The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, August 12, 2022

M.A.D.

Back at a time when the USSR and the USA were global superpowers, armed with thousands of megatons of nuclear weapons, a hot war was avoided because mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) was ensured. If one side released their weapons, the other would assuredly respond, and both countries would be destroyed. 

An analogous situation has existed in American politics for generations. Forget civility or collegiality. Dems and the GOP dislike one another, but when one side is in power, it grudgingly follows prescribed precedent to avoid payback when the other is in power.

All of that is changing at warp speed. Driven by a white-hot hatred of Donald Trump, the Dems have jettisoned the long established version of political M.A.D. and decided to weaponize a willing bureaucracy against their opposition. Early indictments of key aides based on bad FISA warrants, a Russia collusion hoax, a two-year special prosecutor investigation, two failed impeachments (in the early 1990s, the GOP made a grave error in forgetting M.A.D. and impeached Bill Clinton—payback took almost 30 years, but came nonetheless), and finally, the J-6 investigation conducted over 18 months after Trump left office were all precedent setting. 

Cheered on by their rabid base and gleefully backed by their trained hamsters in the media, the Dems appear to have embraced the fantasy that their opposition will not opt for political payback when it gains power. It will, and the result will be very bad for the country.

Kim Strassel comments:

In descending on Mar-a-Lago, the department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation shifted the U.S. into the category of countries whose ruling parties use government power to investigate political rivals. No attorney general has ever signed off on a raid on a former president’s home, in what could be the groundwork for criminal charges.

Yet to read the left’s media scribes, Monday’s search was a ho-hum day in crime-fighting. The Beltway press circled the wagons around Attorney General Merrick Garland and primly parroted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s piety that “no one is above the law.” “The Mar-a-Lago Raid Proves the U.S. Isn’t a Banana Republic,” pronounced the Atlantic, clearly worried readers might conclude the opposite. It is “bedrock principle” that those who “commit crimes” “must answer for them,” it lectured.

The GOP disputes this sanctimonious position by providing counter examples ad nauseum, but that really isn't the point. 

There's a reason for precedent. There's a reason to tread lightly when moving against the opposition. There's a reason to use judgement when considering criminal charges against an ex-president—whether it's Bill Clinton or Donald Trump. And that reason is PAYBACK.

Strassel continues:

Payback could come even sooner. Democrats set a new low with their Ukrainian impeachment circus, and a GOP House next year might be up for a reprise. Get ready for a few more select committees—perhaps excluding the minority party, as the Democrats effectively did with the Jan. 6 committee—to investigate Mr. Garland’s politicized department or Hunter Biden’s finances. Watch them subpoena sitting Democratic representatives, as the Jan. 6 committee did to Republicans. Reps. Adam Schiff, Ilhan Omar and Eric Swalwell may find themselves on the back bench with a new Republican majority eager to follow Mrs. Pelosi’s example and strip the opposing team’s members of committee assignments.

All this tit for tat will further undermine our institutions and polarize the nation—but such is the nature of retributive politics. Which is why the wholesale Democratic and media defense of this week’s events is so reckless. Both parties long understood that political restraint was less about civility than self-preservation. What goes around always comes around. What went around this week will come around hard. 

I'm not a big fan of Hillary who ran her charitable organization—the Clinton Initiative—like a criminal enterprise. I believe Biden was involved (at least indirectly) in influence peddling while vice president. I think Schiff, Omar, and Swalwell are despicable. But going after them, as satisfying as that might be emotionally, is wrong. 

But now that the Democrats have decided to ignore political M.A.D., that's what we're going to get—"further undermin[ing] our institutions and polariz[ing] the nation."

Friday, August 05, 2022

"Deniers"

Since March of 2020, I have written many dozens of posts critical of the federal, state, and local government response to COVID-19. Economic lockdowns, business closures, mask mandates, school closures, overly severe vaccine mandates and an overriding sense of censorship and virtue signalling pervaded any discussion of alternative approaches to the virus. This authoritarian atmosphere, cheered by mainstream media and promoted by supposedly non-political government agencies, has now been proven to have done great and possibly irreparable harm to lives and livelihoods.

Leaders, particularly (but not solely) those with blue ideology, allowed a combination of fear, innumeracy, and scientific ignorance to define panicky and ineffective policies. They embraced authoritarian dictates and used the virus to gain political advantage. They succeeded in the short term, but sowed havoc that exists to this day.

Alex Washburne has posted a 20-part twitter thread that is well worth reading in its entirely. It begins:


Researchers and scientists who should have been heard were aggressively censored by the likes of bureaucrats such as Anthony Fauci, who worked behind the scenes to be sure they were marginalized. They were condemned as "deniers" and even "murderers" by know-nothing commentators and politicians. But through it all, the "deniers" were right—about the virology, the epidemiology, the societal affects, the negative impacts on children, the economic damage—all of it.

You'd think that the collection of catastrophists (in politics, in the bureaucracy, in the media) would have learned from all of this, but they have not. You think at least some would apologize, but they can not. You hope that if they remain in power (a frightening thought), they will take a less censorious approach, but they will not.

They have normalized insanity, convinced many that authoritarian policies are a good thing, and acted to censor those who disagree. All without shame, remorse, or culpability.


Thursday, August 04, 2022

Controlled Demolition

Prior to the 2020 presidential election, a dishonest, biased, and complicit mainstream media, along with social media companies (that banned discussion), and a broad array of deep state operators (ex-intelligence agency executives) worked to protect their choice for president by claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop and the broad influence peddling scandal it implied was "Russian disinformation." That canard has been proven to be totally false, and now even the pillars of leftist media (e.g., the NYT and WaPo) admit that the Hunter Biden laptop is real and that it raises "concerns."

That's an understatement.

In an in-depth analysis of the current state of the scandal, Just theFacts Daily reviews growing evidence that Joe Biden himself was deeply involved in Hunter's influence peddling, profited monetarily from it, and lied when he stated that he had no knowledge of Hunter's business dealings. Their analysis is too lengthy for this post (read the whole thing) but here's a summary:

The emails on Hunter Biden’s laptop, combined with Joe Biden’s own words and actions, prove beyond all doubt that:

  • The “ultimate purpose” of Hunter Biden’s multi-million deal with Burisma was to “close down” all criminal “cases/pursuits against” the firm’s owner [a shady Ukrainian oligarch named Nikolai Zlochevskyi].
  • In November 2015, Hunter agreed to get “high-ranking US officials” to visit Ukraine and persuade the nation’s leaders to end all investigations into the owner. Two “key targets” of this mission were the “President of Ukraine” and the “Prosecutor General.” [Burisma began making a series of payments totaling at least $3.3 million over the next 18 months to a Delaware corporation, which paid $708,312.40 directly to Hunter and $2.5 million to entities associated with Hunter.]
  • In December 2015, Joe Biden visited Ukraine and told its president and prime minister that he would withhold U.S. aid to their nation unless they fired the prosecutor general.

From the analysis: In December 2015, [Joe] Biden [pwhile VP of the United States] visited Ukraine and later recounted on video that he told Ukraine’s president and its prime minister on that trip that he would withhold a U.S. government “billion-dollar loan guarantee” unless they fired the “state prosecutor.” “If the prosecutor is not fired,” warned Biden, “you’re not getting the money.” Biden then added, “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”

However, that firing did not happen right away, and two months later on February 2, 2016, the chief prosecutor secured a court order to seize some properties of the oligarch who was paying Hunter, including his land, houses, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Just two weeks after the court’s seizure order, the president of Ukraine forced the prosecutor to resign. White House phone logs show that Joe Biden talked to the president of Ukraine at least three times in the week surrounding the firing. The phone log for the last of these calls states, “The Vice President also commended President Poroshenko’s decision to replace Prosecutor General Shokin, which paves the way for needed reform of the prosecutorial service.”

Contrary to Biden’s claim that the prosecutor stood in the way of reform, the president of Ukraine complimented the prosecutor for implementing reforms that his predecessors had “been opposing for decades” and then listed the specific reforms. The president then said that he only asked the prosecutor to resign because he “failed to gain society’s trust.”

Those actions, which are complemented by a wealth of incriminating facts, align with textbook definitions of nepotism, bribery, extortion, and obstruction of justice.

The big question is where this goes from here, and the answer is ... probably nowhere of consequence. On the other hand, Joe Biden's presidency has been an unmitigated disaster, the Democrats have generally soured on him, and there may be reason to believe that the Hunter Biden scandal is a useful way to rid themselves of a failed president. The problem, of course, is the collateral damage that might cause—to the party and to 2024 presidential contenders.

What to do?

Jonathan Turley posits that the media and political elites might try to pull off a "controlled demolition" of Hunter. He writes:

I previously wrote a column on the one year anniversary of the Hunter Biden laptop story that marveled at the success of the Biden family in making the scandal vanish before that 2020 election. It was analogized to Houdini making his 10,000-pound elephant Jennie disappear in his act. With the help of the media, the Biden trick occurred live before an audience of millions.

The problem is the public can now see the elephant ...

It appears that President Biden is no longer seen as a political asset with most Democrats refusing to publicly support him in his promised reelection bid. Biden now  could endanger Democratic control of Congress. The question is how to drop Hunter (and even his father) without causing damage to the media, the Democrats, or others in Washington. It requires a controlled demolition.

The most important thing is to control the blast. By refusing to appoint a special counsel, Merrick Garland has effectively blocked the risk of a report on the extensive influence peddling, including the repeated references to President Biden. the “Big Guy” is discussed in emails as the potential recipient of a 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm as well as other benefits. Emails also refer to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes. Recently, there was additional support showing that “the Big Guy” was indeed Joe Biden.

The problem is that embarrassing evidence is mounting by the day. That includes the recent disclosure new open influence peddling by Hunter, referencing access to his father. 

It will be fascinating to watch how the Hunter Biden story plays out. Influence peddling is common in Washington, but the blatant nature of the Biden scandal and a literal media coverup that lasted for one year are shocking, even to those who are otherwise cynical.

I don't expect much to come of this, not because criminal prosecutions for "nepotism, bribery, extortion, and obstruction of justice" aren't warranted, but because the deep state and media protect their own.


Monday, July 25, 2022

Insantity and Fantasy

As we move into the middle of 2022, two things are happening simultaneously. 

1.  The normalization of insanity continues as COVID bitter enders (a small but still significant percentage of mostly Democrats) insist that we must mask children in school (think: the LA County school district) while remaining silent as hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated people flow across our southern border unimpeded. But tennis champion, Novak Djokavic, cannot enter the USA because he is unvaccinated (but has had COVID). And now, the dreaded monkey pox becomes a global health emergency when the likelihood of escaping it is 99.9996%. The trained hamsters in a corrrupt and dishonest media tell us to be afraid, be VERY afraid.

2.   Fantasy thinking continues across virtually every important issue. For example, the party in political power in the Executive, the House, and the Senate has decided to change the definition of "recession." After all, the political left has always believed that words matter, and if you change the meaning of a word, you change reality. So fearing a second quarter of negative GDP growth, the Democrat elites, fearing bad political optics and supported by their trained hamsters in the legacy media, have decided that two quarters of decline no longer means we're in a recession—Janet Yellen has told us so. 

Normalizing insanity while at the same time encouraging fantasy thinking is toxic. It has already led to catastrophically bad policy that damages lives and livelihoods. No good can come of it.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Afraid

Now that I've finally retired from full-time employment that required me to arrive at the office 7:00am and work throughout the day to help build a company that actually succeeded, I occasionally suffer through a few minutes (that's all I can stand) of early morning network TV shows. They are, of course, a melange of fake news, COVID fear-mongering (it never stops), and biased reporting, combined with worship of Harry and Meghan, an occasional vapid cooking demo, and other mind-numbing nonsense. But above all, there's the national weather.

Basically all weather is now part of a catastrophist narrative. We're now threatened by (get ready for it) hot, hot days in the summer, drought in the arid parts of the country, forest fires in the forests.  All of it—ABSOLUTELY all of it—is due to climate change or the newly rebranded "climate crisis."

"40 million people will face temperatures approaching 100 degrees!,"  the national weather person intones. "Be sure to stay cool, hydrate, use sun screen ... Experts worry that these temperatures are here to stay because of the climate crisis."

You'd think hot weather in the summer is unusual. It isn't. But now you need to be scared, very scared because it's a harbinger of the coming apocalypse, sorta like COVID was.

Juli Burchill (of the U.K.) comments on this idiocy:

We’re not living in the Gobi desert. There are these things called ‘seasons’ and they change – this one’s called ‘summer’ and it lasts around three months. There’s going to be 10 weeks of clement weather and then comes October, heralding six months of greyer skies and shorter days – this time with the added fun of a Covid revival and eye-watering energy prices. Do we really want to spend our day in the sun running scared, seeking shade like harassed animals? Isn’t it better to keep calm and slap on the aftersun balm than carry on kvetching? But if you must rain on our parade, just look forward to those lovely drizzly autumn days when you can complain about yet another kind of weather to your heart’s content. 

If "raining on our parade" was all catastrophists do, it would be tolerable—a collection of bitter enders wailing into the dark night. Irritating yes, but we must be tolerant of irrational phobias.

But our current national leadership establishes policies based on those phobias that dismiss relevant data, ignore meaningful science, and censor those who suggest alternatives. As a result, the past two years gave us the COVID debacle where lockdown decisions did far more harm than good, where masking was an ineffective debacle, and where children suffered educationally and emotionally for no good reason. 

And now that the "climate crisis" is slowly replacing COVID as the scare tactic du jour, we've gotten environmental policies that have done far more harm than good (think: $5.00 per gallon gas, coming brownouts in some states, and stratospheric heating oil prices this winter).

And here in the free state of FL, it's going to be 91 degrees tomorrow and the next day and the next until summer is over—just as it's been for hundreds of years.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

UPDATE (07/21/2022):

Have you noticed that high temperatures, both in the U.S. and U.K. are all the rage for the climate alarmists' trained hamsters in the mainstream media. After all, these high temps are a harbinger of the coming climate apocalypse. Coincidentally (I'm sure) these context free, unscientific, and hysterical "news" stories acted as a lead in to Joe Biden's recent announcement that he's going to declare a climate emergencies with an emphasis on high temps. 

A wonderfully cynical post by "Bookworm" suggests that "We are being indoctrinated in ways both large and small to end fossil fuels, something that will also end the modern world we know." The high temp hysteria is just one small example. Bookworm writes:

The biggest long view I have is that, without fossil fuel, nothing separates us from the pre-modern era. For 99% of the world’s population, that era was not a pretty Jane Austen movie. Life was short, painful, diseased, filthy dirty, hungry, and either too hot or too cold. Most people didn’t live past 40 and half of children died before hitting 5. There were only four energy sources: Human labor, animal labor, and primitive wind and water energy. (Five sources, I guess if you consider the sun drying laundry on the line.)

It is true that much has changed over the past 300 years, and it's reasonable to argue that we should move slowly and methodically away from fuels that pollute, but do so in a way that does not wreck economies, destroy livelihoods, and create political and societal chaos (think: Sri Lanka).

Bookworm presents the following weather charts for the U.K., one from 2012 and the other from this past week:

 

The difference isn't the temps, they're just about identical. It's the presentation. In 2012, happy sunshine symbols depicted the weather. No cause for alarm, no hysteria, it's hot but that's what summer is about. Today, angry red covers the map—we're all gonna die!!!  Not so subtle manipulation anyone?

UPDATE (07/26/2022):

Record high temperatures!!!!  If you were to believe the narrative, we'll all fry in the coming years. Climate alarmists tell us so and take every opportunity to connect a single 100+ temp reading in July (summers are hot) to the "climate crisis."

The problem is, the actual numbers don't match the rhetoric. The editors of Issues and Insights add a little reality:

The only data that can be trusted, that makes a genuine apples-to-apples comparison, are the measurements from satellites. All other temperature reconstructions require faith in subjective readings of often poorly placed primitive instruments, and compromised tree ring signals.

So, then what do the satellite data tell us? That we just went through “the coolest monthly anomaly in over 10 years, the coolest June in 22 years, and the ninth coolest June in the 44 year satellite record,” says University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer.

They also note that warming is occurring at a rate of 0.13 degrees C per decade since 1979, a little factoid that is conveniently overlooked by the the world's greatest climate scientists, Al Gore and John Kerry, and their trained hamsters in the mainstream media.



Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Reset

It has taken the the Biden administration and the Democrats who support it just a little over 17 months to wreck the U.S. economy. National indebtedness continues to rise, inflation is the worst it has been in 40 years, fossil fuel prices are at historic highs, the stock market has entered bear territory (meaning the value of middle class 401Ks is in free fall), the supply chain is a mess, interest rates are rising rapidly, airlines can't seem to get flights off the ground, a recession (with consequent unemployment) seems almost certain within the next two years ... and that's only a short list of the carnage.

And with all of this happening in real time, the Democrats keep insisting that big government is the solution to all of our problems. "It's corporate greed," they exclaim as their unrealistic regulatory policies reduce the production of gasoline and diesel, fueling inflation as part of the bargain. "It COVID," they shout, as they continue to push idiotic and unscientific protocols that lead to employee absences or terminations. "It's Putin," they cry, as they blame anyone but themselves for rampant price increases and shortages.

But big government is what the Dems want—as long as it's on their side ideologically. There's only one problem—big government is incompetent, corrupt, inefficient, wasteful, and too far removed from the people to do much good.  That's not an opinion—it's hard fact based on past history.

Adam Andrzejewski provides a few small examples of recent big government fraud and wasteful spending associated with the COVID debacle:

" ... 2.2 million deceased people received $3.6 billion in economic stimulus checks" paid as part of the COVID PPP program.

or how about:

"Musician and former presidential candidate Kanye West, who claims a net worth of $3.2 billion, took $2.4 million in coronavirus relief from the PPP for his clothing and sneaker company, Yeezy LLC."

or maybe:

" ... a legal loophole in the PPP was used by 125 defense firms with strong ties to the Communist Chinese Party to collect between $200 million and $400 million meant to help American small businesses."

The problem is that far too many federal government employees simply don't care or have no incentive to rein in spending. In fact, in many cases, they're incented to spend, and punished if they don't spend their allotted budgets. They look the other way as millions or billions are wasted.

That's why every taxpayer (an increasingly smaller number of citizens each year) owes about $245,000 to cover the federal debt. In the year 2000, the debt to GDP ratio was 58%. Today it's about 128%, and if the Dems and far too many GOP politicians continue to tax and spend, we'll soon reach a situation that is unsustainable. 

But ironically, all of the spending the Democrats demand has NOT solved the social problems they identify. In fact, it appears that the more spending that occurs, the worse those problems become. Creating dependency among larger and larger numbers of people is a mistake that will have obvious and unintended consequences going forward. 

The Dems are right about one thing ... it's time for a "reset," but it's not the one they're talking about.



Tuesday, June 14, 2022

DEF

Remember the on-going baby formula shortage? You know, the one that only "recently" came to the attention of the Biden administration, even though clear signs of an impending shortage were well known in late 2021. That shortage has been very bad for many young families with infants. But it's nothing compared to another impending shortage—this one poised to affect everyone and just about everything. The problem is that you can't begin hoarding now, because this shortage doesn't involve a consumer product—it involves something called DEF.

And what exactly is DEF? It's Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which is 31% percent Urea, a derivative of natural gas—you know, that hated fossil fuel whose production the Biden administration has worked so, so hard to cripple. All in the name of saving the planet, of course.

If a large diesel fueled truck doesn't have DEF, it will not run. The implication is catastrophic. If trucks stop running, 70-plus percent of the nation's goods—food, electronics, building materials, medicines, clothing, just about everything—never get to consumers. The result will be chaos that make previous shortages of everything from baby formula to toilet paper look mild by comparison.

The story of the impending DEF shortage is complex. There are international players, the war in Ukraine, and major Democratic political operators involved. But at its core, there is the concerted effort by the Biden administration to discourage domestic natural gas production, which makes us rely on Russia (now embargoed) and China (not our best international friend) for urea. Recall that urea is absolutely essential for DEF production.

Biden and his Team of 1s (background here) should be working right now to take steps to mitigate the DEF shortage before it becomes a real problem. They have done nothing to date.

The mainsteam media should be on the administration's case NOW so that they can't hide behind the claim that they didn't know about it. The media is largely silent.

And the democratic operatives who are directly involved in this story (Tom Donilon of the Union Pacific Railroad and his family) should be called out, so that they begin work to mitigate the problems before any shutdown of trucking occurs. No nasty profiles by the New York Times or Sixty Minutes.

We have enough time to correct this before it becomes a serious problem, but only if competent leaders take action now. Problem is, the Biden administration and the majority party in both the House and the Senate have demonstrated repeatedly that competence is not their strong suit.