11 November 2022

ELECTION RESULTS 2022

 Two factors contributed heavily to what should have been a landslide victory for Republicans fizzling out. First the “red wave” essentially was aborted.  (I do so hate that color dichotomy that was originally foisted on us by NBC news a couple of decades ago, maliciously sticking the right with the “red” label previously always associated with the left). Although abortion did not rank high as a issue compared to the economy, inflation, etc. it clearly boosted turnout among one group strongly concerned about it, namely single women, 70% of whom voted for Democrats. Even though there was in reality no serious threat to abortion rights, the scare campaign worked. 


The second factor was a series of relatively weak candidates chosen by Donald Trump, in otherwise winnable races. My earlier warning that his penchant for celebrity candidates would backfire was unfortunately realized, along with candidates who were still sounding off about the 2020 election to please him instead of focusing on more salient current concerns. Trump accomplished a great deal despite unrelenting constant opposition, and deteriorating conditions across the board since he left office prove he was right about virtually everything.  He certainly does not deserve the political persecution he has been subject to since leaving office, and from direct experience I can say with certainty  that he is not the ogre he has been depicted as, but is on a personal level kind and considerate individual. 


Nevertheless, his behavior and remarks since the election have fatally compromised his viability as a candidate going forward, along with his refusal to let go of the last election. I  fully understand his rage and frustration with that outcome, given the gross unfairness of the forces arrayed against him. That election was not “stolen,” but it certainly was rigged, given the hostile, partisan major media, their calculated suppression of the truth (i.e. Hunter Biden laptop), the collaboration of “big tech,” (which is a misnomer- most are fundamentally just Internet companies), powerful partisan bureaucrats, over 400 million in Zuckerbucks, etc. etc, all of which must be held to account. Thus it is understandable that he feels cheated, but his reaction only underscores his lack of self-control and inability to keep his mouth shut, which is what cost him re-election in the first place. It is because of this that Trump himself is liked far less than his positions and policies, which proved to be successful and popular. But given his continuing diatribe, and most recently his unhinged attack on Ron DeSantis, essentially for simply existing, have made a repeat candidacy untenable, and many Republicans are increasingly realizing this. 


This election also exposed the lie about “threats to democracy” conjured up by Democrats and their collaborators in the media. That one is really rich given that Republicans got 6 million more votes than Democrats, yet picked up relatively few House seats.


Here in New York Lee Zeldin lost an election he should have won, largely due to the weight of New York City, because outside of that, Long Island and upstate New York are much like the rest of the country, and in fact are largely Republican and the party actually gained House seats in those areas. Unfortunately the prospects for the city where I have spent most of my life increasingly seem hopeless. After rising to 8.8 million from a prior low thanks to a period of relatively competent government, the city is again now rapidly losing people, mostly middle class taxpayers, and as conditions deteriorate further that may only increase. 


Another legacy of the disastrous radical DeBlasio administration were odious amendments to the city charter which passed, to change the preamble to reflect “racial justice,” and the creation of an Office of Racial Equity in the city  (note the term “equity” not “equality)” throwing fairness out the window, and which is only going to make doing business here more of a nightmare. Is there anything more ludicrous in a city where three of the four top officials are black, including the Mayor and Speaker of the City Council? Or a state where the Senate Majority leader and Assembly Speaker are both black, never mind the Attorney General? Worse with no relief from high taxes, rising crime, and progressive lunacy the outlook for the future of this place is pretty grim. 


01 November 2022

IS NEW YORK OVER?

 Like many others, I’ve often thought about leaving New York due to deteriorating conditions that have steadily gotten worse following a long, continuous period of decline. Indeed I even wrote a monograph called The Decline of the Empire State when I was the founding director of the NY State Republican Policy Committee, and generated some programs to reduce the burden on taxpayers the last time we held any power here. But that was over two decades ago, and for most of this century things have steadily gotten worse. Taxes are high, crime is rising, the quality of life is declining, and we have been hemorrhaging people for decades, mitigated slightly only by immigration. One can only wonder if there is any future left here now?

The decline is heartbreaking because it didn’t have to happen, and would not have happened had there been better stewardship, but the corrupt mismanagement and political rot runs so deep that the chances of ever reversing the trend grow dimmer. When I wrote of the decline in the past I was looking at the relative position of the state. Once it truly was the Empire State, the biggest and most dynamic in the nation. When I was a kid it seemed as though everything was here,  including the headquarters of most large corporations, many now long gone. New York was first in everything. But in the 1960s California passed it by, then Texas, and now even Florida has a greater population. But it is telling that the budget of the latter, despite a larger, growing population is half that of New York.


Despite the abysmal degree of chronic incompetence and corruption, for the longest time I have been reluctant to seriously consider leaving places I know so intimately and such great detail, and if you’re from the city, everywhere else seems slow. So I think this has always been my home and I should stay and fight for it. While Democrats have a big advantage in party registration in New York, it is in no way as “progressive” as many people think. It has little of the far out lunacy of places on the west coast, and there is still a significant segment of conservative Democrats who stay registered as such so as to be able to vote in the primary elections, especially in New York City.  


But if Lee Zeldin can’t win this election then no Republican ever can, and we are doomed to unfettered one party rule. There will be no check on the irresponsible legislature, no barrier to the ever-expanding state with ever diminishing resources as the most productive taxpayers and enterprises accelerate their departure. This will inevitably lead to insolvency- and yes, New York State can and will go bankrupt, crime will continue to increase, and day to day life will become ever more miserable for most people remaining here. 


That is why the upcoming election is the most critical in the history of the state. It is our last chance to stop, and even reverse the decline, and truly begin a new era of renewal and reform. Many Democrats know this as well, but it is going to require that they abandon the party regime responsible for the awful situation we find ourselves in, and vote this time around for Lee Zeldin. He is appealing on so many levels, facing a weak candidate and unusually favorable prospects based on objective conditions. He is an outstanding candidate who is poised to save our state from the disastrous prospects awaiting us. 


Things don't have to be the way they are now.  We can become so much better. New York is a vast and beautiful state with abundant resources and great historic places, and extraordinary, untapped potential. With competent leadership  it would still have a good chance of recovery and renewal. Electing Lee Zeldin as Governor is the only way forward now, and voting this Election Day is critical for all our futures. 



14 October 2022

DON'T DRIVE IN NEW YORK III

 Every time I drive back into the city from Long Island I manage to get a ticket, usually for “speeding;” except that in NYC speeding means driving say 34 mph on a main thoroughfare; not a side street but a multilane main road,  because the speed limit is 25 mph in the city. On residential side streets I drive even slower than that because you never know when a kid might dart out between parked cars. But on parkways, main streets, etc. the limit is ridiculous. The last one I got was for “speeding” at 37mph on an approach to a highway, where anyone would normally start accelerating to join the traffic, and where pedestrians are nowhere to be found.  


There have always been speed traps. When you cross the line between Nassau County and Queens on the Northern State Parkway the speed limit suddenly drops. As long as everyone else is exceeding the speed limit there is little they can do, but if you happen to accelerate to pass another car they will get you, and that one cost me nearly $1000 due to a creative “surcharge” the state adds to the already high ticket cost, not to mention increase insurance (which I had to take a course to undo). But now the entire city is a speed trap. There are cameras everywhere and “school zones” have been extended to places where no school is remotely visible. So this is really about revenue in this horribly managed city and state. 


Now Long Island has gotten in on the act. I have never passed a stopped school bus in my life. Nevertheless I got one driving all the way in the left lane to make a turn while the bus was actually parked two lanes over on the right and there were no flashing lights! But as I read the ticket it basically said in so many words there is no way you can fight or appeal this ticket so that cost me another $250.  These governments are hardly concerned about safety in realit, but do have an insatiable appetite for revenue. Thus in New York in addition to high property taxes, income taxes, and sales tax they have creatively increased all sorts of nuisance fees on things like permits for things that in a normal world would not require permits. Unfortunately it is only going to get worse because high taxes are driving people to move away while spending just keeps climbing.


New York has a visceral anti-car policy. But these rules are made by well-to-do people living in Manhattan and nearby high rises who believe that people don’t need cars and therefore should be punished for owning or driving one in the city, never mind that most of it still consists of low-rise residential neighborhoods.  It is almost impossible to find free parking on the street anymore. There are meters everywhere. Worse there are fewer and fewer lanes for traffic as they have expanded bike lanes all over the place, along with a weird arrangement on some streets where the metered parking is now somewhere near the middle of the street. Further space has been lost due to “temporary” pandemic-related outdoor restaurant facilities that aren’t going away any time soon. 


They are trying to make this Amsterdam where your life is in danger if you carelessly step into the street while bicycles are whizzing by, but at least there they have some order to it. In New York bike riding is chaotic, traffic rules are ignored, and you are in as much, if not more, danger of being hit by a bike whizzing by than cars, which are usually stuck in traffic moving at a glacial pace. So naturally, in typical “progressive” fashion, they then come up with a “solution” to a problem they created in the first place- congestion pricing. That means that if you drive into the central city you will have to pay an extra fee for the privilege. They haven’t been able to pull that one off yet but don’t be surprised when that kicks in. 


The bottom line is avoid driving a car if you’re visiting New York (although I don’t know why anyone would want to these days). But those of us stuck living here are out of luck. 

27 September 2022

SEPTEMBER BRIEF NOTES

 THIS CACAPHONY HAS TO END

I have decided to refrain from any further partisan political remarks because I no longer want to contribute in any way to the self-destructive hellhole we have managed fall into. Since most people are basically apolitical and sensibly engaged with their day to day lives, when I say “we” I mean that 20% or so who regularly follow politics and the even smaller minority that are ideologically passionate about it, because their perspective is based more on emotion than reason. The more intensity increases the more unhinged they become from reality, to the point where they start de-humanizing the opposition, opening the way to a potentially very dark result. This is tragic because the ongoing political cacaphony is clouding so many other, sometimes wonderful aspects of life.
For most of my life I have been optimistic about the future of this country, but that is increasingly fading and I am truly worried about our future. This insanity has to stop or we are doomed, and sadly for fundamentally foolish reasons. For whatever differences we may have, they are minor alongside of those we have with external powers that increasingly threaten us all. The only saving grace is that it involves a minority of the population, but they tend to be people in influential or decision-making positions who think they know what is best for everyone else and are determined to impose it upon them.
We haven’t quite reached the point of no return, but the trajectory is accelerating. Having pondered this phenomenon for decades from the 1960s onward, going forward I will have a lot to say about how we got here, as well as how we can possibly get ourselves out of this mess.

*. *. *.
FOR OLD HOLLYWOOD FANS
My favorite streaming service is among the least expensive and most informative- Curiosity Stream. Even if you favor"entertainment" venues, you have to check a really interesting feature about the original Hollywood movie moguls- Titans: The Rise of Hollywood. If you have some knowledge and expertise in that area you are still going to be surprised by many fascinating nuggets I don't think have been articulated anywhere before.
It tells the story of the birth of the American movie industry, and how, ever so haphazardly, the great studios came to be in the form of a docudrama that succeeds in bringing it all alive. Many people may still be familiar with Louis B. Mayer or Jack Warner, whose careers lasted much longer, but here you also have the others in ways I don’t think anyone has seen before.
This isn’t the usual narrative about “the talent,” but how they came to be in the first place.
I once read a book that referred to William Fox as “film's forgotten man;" well here he is. I only thought of Adolph Zukor as some little old guy at Paramount but now understand who he was as a young man. Who knew that Carl Laemmle (Universal) pretty much got the feature film concept rolling, or the extent to which Mary Pickford (United Artists) was a savvy working executive? How about the other two Warner brothers, or the fact that The Jazz Singer was supposed to be played by George Jessel, who originated the role on Broadway, not Al Jolson?
It also shows how Mayer’s position and power were a lot more precarious than everyone once assumed. The series ends just before the golden age of Hollywood most people are more familiar with, (the death of which really started when Louis B. Mayer was unjustly ousted, in my opinion). You also see how and why they wound up in Hollywood in the first place, then the middle of nowhere when there was nothing much there besides fruit orchards and farms.
Now Curiosity Stream is no big budget production company, yet with far fewer resources they have managed to present a really good product. Consequently there are some limitations, so some settings are more emulated than authentic and many of the actors bear little physical resemblance to the real characters they are playing, and some accents are missing, but nevertheless they provide convincing performances. I think they went a little too far portraying Thomas Edison as a nasty villain, in a way I suppose is designed to augment the mogul’s viewpoint, and the term “movie moguls” came about much later on, but aside from those quibbles it’s a really good undertaking. If you love the old Hollywood and the movies, you must see this program.

                                                                    * *. *
A BRIEF ASIDE ABOUT 9/11
THE events of 9/11 are still very much with us, and still have a living presence in our consciousness. But think of a 21 year old today. For those of us who were around circa 1961, the equivalent comparable event was the bombing of Pearl Harbor! How different it was, for the attack that brought us into WWII by then was already something out of a more remote world of black & white newsreels.
This belies the notion that things always changing faster and faster. The contrast between the world of 1941 and 1961 was immense, but between 2001 and today, not very much.



24 September 2022

HOLLYWOOD TOUGH CHICKS

 In recent years we have had to sit through endless scenes of women beating up men in productions coming out of Hollywood although that rarely, if ever, is to be found anywhere in the real world. They can get away with this in endless comic book/super hero/fantasy productions, but not in anything closer to reality, or supposedly more serious. The other night I came across a movie on Netflix so awful I couldn’t simply ignore it. But neither could I sit through it, and instead fast-forwarded so as to see enough to justify what I’m saying here. 


The name of the movie is Ava. It is about a female assassin who goes around physically taking out men much of the time, and not just one on one, but several  big, armed military men at once. Ava is laughably played by Jessica Chastain, miscasting herself in her own production. To provide more “authenticity” blood is splattered all over the place, including on her face, but it is so sloppily and ineptly applied that it is dabbed on places where no blow was ever struck. Never mind though, for, none the worse she can quickly just wipe it all off,  and go about taking out more guys, yet without any bruises left over from the brutal blows.  Seriously? Oh so liberating to portray a “strong” woman, but if there was any substance at all in this kind of portrayal, then logically  these me-tooing women should have been able to punish  the lecherous pigs on their own. 


If this was simply bad entertainment it wouldn’t be worth a mention because we get that all the time. But when false themes are repeatedly endlessly to the point where they are accepted norms, especially among the young and impressionable, something is wrong. Older people grew up with the belief and expectation that a real man never strikes a woman. But the ubiquity of this garbage now makes it okay to hit a girl, while at the same time encouraging male-like behavior among females. 


It’s bad enough there are few real men left in Hollywood, but it now occurs to me that the same applies to women. There is little in the way of femininity left, with actresses who are oh-so-professionally serious and refer to themselves as “actors.”  Few of them are attractive enough to inspire masturbating teenagers. They are part of the preferred pronoun crowd, who view people symbolically emerging from some sort of check-box that is devoid of any resemblance to the real world. They are ironically obsessed with “representation;” but represent not reality but categories. Enough already!




02 August 2022

A LEGISLATIVE ABOMINATION

 The bill preposterously labeled the “Inflation Reduction Act” concocted by the Democrats will do exactly the opposite, which is unsurprising given their inclination for redefining and labeling terms like inflation, recession, woman, etc. Among other things they are seeking to double the number of IRS agents in an effort to obtain more revenue so they can continue to profligately spend it. But the thing that really infuriates me is the disgustingly corrupt “green energy” boondoggled that has been sought and paid for by crony capitalists seeking to profit from it. This is clearly what this is all about whether it is good for the country or not. If it were any other industry they would be howling about it, but somehow because it is allegedly “green” it must be good so it is exempt from scrutiny. 


But it shouldn’t be. These are disgusting hypocrites who want to pretend they are serving the public interest when all they are serving is their own pockets or interests. It is  blatantly and profoundly offensive, yet shamelessly done out in the open because the corrupt media is not going to question it. So these “entrepreneurs” are lining their pockets at public expense. They are the ones pushing it most intensely, and trust me it is not out of civic-mindedness. They are less concerned about “climate” than profiting from it. It is getting close to passage because they were able to buy off Joe Manchin by promising projects in his state, never mind that the overall effect is detrimental to West Virginia.


We have already squandered half a trillion dollars on supposedly green energy projects with not much to show for it beyond enriching those able to cash in on it. Remember Solyndra? Multiply that several times over. Yet the result of all of this is that less than 5% of our energy comes from unreliable “renewable” sources. At the same time they are trying to ruin natural resource extraction industries that actually do work for people and that have uplifted the lives of countless millions around the world, and push them to electric cars they can’t afford, or for that matter easily charge. These “future” technologies are nothing of the sort and are simply not any where near ready for prime time. I guarantee you without question that many of them will be obsolete five or ten years from now and money will have pointlessly thrown away instead of being spent on things like education, medicine, basic research, defense, and real future technologies, or for that matter directly mitigating the consequences of climate change. 


This cabal includes many lunatics that also want to ban cow farts. You can’t take them seriously, yet the damage they are doing is very serious. None of this is meant to deny there are problems with changing climate but simply to highlight the massive amount of corruption involved in this particular approach. Nor does it mean that there may not be some good elements in the legislation, but this devious tactic of combining unrelated matters in bills has got to stop. Proposed projects must be able to stand and pass scrutiny on their own. In the end if this goes through inflation will get higher, the deficit will expand, and you personally will be that much poorer.

01 August 2022

AN UNMITIGATED CATASTROPHE

 No one voted for Joe Biden; they voted against Donald Trump, who only lost the election due mostly to his lack of self-control and inability to keep his mouth shut, in spite of a record of considerable accomplishment. Like most people I was prepared to accept what promised to be a bland, gray, moderate administration. It was obvious he would be the dumbest president since Gerald Ford, but otherwise relatively harmless. So after many decades of struggle I looked forward to turning my attention to long-delayed more satisfying pursuits, leaving it to younger people to carry on. 

Instead we found ourselves in the unusual position of having a government to the left of all of our allies. From the outset  there has been an ever-accelerating disaster unfolding along with the loss of everything we fought for, everything we achieved over many decades of effort with a great loss of blood and treasure that I never dreamed would ever happen. 


-From day one Biden began his reign with a series of boxes to be filled by every conceivable minority regardless of merit, to the point where supposedly “under-represented” groups are now over-represented! He wanted to be able to announce as many irrelevant “firsts” as possible while implementing blatantly anti-white policies across the board, creating yet more division. The result has been most mediocre, incompetent cabinet in American history. 


-He empowered the radical left that hardly any one supports to run rampant across our institutions with offensive, insane “woke” policies. 


-With his blessing they knowingly and deliberately ruined our economy by sabotaging our oil and gas industries in the name of a phony “climate crisis” without any remotely feasible alternative. This was a precipitous attack on the lifeblood of the world economy and along with incredibly massive, unnecessary, and wasteful spending they  instigated the inflation that we are now experiencing, while spreading misery around the world due to their fanatical ideological blindness.


-They managed to ruin our standing in the world via weak fecklessness. Sadly the horribly bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan is fading in memory, even though he basically handed the country over to the Taliban, left them billions of prime military hardware, ignored our allies, and royally screwed a lot of people who had cooperated with us. 


-If not for Joe Biden the Russians would not have invaded Ukraine, which he blithely dismissed as just a small incursion initially, and effectively gave the go-ahead for that disaster. 


-The ascendance of the radical left has resulted in a sharp increase in crime in all of our large cities while undermining and demoralizing the police and allowing criminals to rampage with little fear of punishment.


-Worst of all he not only dismantled our southern border, but allowed, encouraged, and even provided to support for millions of people to flagrantly break our laws and illegally enter the country.  He has handed effective control of the border to Mexican cartels, who now profitably traffic in humans as well as narcotics, including the flood of Chinese produced fentanyl, resulting in the death of over 100,000 Americans in a single year.  


The deliberate failure to maintain our territorial integrity alone is clearly grounds for the impeachment of both Biden and Harris, and this is on the Democrats for failing to do so themselves, or invoking the 25th amendment.* They have been consistently wrong about everything. Now, most people know how incompetent this regime is, and the radical left cannot now distance themselves from the monstrous disaster they themselves have engineered. Biden only facilitated their power grab, but the suffering now being experienced is primarily due to their unbound ideological lunacy, and they must be held accountable and never be allowed anywhere near power again. 


All this without even getting into the politicizing of “justice,” Hunter Biden’s antics, or a host of other infractions. When a government is this incompetent, it no longer has any legitimacy. Nor should anyone feel sorry for Biden’s cognitive decline, because he has proven himself to be little more than a nasty old grouch without any redeeming qualities. Unfortunately we aren’t even half way through this term, and unless we find a way to mitigate this catastrophe, more, and probably worse, is yet to come. 



*Regarding removing a president via the 25th amendment, it has to be seriously reconsidered. I don’t think anyone anticipated a situation where the President, the Vice-President, and the third in line Speaker of the house would all be unsuitable. If at least the congress changes hands then we might stand a chance with Kevin McCarthy instead of Pelosi but that’s the best we could hope for. 


30 July 2022

WRONG TIMING ON CHINA

There is a near-universal chorus shouting “We can’t back down now,” in the face of threats and aggression, but in the case of Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan it is lunacy to tempt fate with a conflict that we are currently ill-prepared for. Even the Pentagon knows this. We have a lamentable pattern in this country of stumbling into war without fully thinking out the consequences. We are ever prone to short-term thinking in long-term situations. 

The Chinese do not suffer this handicap. They pursue long-range strategies with careful consideration, while we tend to react precipitously. Thus the Chinese Communists have long planned to bypass the USA in terms of world power, and further, to undermine us at every possible opportunity, which we have yet to fully grasp. All this time, and especially since the rise of the current leadership in China, they have in fact been engaged in a subtle, low-intensity war against this country. They have penetrated and compromised many of our institutions, including universities, corporations, and and politicians themselves, the extent to which we still barely recognize. In fact, the next big scandal to erupt in this country’s likely to be “the great betrayal;” i.e. degree to which we have been seriously compromised by an inept, greedy, and rotten elite. 


The Chinese Communists know a lot more about us and our vulnerabilities than we do in reverse. This is a result of chronically short-sighted leadership across the board, and a near total inability to develop and maintain a long-term strategy about anything. This has been brought about by the ephemeral nature of our politics; ever shifting and always subordinate to the “issues of the day.” 


With regard to Taiwan we have put ourselves in an untenable position.  We have, all along maintained that it is part of China, which of course is the Chinese position, which puts us on shaky ground in any potential conflict. At the same time it is true that Taiwan has been democratically self-governing long enough to have developed into an advanced democracy, with an increasing identity of its own, just as Ukraine has developed over the space of a few decades a comparable identity, or sadly, the way Kabul had changed in Afghanistan before they were shamefully abandoned. 


Furthermore we are currently in a position where we and the western world are have become dependent on Taiwan for some advanced technology and can ill afford to see that gone before it has been relocated, duplicated, or otherwise secured. Furthermore the acquisition of Taiwan will certainly put China on top in short order as things currently stand. These are hard-core, amoral realpolitik concerns. At the same time there is the basic reality that an island this close to home is clearly much more in the core interests of the Chinese, and they will go after it in total while we will at best be half-hearted about a place on the other side of the globe. The smart move would have been to simply arm the Taiwanese to the point where they could act in their own self-defense; but not enough has been done.


The problem is that we are currently woefully  ill-prepared for any sort of military conflict with China. It is one thing to not “back down” when you have the advantage, and another to do so from a weakened position. That doing so would send a bad signal to allies is just short-sighted, because it would only be temporary and the wise thing is to step back until we are prepared and have the power to prevail and strike at the right time. They think that way and we don’t, and if we don’t become more Machiavellian, or even godfather-like in our strategies we will be in deep trouble. There are just two many things wrong at this time, namely:


  1. Incompetent leadership. Does anyone want to get into a military conflict with Joe Biden as commander-in-chief? 


  1. A military that has been badly damaged by idiotic “woke” policies and vaccine dismissals and is simply not ready for any kind of serious conflict at this point. 


  1. In even entertaining any kind of conflict have we tightly coordinated with allies like Japan and Australia to have a joint strategy and preparation for conflict?  Unlikely. 


  1. Can we enter a full-blown military conflict, which will rapidly supersede everything else, without serious damage at home? 


  1. We have no clear idea of the extent to which the Chinese Communists have penetrated our society, taking advantage of our political divisions and disarray.


  1. Have we done anything substantial enough to decouple from China without harming ourselves?


  1. Do we even know who has managed to penetrate our defenseless, abandoned southern border?


  1. Do we know what the Chinese are up to in buying up farmland near military bases?


  1. Do we have any inkling of how many self-serving elites have been bought by China?


Changing Pelosi’s schedule is hardly “backing down.” In fact it removes any pretext for China to act under conditions that are currently favorable to them. That doesn’t mean we surrender or give up; it is a tactical move to enable us to finally begin to take this threat seriously and prepare, with the rest of our allies, for circumstances that will be more in our favor. Furthermore, short of that we haven’t even done anything to try and undercut Chinese influence around the world, in places like Africa, whose inhabitants are increasingly chafing under Chinese domination, or to respond in kind to continuous covert aggression against our country. We have allowed ourselves to be played. 


This is currently a country where a scoundrel like Eric Swallwell was found to be sleeping with a Chinese spy on his staff, but instead of being expelled from congress, Pelosi put him on the intelligence committee!  Yet we are supposed to not “back down” on behalf of Pelosi. We have been asleep at the switch, oblivious to the threat right in front of us while facing internal disintegration that leaves us ill-prepared for anything serious. It is vital we get our own house in order before adapting  a posture that is oblivious to our own sorry condition. It is time to get our act together before it is too late.


19 June 2022

WEIRD WEATHER AND CLIMATE HUBRIS

While temperatures have risen to over 100o  in areas west of here, in New York it has been unusually chilly. It is now June 19th and temperatures are currently still in the 50s. This has made for great gardening weather, but terrible swimming weather. Meanwhile late yesterday rains arrived which no one had predicted. 


If nothing else this shows us two things: first, weather is precarious and at best only partially predictable even now, and less and less accurate the further ahead we look. This only makes claims of certainty about “climate” many years from now simply ridiculous despite what the “experts” tell us. For the only certainty in life is uncertainty. It is just another instance of people claiming to know far more than they actually do know, and that is too often the source of much of the damage we do ourselves. Time and again things are grossly mismanaged and end in failure because of this sort of conceit. But because we are now a resolutely humane and ever-indulgent society, heads never role even after they have bungled everything.  What we really need is a big dose of humility, and a healthy skepticism about any claims of certainty. 


This does not mean denial of “climate change;” (which is a bit of an oxymoron), for the simple reason that if you have millions upon millions of more people coming online in a better standard of living based upon fossil fuels there are inevitably going to be consequences. The trouble is most of them are located on the other side of the world, and yet we have idiots insisting that we shoot ourselves in the foot  to correct something that is increasingly attributable to other places. There are things we can, should and will do to ameliorate all of this short of self-destruction, but they are more on the order of simple things, like planting trees, rather than dubious schemes telling us what to do and how we should live, or crash “crisis” programs towards this end that only cause other problems because they are fundamentally based upon ideological principles that vary sharply from reality.  The truth is that climate change is a constantly evolving process, with or without us, that is of an order of complexity far beyond our actual capabilities- again because we have people, who in Socrates terms, claim to know more than they actually do know.


The second thing to note is that given the great variations in weather, temperature, etc. just in this country, it is preposterous to seek to impose “one size fits all” policies on everyone that are out of touch with the realities on the ground that people actually  face. These conditions are inherently varied and complex, and cannot logically adhere to a single standard. Ye that is what we face with inept policy-makers seeking to impose uniform solutions on all of us in places where they simply do not apply. In the area where I live there is an abundance of water resources, while out west there are serious drought conditions. But the latter is the result of what few will yet admit, namely overdevelopment beyond what the region can sustain in terms of water resources, and ludicrous overdependence upon a single river across several states. Meanwhile in California where the consequences are going to be more severe, instead of investing in desalinization technology, or channeling water resources from the Pacific Northwest where they are abundant, they throw away money on mass transit boondoggles than no one is going to use. 


This is all a result of hubris on the part of an elite that is running out of credibility across the board, and rather than more prescriptions from them as to how we should go about things, what we really need is considerably more silence, restraint, and humility on their part. 





 

13 June 2022

THINGS ARE GOING TO GET WORSE


Things are going to get worse before they get better. Over a year ago some of us were predicting we were headed towards the present economic meltdown, but unfortunately there is yet more trouble, hardship, and uncertainty ahead. We saw it in the 1970s, with sky high interest rates, gas lines, record oil prices, and soaring inflation, wage and price controls, etc but the underlying conditions this time around are even worse, given the way trillions of dollars we didn’t have were profligately tossed away with very little to show for it, along with the government-induced sabotage of the economy. 


None of this had to be. There were no trends, “underlying causes,” things beyond our control, etc. This is a totally man-made disaster created by the execrable  Biden administration, which for purely ideological reasons based on fantasies about energy, deliberately sabotaged our domestic oil and gas production, and continues to do so to this day despite all of the damage and the human cost, while at the same time going begging to dictators and enemies around the world to produce more oil that is far more polluting than anything we produce here. This along with other “progressive” policies which have completely failed across the board, continue to make things worse. 


They and their collaborators in the media and woke corporations must pay for the damage they have done, but even if and when there is a change in congress in the next election and the Republicans gain control, we will still have two more years of the most feckless, incompetent, and venal administration in our history.  They will continue to have control over the levers of power unless they are removed from office. There are ample grounds for impeachment already, and the Democrats have been doubly derelict in their duty by failing to act on their own on this. But unless there are enough sane ones left, without some Democratic votes this will be difficult to realize, so there can be little in the way of immediate relief. The only other possibility may be for the congress to in effect set up a sort of shadow government, and drive this rotten regime into irrelevance. 


But fixing this mess is going to take time, which means that you can look forward to higher inflation across the board with continuously rising prices and high interest rates, a stock market in further decline, and outright recession, and resulting  stagflation. Because they profligately threw away trillions on nothing there is also little leeway left for government to come to the rescue now because they already spent the money, which leaves only an even worse alternative, namely inflating the currency even more to the point where it becomes worthless. 


This does not mean that things are hopeless. They will eventually get better, but not as long as the people who caused all of this in the first place and who continue to make it worse with everything they try are anywhere near power. There are things the next congress can and will do to ameliorate the situation, but unless and until profligate spending ends, oil and gas production resumes at full throttle, and decisions are again based on reality, not “progressive”ideological fantasies, economic improvement will be slow in coming. 


Sadly, this is only one element of the disaster we find ourselves in. We still have to deal with a disintegrating society, perverted culture, rising crime, millions of illegals flooding our country (who have been encouraged to think they have some sort of right to violate our laws and have no real attachment to this country the way legal immigrants do), record drug overdose deaths from fentanyl crossing a border that has been handed over to Mexican drug cartels and deliberately supplied by the Chinese Communists, along with a rotten elite deeply in bed with the latter, which is still below the surface because so many of them are compromised, as well as precarious international relations caused by the base weakness of the regime, etc. etc. The next congress will have a very full plate to contend with, and the question now is whether any group of people can possibly possess enough civic virtue to clean up this mess.  

21 April 2022

DIRTY DISNEY, MORALLY BANKRUPT HOLLYWOOD, AND THE ROTTEN CORPORATE ELITE

 Walt Disney, one of the greatest Americans that ever lived, is certainly rolling over in his grave due to what is being done in the name of his once great company. I had Disney stock, not because I purchased it, but because Fox sold their movie properties to them. I thought of organizing a shareholder revolt, but have too many irons in the fire already, so I dumped it, disgusted at what the company has been doing, and figuring it would eventually come back to pummel the stock. It’s happening now, and the brand may be tarnished for years to come thanks to the Hollywood leftists, who always hated Disney for its mainline wholesomeness, until they got control of it and began to ruin it.

This is a company where some of these scoundrels have made more in a year than Walt Disney made over his entire life from something he created. Yet they have done nothing on their own creatively for years. Instead they have bought up every other provider of youthful entertainment, i.e. Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, etc. resulting in a quasi-monopoly on entertainment for the young. In addition they own ABC and other properties. 


Before the current controversy, they had already been implementing offensively anti-white policies, dismissing projects as “too white,” etc. and forcing their “wokeness” onto their employees, as well as infiltrating their content with messages. The wokeness then spilled over to fringe sexual matters, and they immediately bought into the hysterical, and warped reaction of the left to a Florida law on parental rights that said absolutely nothing about what the left claimed. It simply prevents teachers from discussing “gender issues” with kindergarten kids. Who can possibly be against that other than perverts, child molesters, deviants, and leftists? 


Fortunately Governor Ron DeSantis stood his ground, (unlike the corporate Republicans of the past, who always folded to any pressure from the left and their establishment organs like the NY Times) and told Disney where to go, and further, with the Florida legislature, began to strip away privileges Disney had obtained in the state. But that is only a first step.


Meanwhile millions have already begun to boycott the company. Parents can no longer trust anything from Disney apart from classics from the Walt era. They clearly have an agenda promoting sexual and racial propaganda aimed at children that most people will find offensive. But parents now clearly have to look at what is being inserted into “entertainment” aimed at their kids, just as they have with classroom curricula, and for now, definitely boycott Disney until Walt’s vision and company is restored.


This should be a no-brainer but some erstwhile conservatives of the establishment are objecting to what Florida has done, so that presumably we should continue to tolerate the intolerable and watch things continue to spiral downward in our culture. On the contrary, we should eventually go further and look at breaking Disney up to establish other strong sources of children’s entertainment, and force the spinoff of ABC. We must take the same approach to all of the big media companies. They, and the big social media companies are all legitimate targets for all the evil they have done, from bias, to suppressing the truth, suppressing the free exchange of ideas, silencing and even punishing dissenting voices while engaged in blatant propaganda. 


To talk about “freedom of the press” as a bulwark is ludicrous given that it is the press itself that is corrupt, suppressing freedom of expression while disseminating a false picture of reality in this country. The day they stopped being objective from favored corporate positions  and became partisan political actors they forfeited any legitimate claim to exemption from the consequences. 


All the woke corporations must similarly be held to account, and Republicans will be fools if they fail to do everything possible within the law to make their lives miserable. There is not a single institution left in this country that has not lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Now is the time to act. The rotten elite across the board that has sold out to the left must be shaken to the core, followed by a process of reconstruction and renewal if they ever again are to regain the trust of the people. 

15 April 2022

SHORT TAKES AFTER AN ABSENCE

INFLATION: I am so sorry that I turned out to be right about inflation, (https://www.georgesarant.com/2021/12/funny-money.html) which will only get worse before it gets better, for the simple reason that it is now on everyone’s mind and incorporated into selling and purchasing decisions going forward. When I first wrote about it there was little sense of its imminent presence, and we were told that it was “transitory” by the “experts.” But now that we are all fully conscious of it, the effects are compounded, and it will build on itself the way it did in the 70s.  The damage that has been done by bad policies cannot be undone overnight, and we will likely face another recession before things level out. Mind you this is an entirely man-made phenomenon due to an incompetent administration that has been wrong about everything and is fully responsible for engendering it from a rock-solid, stable period created by the previous administration; and no, it’s not Putin’s fault.


UKRAINE: I still believe what I wrote regarding the ultimate demise of the Putin regime (https://www.georgesarant.com/2022/02/how-tough-guys-fall.html) which will ultimately come to pass, due to the disastrous invasion of Ukraine. That is the bright side; the dark side is the possibility that he may become totally unhinged, say the hell with everything, and take the whole world down with him in a nuclear catastrophe. We would then be reliant on the good sense and decency of Russians tasked with implementing this to disobey.  But otherwise we are witnessing the self-destruction of the geographically largest country in the world, a culmination of chronic bad government. 


Our eyes have clearly been opened by exposure to the Ukrainian reality. Beforehand I think many of us had a vague picture of some sort of drab, post Soviet region, along with Chernobyl, etc. Instead what we now see is a beautiful city, and a heroic people, many of whom speak English better than many Americans these days. Again, tragically, this too could have been avoided if we had a different administration. 


INDIVIDUALS AND HISTORY; It should be clear now that it is individuals that matter in life, from the uniqueness of each and every one of us, to those at the pinnacle of power. If someone with the humane instincts of a Gorbachev had been in charge of Russia instead of Putin, how different things would have been. Instead one malevolent actor holds the whole world hostage. Or, suppose the Ukrainian leader was someone who, in the face of danger, absconded, in a pattern going back to the Byzantine Emperor facing the Fourth Crusade up to the last President of Afghanistan, resulting in the collapse of the government? Fortunately for the Ukranians, Zalinsky was the man who instead held things together. 


There are no grand “causes,” no “laws,” no great “theories” governing history. There are only events and individuals, and how they respond to them. There are endless “if only-s” throughout history that would have resulted in completely different outcomes given different players. We need only think of the virtually miraculous accomplishments of Washington, without whom this country would not exist. Or our present sorry state under a grossly incompetent administration of old radicals going off the rails. 


THE ROTTEN LEFT: It should be crystal clear now the extent to which we have been subject to a morally bankrupt Left, that across the board destroys everything it touches. Think simply of any interest group online, and how often they ruin things by injecting politics into subjects that have no connection with it, or how our media have been corrupted, education system destroyed, biological facts rejected, endless racializing of everything, language itself purloined, etc. because they view all aspects of life as political, while the rest of us live in the real world. Look tellingly, at the reaction to Musk buying Twitter and restoring free speech, which they cannot abide, in keeping with their ongoing censorship because they cannot bear to hear anything that conflicts with their warped world view. This repressive reign must end and true freedom be restored to all our institutions or we are doomed. 






26 February 2022

HOW TOUGH GUYS FALL

 The history of the last century reveals a pattern that goes as far back as Ancient Greece. The surest way to end a tyrannical regime is to start a war, which more often than not backfires spectacularly. In the case of Greece it wasn’t just in ancient times but in the modern world as well. When the Greek junta in conjunction with Cypriot allies overthrew the government of Archbishop Makarios in an attempt at unification, the results were disastrous. It gave the Turks a pretext to invade which in turn led to the collapse of the junta. When the Argentine military regime decided to seize the Falkland Islands it resulted in a war with Britain that also resulted in the end of that junta. Then there was the Serbian regime that met its demise in the Kosovo war. 

But those are just the smaller examples. Catastrophe resulted in World War II when Germany, Japan, and Italy invaded their neighbors ending the government of all three. Prior to that the whole world changed in World War I, when every empire on the European continent collapsed. Clearly when tough guys start a war the results are usually completely unexpected. Thus the question today is whether history might repeat itself in the case of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 


First it must be noted that there is a considerable difference between an authoritarian regime like Putin’s and a totalitarian regime like the Communists. In the former you can pretty much do what you want as long as you stay out of politics. In the latter the state controls all aspects of life. In an authoritarian regime power is less systematized, and usually there is not much of a binding ideology. This makes the levers of power more tenuous.


Second, on the surface Putin’s goals may not seem completely unreasonable given that Russia itself essentially began in Kiev until you realize just how strongly the Ukrainians actually feel. They have inspired leadership and a far more cohesive sense of national identity than we have been led to believe and they clearly intend to resist heroically to the last man.  The problem for Putin is that contemporary Ukrainians clearly want to be free of Russia, which in turn may result in a prolonged occupation, which, given historical precedent, potentially could lead to the collapse of his government. The historical odds are not in his favor  unless he cuts his losses and leaves quickly. There is virtually universal condemnation of the invasion and it appears that Putin has seriously miscalculated the consequences. 


His cronies will be far less reliable once they start losing money, the public, because they do have access to information outside of state propaganda are not supportive, and the cooperation of an increasingly demoralized military cannot be guaranteed. The danger is that a man who seems to be increasingly unhinged and out of touch with reality has his finger on a nuclear button and we can only pray that in a worst case scenario cooler head prevail in the Kremlin. 


It is heartbreaking to see the disruption of life for ordinary Ukrainians but at the same time inspiring to see the heroic resolve of these people in the face of such a daunting challenge. Against long odds my sense is that they will eventually triumph and that the fall of the Putin regime has begun. It will not be immediate but when it does happen it clearly will be traceable back to this ill-conceived invasion and the historical pattern will again be repeated.