Wednesday, March 6, 2024

There’s something about Donald Trump that pisses me off

Maybe you’ve heard this joke. A modern-day Job is beset by a torrent of calamities.

The bank forecloses on Job's home. Lightning strikes his barn and burns it down. His business fails and declares bankruptcy. His doctor diagnoses him with stage 4 cancer. Job's wife leaves him, and his children refuse to speak to him.

Job asks God, “What did I do to deserve all this suffering? Why have you sent me so much misfortune?”

"I don’t know, Job,” God replies. “there’s something about you that just pisses me off.”

That’s the way I feel about Donald Trump. There’s something about him that pisses me off. I was appalled by his behavior during one of the 2016 Republican presidential debates. He made fun of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Mark Rubio. Neither man deserved to be mocked or ridiculed on national television. I lost respect for Donald Trump during that debate, and he’s never won it back.

Trump comes across as a bully. He never learned to comport himself with the dignity befitting an American president. He labeled Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with a demeaning nickname. He mimicked President Biden in a speech before the National Rifle Association. How can I respect a man who behaves that way?

Recently, Trump insinuated that he would have no objection if Russia invaded any NATO country that wasn’t paying its fair share of NATO's defense costs. He was joking, of course, but Trump gave his legions of enemies an opening to attack him. Why can't he restrain his baser instincts when speaking in public?

The Democratic presidential candidate should win easily against Donald Trump, a spectacularly flawed candidate. But what have the Democrats done? They gave the nation Joe Biden in 2020, and they’re backing him again this year. Biden has dementia, which seems to grow worse with each passing week. He refuses to protect our southern border and deceitfully claims it is the Republicans, not him, who keep the border from being secure.

 There is good evidence that Biden and his family have sold their political influence to countries hostile to the United States. If that much evidence had been amassed against Donald Trump, he would’ve been impeached and perhaps imprisoned.

I am deeply discouraged by this year‘s presidential campaign. Neither Trump nor Biden deserves my vote.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights: The Supreme Court Stops Legal Efforts to Keep Trump Off the Presidential Ballot

The US Supreme Court released its opinion today, striking down the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling that Donald Trump is ineligible to run for President because he participated in an insurrection. Lawsuits had been filed in more than 30 states, and plaintiffs argued that Trump was not eligible to run for reelection under Section 3 of the of the US Constitution's 14th Amendment. Most state courts rejected this argument, but Trump was kicked off the ballot in Colorado, Illinois, and Maine.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court's opinion was unanimous. Whether conservative or liberal, all nine justices concluded that the states do not have the authority to remove Trump from the ballot,

To borrow a line from Freddie Fender, all this litigation was wasted days and wasted nights. How much time, money, and energy were squandered on legal tactics to defeat Trump in the courtroom rather than the ballot box? Wouldn't the Democrats have been better off to have focused their efforts on finding a strong candidate to compete against Trump for the presidency? Now, the Democrats are stuck with Joe Biden, even though most voters believe he is too old to run for reelection.

Nikki Haley made a valiant effort to defeat Trump in the Republican primaries, but Trump has beaten her decisively in almost every primary. Haley won the Republican primary race in the District of Columbia, but only 2000 people voted in that election, which took place in a town overwhelmingly full of registered Democrats.

Some commentators believe the Democrats will persuade Joe Biden to withdraw his candidacy for reelection and substitute someone to take Biden's place before the Democratic Convention this summer—perhaps Gavin Newsom, possibly Michelle Obama. If that's the plan, the Dems need to announce their substitution soon because the election is less than ten months away.

Regardless of whether Biden or a substitute is the Democratic nominee for the November election, I think Donald Trump will win. A majority of Americans are alarmed about our nation's open border, and voters are frightened by the prospect of a cognitively diminished president running the country for four more years.

Democrats may rely on ballot harvesting to defeat Trump at the ballot box, but that ploy won’t work this year. As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.

Colorado ruling overturned by U.S. Supreme Court

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Pickled pig lips cost $22 a jar: Bidenomics and the inflated cost of food

I'm shocked by food prices every time I go to the grocery store. Coffee is $11 a pound at my grocery store, two pounds of bacon cost $20, and a loaf of bread sells for five or six bucks. A jar of pickled pig lips costs $22!

President Trump says food costs have gone up 40,  50%, and even 60% under Bidenomics. The Biden administration and the mainstream media say that's nonsense. However, most experts agree that food prices have increased by about 25% over the last four years.

Food prices are insignificant for the wealthy, but food makes up 31% of a low-income family's budget. For people living on the bottom rung of the economic ladder, the rising cost of food causes real suffering.

I grew up in a family clawing its way into the middle class. My mother tried to keep our food costs down by buying foods that were cheap. I ate a lot of baloney as a kid, a lot of Velveeta cheese, a lot of Spam, and beef liver. Our refrigerator never held real butter or cheddar cheese. Those foods were too expensive.

As my parents became more prosperous, our diet changed. We stopped eating Spam and ate more beef. I discovered cheddar cheese.

Biden's spinmasters say inflation is under control, and the New York Times agrees. 
But America’s poor know better. When pickled pig lips cost $22 a jar, that's a sign that food prices are out of control.

Economists say inflation is a time when the rich steal from the poor. This is such a time. The restaurants are packed with wealthy people eating steaks while folks living off their Social Security checks struggle to buy food. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

The G7 will rebuild Ukraine and make Russia pay for it?

Remember when Donald Trump boasted that he would build a wall on the nation's southern border and make Mexico pay for it. No one believed him when he said it, but we elected him president anyway. Mr. Trump built part of a border wall, but Mexico didn't pay a dime.

The G7 leaders are making a similar boast about the war in Ukraine. In a statement issued in late February, the G7 reaffirmed the West's unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine in its struggle to defeat the Russians.

As video images show, the war has wrecked many of Ukraine's cities and infrastructure. The G7 estimates the cost of rebuilding Ukraine to be about half a trillion dollars.

Who will pay for the damages? The G7 says Russia will pay. "It is not right." The G7 said, "for Russia to decide if or when it will pay for the damages it has caused in Ukraine . . . Russia should not be able to indefinitely delay payment it owes."

That's just bullshit. No one believes the Western powers can shake down Russia for half a trillion dollars. Even if it were possible, forcing Russia to pay a bill of that size would destroy the Russian economy. Who wants that?

Apparently, the G7 leaders don't know what happened when the Western allies forced Germany to pay war reparations at the end of the First World War. Germany tried to pay what the Allies said it owed, but its efforts helped trigger hyperinflation that wiped out Germany's middle class. German bitterness about the Allies' reparation demands helped set the stage for Hitler's rise and World War II.

Ukraine's war with Russia is a needless catastrophe. Americans are being lied to about the conflict. Neither the Russians nor the Ukrainians are telling the truth about their casualties, which are likely much higher than the figure of half a million that the press reported last August.

Americans are also being lied to about how the war is going. Ukraine is losing this war, and President Zelenskiy's vow to take back Crimea is almost clinically delusional.

This war needs to end now while Ukraine can still get reasonable terms. The United States needs to stop pouring money down the rat hole of Ukraine's corrupt government. Suppose this war goes on for another year or two. In that case, it will seriously damage the American economy--not to mention the possibility that the Ukraine debacle plunges the U.S. into war with Russia.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

600 new sanctions against Russia. Take that, you Slavic thugs!

 Russia’s war on Ukraine enters its third year. Ukraine’s counteroffensive, launched last spring, was a failure, and Russian troops are gaining ground in the Donbas region.  What to do?

Here’s an idea. Let’s slap new sanctions on the Russians—that’ll teach those Slavic thugs not to mess with Ukraine. But if these sanctions are such a good idea, why weren’t they implemented in 2022, right after Russia invaded Ukraine? Why wait two years? 

Are any American and Nato sanctions working? The Obama administration and other NATO countries implemented sanctions against Russia in 2014, right after Russia annexed Crimea. A year later, NATO claimed the sanctions were effective. NATO was wrong, however, because eight years after swallowing Crimea, Russia invaded Ukraine.

As John Paul Jones once said, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Now, President Biden is letting the world know he’s friggin' serious. Maybe his 600 new sanctions will get Russia to back off and get the hell out of Ukraine.

Or maybe not. The Guardian reported recently that the Russian economy grew by 3 percent last year despite the grinding war with Ukraine. On the other hand, Germany, one of Ukraine’s most important allies, saw its economy shrink over the same period.

We’ll see how things work out. If Russia and Ukraine are fighting a year from now, maybe the United States can find even more sanctions to impose on those pesky Slavic invaders. Of course, what Ukraine really needs right now is ammunition, not sanctions.  And if the war drags on, Ukraine will probably need more ammunition next year than it needs now.

Monday, February 26, 2024

CORRECTION. Concealed Carry in Louisiana: A Really Bad Idea

Correction. Governor Landry's gun legislation concerns concealed carry. not open carry, as I mistakenly reported.

Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry supports a law allowing adult Louisianians to carry concealed handguns without a permit or training. The legislature passed legislation approving permitless concealed carry.

I confess I am attracted to the fantasy of wearing a pistol when I’m out and about in Baton Rouge. I can see myself with an ivory-handled Colt revolver cradled in a hand-tooled holster when I go to the grocery store. 

I grew up watching Western movies like Shane and TV westerns like Gunsmoke,  Bonanza, and Have Gun Will Travel. Apparently, everyone in the Old West carried a revolver, and the good guys always defeated the bad guys.

If I’d had a sweet little .38 special when I was in elementary school, no one would’ve bullied me on the playground.  There'd be a lot less child abuse if the kiddies had guns.

Nevertheless, Concealed Carry is a bad idea for the Pelican State.

I see these problems. First, if everyone is carrying a gun, petty disputes will turn into violent incidents. The recent shooting at the Kansas City Super Bowl parade illustrates my point. Two guys got into an argument. Both men pulled guns, and the result was the death of an innocent bystander and 22 people wounded, including nine children.

Second, handguns are a lot more dangerous now than they were 50 years ago. When I was a kid, a few people had handguns, but they were almost all revolvers of modest calibers.

Revolvers are dangerous, but they only hold six bullets, and reloading is tedious because each bullet must be inserted into the gun's cylinder one at a time.

Nowadays, there are a lot more handguns, and most of them are 9 mm autoloaders. Many of these guns hold 15 bullets or more and can be reloaded in a few seconds with a fresh magazine. 

And 9 mm autoloaders can be purchased cheaply. Premium brand guns are expensive, but you can buy an off-brand nine mm handgun for less than $300.

Third, even in a Concealed Carry state, a civilian who shoots someone runs a high risk of getting sued or arrested. In New York, for example, a person who defends himself against a mugger will probably go to jail while the mugger gets a preloaded debit card and a first-class plane ticket to Seattle. It would be a tragedy for an honest citizen to be arrested or sued for shooting someone, even if the shooting was justified.

Finally, we’ve got the issue of road rage. I know several people who carry handguns in their vehicles, and the practice makes a certain amount of sense, especially in New Orleans, where carjackings are on the rise.

Nevertheless, you know how you feel when you're driving on the Interstate, and a jackass pulls up 12 inches behind your vehicle and rides your ass for 10 miles or does some other stupid thing that drives you crazy.

If you have a handgun in your glove box, you'll be tempted to roll down the window of your car and just shoot the son of the bitch as he passes you on the right while he’s shooting you the finger. And then you will be sorry that you lost your temper.

For all these reasons, I will not carry a handgun, even though it is legal to so in Louisiana. 
In the long run, we'll all be safer if we work together to build a secure and just society. In the meantime, we cannot cheat fate or forestall evil events simply by carrying a pistol.

Open Carry in Louisiana: A Really Bad Idea

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

It's Official--Joe Biden is a better President than Jimmy Carter!

 A couple of professors released a paper on Presidents Day (how ironic!) that ranked all American presidents from first to last. Abraham Lincoln ranked first, a relief to Lincoln, Nebraska's City Council. The council was disturbed by evidence that Lincoln was soft on slavery and was in the process of changing its name to Al Sharpton. Lincoln's reputation is safe for now, although a researcher at Smith College is about to release a study revealing that Lincoln was a cis-gendered white man from Flyover Country. Lincoln might get knocked down a few rankings if that research holds up.

Who are the eminent scholars with the intellect to evaluate all our presidents? The first author was Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor at the University of Houston, which Houstonians affectionately call Cougar High School.

Justin Vaughn, an associate professor at Coastal Carolina University, is the second author and an editor of the Journal of Political Science.

The rankings were based on polling responses from 154 scholars researching presidential politics and history. The results were so riveting and groundbreaking that the NewYork Times and other legacy media reported them extensively.

Joe Biden rated fourteenth among all the Presidents—an impressive ranking for a guy with dementia. If he hadn't lost his marbles, he undoubtedly would have ranked higher even than Barrack Obama, who ranked seventh.

Donald Trump ranked last among pinhead academics, but we didn't need a research paper to tell us that. I was surprised, however, that Biden outranked Jimmy Carter. After all, Carter engineered the Camp David Accords, which led to a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and moved the Middle East toward a lasting peace.

On the other hand, Bisen (and Obama before him) tried to charm the Iranians as opposed to imposing stiff sanctions against that terrorist regime. Now Israel is fighting in Gaza against Iranian proxies who used the mullahs' cash to stockpile arms and construct an elaborate tunnel system. With Iran's backing, Hamas raiders raped, tortured, kidnapped, or murdered more than a thousand Israelis—including women and children.

Now, our 14th-ranked demented President has the U.S. fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and the Israelis are skirmishing with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Perhaps the presidential ranking report can be explained by the fact that the respondents mainly specialize in politics without much regard for whether our Presidents tried to make the world a safer and more harmonious planet.


Photo Credit New Arab