Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Another boneheaded idea: Western meddling in Moldova

Moldova, a small country near the Black Sea coast, is nestled between Ukraine and Romania. This nation, once part of the Soviet Union, gained independence in 1991, marking a significant turning point in its history.

So far, Moldova has not been dragged into the Ukraine war, but the conflict is on its doorstep. Chisinau, Moldova's capital city, is only 230 miles from Kherson, where there has been heavy fighting.

According to Bloomberg News, "Moldova's President Maia Sandu is pursuing a pro-Western course that would take it permanently out of Russia’s orbit." As  the Bloomberg news agency noted, Moldova is "at the heart of a geopolitical struggle between Washington and Brussels on one side, and Moscow on the other."

Moldova is holding an election in October to vote on a constitutional change that would allow Moldova to join the European Union. As the Bloomberg story observed, a pro-Western outcome "may offer the West a potentially important win" that would significantly shape the geopolitical landscape in the region.

The Bloomberg story should have mentioned that 20oo Russian troops are already stationed in Moldova's breakaway province of Transnistria. Moreover, as the news agency acknowledged, the autonomous province of Gagauzia is showing pro-Russian tendencies. 

In short, Moldova is a complex mix of ethnic and political tensions, much like Ukraine in 2014. Pro-Russian Moldovans advocate for closer ties to the Russian Federation, while pro-Western Moldavans push for Moldova to align with the West.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Chisinau recently, bringing his tireless message: I'm from the American government, and I'm here to help. He announced a gift of $50 million to help Moldova "resist Russian interference." He would have given them more money, he explained apologizingly, but he left his wallet in his other pants.

Perhaps Blinken brought his guitar and sang "Blowing in the Wind," that old Peter-Paul-and-Mary tune, at a Chisinau coffee shop. Or maybe he secretly promised President Sandu some American weapons and military support. Or maybe not.

Almost certainly, however, the CIA is in Moldova, as it is in Ukraine, sowing mischief. God help the Moldovans if the Ukraine war spreads to their country. And God help the United States.

America's top goofball diplomat plays the guitar in Kyiv.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Pax Americana will die in the wheatfields of Ukraine: The American Century is over

 About 100 nations attended a peace summit on the Ukraine war last week, held at a 5-star resort in Switzerland. Ukraine wasn't invited, and several invitees—including China—did not attend. Most attending nations signed a communique on the Ukraine conflict, but some important countries did not: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Brazil, and India. 

Hmmm. The BRIC nations, which are working to undermine the status of the dollar, were all nonsigners. What do you suppose that means?

The United States--far more interested in cramming a Gaza ceasefire down Israel's throat than peace in Ukraine--sent VP Kamala Harris as its official representative, and she only attended briefly. Meanwhile, President Biden spent time with George Clooney and Julia Roberts out in Califonia, raising money for his reelection campaign.

None of these world leaders proposed a plausible plan to end the Ukraine war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it won't be time to discuss a peace plan until Ukraine's military position is more robust.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "saneceasefire proposal that would require the West to renounce Ukraine's membership in NATO and cede the Donbas and Crimea to Russia. Ukraine dismissed Putin's offer as a nonstarter.

The Ukraine war has only three possible outcomes: First, Russia will win the conflict and absorb the Donbas into the Russian Federation. It already has a firm hold on most of the territory it demands.

Second, the United States, ever more desperate to defeat the Russkies, will escalate the conflict, eventually pushing Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons, which he has repeatedly threatened to do.

Third, the Ukraine war will simply drag on for several more years until Ukraine is a wasteland and Uncle Sam is dead broke.

The third possibility is most likely. If the Ukraine war drags on for a few more years, the U.S. will no longer be a world power. In other words, Pax Americana is in its twilight years and will end as the BRICs accede to world dominance.

Personally, I think the collapse of America's status as the world's leader is a high price to pay for fucking with the Russians in the wheatfields of Ukraine.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Bad Moon A-Rising: America faces a looming real estate crisis

I see the bad moon a-risin'
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin'
I see bad times today

Americans live in a Panglossian environment, encouraged by our government to believe we live in the best of all possible worlds. Inflation? It's going down. The job market? Our economy is creating an astonishing number of new jobs. Our President? A paragon of wisdom.

Of course, we don't live in the best of all possible worlds. America is neck-deep in two terrible wars: Ukraine and Gaza, and those wars will eventually bite us on the national butt. Right now, these global disasters still seem far away. No reason to put off buying a new Land Rover.

Domestically, however, an economic calamity is looming, and it will soon come crashing down on us. I'm talking about the collapse of the domestic real estate market.

Driven by catastrophic weather events (hurricanes, wildfires, windstorms, and floods), the cost of homeowner's insurance has risen significantly, increasing the cost of owning a home.

Lenders require people with home mortgages to have adequate property insurance, typically added to the home borrower's monthly mortgage payment. Since most homeowners buy houses based on what they can afford in monthly payments, rising insurance costs will force many Americans to buy less expensive homes.

Interest rates on home mortgages are going up, too. The Biden administration and the Fed are doing their best to keep interest rates down until after the presidential election, but the days of 3 percent mortgages are over.

On the global stage, the BRIC countries are slowly undermining the American dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, and that process is well underway. Our government now spends a trillion dollars every 100 days in interest payments on the national debt, and that debt grows larger each month. Our growing debt has started to put pressure on interest rates, including the interest rate on home mortgages. 

All these trends are gathering into a perfect storm for homeownership. Who resides on the dirty side of this storm? 

Not the banks. When the real estate market collapses the next time, the feds will bail out the banks as they've done in the past, assuming the value of the U.S. dollar holds up through the crisis. 

No, the losers will be American middle-class homeowners. And when the next real estate crisis is over, the American middle class will be much smaller. 

You'll be goddamn lucky if you're still in it. In the meantime, I recommend listening to more Creedence.

Who stole the Dude's Creedence tapes?

Friday, June 14, 2024

Maureen Dowd labels the Supreme Court as "rotten" and "corrupt": I disagree

 Earlier this month, Maureen Dowd, an op-ed writer for the New York Times, published an essay calling the U.S. Supreme Court "rotten" and "corrupt".

According to Dowd, the Court is "in the hands of a cabal of religious and far-right zealots, including a couple of ethical scofflaws with MAGA wives."

Dowd cites no evidence to back her hysterical accusation. In fact, reading Dows's shrill screed a little further, she makes clear that her main beef is the Supreme Court's decision to overthrow Roe v. Wade, thereby "yanking away women's right to control their own bodies."

Of course, that's nonsense. The Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson shows that a majority of the Justices hold a conservative view of the Constitution. In Dobbs, it ruled that the states, not federal courts, have the ultimate authority to regulate abortion. Millions of people, including Dowd, disagree with that decision, but that's no basis for labeling the Court as corrupt.

I believe most states will eventually pass legislation that closely aligns with Roe v Wade. In other words, women will have an almost unrestrained right to terminate their pregnancies during the first trimester, but that right will become more restricted the closer a baby comes to term.

Some people believe the state should have zero authority to regulate abortions. Thus, if the "birth person" decides she needs more "me time" after the fetus is in middle school, she should be free to put a contract out on little Johnny to ensure the tyke sleeps with the fishes.

I take a more conservative view. If a woman hasn't snuffed her fetus by the time it's in kindergarten, mom should learn to live with the little brat and open a college savings account.

Little Johnny sleeps with the fishes.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Inflation and the elderly: Most retired Americans will die broke

Here’s a scary statistic: the average pre-tax income of retired Americans is about $55,000, and most of that income goes to housing, transportation, healthcare, and food.

Most retired Americans live on a fixed income that will not go up. Their living expenses, however, are rising at an alarming rate. Food costs have gone up almost 20 percent over the past four years. Homeowners insurance has seen double-digit increases in some places. Car insurance prices have risen astronomically in recent years--more than 20 percent just over the last year.

None of these costs will go down in my lifetime. For example, the rising cost of home insurance is driven by catastrophic weather events like hurricanes and wildfires. Auto insurance prices reflect the higher cost of buying and repairing cars and abusive tort litigation. Those trends are irreversible.

Most Americans cut back on expenses when they retire by moving to areas with lower living costs and downsizing their homes.
Moneywise suggests that retired Americans sell their cars and buy bicycles. They should also order big portions at restaurants and take the leftovers home for a second meal. They should also quit buying their groceries at Whole Foods.

Of course, retired people have already implemented those strategies, but the fact remains that living costs are going up dramatically and show no sign of ever retreating.

Our government believes that America has plenty of money. We’ve got cash to put illegal immigrants in four-star hotels. We’ve got money to give jets to Ukraine. We’ve got money to send ammunition to Israel. Rich people have enough disposable income to shower political candidates with wads of cash and can even afford special bathrooms for their pets. Retired Americans have no cash reserves for such projects.

As a kid, I remember visiting my grandparents in Harper County, Oklahoma, and riding horseback by the county's poor farm. That’s where the elderly went in rural Oklahoma when they were dead broke. I visited Harper County recently, and the poor farm is closed. Even the building is gone.

Very shortly, America will have to decide whether to shift national resources to elderly people so they can live in dignity or reopen the poor farms and continue financing the wars in Europe and the Middle East. My guess is that our political leaders will pursue war rather than shift our priorities to the welfare of struggling Americans.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Senator John Fetterman renounces Harvard for its tepid response to campus anti-semitism: Good on you!

Senator John Fetterman made headlines recently when he removed his Harvard hood at Yeshiva's commencement ceremony and renounced his Ivy League alma mater for its lackluster response to campus anti-Semitism. I say, good on you, John.

Fetterman's high-profile rebuke highlights the alarming rise of anti-Semitism at the nation's most prestigious colleges: Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia, among them.

All over America, ambitious young high school students dream about possibly attending one of the nation's most elite universities. If I can just get into Harvard, they tell themselves, a whole universe of opportunities will unfold: wealth, power, fame.

Of course, the elite schools are expensive. It costs $90,000 a year to attend Yale--a third of a million dollars for a four-year degree. You can always borrow the money, and if President Joe Biden is reelected, he might forgive all or at least some of the debt. 

Moreover, if you can present yourself as an exotic candidate, such as transgender shotputter, you might be eligible for a full-ride scholarship. However, this strategy requires careful planning. You'll need to start demanding special restroom privileges by the seventh grade.

Is a degree from an elite school worth the investment? Maybe not. Today, Fortune magazine posted an article (reposted on Yahoo Finance)reporting that graduates of only two Ivy League schools drew median salaries of $100,000 or more ten years after graduation.

Across many colleges, 23 percent of bachelor's programs yield a negative return, and a staggering 43 percent of master's programs leave their graduates underwater (as reported by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity).

Literally, many young people would be better off financially if they pursued a blue-collar trade rather than attend Harvard. And they'll likely meet a better class of people in the trades--fewer anti-Semites.


Sunday, June 9, 2024

WaPo's Jennifer Rubin defends President Biden's judgment

 Today, Jennifer Rubin published an op-ed essay in the Washington Post defending President Joe Biden's judgment. Despite his advanced age and elderly gait, Rubin argues that Biden's judgment is sound and far better than that of Donald Trump.

In sum, she writes:

At the most basic level, Biden . . . can discern friends, revers the military, understands the value of alliances, generally hires capable advisors, puts together complex legislative deals and exhibits inexhaustible empathy for other's suffering.

Furthermore, Rubin maintains that Biden "complies with the legal process . . ., follows Supreme Court decisions . . . , and engages in successful international diplomacy." 

Rubin's paean to Joe Biden is just another sign that the East Coast media elites and I live on different planets. I see Joe Biden as nothing more than a cognitively diminished political hack who can barely read his cue cards, and at least half of America shares my view.

Let's look at Rubin's list of Biden's shining virtues:

Can Biden "discern friend from foe"? Not really. He's betrayed Israel, apparently incapable of grasping the fact that the Israelis are fighting for their very existence in Gaza.

Does he "revere[] the military"? Not enough to oversee an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the U.S. left the Taliban in control of the country after twenty years of warfare.

Does he "understand[] the value of alliances"? No, he has followed Barack Obama's disastrous policy of baiting the Russians, thereby dragging our NATO allies to the verge of nuclear war in Europe.

Has he chosen "capable advisors"? You decide: Kamala HarrisPete Buttigieg, Alejandro Mayorkas, Rachel Levine?

Does he comply with the legal process? Our open border answers that question.

Has he "engage[d] in successful international diplomacy"? Obviously not, or the U.S. wouldn't be presiding over two wars, not to mention missile attacks on the American military by Iran's proxies. 

And then there's inflation, a ballooning national debt, and Biden's nutso transgender agenda.

I'm sorry, Jennifer, but Joe Biden has terrible judgment, and millions of Americans agree with me. Fortunately for Biden and the media elites, Biden's most strident critics live in Flyover Country, and who cares what those folks think?

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Are we nuts? Transgender sports and mass formation psychosis

Ten years from now, will biological men still participate in women's sports? I don't think so. 

In fact, the people who are advocating now for allowing transgender women to compete against real women in varsity sports will be embarrassed by their stance and will try to scrub this bizarre episode in our national psyche from social media archives. 

Kinda like Senator Elizabeth Warren downplaying references to her Cherokee heritage. Or President Nixon's henchmen who had "no present recollection" of Watergate.

Are we nuts? Isn't anyone embarrassed by the sight of a transgender shot putter competing against school girls at a middle-school athletic event? 

How do we explain the nation's descent into monumental foolishness? Robert Malone, a medical doctor, posited the term "mass formation psychosis" for outbreaks of national craziness. This is how he defined the phenomenon:

When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense, we can’t understand it, and then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point just like hypnosis, they literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere.

Malone's theory has not been accepted in medical literature, and the term "mass formation psychosis" is not a recognized psychiatric diagnosis. Nevertheless, his hypothesis makes a great deal of sense.

Otherwise, how can you explain federal bureaucrats' position that Title IX legislation,  adopted by Congress to stop discrimination against women and girls at schools and colleges,  gives biological males the right to compete against real women in varsity athletic contests?

I think today's transgender madness will one day be looked upon as some sort of societal disorder, much like the Ku Klux Klan era when otherwise sensible businessmen thought it made sense to dress up in hoods and white robes and bully Blacks and Catholics. Even Hugo Black, who later became a Supreme Court justice, bought into that nonsense.

Here's my advice to school superintendents, college presidents, and varsity coaches. Don't put yourselves on the public record as a supporter of the nation's transgender mania because someday you will have to apologize to your granddaughters.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

The Spanish Inquisition comes to Manhattan: The Trump hush money trial

A New York jury convicted President Trump on 34 felony counts for a bookkeeping bookkeeping error connected to hush money Trump paid to a porn star. He will be sentenced later this summer.

As James Howard KunstlerAlan Dershowitz, and others have observed, Trump was convicted by a kangaroo court in a show trial reminiscent of the justice system in Stalinist Russia

Judge Juan Merchan was obviously biased and should have recused himself. 

Prejudice towards President Trump runs rampant in Manhattan, and he was entitled to a change of venue

Trump’s conduct was, at worst, a simple misdemeanor, and the statute of limitations expired on the alleged offense. Only through tortured legal reasoning were prosecutors able to bootstrap a trivial matter into a felony, thereby extending the statutory deadline for prosecution. 

Judge Merchan tainted the entire proceedings by allowing Stormy Daniels's salacious testimony, testimony that was irrelevant to the charges against the President.

In essence, Donald Trump was subjected to a modern-day Spanish Inquisition. The trial was a political event obviously designed to keep him from returning to the White House. The mainstream media cheered and jeered like a Jacobin mob during the French Revolution.

About half the nation hates President Trump and enjoys seeing him humiliated. But we should all remember that a fair and unbiased judicial system is the foundation of democracy and a safe and secure society. What happened to President Trump can happen to anyone. It could happen to you.

The Spanish Inquisition: Now showing in a theater near you.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Biden promised to be the grownup in the room. Did he keep his word?

We’re all drifting and things are going rotten. At home, there was always a grownup.

 Ralph, The Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s timeless tale about schoolboys descending into savagery, speaks to us today. Rules are breaking down, and timeless truths about decency, fairness, and rational decision-making have been abandoned. Americans desperately need a grownup to be our president, a mature and civic-minded leader who can repair our chaotic national culture.

Joe Biden promised to be the grownup in the room when he ran for president in 2020. Did he keep his word?

Would a grownup president with a clear sense of our nation’s global responsibilities turn his back on Israel, which President Biden did when he adopted the role of mediator in Israel’s life-or-death struggle with Hamas instead of standing fast as Israel's ally?

Would a grown-up president with a basic knowledge of biology interpret federal law in such a way that biological boys have a legal right to compete with biological girls in varsity sports?

Would a grown-up president cognizant of his responsibilities to keep the American people safe drag the nation to the verge of nuclear war with Russia over a regional dispute in Eastern Europe that is none of our goddamn business?

I don’t think so. If Biden is the grownup in the room, then the American people have defined a grownup as a demented grifter and influence peddler with no moral compass and no regard for the nation's safety or its cultural values.

Where is the grownup in the room?