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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Enough to Ruin Your Whole Day



Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show with me and Brian O'Neil explores in depth the prospects for President Trump's upcoming nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.  We evaluate some of the leading candidates, and the likelihood that they would be approved by the Senate.  Equally importantly, we ask the question of how the politics surrounding the presidential election will be affected, and the role that a new Supreme Court Justice would play in potentially refereeing the election itself, if the result is contested, as seems increasingly plausible.

In terms of "This Day in History", Brian and I talk about the 1944 election and whether FDR was candid with the American people about his poor health (he would die in office just a few months later).  We cover the discovery of oil in the Persian Gulf region, as well as the Soviet development of atomic weapons under Stalin.  Once the Reds had "the bomb", the world would never be the same, and you and I would never again be entirely safe from sudden incineration!

Check it out.  It's top-quality analysis, as always!




In other news, it turns out that those ridiculous face shields that you see people wearing are about as useful as donning wool socks to protect yourself from the coronavirus.  Of course, that doesn't mean people will stop wearing them.  They're a potent form of virtue signalling, and that's what counts these days, right? 

Also, Republicans are starting to salivate at the prospect of a presidential campaign dominated by Dem/leftist assaults on a likeable, upstanding female Supreme Court nominee.  I must say, I'm inclined to agree that the Dems are between a rock and a hard place!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Stifle Your Hacking, America!



Friends, the gamesmanship over the Supreme Court vacancy continues apace.  Personally, I trust that President Trump will pick a superb nominee -- and I trust that Mitch McConnell will steer him/her, probably her, through the process, sooner or later.  The Dems are squirming for good reason.  We have them at a major disadvantage here!  Don't sweat it too much when some Republicans aver, "Well, maybe we ought to wait..."  Wily old Mitch knows what he's doing.

In other news, the CDC is confirming that the coronavirus is spread mainly through the air.  The findings, as reported in this article, are still vague, however.  Coughing is bad.  Close contact is bad.  Masks are good.  Ventilation is good.  Okay, but how do we calibrate our risk?  How do we know what situations are too risky, and which countermeasures are most effective?  The science is evolving, but not as quickly as I would like.


Speaking of which, some of the countermeasures we've been taking have clearly been effective, because influenza infections seem to be way down since March.  That's good news -- it means we haven't been chasing our tails -- but it would still be nice to know which mitigation strategies are the best.  I know the latest trend is to view masking as the be-all-and-end-all of coronavirus containment, but the experience of the Nordic countries would suggest that this generalization is off the mark. 

Lastly, check out this article.  It isn't remotely Trump-friendly, but it explores some intriguing scenarios that might unfold in a contested election.  The Congress could indeed be on the hot seat, but, as I understand it, it would be the present Congress that would certify, or not certify, the results produced by the Electoral College -- the next Congress would have nothing to do with it.  Any way you slice it, an extra Supreme Court Justice could really come in handy right about now!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

SCOTUS Pandemonium!


Friends, the speculation and gamemanship following in the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has already reached a crescendo, and it hasn't even been a day since RBG passed away!  Hold on to your hats, America.

Here is some analysis from our good friends at Fox News.

Trump, for his part, seems determined to move forward ASAP:


Some Republican Senators, on the other hand, especially if they're facing reelection, might be more circumspect about the process: 

Democrats, meanwhile, are anxious, to say the least, and they're already contemplating extreme reactions, if a Trump nominee is confirmed: 

Finally, we still face the likelihood of a contested election, which the Supreme Court would be called upon to referee.  Now that court is down to just eight Justices.  What does that portend for the outcome of the election?


My take?  My preliminary reaction is that Trump and the GOP must choose a replacement for Ginsburg, but we need not be in a rush to fill the seat before the election.  Ramming a nominee through the Senate could complicate the reelection of critical GOP Senators, after all.  If the battle is over before the election takes place, moreover, it also removes the impetus for some Republicans and conservatives to vote.  The important thing is that we confirm a new and reliably conservative, constitutionalist Justice soon, meaning before any major cases involving a contested election are weighed by the Court.  What that means to me is that we can start the process ASAP, but a vote in the Senate need not come until the middle of November, at the earliest.


In terms of the election itself, obviously this turn of events raises the stakes -- as if they needed to be raised any higher!  In truth, though, I feel as though RBG's passing will energize Republicans and conservatives.  It seems to me that progressives and Trump-haters were already energized -- not by Biden, of course, but by the opportunity to "get" Trump.  Republicans and conservatives, however, are not united around Trump.  Most are, but some are clearly tempted to sit out the election or to hold their noses and vote for Biden.  This Supreme Court nomination battle should crystallize for them why, even if they don't always approve of Trump, we need a conservative majority, and hopefully an expanded conservative majority, on the Court -- and thus we need Trump to win!  My gut tells me that these unforeseen developments will help bring some malingering conservatives, reluctant to do their duty and vote for DJT, "home" to the GOP.  We shall see. 

P.S. You must read this great article about the widespread nature of BLM protests and the frequency with which they have degenerated into violence.  It really puts paid to the notion that BLM is pacific in its methods.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Notorious RBG Gives Way To...DJT?



Friends, today we say good bye to one of the staunchest liberal justices in recent memory: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Although you and I would undoubtedly disagree with, oh, 99.9% of her rulings, we have to give her credit as a survivor, as a firebrand, and as a committed "progressive".  Her passing sets up what is sure to be one of fiercest nomination battles of all time.  How Republicans handle this remarkable opportunity -- to shape the Judiciary for a generation, and to guarantee conservative, constitutionalist rulings as far as the eye can see -- will dictate the future of the nation, not to mention the fate of Joe Biden and Donald Trump in November. 


Whoa, Nelly!  Get ready for some fireworks, America!

"Patriotic Education": 1619 versus 1776


Friends, you wouldn't think that honoring America's Founders and its history of freedom would be a partisan issue, but these days everything is partisan.  C'est la vie.  President Trump is doing his best, however, to defend our country's heritage and good name, and he's therefore hitting back at efforts by the Left to enshrine 1619, and arrival of the first slaves at Jamestown, Virginia, as the seminal moment in America's past.  He's proposed a "1776 Commission" to revive "patriotic education", as opposed to curricula that are designed to vilify America and our traditional heroes.  Lurking beneath all this is a campaign strategy that aims to give voters a binary choice: will they vote for a candidate and a party that loves America, or a candidate and a party that disparages and disdains America?  You would think that would be an easy choice!


In other news, the Department of Education is opening an investigation into Princeton University.  It's a cute maneuver, in point of fact: the ultra-left President of Princeton is on record saying that his institution is racist.  (Well, liberals are on record saying that every institution is racist.)  The problem is that they also claim, in their equal opportunity statements, that they're not racist.  So which is it?  If, indeed, proof exists of racist behavior by colleges and universities, then they could lose federal funding.  This could therefore be a backdoor approach to defunding left-wing higher ed!  Let's explore the possibilities, shall we? 

Meanwhile, Chicagoans are dropping like flies.  This year, though, they are being shot in alarming numbers, even by Chicago standards!  This article documents the phenomenon, but it never asks the tough questions: does liberal "criminal justice reform" have anything to do with the light sentences meted out to violent offenders?  Does the castigation of law enforcement have anything to do with the declining effectiveness of policing in the Windy City?  Oh no.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.  Let's just spend more money on "community programs".  In other words, let's enrich the activist class.  That'll do the trick.


Finally, take note of the fact that the Democratic majority on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is at it again.  Before 2018, they redrew the boundaries of Congressional districts in PA -- to favor Democrats.  Now they're messing with the 2020 election with similar alacrity.  They're extending deadlines for mail-in ballots, and perhaps more importantly they've thrown Howie Hawkins and the Green Party off the ballot altogether.  Excluding the Greens and Kanye West from the ballot is a nationwide Democratic obsession.  The Dems are desperate to keep 2020 as Trump v. Biden, because they know that many "progressives" would appreciate a third choice!  But no -- that can't be allowed in their version of "democracy". 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

L.A. Homicidal



Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show delves into some of the most pressing issues of the day, including the state of the race for the presidency, as reflected in the polls; the escalation of anti-police rhetoric and violence, especially as seen in the attempted assassination of two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies; the increasingly desperate efforts by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to hang on to her job by sacrificing other city employees on the altar of BLM; and the surprising edge for Trump and Republicans among small-dollar donors in the 2020 election cycle.

In terms of "This Day in History", Brian and I tackle the big distinction between non-violent activists like Gandhi and MLK and the bloody-minded insurrectionists in BLM and Antifa.  We also talk about the debate over whether American history is defined by freedom or by racist oppression.  We cover the institution of a draft in 1940, as well as the Mexican War of Independence versus Spain, starting in 1810.  It's a historical hodgepodge!  

The only question that remains is...why are you reading this post, instead of tuning in???


You might also enjoy these two articles, focusing on instances of "anti-racist" racism, which is becoming a major feature of modern American life! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

9/11: Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste



Friends, I live by a simple rule of thumb: do whatever Ray says.  Therefore, when Ray complimented my piece on 9/11 and the human tendency to blow recently-encountered threats out of proportion, I knew I had to revisit that post and turn it into a full-fledged article.  And so I did.  It's a little more fleshed out than it was, and certainly longer, but the message is still the same.  See what you make of it.  Granted, it's a bit philosophical, and, despite my disclaimer about cynicism, it really is rather cynical.  I hope it doesn't foster in any of you a fatalism about politics and the affairs of men.  That wasn't my goal.  Personally, though, I believe it always pays to recall our mortality and our foibles, lest we take ourselves too seriously, which is, after all, the greatest of all sins, and maybe even the only sin, when you get right down to it.  But don't take it from me: I'm the mortal-est of the mortal myself!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Donald Trump: Man of the People



Friends, an interesting dichotomy is emerging between the campaigns of President Trump and Sleepy Joe Biden.  Increasingly, Biden is raking in high-dollar contributions from the wealthy and well-connected, while Trump is reliant on giving from small donors.  This article makes that plain:


It's a story that you won't see in the mainstream media, because it conflicts with, well, several of their well-worn narratives.  It's true, though, that more and more wealthy Americans and captains of industry are supporting Democrats.  We're also seeing a long-term shift of highly educated professionals towards the Democrats.  Meanwhile, the middle class, and those with less education and fewer skills, are shifting rightwards -- at least, they are if they're white.  


We see this broad phenomenon in direct campaign contributions, but we also see it in the long list of billionaires who are lining up to support Biden and the Democrats, and the rather short list of billionaires who support, or used to support, Trump and the GOP.  Remember those demonic "Koch Brothers" who used to be the leading lights of the Republican Party?  Well, they've never cottoned to Trump and have largely faded away.  Sheldon Adelson?  Trump has expressed his disappointment with Adelson's stinginess of late.  The Dems, on the other hand, have Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg, and those are just the billionaire lefties who are household names.  There are plenty more.  Bottom line: Trump will be vastly outspent in 2020 by the Dems, the so-called party of the "little guy".  Trump was outspent in 2016 too, however, and it didn't matter in the end.  Nonetheless, if I were Trump, I'd reach into my wallet and splash out a little, because his legacy and the country's future are on the line.


In other news, two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies were shot, execution-style, on Saturday, and afterwards BLM protesters arrived at the hospital where they're being treated to shout, "We Hope You Die!"  Sweet of them, no?  It's an ugly scene, but frankly right now we need leftists themselves.  It's the surest way to bury their accursed movement once and for all in November.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Like Lambs to the Slaughter



Friends, today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and I'm going to take the opportunity to reflect on what we can learn from those events.  


One of the fascinating things about the human condition, if you ask me, is just how much subjectivity it involves.  In my view, people are almost infinitely manipulable, and their fears are a point of special vulnerability.  Simply put, our perception of risk, and the reality of risk, need not bear any meaningful relationship to one another.

What am I talking about?  In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, terrorism, which had previously been only a modest concern of our government and of the American people, rocketed to the top of our list of priorities.  Our nation spent trillions of dollars after 9/11, and involved itself in two wars, because of our newly-hyperbolic anxiety level vis-a-vis Islamic terrorism.  While I don't wish to minimize the ghastliness of terror, nor excuse the nefarious deeds of terrorists, the fact remains that these fears were largely irrational.  Terrorism never posed a significant threat to most Americans -- not compared to other threats which we face routinely and with a light heart.  I could prove this claim to you statistically, but there would hardly be a point, since we all know it to be true. Nonetheless, despite the ethereal nature of the "War on Terror", it held all of us in its vice-like grip for months, and arguably for years.  Only gradually did terrorism-related levels of dread abate.  They rose again around 2014-2017, when ISIS briefly held sway over a large portion of Syria and Iraq, only to shrink again, virtually to the vanishing point, as, in 2017 to present, Americans were redirected to other threats: police brutality, the coronavirus, and the greatest scourge of them all: Donald Trump!

And what, pray tell, is my point?  It is that we, as humans, are fallible.  In fact, we may misperceive the world around us more often than we perceive it for what it is.  Politics is the art of persuading men (and women) to make sacrifices, to set priorities, to surrender their freedoms and their hard-earned assets, even to put their very lives on the line, for one cause or another.  Most of these causes, moreover, when you get right down to it, are bunkum.  They may have some basis in reality, and some semblance of justification, but savvy, smooth-talking elites have always known how to twist these causes, and our devotion to them, to promote their own selfish ends.  More often than not, they are the winners in these political machinations, and we, the huddled masses, are the losers.

My point, therefore, is that the phantasms which currently keep Americans up late at night -- bloodthirsty, super-racist policemen, killer viruses from China, and orange-haired tyrants -- are, even if vaguely based on reality, mostly fictional, and almost certainly harmless to the vast majority of the American people.  


So, I conclude, support and vote for whichever politicians you feel have the keenest sense of the threats that truly threaten us, and who will uphold the values that made our country great in the first place -- but don't kid yourselves: red or blue, conservative or liberal, most politicians and pundits are as befuddled and blinkered as the rest of us.  They only claim to know what they're talking about.  Most of it is just hot air.

Another thought, along the same lines: if most of the dangers that captivate us are largely fictional, then how many real dangers are we failing to notice at all?  And, in the end, might we, or might this country, succumb to them, while our backs are turned?

Probably, but fear not -- when one set of distortions has outlived its usefulness, another will soon take its place.  Because one thing never changes: we, the People, are always being played.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

How Low Can You Go?


Friends, if you've ever attended or watched a Trump rally, you know that one of the President's signature appeals is to servicemen and veterans, whom he praises lavishly.  He's also very proud of his administration's record when it comes to caring for our "troops and vets".  That's what makes the The Atlantic's hit piece on Trump, which claimed, on the basis on anonymous sources, that Trump referred to Americans killed in World War I as "suckers" and "losers", so shameless and scurrilous.  In addition to being shameless and scurrilous, however, it's also brilliant, because, as a line of attack, it goes after one of President Trump's strengths: his patriotism, and his undeniable appeal to those who serve in the military, or who have served in the past.  Just as the Left insinuated that Mr. America First was a traitor, based on alleged ties to Putin and Russia, now they're asserting that Mr. Stars and Stripes is a closet peacenik and holds servicemen in contempt.  What can one say in response to such calumnies except that, well, we've come to expect this nonsense, and we'll surely be seeing more of it between now and November 3rd.

The Atlantic's special brand of yellow journalism is one of the topics that Brian and I cover on this week's Newsmaker Show, but wait...there's more!  We also discuss the BLM-inspired riots and demonstrations in Rochester, and why I support the Rochester Police Department.  We talk about Biden's retreat from a national mask mandate, as well as encouraging news re: the steady decline of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the coronavirus.  As usual, the media isn't reporting it.

In our "This Day in History" segment, Brian and I give old Mao Zedong his due -- as history's greatest madman and butcher, but also as one of the motive forces behind the rapprochement between Red China and the United States.  We also talk about our country's name -- the United States of America -- and why it ought to inspire us to reaffirm our commitment to federalism.  Finally, we reflect on the degree of sacrifice required of the American people in World War II, which was infinitely less, as it turns out, compared to what Russians, Japanese, Germans, and Britons had to wager, and had to lose, in order to make it through the greatest and bloodiest conflict in human history.

Whew!  So much insight in just 20 minutes...  It defies belief, doesn't it?


And here's that good news on the pandemic that I promised you: