implies that the U.S. already knows where these leaders are, but that the information is being held back from an ally to gain leverage.   

Supporters of the Biden Administration argue that the protests do not resemble those in 1968; that the upcoming Democratic convention 2024 will not turn into a replay of 1968, and that the vast majority of Americans do not support the protesters so there is nothing to worry about. 

But that is not the point. To understand the political dynamics it important to separate out the protest leaders from their rather naive followers. In that regard Hillary Clinton opined that most of the protesters do not know much about the history of the region. She was probably being kind. Most of the protesters don’t have a clue, but that hasn’t stopped them. Often wrong and never in doubt is a fairly typical trait of followers. 

However, the leaders, many of whom are not students at all but professional agitators, have gone into this with eyes wide open. They have a specific ideology which is incompatible with American liberalism. They are proponents of the Neo-Marxist class war idea of intersectionality. Not only is the idea of intersectionality incompatible with the individualism of what was traditionally referred to as liberalism, it is authoritarian at heart.

Intersectionality divides the world into groups of people who are either oppressors or oppressed. Further, there is a pecking order of oppression and oppressed. Jews, who used to be considered a minority are now characterized as “white adjacent” and hence part of the oppressor class. Israel is a “settler colonial” state that oppresses the supposedly indigenous Palestinians. That was the justification for murdering infants in their cribs on October 7. Those babies were part of the settler colonialist class so they had it coming.

Note that the protesters went from anti-war to pro-Hamas in the blink of an eye. It took longer in 1968 but eventually the battle cry became “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh—The Viet Cong is Gonna Win”.  Note too which members of Congress support the protesters: The Squad. 

The point of the protests is not to persuade voters. Not at all. The point of the protests is to provoke a reaction that can then be used to “prove” how oppressive the system is. Just the way the Chicago 7 defendants did in their trial. Some charges stuck initially, but eventually all the guilty verdicts were overturned on appeal. 

It is true that public opinion today is still on the side of the Israelis. It is also true that, according to Gallup, in 1996 only 27% of the adult population supported gay marriage;  support is now  71%. As recently as 2010 only 40% of the adult population supported legal recognition of gay marriage. Similarly, marihuana legalization had 35% support in 2005; now it’s 70%. The point is that majorities are temporary and unless they are backed by the underlying culture, those majorities can be tenuous. 

Which brings us to the state of the culture and the use of political violence. To the extent that political institutions begin to lose legitimacy, the use of political violence by strategic players will increase.  Donald J Trump still claims that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” and so, egged on by Trump himself, his supporters ransacked the Capitol in a vain attempt to prevent the official declaration of Joe Biden as the victor. 

Black Lives Matter engaged in violent  protests primarily in the 2020 — 2022 period. The FBI and ATF tracked 164 structure fires during BLM protests (from May 27 — 30) in Minneapolis — St Paul alone. ANTIFA has been running violent protests for decades. Environmental “activists” have spiked trees to prevent logging. Al Sharpton’s Action Network is famous for its battle cry of “No Justice, No Peace”. 

The protests against US aid for Israel have predictably turned violent, with protesters occupying buildings, vandalizing property and attacking Jewish students. It may only be the first step toward more of the same as election day approaches. And as for the election itself, it will be a minor miracle if the result (no matter who wins) does not result in political violence. 

So American liberals have a choice to make. They can align themselves with progressives which implies abandoning their liberal traditions; their commitment to individual rights, global trade and our allies. Or they can re-affirm their prior commitment to individual, not group, rights; they can enforce America’s laws equally, they can re-affirm American sovereignty, commit to a global trade regime, and stand by our allies.  It’s up to them. 


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Problem Solving 2024 Style

If the proverbial Martian were to land on planet earth and peruse the news he would quickly discover that the United States currently has several severe, possibly existential problems with which it has to deal.  According to the news, the problems include:

  1. the fact that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem shot her 14 month old puppy, Cricket
  2. the surprise resignations of both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA
  3. The outfits worn by porn star Stormy Daniels (clothing analysis courtesy of the NY Times) during her 2 days of testimony in the criminal trial of former president Donald Trump, in what is supposedly a books and records case. 

Playing a decidedly second fiddle is a congeries of foreign policy fiascoes and domestic financial crises in the making that threaten the health of the global rules based order.  Among the foreign policy fiascoes is  President Biden’s threatened refusal to supply Israel with “…American weapons, including heavy bombs and artillery shells, if Israel carries out a major operation in Rafah, a city crammed with about a million Palestinians…” (NY Times May 9, 2024). And why has he done this? Because he is afraid of losing votes in Michigan and Nevada. 

That is pretty much what Trump got impeached for in the first go around. He threatened to hold up aid to Ukraine unless they succumbed to his political interests. Same situation here with Biden. 

It bears mentioning that the reason, according to the Times, that Rafah is “crammed” with Palestinians is that Hamas refuses to let them leave because it wants more civilian casualties for propaganda purposes.  

We should also note that Iran directly attacked Israel with about 170 drones and 120 ballistic missiles. And that the Houthis, an Iranian proxy have shut down traffic in the Red Sea. And that the Israelis have had to evacuate over 60,000 people near the northern border with Lebanon where Hezbollah, another Iranian proxy, lobs rockets and bombs into Israel on a daily basis. 

In the background, a small sliver of students at mostly elite universities have (illegally) set up what are effectively  anti-semitic pro-Hamas encampments.  And not to put too fine a point on it, these protesters are blaming Israel for Hamas’s savage attacks on Oct 7. And the response of most university administrators has been to cower before the protesters. 

In the matter of Ukraine, the Biden Administration has not screwed up policy all by itself. The Biden folks had impressive help from the clown show known as the Republican caucus.  A majority of House Republicans, 112 in all, voted against providing additional aid to Ukraine. In the event, the ever insightful Marjorie Taylor Greene (AKA space laser Marjorie) moved to have Mike Johnson removed from his position as Speaker of the House. He was saved with the aid of the Democrats who for once used their heads. 

But not to worry, the Biden Administration has played its part in the chaos. After a brief statement in 2022  implying he would tolerate “a small incursion”, surprisingly enough the small incursion turned into a full scale invasion.  Biden then said we would support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”. But Biden never addressed the nation to lay out the (obvious) reasons for supporting Ukraine; in fact he still has not done so. How is that for how the Commander-in-Chief rallies the troops?

Moreover, the Biden Administration has slow-walked sending weapons to Ukraine, only giving them enough to forestall an immediate Russian victory. Despite pleas from Ukraine President Vladimir Zelensky, the Administration has refused to provide Ukraine with the advanced weaponry it needs to achieve a lasting victory. Not surprisingly, Russia may now have a strategic advantage. 

And as for “as long as it takes” remember that this is the guy who walked away from Afghanistan leaving that country to the new and improved Taliban. That fact certainly plays a part in the calculations of China as it eyes Taiwan. At the same time there is less and less reason for Beijing to take Biden’s threats seriously.

Of course there is the domestic financial situation to consider.  We are sitting on roughly $26 trillion in publicly held debt and another $6 trillion in debt that the government owes to other parts of the government, mostly the illusory and spectacularly ill-named Social Security trust fund. Effectively that means that we are swimming in $34 trillion in unfunded liabilities. 

But not to worry, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have promised not to touch Social Security, which is a very large driver of continuing debt finance. The Social Security system (which pays out slightly over $1 trillion per year and rising in benefits) is due to go broke in 2033 according to the latest auditor’s report. Actually that understates the problem; the system is already broke in that it is insolvent. It will run out of cash around 2033, but it is already incapable of meeting its obligations much beyond that. There isn’t enough money in the world to cover the liability sans reform. 

But not to worry. Governor Noem will not be shooting any more puppies; we will solve the mystery of why the respective Miss Americas resigned, and Stormy Daniels will soon be working on her next movie. 

Problems solved.


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