Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Why take out student loans to get an Ivy League degree when you can learn to be a bigot for less than twenty bucks?

 American universities have spent millions of dollars on affirmative action, women's varsity sports, litigation defending their race-based policies, and the newest race-obsessed fashion trend--Diversity. Equity and Inclusion (DEI). 

All these investments should produce kindlier and more tolerant college campuses--a collegiate nirvana, an idyllic state of perfect racial harmony.

But not so. Over the past few months, universities have shown themselves to be racist institutions and hotbeds of antisemitism. The most racist schools have been the most elite: Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, and UCLA, among them.

And it's not just the students who are bigoted toward Jews. Professors have also attended disruptive anti-Israel rallies, and when college presidents call the cops, the faculty protest by passing votes of no confidence in them.

Few college leaders openly espouse anti-semitic opinions, but they often don't take campus anti-semitism seriously. For example, three college administrators were put on leave at Columbia recently for exchanging "unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. "

Young people might profitably ask themselves why they should take out $100,000 in student loans to surround themselves with bigots on an Ivy League campus. After all, you can school yourself in racial prejudice for the price of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf, which you can purchase from Amazon for only twelve bucks.

Mein Kampf: Cheaper than a liberal arts degree from Harvard

Monday, June 24, 2024

Civilians are suffering in Gaza, but that's not Israel's fault

Antisemitic racism on college campuses has disguised itself with crocodile tears for the civilian population in Gaza, which has suffered greatly during Israel's war with Hamas. But I think that's bullshit.

College protesters don't give a damn about the carnage in Ukraine, where the New York Times estimated a half million casualties--and that was almost a year ago.

According to the mainstream media, 37,000 people have died in the Gaza conflict, but the legacy press depends almost solely on Hamas for its casualty figures.  Who believes Hamas--the outfit that raped, tortured, kidnapped, and killed innocent Israeli civilians?

Without a doubt, the Gaza war has created massive suffering, but civilians die in every war. Hamas chose to commit war crimes against civilian women, children, and the elderly, and now it wants a ceasefire purportedly to protect the civilians with whom it is hiding. That doesn't work for me.

I have no sympathy for Hamas and little sympathy for the Palestinians who are protecting them. People who keep Israeli hostages in their homes are not civilians; they are combatants. 

 If the nation of Israel is to survive, it must wipe out Hamas--every root and branch. Tragically, this means there will be substantial collateral damage to the civilian population of Gaza.

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.