Gerrymandering—Hypocrisy on both sides

Both sides of the political spectrum accuse the other side when redistricting comes up every ten years. Oregon gained a seat from the last census, too bad, but those are the facts.

In the 2020 election republicans got 42% of the vote. With another seat under the new redistricting they are expected to win one seat. A supposedly “non-partisan” committee came up with the new districts. The Princeton gerrymandering project run by academics gave Oregon an “F”. Considering that university professors are 80% self identified as progressives, and Princeton is in the headlines limiting speech, this is a bullet to the heart. Or it should be.

Yet. Marc Elias who has stated , “We are prepared and ready to use every legal tool available to make sure that new maps do not unfairly treat voters.” Unless they are republican it seems as he has signed off on the Oregon results.

Mr. Elias’ law firm and Parker Cole (The law firm whose lawyer was just indicted for lying to the FBI during the Trump election) said the republicans weren’t cooperative, as if that justified the result. I am sure if the tables were turned both law firms would be on the warpath, suing everyone in sight. What happened to we should honor the popular vote?

What a bunch of smelly horse hockey. Another state I will never spend any money in.

Afghanistan, Should we have stayed?

The administration is lying about how well the retreat from Afghanistan went, David Petraeus commented that we should have stayed in the current deployed level, around 2500 folks plus contractors, to provide air support. The comments from the MSM that the Army ran away is accurate, the reason being they knew without air support the encroachment of the Taliban could not be stopped. I would have left too.

We stayed too long in a dysfunctional state. By doing so we created a growing obligation to assist those that helped us. I am 74, was an active duty marine from 1970 to 1976. When we negotiated with the communists we promised RSVN funds to continue their fight. Shortly after the treaty signing the democrat majority congress cut off all funds. Shameful. I was sure this kind of treachery would be learned from, but in my life we have shamed ourselves again, again the democrats-mostly.

I read today the Taliban beheaded a female soccer player this week. The consequences of a poorly thought out policy. Secretary Austin should have resigned once told to do what we did. He knew what the results would be.

Sept 18, 21 Conservatism

Firing Line, with Margaret Hoover

I watched the original Firing Line hosted by Wm F Buckley, Jr. religously, subscribed to the National Review, and generally consider my self to be a conservative, leaning toward libertarian.

As Reagan said,” I didn’t leave the democrat party, it left me.” I feel the same today about the republican party. This week Margaret interviewed George Will. I recommend looking it up, a reasoned approach to civility in our disagreements, separation of powers, balanced budget, taking care of those in need and why our country has outperformed others, in most KPI’s.

Worth the 30 minutes. The show is on PBS. That in itself is interesting, Buckley always objected to taxpayer supported TV but acquiesced as he couldn’t get on TV through a commercial station.



Sept 17, 21 Tax the Rich? A Troll, Can we just get real about our financial predicament, Please!?

The Magic Slogan That Justifies Everything

Dear Weekend Jolter,

We should probably talk some more about the dress.

You know the one, of Chick-fil-A color scheme and in-your-face situational unawareness. This newsletter is referring, of course, to AOC’s outfit. (Apologies if you’re all dressed-out by now.)

To walk things back a skosh, AOC likely knows full well what she’s doing and is situationally quite aware. She must get the hypocrisy of flaunting the words “Tax the Rich” on her dress at this week’s $35,000-per-head Met Gala. It’s a troll. She went all in, for the sake of the message.

But that message does help crystallize the thinking behind the ungodly sums in Democrats’ spending bills, which is why we should talk about it.

“Tax the Rich” is hardly a new idea. Before 1981, it was the policy of the U.S. government. The thinking goes that if only we can do that again, at that level or higher, any amount of spending can be covered. So let it rip.

If the investments Washington contemplates were on the level of, say, a small war, perhaps that would be true. But they are decidedly not. The Tax Foundation, a couple years ago, looked at one AOC proposal to tax incomes over $10 million at 70 percent Over ten years, this wouldn’t close a single year’s deficit — even at pre-pandemic levels — and probably wouldn’t cover a single year’s interest payment on the debt, let alone a $3.5 trillion budget bill. Nevertheless, this past week, House Democrats released an extensive tax plan that generally adheres to that same slogan — complete with higher individual, capital-gains, and corporate tax rates. It’s estimated to raise over $2 trillion. It’s still not enough.

NR’s editorial succinctly addresses this shortfall:

House Democrats have put forward a worst-of-both-worlds tax proposal: punishing enough to do real damage to the U.S. economy and individual households, but not nearly enough to pay for the trillions upon trillions of dollars of new spending Joe Biden and his congressional allies have put into play.

What we’ve got here is a failure to elucidate. Politicians have convinced themselves, or maybe just their base (Kevin Williamson, for one, sees little evidence of sincerity here), that taxing the rich, while taking pains to spare the middle class, will pay for their promises. But it would in fact take middle-class tax hikes — fairly large ones — to pay for their agenda. They would need to go full Europe, as Rich Lowry explains:

This is where the Democrats are willing to talk the talk about a cradle-to-grave welfare state, but not walk the walk. There can be no European-style welfare state, at least not sustainably so, without European-style taxes.

The dirty secret about the Scandinavian countries that the Left constantly holds up as a model is that they aren’t afraid to tax the middle class. These alleged models of social justice tax more than we do and tax much more broadly, realizing that taxing the rich and corporations isn’t enough to fund extensive and generous social programs.

Jay Nordlinger puts it thusly: “If you want more revenue for the government — and we can debate that — you’re going to have to look to the multitudes: to the Great Middle. But no one wants to say that.” Brian Riedl does some math and comes to an alarming conclusion: “Using up all the ‘tax the rich’ options for the president’s new proposals would leave the wealthy unable to close the underlying — and unsustainable — $112 trillion in baseline deficits over the next 30 years, or finance progressive fantasies such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.”

NR’s editorial also notes that the proposal’s tax hikes on businesses would be felt by employees and customers alike, many of whom reside in that hallowed middle class.

Could the rich pay more? Sure, they could, and this writer would wholeheartedly support this as part of a comprehensive plan to balance the budget. [pauses to laugh hysterically, then regain composure] Anyway, David Harsanyi helps illuminate why this tactic yields diminishing returns, owing to the fact that the wealthy are covering a good deal of federal outlays already. And David gets at the nut of the problem, which incidentally is the premise of this newsletter:

The reality is that no politician is going to advocate raising middle-class income taxes, despite the ever-increasing cost of government. There is only the rich to tax. Consequently, it’s become easier to pass massive expansions of the state. Everyone expects someone else to foot the bill — either future generations or their wealthier neighbors.

Tax the Working Man doesn’t have the same visceral appeal. But Tax the Rich? That’s a slogan that keeps hope alive, and the money flowing. It suggests there’s a dollar match for every dollar of need out there. And conveniently for the sloganeers, the subtext once that imperative accompanies a massive spending proposal is that any opposition reflects a craven and mulish refusal to hit the plutocrats in their George Costanza wallets. So say it loud.

Green New Deal? Tax the Rich. Medicare for All? Tax the Rich. Canada’s got problems? You’d better believe, Tax the Rich.

It’s the slogan that justifies anything and everything. It is, without question, way better than Drill, Baby, Drill. No wonder AOC donned it. She’ll probably be invited back.

Sept 16, 21Gerrymandering

An editorial in the Journal caught my interest.

“Is Racial Gerrymandering Going Out of Style”

Many folks are now saying that “protected” congressional districts really are not in our country’s best interest, I agree. Plenty of folks have been elected with votes from a race different from theirs.

MLK Jr. famously said,  “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Hopefully these folks will prevail and districts will look somewhat normal and candidates will have to appeal to a broad spectrum of people and interests. Having a congress where 85% of the districts are safe is not in our country’s best interest.


Sept 14 21, “Can’t we just get along/”

September 14, 2021

“A republic, if you can keep it.” Ben Franklin on the day the Constitution passed.

Secretary of State Blinken testified yesterday to a House committee, a Senate committee today. I expect nothing of importance to be gained, one side will call him all kinds of names and excoriate him for his role in the pullout; the other will ignore gross malfeasance. It looks like Benghazi rising from the ashes. What a waste of time as nothing will change.

Our government is like two bull elephants butting heads over the right to mate with a female in rut. Both win at various times, but they still fight. Instead, they ought to cooperate with each other and both mate with the willing female.

Both sides have good ideas. One of the proposals in the $3.5 Trillion bill in the house is support for child care. This is a good idea. Women are now 47% of the workforce, up dramatically 70 years ago, thus child care is important. The new bill talks about subsidizing these expenses, phasing out any support for a family making 150% of the state median income ($51,734 in 2019 for Alabama). So, if your family made $77,601 or more, no subsidy. If you make $38,805 or less, you pay nothing. As usual, this is theoretically a good idea.

But, is there a work requirement? I can’t find one. If someone doesn’t want to work should the taxpayer subsidize child care for their children? This subsidy should not provide support for those who are able, but refuse to work. We have seen what happens when government benefits provide enough income for a person to not work, as of today there are 10,000,000 jobs available, some folks are not willing to work, yet.

Secondly, if a person stays home to care for their child, is that person eligible to be paid for child care? If another family member takes care of a relative’s child but is not an authorized “Child Care Facility”, will they get paid? Our systems today have become so bureaucratized and licensing requirements so burdensome no wonder it costs so much for formal child care. Is there any mention of these issues, of course not!

The proposal was not generated in a bi-partisan fashion since the intent is to raam it through via budget reconciliation. Both sides use this method to avoid negotiating and compromising, a terrible habit.

Back to my first point: One of the consequences of the “No Religion” movement is that people have forgotten that loving your neighbor is a requirement for peace on earth. It is OK to hate those who disagree with you about whatever, and this is endemic on both sides of the aisle. Our current president is just as dismissive of those who disagree with him and the previous one. Maybe not quite as nasty, but the results is the same. Both talked about “Unity” on inauguration day and then proceeded to trash the opposition, or their own party if someone disagreed. AOC, Maxine Waters, Pelosi, Schumer, etc. do this every day. So do the leaders of the other side. I support the problem solver caucus via No Labels.

Rodney King of LA riots fame said, “Why can’t we all just get along.” Yeah, why not!

2020 Election, Free but not Fair

With great reluctance I voted again for Trump. Yes I am a racist, xenophobe, war monger, privileged, upper middle class, despicable, etc. person.

What I am not is a person who thinks the elite politicians on both sides of the aisle have all the answers. They have led us to underestimate the threat of our foes, China-Russia-Iran-etc. for decades. They have refused to compromise thus allowing law to be ignored and power transferred to the Supreme Court and Executive branches. They have embraced globalism thus penalizing American industry. And more!

Trump properly identified the great deal of anger and disenchantment of many non traditional republicans while Hillary ignored those folks. Trump also through his many character and leadership faults failed to establish a secure base.

I am convinced a more powerful government, a divided Congress that refuses to compromise will undermine the experiment that started in 1776. Ben Franklin said it best, “..a republic madam, if you can keep it.” With all our faults our experiment has produced outcomes that raised more people to economic freedom than any other country of our size and amazing diversity.

We can become like other countries and become de facto wards of the state, giving up liberties and the opportunity to succeed and fail on our own merits. I am not a red dog republican, I have a lot of disagreements with what the establishment on my side of the aisle puts forth. But the alternative to embrace the progressive side is much worse for the well being of our citizens.

The election was free, no voter suppression. It was mostly unfair as the supposedly objective press core waged a four year war against Trump. The FBI was used to create false accusations proven false by a progressive leaning prosecutor. Trump is an easy guy to dislike, I don’t like him, or respect him much. Journalism has fallen to the range of used car salesperson, facts are ignored, opinion is pushed out as news. Sad! and dangerous for the future of our experiment in government.

Let’s remember the second part of the great commission, “Love you neighbor as yourself.”

Biden Harris platform section on post K-12 education

My comments about Democrat Platform sections

Biden policies off his website Education beyond high school.

I am happy to see the focus on other education paths than a four year degree. The education Nomenklatura has depreciated the value and purpose of other types of education for decades, and devalued those who had not desire or capacity for a four year degrees. Too many kids went to college, were given too much money and ended up without the expected income and high debt.

Biden proposes many solutions:

  1. Invest in community colleges-OK with me.
  2. Strengthen College as a reliable pathway…. What in the Sam Hill does that mean?
  3. Support colleges that play a unique role, OK with me, Trump has started that effort.

He then states this will be accomplished in coordination with states and educators. Fair, but will that cooperation include those who ideas involve other models like home schooling, charter schools, etc. Or, as both have said they will work with the unions that have brought our K-12 education system from the top five to 25th in the world. Or the college elite who are 75% self-identified as progressives. Or eliminate charter schools and condemn kids to low performing government schools.

Specifically they say:

  1. 2 years of high quality training without debt for “Hard working” folks. The failure rate today is very high in two year or certificate programs. Preparation is key, focus on K-12 first, demand kids come out prepared.
  2. Once qualified some folks need support to finish, I agree. Some homes and families do not provide the atmosphere and support needed for further education.
  3. Apprenticeships are a good idea, this smells like $50Bn spent to support unions against right to work desires by most folks. Will this be union agnostic?
  4. Student debt. If you look at the graph of student debt and college costs they ramp up dramatically once Obama came into office. Kids could borrow easily, had money to spend, the demand was high and the supply lower. Simple economics. Tuition free for those below $125,000 of income. Great, freer stuff means cost will go up. How about help with a note on 10% of earnings for 15 years.
  5. This next one is wild, halve the payments on current debt, or refinance it. OK, reasonable, but how come these folks have to repay debt and the new ones don’t? Then after 20 years forgive the debt. The left caterwauls about bailing out companies during times of crises, or leads the charge as in the case of GM and others. The consequence of overbowering is bankruptcy; that should be the end solution. Always bailing out breeds’ complacency.
  6. Other suggestions, some are reasonable, others follow in the same vein of more government control and involvement in our lives, reducing the risk in our decisions thus breeding an attitude of irresponsibility and solid reasoning in decision making.
  7. Invest in the alphabet soup of colleges that serve various ethnic populations. A bit unseemly to me to separate them out for special funds; seems like an election tool to me.

Lastly: Nowhere in this section of the Biden-Harris platform for after K-12 education is the military mentioned. The military should be elevated to equal status. Those colleges who will not allow military recruiters on campus should be struck from the list of federal funds. The Democrats have been notoriously anti-military for decades, sometimes anti soldier. People choosing the military receive high quality education on both the technical and leadership fronts; it has been shameful the way they have been treated after President Carter.

Overall this platform section is more of the same and lots more money for the same organizations and people who got us in the situation we are in today. CHeck out this link from Thomas Sowell,, DeBlasio and Biden want to eliminate charters. Sorry, what Trump has started seems better for the future. Teacher unions and tenure will destroy high quality education, but they do spend a lot of money and deliver a lot of votes to those who pander to them.