Thursday, December 30, 2021
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Those who were alive on November 22, 1963 know where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. I was in the high school locker room entering gym. Americans know where they were on September 11, 2001. 2,996 Americans perished on 9/11 due to 19 terrorists, Osama Bin-Ladin and Al Qaeda with the connivance of the Taliban, who provided them a safe haven. The tragedy of 9/11 brought Americans together, a time for unity. The America spirit rosed, no soared to the occasion. Americans mourned the dead and praised the heroes of United Flight 93. They died in Shanksville, but prevented the plane crashing into the Capitol or White House. Americans admired and prayed for the first responders, a number of whom have succumbed or suffer from 9/11 illnesses from the toxic air at Ground Zero. 9/11 is a sacred day, a solumn day, a somber day of remembrance - not a festive occasion. But not for President Biden. He would sully the significance and meaning of 9/11. The vain-glorious President Joe Biden planned to turn 9/11 into a celebratory ceremony to self-glorify himself – not to honor the fallen and those who served. Leaders can be glorified after a resounding victory – not an epochal defeat. Not President Biden. His fancible plan was to declare victory in Afghanistan and bring the troops home on 9/11. It was to be all about Joe, Joe, Joe. He lost the war that the Taliban could not win on its own. He left Americans and Afghan allies behind. He betrayed the fallen, the Afghans, and our NATO allies and demoralized the military, except for the top brass who went along with his flawed scheme. He emboldened America’s enemies. He ledt Afghanistan in the hands of the Taliban - stronger than ever with American military equipment. He issued a prerecorded video yesterday calling for unity. He also promised unity in his January 20 Inauguration Address. He has consistently governed by divisiveness and blaming others. The chastened and taciturn President Biden visited the three sacred sites today: Ground Zero, Shanksville, and the Pentagon. September 11, 2021 is a day of infamy for Joe Biden.
Saturday, September 4, 2021
President Biden in His Mind Successfully Completed His Afghan Mission of Bugging Out The law student who graduated in the top half of the bottom ten percent of his law school class had a brilliant idea in his mind: Evacuate Afghanistan with minimal military casualties and declare victory on September 11. He’s been fixated for over a decade on getting out of Afghanistan and ending the war, totally out. Vice President Biden during National Security Council meetings said of Afghanistan: “We should get the heck out of there.” The late Richard Holbrooke quoted the Vice President saying he was “not sending my boy back there to risk his life on behalf of (Afghan) women’s rights…. That’s not what they’re there for.” He was not going to send his deceased son Beau back to Afghanistan or put American sons and daughters at risk. They were coming out quickly and safely. Reduce risk to the soldiers by bugging out quickly with no warning. President Trump’s plan was to evacuate the Americans, then the Afghan allies, followed by removing or destroying military equipment, and finally the military. That wasn’t President Biden’s approach. He started with the military withdrawal. The military pulled out of Bagram Air base on July 1 in the middle of the night, turning off the electricity at 3:00AM. He didn’t tell the Afghans, or our NATO allies who fought with America in Afghanistan. He expressed in his braggadocio Tuesday speech: “I was not going to extend this forever war and I was not going to extend a forever exit.” He claimed his withdrawal was “extraordinarily successful.” Left behind in his extraordinary successful bugout was the greatest loss of military equipment in world history: Blackhawk helicopters A-20 attack planes Humvees Drones Machine guns M 4’s and M 16’s Night vision goggles Biometric Collection Devices Left behind in the Fall of Afghanistan were people: AMERICAN CITIZENS: Men, Women, and Children stranded in Afghanistan American green card holders Afghan supporters to whom we pledged evacuation Afghan journalists American Pride The Atlantic Alliance NATO Left behind in Afghanistan: Presidential lies, vows, promises, and misstatements. Trust Truth Reality He shattered both global respect and fear of America If that is “extraordinarily successful,” then what would abject failure be? The people and equipment left behind - not a problem. A small price to pay for President Biden's mission of leaving Afghanistan with minimal casualties. The people left behind - not the Prresident's problem. Let Secretary Blinkin work it out. The lies and false statements - necessary to effectuate the pullout. Ignoring the scores of warnings - President Biden did what he had to do to leave Afghanistan. Very little of the past five weeks make sense unless you focus on the President's fixation to get out of Afghanistan. 13 fatalities by a suicide bomber – sad, but it could have been worse in his mind if he hadn’t kept the military out of harm’s way. Extending the perimeter around the airport would have risked the lives of the Marines and soldiers. Better for him that civilians take the risk. The cold calculation was that the Afghan Army could survive 6-18 months before a Taliban takeover. Biden would be out; Afghanistan’s collapse would not be on his watch. His fingerprints would not be on the Fall of Afghanistan. He would be celebrated for his political genius, one of the greatest in all history. He might even replace one of the slave owners on Mount Rushmore – no, that would be a stretch even for Biden. Of course he was checking his watch at Dover with the caskets ceremony. He was bored; he never should have been there; it was damn inconvenient for the 13 Marines, soldiers and sailors to die at Karzai Airport. Of course President Biden rolled his “f…ing eyes” as he met with family members of the deceased 13. He spoke of his late son Beau; the other sons and daughters were a distraction. Blame Trump. Blame the Americans who didn’t get out early. Blame the Afghans who stayed behind. Mission accomplished:” “Extraordinary Success!” in his mind. America is out of Afghanistan with minimal military casualties. Truth and reality will not intrude on his vision. If history is written by winners, then President Biden will be recognized as a consummate fool. The vainglory delusions of President Biden will be engraved in history with those of Nero and Chamberlain.
Friday, August 27, 2021
President Biden on Afghanistan Alternative Universe Befuddled Boneheaded Clueless Denial Delusional Dim Bulb Diminished Capacity Dimwitted Good backside in answering questions Forgetful Hapless Head’s Down Ignorant Ill-informed Instructed Intransient Lying Mendacious Misinformed Misrepresentations No memory of (it) Only Hears what Wants to Hear Out-of-Touch Self-deception Self-delusion Self-rightous Sequestered Shell-shocked State of denial The elevator doesn’t go up all the way Thoughtless Tone Deaf Cognitive decline, but can still read TOTUS Joe Biden has a history in his adult life of lies, plagiarism, and gaffes, the subject of a future blog.
Sunday, August 15, 2021
The Fall of Afghanistan Afghanistan Fell on July 1, 2015. Let’s start with President Obama’s prophetic statement about Joe Biden: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.” Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Biden hunkered down in Camp David while Afghanistan fell. President Trump announced the desire to pull out of Afghanistan. That was one of his campaign pledges. President Biden said he trusted the capacity of the “better trained, better equipped and … more competent in terms of conducting war” Afghan forces than the Taliban. He said on July 8: “The likihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” Secretary of State Blinken said in June: “I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to Monday.” From Friday to Monday the United States Embassy in Kabul lowered the American Flag. He added: “So I wouldn’t necessarily equate the departure of our forces in July and August or by early September with some kind of immediate deterioration in the situation? That’s our Secretary of State Tony Blinkin. Could the Joint Chiefs of Staff be surprised by the collapse of the Afghanistan Military? Probably not! The military advised the President to keep a small force of 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan providing air support in Afghanistan. President Biden refused. The Fall of Afghanistan is on Biden. The military didn’t seem to have a contingency plan. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin claimed today that they had prepared all scenarios. Doesn’t look like it. The Pentagon and State Department are in panic mode. They need passive cooperation from the Taliban to get all the Americans, British and other foreigners out. The Afghan nationals may well be left to the tender mercies of the Taliban. Secretary Austin also said he was “beyond disappointed,” adding You can’t buy willpower, and you can’t buy leadership.” What about the lack of leadership currently hunkered down in Camp David? General Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seemed more concerned with building a Woke military fighting climate change. Are any going to resign in protest over the debacle? Probably not! The backbone of the Afghan military was the United States military, especially air support. Weather dictates a fighting season in Afghanistan. The Taliban retreat to their bases in Pakistan and lay low in winter. They emerge to fight in the thaw, but were held in check by America’s air support for the Afghans. American air power would stop the Taliban in their track. The Americans and allies were the backbone of the Afghan defense forces. Also pulling out by necessity were the foreign contractors who kept the Afghan Air Force flying. President Biden pulled the plug on Afghanistan as the fighting season began. He promised air support, but he bugged out of Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night on July 1. The departing Americans turned off the electricity at 3:00AM and were under orders not to tell the Afghan they were leaving. The U.S. Military bugged out in the middle of the night. What message did that send to the Afghan military and the Taliban? Whose dumb idea was that? Bagram Air Base was the center of U.S. operatons in Afghanistan. It was also the listening post for America in that part of the world. Bagram held 5,000 Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners, including some transferred from Gitmo. The Taliban liberated them. The President promised timely air support. The nearest air support is hours, perhaps eight hours, away in the Persian Gulf. President Biden was headstrong on leaving Afghanistan at all costs. America will be paying that cost for decades. President Biden is right in saying Afghanistan is not Vietnam: “There’s going to be no circumstance where you will see people being lifted off the roof of an Embassy of the United States, from Afghanistan.” The Fall of Saigon witnessed helicopters at the U.S. Embassy taking off with escapees to Navy ships at sea. Afghanistan is landlocked far from the ocean. No helicopters will be taking off from the U.S. Embassy to the ocean. How out of touch are the Bidenistas? They profess that the Taliban will lose international support if they resort to brutality. Press Secretary Jan Psaki warned: “If the Taliban claim to want international legitimacy, these actions are not going to get them the legitimacy they desire …” The Taliban could care less about legitimacy in the global community. They adjoin Iran, Pakistan, China, and the Stans. Jan Psaki is on vacation for at least a week not answering questions. The State Department then promised the Taliban foreign aid if they behaved. The Bidenistas are clueless. Yet they proudly proclaim the United States is welcomed back in the global community. President Biden’s foreign policy is “America is back.” The Chinese, Russians, Cuban dictators and Mullahs are salivating at the feckless Biden foreign policy. President Jimmy Carter is looking better every day. The State Department was slow-walking visa applications from the translators and others who supported the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinkin obviously had no interest in them. Pentagon Spokesperson Admiral (Ret.) John Kirby yesterday said he did not believe Kabul was under “imminent threat.” President Biden: “I do not regret my decision.” Didn’t he also say: “America is back?” Back to Saigon. Secretary Blinkin said today “This is manifestly not Saigon.” It is manifestly worse than Saigon. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong needed two years to take Saigon. The Secretary also added “We’ve succeeded in that mission.” Blinkin, Psaki, Kirby, which one sounds most like Bagdad Bob? The Taliban needed 46 days to take Afghanistan. If the cast of characters, Biden, Austen, Milley, Blinkin, Psaki, Kirby, had any sense of responsibility or shame, they would resign. This cast of characters is clueless and shameless. Hunkered down at Camp David. Americans are realizing the President is non compos mente. Afghanistan validates Defense Secretary Robert Gates statement that Biden has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy issue for the past 40 years. He even opposed the raid to take down Osama Bin Ladin. Senator Biden voted to cut off military assistance to the South Vietnamese, which left them unable to resist the North Vietnamese 46 years ago. President Biden either learned nothing from that disaster or has forgotten. Take your pick! Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up!
Friday, August 13, 2021
Governor Cuomo in his farewell said: “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government.” The Governor is the third of the three past New York Governors to be ethically and morally challenged. Governor Eliot Spitzer had an expensive penchant for prostitutes. He met on February 3, 2008 in Washington’s Mayflower hotel with Ashley Dupre who arrived in D.C. via Amtrak (no TSA security). $4300 exchanged hands. He resigned in disgrace, but note his moral and marital flaws were not sexual assaults or harassment. Governor Spitzer’s replacement was Lt. Governor Dave Paterson, who did not seek election when his term expired. He admitted several affairs and was accused of witness tampering. Improper gifts, and false statements. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned in May 2018 after four women accused him of physical abuse. New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi in 2006 was engaged in a Pay to Play scheme defrauded the government. Not quite Albany, but Representative Anthony Weiner committed a federal felony by sexting a teenager. New York has not caught up to Illinois which has seen four governors imprisoned. Let’s get to the New York Legislature which has racked up quite a rap sheet over the past 20 years. Most, but not all, are Democrats simply because New York has become a one-party state. Corruption, harassment, and other derelictions of duty are non-partisan and bi-partisan. 2000 Jerry Johnson (R) (Assembly) Livingston County Attempted burglary 2003 Gloria Davis (D) (Assembly) Queens Bribery 2003 Sam Hoyt (D) (Assembly) Brooklyn Improper relationship with 23 year old intern 2004 Roger Green (D) (Assembly) Brooklyn False travel claims 2004 Guy Velella (R) (Senate) Bronx Bribery 2005 Clarence Norman (D) (Assembly) Bronx Corruption 2006 Ryan Karben (D) (Assembly) Rockland County. Improper fraternization with staffers 2006 Efrain Gonzalez (D)(Senate) Bronx Mail fraud 2006 Bryan McLaughlin (D) (Assembly) Queens Embezzlement 2006 Ada Smith (D) (Senate) Queens Harassment – throwing coffee in staff member’s face 2007 Karim Camara (D) (Assembly) Queens DWI 2007 Michael Cole (R) (Assembly) Erie County Night in apartment of student intern 2007 John Sabini (D) (Senate) Queens DWI 2008 Joseph Bruno (R) (Senate) Rensselaer Corruption, mail and wire fraud 2008 Diane Gordon (D) (Assembly) Bronx Bribery 2009 Anthony Seminerio (D) (Assembly) Queens Bribery 2009 Hiram Monserrate (D) (Senate) Queens. Slashed girlfriend in face with broken glass 2010 Adam Clayton Powell IV, (D) (Assembly) Manhattan DWI 2010 Pedro Espada (D) (Senate) Bronx Corruption, embezzlement, tax evasion 2010 Vincent Leibell (R) (Senate) Putnam County Bribery, tax evasion 2010 Kevin Parker (D) (Senator) Brooklyn Criminal mischief – altercation with photographer 2011 Carl Kruger (D) (Senator) Brooklyn Bribery 2013 Shirley Huntley (D) (Assembly) Queens Embezzlement 2012 Nicholas Spano (R) (Senator) Yonkers Tax evasion 2013 Vito Lopez (D) (Assembly) Brooklyn Sexual harassment of a staffer 2013 Steve Katz (R) (Assembly) Westchester County Marijuana possession after traffic stop 2013 Malcolm Smith (D) (Senator) Queens Bribery 2013 Nelson Castro (D) (Assembly) Bronx Perjury 2013 Eric Stevenson (D) (Assembly) Bronx Bribery 2013 John Sampson (D) (Senate) Brooklyn Embezzlement 2013 Micah Kellner (D) (Assembly) Manhattan Harassment of employee 2013 Robert Rodriquez (D) (Assembly) Manhattan DWI 2013 Dennis Gabryszak (D) Assembly Cheektowaga. Sexual harassment 2011-2014 William Boyland (D) Brooklyn Corruption, bribery, mail fraud, and extortion 2014 William Scarborough (D) (Assembly) Queens. Misuse of campaign funds and false claims 2014 Gabriela Rosa (D) (Assembly) Manhattan Lying to Immigration on marital status 2014 Thomas Libous (R) (Senate) Broome County False statements to FBI 2015 Sidney Shelton (D) (Assembly) Manhattan Bribery and kickbacks 2015 Dean Skelos (R) (Senate) Nassau County Corruption 2016 Bill Nojay (R) (Assembly) Monroe, Livingston, Steuben Counties Stealing from client’s escrow account 2016 Diana Richardson (D) (Assembly) Brooklyn Beat son with broomstick 2018 Angela Wozniak (D) (Assembly) Erie County Retaliation against staff member 2017 Robert Ortt (R) (Senate) Niagara, Orleans, Monroe Counties Filing false instrument 2017 Steve McLaughlin (R) (Assembly) Rensselaer County Harassment 2018 George Maziarz (R) (Senate) Niagara, Orleans, Monroe Counties Filing false instruments 2018 Pamela Harris (D) (Assembly) Brooklyn Wire fraud, false statements 2021 Luis Sepulveda (D) (Assembly) Bronx Domestic violence Governor Andrew Cuomo: “Let government get back to government.” I Love New York
Thursday, August 12, 2021
President Biden on Governor Cuomo “He’s done a hell of a job.” Governor Cuomo: “In my mind I never crossed the line with another.” President Bill Clinton: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” President George W. Bush: “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning.” President Jimmy Carter: “I lusted in my heart several times.” President George H. W. Bush: “Read my lips; no new taxes.” President Gerald Ford: “There is no Soviet domination of eastern Europe.” President Richard Nixon: “I am not a crook.” Senator Ted Kennedy: “They don’t call me tyrannosaurus sex for nothing,” Senator Howell Heflin on Senator Ted Kennedy Indelicato photo on a Mediterranean yacht: “I see Senator Kennedy changed his position on offshore drilling.” Vice President Al Gore: “A Zebra doesn’t change its spots.” Senator John Kerry: “I voted for it before I voted against it.” Senator Barack Obama: ”I’ve now been in 57 states. I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii ….” Senator Mark Pryor: “You don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate, though.” Senator Chris Dodd during his Presidential campaign: “Eight more days and I can start telling the truth again.” Speaker Pelosi: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Representative Hank Johnson on Guam: “My fear is that the whole island will become so overpopulated that it will tip over and capsize.”
Sunday, August 8, 2021
The Pageant of the Masters is an unique Orange County festival running for two months during summer. The festival recreates famous paintings, sculptures, and music in which actors and actresses dressed appropriately fit into the picture. They assume a still life pose for up to two minutes as the audience is awed by the living pictures. The living art looks like blown up copies of the originals. About 250,000 persons annually see the 90 minutes of living art. The theme changes every summer. This year’s theme is “Made in America.” The narrator started this year show differently than in past years. After the usual no photography admonitions, he asked the audience to stand for the Flag and National Anthem. The audience collectively sang the Star-Spangled Banner and then spontaneously applauded. No kneeing; no turning one’s back on the Flag. This is America. This is the America we grew up in. This is America today, an America Americans are proud of. This is the America not represented by the post George Floyds riot, lootings, trashing of America, and erasing cultural monuments and history. This is not the America of much of our Millennials and Z Gen, who have been educated on Howard Zinn and taught America is racist and oppressive. A recent survey of 1424 adults between June 30 and July 2 showed 67% are extremely or very proud to be patriotic. However, only 37% between the ages of 18-24 could say the same. 35% said they slightly or not at all proud to be an American. This is not the America of President Biden who repeatedly says America is systemically racist, but then sometimes adds Americans are not racist – a distinction a brilliant lawyer could craft, but not one President Biden could create on his own. A study of several Georgetown students found them to be “embarrassed” to be an American, but none could name a better place to live. This is the America that President Nixon referred to as “The Silent Majority.” The Pageant’s “Made in America” is a tapestry of American history. It had the famous paintings of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and the Declaration of Independence. More. Much more. “Made in America” is a tapestry of America. It featured Edmonia Lewis, a famous sculptress of the Nineteenth Century. Edmonia was of African American and Ojibwe heritage. She spent several years of her youth on the reservation. She loved nature, but art, especially sculpture, was her calling. She overcame all the obstacles a Black woman could face in the post-Civil War 19th Century fulfilling her dream, but she succeeded, eventually settling in Rome. Edmonia became famous and a success. President Grant commissioned Edmonia to paint his portrait. Her works were featured in Chicago’s famous 1893 Columbian Exhibition. The world fair is best known today for Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmstead and the City Beautiful Movement and for Professor Frederick Jackson Turner presenting his famous paper on the End of the American frontier. The fair also played a significant role in the advancement of women in America. The Woman’s Building was the largest the 200 fair buildings. The Woman’s Building was run by the Board of Lady Managers. Sophia Hayden with her architecture degree from MIT, designed the Woman’s Building. The painter Mary Cassatt created a 12’ X 58” mural entitled “Modern Woman” for the Woman’s Building. The mural has been lost in time, but the Pageant of the Masters was able to recreate it for the show. The Pageant featured the music of Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington and sculptures by Luis Jimenez. Made in America – a tapestry we can all be proud of.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Does Governor Andrew Cuomo Get Due Process and the Presumption of Innocence? Not if he’s impeached and voted out of office by the New York Legislature! Senator Al Franken of Minnesota didn’t receive due process. Representative Katie Hill of California didn’t receive due process. No presumption of innocence for them. This battle is political battle – not judicial in a court of law. The Congressional Democrats weren’t giving President Trump due process in their bogus impeachments. The Republicans remember. Cuomo, Newsom in California, Brown in Oregon, Pritzker in Chicago reflect the weakness of one-party government. The Governor’s party has turned on him. Governor Cuomo’s problem is quadruple. First, he’s a bully. Second, he has few friends. His staff turned on him eons ago. Three, he’s no longer glorified by the media as the anti-Trump; the media doesn’t need him anymore. Fourth, the nursing home fatalities are on him. Janice Dean of Fox News is on a Jihad against him for killing her father-in-law and mother-in-law. He never learnt one of the fundamental rules of life: “Be nice to those you pass on the way up; you may see them again on the way down.” The Governor issued a slide show – a compilation of his greatest kisses or pinchings. He said as a defense: “I do it with everyone. Black and White, young and old, straight and LGBTQ, powerful people, friends, strangers, people who I meet on the street.” How can it be discrimination or harassment if he treats everyone equally? Not a great defense! He called his conduct “old-fashioned.” Not a winning argument! He’s just an expressive Italian. It’s still harassment! He responded to the charge that he grabbed a woman's breast at the Governor's Mansion: "I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing" to a woman he barely knew in front of his staff. What did his staff say? How about these defenses? 1) President Clinton got away with rape; 2) President Biden has a touchy-feelie history; 3) What about President Trump? 4) Let’s not forget Governor Schwarzenegger; 5) What about Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh? 6) If President Biden wants him to resign, as do Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the entire New York Delegation, he can’t be that bad; 7) Would you prefer Andrew Cuomo or New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as governor? Mayor de Blagio has demanded the Governor’s resignation. Of course he has. The two are like putting two scorpions in a bottle and see who comes out alive. The Governor has triumphed on most issues because the governor has more power than the mayor, but this time Mayor de Blasio smells blood. He says the Governor “is past the point of no return.” The four governors of Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island signed a joint letter claiming to be “appalled” by his conduct. Remember the classic line from Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here.” We have the Lieutenant Governor, the governor in waiting, Kathleen C. Hochul stating she believes the accusers. She called the Governor’s conduct “repulsive and unlawful.” She's measuring the drapes in the Governor's office. Governor Cuomo will try to wait it out and then run for reelection. That depends on the New York Assembly and Senate. That really depends on the New York Senate. Majority vote in the Assembly to impeach; 2/3 vote in the Senate to convict. The Governor at this point passes bipartisan (an often overused word) opposition. House Speaker Carl Hastie met with the Democratic caucus earlier today. He said Governor Cuomo “lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office.” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called for his resignation “for the good of the state.” Senate Minority Leader Robert G. Ortl echoed her remarks. 165 pages establishing harassment, improper behavior, groping, a climate of fear, and retaliation. What about CNN and Chris Cuomo?
Monday, July 26, 2021
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, two itinerant Jews from New York, found themselves in progressive Burlington, Vermont, joining fellow New York progressive expatriate Bernie Sanders, Mayor of Burlington. Ben and Jerry set up a corner ice cream shop in an abandoned gas station and hit the jackpot. The artery clogging, high butterfat content ice cream was a success. Their appeal as two progressive entrepreneurs helped. Gen Z and Millennials love the ice cream. Ben and Jerry sold Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to the multi-national Unilever in 2000 for $325 million. Ben and Jerry’s is unique with its appealing image. The merger of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream with Unilever had unusual terms and conditions. Ben and Jerry’s would retain an independent board of directors, perhaps in perpetuity. Unilever agreed to the new subsidiary continuing its social policies “in these critical, global economic and social missions.” Unilever made a Faustian bargain. It could sit back, collect the revenues and profits from Ben and Jerry’s with some occasional blowback. Ben and Jerry’s is the single highest selling ice cream in the United States in 2020 with sales of $863.1 million. That’s what $6/pint can do compared to $4-6/1½ gallon for most branded ice cream. Breyers, another Unilever brand, is the largest seller by volume. Ben & Jerry’s is known for its social activism. It called for President Trump’s impeachment after the January 6 Capitol riots. It’s opposed to GMO products. It’s hypocritical low was after the killing of George Floyd. The almost all white company called out to “dismantle white supremacy in all its forms.” It promoted Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. Up to one fifth of its advertising budget goes to social causes. Where could go wrong? Ben and Jerry’s joined the BDS Movement last Tuesday. It announced that it will no longer sell its ice cream in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” i.e. Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Technically it was cancelling its licensing agreement with its Israeli affiliate when the license expires at the end of 2022. It had asked the licensee to stop selling in the occupied territories – an offer the licensee could not accept because Israeli law forbids boycotts of Israeli citizens, Jewish or Arab, based on their location. Unilever remains “fully committed” to its Israeli business and staying in Israel. CEO Alan Jope said: “Unilever remains fully committed to our business in Israel. This was a decision that was taken by Ben & Jerry’s and its independent board in line with an acquisition agreement that we signed 20 years ago.” He said that, but I assume Unilever’s are flyspecking the purchase agreement looking for a loophole. Good luck with that. Most consumers will not understand the legal distinction. Therein lies a problem for Unilever. It cannot in theory control Ben and Jerry’s, but it has to answer companywide for Ben and Jerry’s. Several Jewish retailers in Jewish neighborhoods have dropped the brand. Several individuals have vowed not to buy Tom and Jerry’s, but who knows? Talk is cheap on social media. If a boycott of Ben and Jerrys, or of Unilever generally, is effective, the company will have to act. It may or may not be able to control the subsidiary, but it can definitely sell it or spin it off. Unilever is heavily invested in Israel and is a large exporter of its products from Israel. It invested over $300 million in Israel over the past decade. Naftali Bennett, Israel’s new prime minister, said Ben & Jerry’s ban will have “serious consequences.” Jews in the U.S. are split on BDS and the settlements, but Israel is overwhelmingly unified on BDS. They view BDS as an existential threat to the country. Israel and Unilever are too heavily intertwined, but changes will occur. I am not a fan of boycotts, a favorite tool of the left. The left has unsuccessfully attempted to get Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson fired by pressuring their advertisers to cancel. Their boycotts of Chick fil-A and backfired with increased sales by those companies. Avi Zinger, CEO of Ben and Jerry’s Israel will survive. 33 American states have enacted anti-BDS statutes that restrict their governments from contracting or investing in companies that boycott Israeli businesses or people. I will continue my personal avoidance boycott of Ben and Jerry’s because I don’t eat the high fat, high calorie, high price ice cream. I’m happy with Breyers and store brands.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Black lives Matter and AOC blame Cuba’s misery on the 60 year “absurdly bad” U.S. Boycott. They are either besotted with socialism/Marxism or in a state of denial, refusing to believe the facts – not for the first time. Nikole Hannah-Jones in a 2019 podcast called Cuba “the most equal multiracial country” in the Western hemisphere. She credits socialism for Cuba’s success. She wrote in a 2008 Op-Ed that Cuba has a high literacy rate and a “model” universal health care system. Senator Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, also praises Cuba’s literacy program. Of course the Cuban people have equality Equality in trying to escape Cuba. - often by boat Equality in poverty Equality in lack of access to food, medical care and medicine even though the trade embargo excludes food and medicines. Cubans have three classes of medical care. The highest level is reserved for the leaderaship. The next highest is for foreigners who can pay cash. The leftovers are for the Cuban masses. Equality in driving 70-80 year old cars. Here’s the amazing fact about the U.S. boycott. It only applies to U.S. citizens, U. S. companies, and their subsidiaries. Cuba is free to trade with Canada, Mexico and the rest of the world. Then we have the dictatorship class, headed by the Castro family, which runs Cuba. They are White as is the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee. Blacks were in leadership positions before the Castro Revolution, but no mas. Nikole Hannah-Jones praised Cuba for ending “codified racism.” Now it’s de facto discrimination. Cubans are literate They understand Cuba Libre and Libertad. Thge Cuban protestors are flying both the Cuban Flag and American Flag. American protestors and athlethes are trashing the American Flag. Go figure! The Biden Administration is welcoming undocumented immigrants, but not the Cubans Open Borders, but not Open Seas for Cubans and Haitians. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said: “If you take to the sea, you will not come.” Secretary Mayorkas was born in Cuba in 1959. His parents brought him to America in 1960 So much for Solidarity Forever with Cuban-American Mayorkas! Why? Cuban refugees upon acquiring citizenship vote Republican. Professor Nikole Hannah-Jones, AOL and the rest of the Squad should visit Cuba to see Communism and Socialism in action. Then they should take a side trip to Venezuela to see the once most prosperous country by Latin American standards with a vibrant middle class descend into Cuban style equality of poverty in less than a decade. Not many Americans try to deflect to Cuba. On the other hand, Joanne Deborah Chesimard, aka Assata Olugbala Shakur, was found guilty of first degree murder in New Jersey. She and two fellow Black Liberation Army members killed a New Jersey State Patrol Officer in May 1963. The redistribution of wealth becomes the redistribution of poverty.
Monday, July 19, 2021
Vice President Kamala Harris May Not Be Ready for Prime Time, But She is Vice President of the United States Vice President Kamala Harris is being attacked from the left and right. The consensus is President Biden made a mistake. The media is full of report of low morale, staff turmoil, turmoil and communications problems with the Vice President’s staff. Those stories came from inside the Administration. Do not write her off. The internet chatter cannot force her out of office. President Biden cannot fire here. Her term of office runs to January 20, 2025. Let me repeat. No matter how dissatisfied the Bidenites may be, they cannot fire Vice President Kamala Harris. She could be impeached or 25th Amendment. She could unexpectedly die or become disabled. Social media can’t remove her. Or she could resign. Politicians with blind ambition for the White House do not voluntarily resign. The Constitution spells out the Vice President’s office. She is to preside over the Senate, cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate, and succeed the to the Presidency if the President dies in office, resigns or is removed under the 25th Amendment. That’s it! FDR’s Vice President John Nance Garner is reported to have said “the Vice Presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit.” LBJ was passing into oblivion in the Kennedy Administration until the tragic day in November 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated. LBJ instantaneously became a different person, the same forceful person he had been as Senate Majority Leader. No signs in the Vice President’s past will indicate a LBJ change as President. President Biden’s Administration was based on undoing everything President Trump did. Thus, Open Borders. President Biden halted construction of the Border Wall and opened the Border to all comers, including rapists, MS-13, drugs, meth, fentanyl, opium and a host of others. He could no longer deny after two months that “problems” exist at the Border. Thus he assigned the Vice President to study the root causes of the migration crisis. She was promptly labeled the Border Tsar. The Vice President was placed in a lose-lose position. She could not say “Open Borders” was the cause, mush less root cause, because Open Borders was the Administration’s Policy and her campaign plank. She therefore avoided going to the Border, until the heat became too strong. She responded when asked why she hadn’t gone to the border: “I haven’t been to Europe either.” She proceeded to ignore the Border. Finally, under pressure, she visited Guatemala and Mexico for two days in May. Her solution to the root causes was to offer more billions to them. The Cayman Island and Swiss bankers are salivating. Pressure continued to build. She had to go to the Border. She therefore took a desultory trip to the Border. She dropped into El Paso on June 25 for a photoshoot on the way to Los Angeles. All was wonderful in El Paso because the problems are 300 miles away. She said: “We have seen extreme progress over these last few months.” Border encounters (detentions or arrests) were up only 563% in the El Paso. Over 1 million have illegally crossed the Southern Border in a little over half of this year. Most have been released, indeed often flown by the military into the hinterlands of America. The word “extreme” was right. “Progress” was a figment of her imagination. Vice President Harris uttered these bromides: “Our approach has to be thoughtful and effective” and President Biden is offering a more humane approach. Her trip was ill- planned and widely panned. Her visits and statements did not calm the crisis. George W. Bush received the Republican nomination for President in 2000. He selected Dick Chaney as his VEEP, at which point the media commentators pronounced Dick Chaney brought gravitas, yes GRAVITAS, to the Bush Administration. No one claims Kamala Harris brings gravitas to the Biden Administration. President Biden in June assigned the Vice President to lead the fight to expand voter access. She joined the elitists who believe flyover country is an empty wasteland full of hicks, hayseeds, and yokels, i.e. Walmart deplorables who cling to their guns and religion. She supports the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill and opposes the Republicans state voting bills. The debate is a fight over the future of the country. The Democrats want Open Borders and Open Voting to stuff the ballot boxes through ballot harvesting, felons and ex-cons, the dead, and non-citizens. Republicans want eligible voters to vote. She attacked state voting laws Saturday: “Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t – there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them.” There’s probably no OfficeMax near her either. They were subsumed into Office Depot a few years ago. My first faculty position was at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, a rural town still with less than 6,000 residents surrounded by wheat, corn, and soybeans. Memo to the VEEP: These “rubes” have telephones, cell phones, cable or live streaming, the internet, Wi-Fi, computers, printers, copy machines, scanners, cars and driver licenses. I also learnt that the farmers had to smart and technologically savvy to survive. If she believes that statement of hers, then she is manifestly unfit to be president of the American people. If she was just mouthing talking points provided by her staff, then her ignorance shows. If she didn’t believe it, then she was insulting the American people. President Biden’s handlers during the election campaign did a wonderful job muzzling the candidate. They continue to limit his public appearances. We see little of the traditional Biden malapropisms. Vice President Harris is filling the gap. Kamala Harris’ qualifications are District Attorney of San Francisco, Attorney General of California, and more years as a United States Senator than President Obama. She served on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. She asked piercing questions, but standing out in that crowd of 10 Democrats pillowing Judge Kavanaugh was difficult. Three of them, Cory Brook of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kamala Harris of California, sought to use their time in the sun to run for President. Senator Harris announced her candidacy on January 21, 2019. The initial response shot her high up in the polls. She had a good first debate, but then started fading. To quote Gertrude Stein: “There is no there, there.” The Senator dropped out on December 3, 2019 before the first debate. The Bush staffers believe they made a mistake adding Senator Harris to the ticket. That wasn’t a mistake; it was a Faustian Bargain. The good news for President Biden is the Vice President is deflecting flak from him. She also will not outshine him. The pundits scoffed at Joe Biden a year ago. Look where he is now.
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Rank the Following Democratic Governors, Mayors, and District Attorneys from Worse. to Best, Best to Worse, or Worse to Worst
Governors Gavin Newsom. California J.B. Pritzker Illinois Gretchen Whitmer Michigan Tim Walz. Minnesota Phil Murphy New Jersey Andrew Cuomo. New York Kate Brown Oregon Tim Wolf Pennsylvania Ralph Northam Virginia Jay Inslee Washington Tony Evers Wisconsin Mayors Keisha Lance Bottoms. Atlanta (not seeking reelection) Lori Lightfoot Chicago Eric Garcetti. Los Angeles (headed to India) Jacob Frey Minneapolis Bill De Blasio New York (termed out) Jim Kenney Philadelphia Ted Wheeler Portland Jenny Durkin Seattle (not seeking reelection) Muriel Bowser Washington, D.C. District Attorneys Marilyn Mosby Baltimore Kim Foxx Chicago (Cook County) George Gascon Los Angeles Mike Schmidt Portland (Multnomah County) Cyrus Vance, Jr. Manhattan (New York City) Larry Krasner Philadelphia Kim Gardner St. Louis Chesa Boudin San Francisco Dan Satterberg King County (Seattle)
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Memo to the Democrats: What Goes Around, Comes Around Remember the success in threatening to impeach President Nixon? They called it Watergate. He resigned. Remember President Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, and his obstruction of justice? The Republican House impeached him, but the Senate acquitted him. President Clinton subsequently settled with Paula Jones, pled guilty to obstruction, and was disbarred. Payback came from the Democrats twice impeached President Trump with no legal or factual basis. The Republicans have the memory of elephants. They could impeach President Biden for cognitive impairment or corruption with Hunter Biden, but probably not. Vice President Kamala Harris is President Biden’s impeachment insurance. The time will come. Remember President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eliminating the Senate filibuster on district court and court of appeals judges? Republicans responded by eliminating the filibuster on Supreme Court justices. Think Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Comey-Barrett. President Obama wanted to minimize the chance the D.C. Circuit would overturn his Obamacare. Three appointees to the D.C. Circuit were approved with the lack of a Republican filibuster Obama used reconciliation to push ObamaCare through. Republicans passed tax cuts through reconciliation that jumped the economy. Remember Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats demanding President Trump take a cognitive functions test and the call for the 25th Amendment? Remember Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, personal physician to Presidents Obama and Trump? President Trump nominated Admiral Jackson on March 28, 2018 to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Democrats then unleashed a barrage of accusations against Admiral Jackson attacking his character and ability to lead the VA. Admiral Jackson withdrew his nomination on April 26, 2018 and then retired from the Navy on December 1, 2019. Remember Ronny Jackson? He’s baaaack! Admiral Jackson is now Representative Jackson from Texas’ 13th Congressional District. Representative Jackson is demanding President Biden take the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test, the same test Dr. Jackson administered to President Trump. Remember Representative Marjorie Taylor Green? Speaker Pelosi on a party line vote had Congress strip her of all appointments in Congress because of her outspoken remarks. The Republicans will return to House control. The question is which Democrat(s) will the Republicans single out for retribution? Will it be Representative Ilhan Omar because of her incessant anti-Semitism? How about Representative Eric Swalwell still on the Intelligence Committee after sleeping with a Chinese spy? Then there’s Representative Adam Schiff who lied for two years to the American public on the Russian hoax? Why not all three as a trifecta? What about eliminating the nation’s magnet academic high schools to do “equity”? Drive the Asian Americans to the Republican fold. Want to make the District of Columbia and perhaps Puerto Rico states to get more Democratic senators. Watch the Republicans create more conservative states out of eastern Washington, Oregon and California, and elsewhere in the country. Mess too much with the Constitution, watch the Republicans when they control two-thirds of the state legislatures call a Constitutional Convention Force Justice Breyer with a lifetime appointment off the Supreme Court, pack the Court with four new progressives, watch the Republicans pack the Court with six conservatives.
Sunday, July 4, 2021
The 4th of July is a day of national celebration. The day the Declaration of Independence set the American people on the course of becoming the greatest nation and democracy in the history of the world. America - a democracy shining the light of freedom and the Statue of Liberty to the world. America opened its doors to the world. The 4th of July – a day for the American people to come together and share their common creed. The day for a nation of immigrants and the sons and daughters of immigrants to celebrate their common heritage as Americans. Most countries are centered on an ethnicity, a religion, or DNA, but not America. The United States is the melting pot of the world adapting its culture from throughout the globe. The 4th of July – a day for fireworks and parades, the Flag, patriotic music, a day for BBQ’s and hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, soda and beer. Joey Chestnut again won the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Competition, gulping down a record 76 hot dogs. The 4th of July – celebrating independence and personal freedom, protected by the Bill of Rights. The 4th of July – not so much this year. The nation is under attack from within from those canceling the heritage of America either out of hatred for America or with the goal of creating a new nation built on utopian fantasy. America has experienced the rapid rise of cancel culture since the George Floyd killing. The founding fathers, the visionaries of a democracy when none existed in the world, have been cancelled, their monuments trashed and discarded. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln – all defiled and deviled. Anyone associated at any time with slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism must be erased a la George Orwell’s 1984 from American history. The cancellation of American history and culture will leave a tabula rasa upon which this new, woke intolerant society can be built. Our children and college students are being taught America was and is built on oppression enforced through the military and the police. The oppressors? White (males) The oppressed – everyone else except possibly Asian-Americans. The National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union, says “critical race theory” is “reasonable and appropriate” for school children. The NEA then goes farther. It adopted a measure to investigate opponents of critical race theory and the 1609 Project and then target the so-called “anti-racism” opponents. The NEA’s political power is based on two facts: 1) the unions are among the largest financial backers to the Democrats and President Biden; and 2) the teacher unions elect local school board members because of low turnout in schoolboard elections. Thus, we see a number of school boards pushing critical race theory into the classrooms. School board members are attempting to cancel the nation’s prestigious academic magnet high schools because they are not racially balanced and thereby lack inclusion and equity. The result is a further discrimination against Asian American children, which goes back to 1850 in San Francisco. Parents are beginning to fight back. Interesting school board elections and recalls are coming up in the next couple of years. Conservatives are muzzled on the nation’s campuses; students are scared to express conservative views. Names are being stripped off buildings and programs, but Brown and Stanford will retain theirs. The National Archives, technically The National Archives and Records Administration, is considering joining the cancel culture movement. The Rotunda contains the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, the foundations of America’s independence and freedoms, for all to see. The Agency’s Task Force on Racism send a report in April. It called the display an example of “structural racism.” It accuses the display of lauding “wealthy White men in the nation’s founding while marginalizing BIPOC (Blacks, indigenous, and other people of color), women and other communities.” The task force is calling for trigger warnings and dances or performances inviting dialogue on the mythization of the founders. The Agency then issued a follow-up statement. The documents are the “cornerstone of American democracy,” but they ‘guaranteed liberties for some, but not all, of the people.” It will update the Rotunda to be more inclusive “of all people who contributed to the nation’s history at the time of its founding.” The American Flag with 50 stars for 50 states is the symbol of the United States of America. The Flag is now divisive for the cancel culture because it symbolizes America.. Two writers for the New York Times view the flag as divisive. Athletes, who are making large earnings from the American economy, kneel during the flag. A writer for the Washington Post says the Statue of Liberty is way too tall. It should radically shrink to reflect history. E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Today it’s identity politics leading to tribalism. Fireworks? Macy's spectacular 4th of July Fireworks, but not Mount Rushmore. President Trump last year in the midst of all the riots and lootings hosted the 4th of July Fireworks at Mount Rushmore as a show of patriotism. President Biden this year in his anything Trump did, I will do the opposite node of government, refused South Dakota’s request for fireworks at Mount Rushmore. President Biden, who promised to unify America, keeps calling America a country of “systemic racism.” Parades? Evanston, Illinois cancelled 4th of July out of fear of Covid-19. Evanston, Illinois held Juneteenth and Gay Pride Parades. The National Anthem? PBS is having Vanessa Williams sing the Black National Anthem along with The Star Spangled Banner at the D.C. ceremonies Happy 4th. The Spirit of America will prevail, hopefully before July 4, 2022.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
President Biden spoke the other day on the rising crime and homicide rates in America’s cities. His advisors have been watching the polls which show the President underperforming on crime and the Border. Thus Vice President Harris also visited the Border, sorta. The good news about his lackluster crime speech is that he quickly breezed through the usual Obama-Biden pablum of gun control, AR-15’s and semi-automatic weapons. He did that a few weeks ago. His speech went downhill from the desultory call for gun control. He had two major proposals for attacking the crime problem. His delivery was pretty diffident. First he wants to go after the gun sellers who illegally sells guns. He calls them “merchants of death.” He warned “We will find you.” An estimated 100,000 illegal guns are on the streets of New York. The purchasers do not go through background checks. The sellers are hardly quivering in their shoes. The second proposal was to allow cities and state receiving the unrestricted Covid funds to use some of the $350 million to hire more police. He said: “This is not a time to turn our backs on law enforcement in our communities.” Tell that to the police in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and soon Oakland, California. The New Oakland City budget, which does into effect tomorrow, diverts $18 million from the police budget “to invest in violence prevention and other programs to deter juveniles from turning to crime.” Oakland has seen 65 homicides so far this year, up 90% from last year. Defunded, defamed, and demonized, Police forces are shrinking thought budget cuts, accelerated retirements and resignations in those cities. The police also know in cities like Baltimore, Los Angeles, Louisville, Philadelphia, and Portland (Multnomah County) that prosecutors are eager to prosecute them, but not looters and rioters, including those who attack police officers. Let’s look at the statistics. Atlanta is about 400 officers short of the authorized figure. The city had 157 homicides in 2020, up from 99 in 2019. Only 73, less than 50%, resulted in arrest6s. Homicides in Chicago rose 53% from 506 in 2019 to 780 in 2020. Chicago witnessed 18 homicides in one night. Homicides were up another 33% and shootings 40% in the first three months of 2021. The Chicago Police Department has shrunk by 3%. New York City’s homicides jumped 45% from 2019 to 2020, 319 to 464.43% in the same period, an increase of 131 homicides. 299 victims have been shot through late June this year, a 54% increase from last year. Homicides in April 2021 totaled 44, up 6 from the previous year. 132 homicides occurred in the first four months of 2021, up 20 (17.9%) from 2020. Shooting interests though jumped to 149 from 56, 166.1%, the previous year. Portland during the first five months of 2020 recorded 6 homicides. It recorded 38 in the same period this year. Homicides in 2020 jumped 82% from 2019 to 2020, from 29 to 53. Portland Police tallied 450 shootings this year from January through May, compared to 200 last year.42 homicides so far this year are on pace to surpass the record year of 1987 with 70 homicides. 115 officers resigned or retired in 2021. They know they’re not wanted by the public officials Los Angeles saw homicides rise 36% from 67 to 91 in the first three months of 2021. Minneapolis, the pioneer in defunding the police, witnessed homicides jumping 72% in 2020 (46 to 76) as the depleted police department saw 100 officers leaving the force in 2020. The city even let the mob burn down a police station in 2020 during the George Floyd riots. New York City touted a billion dollar budget cut for the police. New York City disbanded the 600 member plains clothes anti-crime unit, whose Mission was to ferret out guns. How has that worker out with two shootings in the past month in Times Square during daylight? Philadelphia under its Soros District Attorney Larry Kraemer saw a 30 year high in homicides in 2020 to 498. Over half remain unsolved. Homicide victims were up 38% in 2020 and shooting victims up 39% to 815. Philadelphia has seen 250 homicides as of mid-June this year. 15 shootings occurred one weekend in Philly. Seattle recorded 28 murders in 2019. More were shot in the first 6 months of 2020, a 30 year high for the period. Seattle lost 180 officers in 2020 with 66 more so far this year. The thugs are emboldened -not scared. One shooting occurred in Atlanta as a police car sat outside the victim’s residence. Then there’s the prosecutors who don’t prosecute “low level” crimes, such as rioting and looting. 1108 criminal cases were referred to the Multnomah County District Attorney from May 29, 2020 to June 11, 2021. He dropped 891 of those cases. Many of those arrested in the 100+ protests/riots were back rioting the next night. So too with district attorneys in Manhattan and the Bronx. Manhattan’s DA Cyrus Vance, jr. said his office was overwhelmed by Covid. Yet he is devoting a large number of his staff to preparing a criminal tax fraud against the Trump Organization and perhaps President Trump. It’s all political. Then we have states with zero bail, such as New York, where arrestees are released almost as soon as they are booked – to commit more crimes. We also have the prosecutors who prosecute police officers, especially in Philadelphia and Portland. The victims are mostly in the inner cities, with some gang related. However, the shootings spill out of the poor neighborhoods. Many of the shooting victims are children and teenagers, mothers with their children, a father in Times Square shot on June 27 in from of his family at 5:30PM outsidethe Times Square Marriott Hotel. The city is initiating a $30 million advertising campaign to attract tourists back to the City. They should spend that money on policing. Police are dispirited. Those remaining on the force in cities that defund the police and don’t prosecute arrestees have backed off from making arrests. President Biden’s proposals do nothing to stop the carnage in America’s cities. He’s scared of offending the progressive wing of his party. He will not even speak out against the specific cities which have defunded the police – not one mayor – not one council member. Let us quote Clara Peller on President Biden’s crime proposals: “Where’s the beef?”
Monday, May 31, 2021
Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall election. He’s earned it as the second coming of recalled Governor Gray Davis. He is boring, boring, boring – totally uninspiring! Totally hypocritical second only to Michigan’s Governor Whitmer for violating Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the general public. His dinner soirée with lobbyists at the Napa Valley French Laundry in November. Prix Fixe meals start at $450.00. A contest between California’s Gavin Newsom, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and New York’s Andrew Cuomo for America’s worse governor would be close, but Gavin Newsom would win. Governor Gavin Newsom announced a budget surplus of $75.6 billion, a hundred fifty billion improvement from the projected $54 billion deficit a year ago. An additional $27 in stimulus money is scheduled to come from the federal government, He called it “California’s Comeback Plan.” He calls it “a historic transformational budget,” which sounds like President Biden. He said California roars back. The braggadocio governor exclaimed: “This is a generational budget – a historic budget.” Pie in the sky, manna from Heaven, dropped on California. A Constitutional Amendment in California requires tax revenues exceeding a high level shall be returned to taxpayers. What to do? What to do? The answer is obvious: Spend, Spend, Spend! $75.6 billions buys a lot of votes in a recall election, a little less than $2,000 for every man, woman and child in California. To quote Representative Ilhan Omar “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” stealing the lines from a Puff Daddy song. Spend, Spend, Spend! Buy, Buy, Buy votes. State law require s a refund to taxpayers in the rare times, such as now, that the revenues exceed convoluted formula. The sound practice would be to lower tax rates, but this is California. The public employee unions only support tax increases. Some legislators are proposing more personal and corporate tax increases. Let’s start with the $12 billion tax rebate. The Governor is scared of the recall. He proposes therefore to give a refund of $600 to taxpayers, $1,100 if they have children, to those with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less – roughly 2/3 of California taxpayers. The refunds will go to all qualified, including undocumented immigrants, about the same time as the recall election. He’s proposing $$3.4 billion for free pre-K for four-year olds. Obviously the payments will be sent before the fall recall election. Ads are running: “Newsom is delivering money to your pocket” It continues: “Newsom is delivering money to your pocket. And free K-f for every California child. … Gov. Newsom is just getting started.” There should be a law against blatantly using taxpayer/public money to buy votes, but this is California. The $100 billion change in California’s fortunes came from the demagogued 1%ers, mostly in Silicon Valley. $1 billion to extend Medical to undocumented residents over 65, to come strictly out of state funds. $12 billion for the homeless. $8.75 billion for 46,000 units, which comes to $192,000 per unit. Los Angeles has already blown over $1 billion on the homeless, building. Examples include building 39 tiny homes of 400sf@$130,000 and 2 larger projects with each unit costing $750,000 each. A $1.2 billion bond issue was supposed to provide for 10,000 units for the homeless. The money was squandered. The prevailing wage laws, litigation, and bureaucracy devoured homeless money. Excessive studies, planning, public relations, and lawyers are a constant cost in California government projects. For example, the Governor wants $4.2 billion for the Bullet Train. Voters approved a $8 billion bond with representations of an estimated cost of $33 billion. The new estimate is over $100 billion. The $4.2 billion is technically being released by the Governor from the bond issue. As of now the goal is to complete the segment between Bakersfield and Merced in the Central Valley, the easiest part oof the line. The costs to date greatly exceed the bond limits. Then we have Irvine’s Great Park. The Navy turned over the closed El Toro Marine Base to the city. The County wanted to turn the airfield into an international airport. Voters rejected the airport. Opponents offered the 4,682 acre base as The Great Park with $200 million seed money. The money’s been spent. What’s left is a balloon ride that goes straight up and back down. Billions for local transit and $3.2 billion for zero emissions vehicles to prepare for global warming and rising sea levels. $11 billion for underfunded government pension plans – a long overdue contribution to the underwater pension plans. $1.2 for wildfire prevention. $500 million for grade separations and grade crossing improvements. $5.1 billion for drought, water infrastructure, and climate change. $2 billion for renters for back rent and utilities payments and going forward. The moratorium on eviction ends on June 30. A United States Census Bureau survey in December found 1.9 million living in rental homes were delinquent in their rents. $300 million for traffic fine relief. $1.5 billion in grants for small busines; obviously the ones that survived the lockdown, but perhaps for new start-up businesses. Who knows? $7 billion for broadband access to underserved communities. $1 billion for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Of course, in true political smoke and mirrors. There is no $76 billion surplus. Half of it is restricted to K-14 education, K-12 and two years of community colleges. The state’s K-12 funding will come to $14,000/student. Thus, he’s allocating $5 billion for after school and summer school programs for school districts with high concentrations of under privileged students. That reduces the $76 billion surplus in half to $38 billion. Second, he is drawing $12 billion from reserves and borrowing to jack up spending in the short term. Now we’re down to $26 billion plus the stimulus funds. $53 billion is still substantial. Spend, Spend, Spend! Why not lower tax rates and give back to all taxpayers? His proposed budget is a 33% increase in spending from the current $202 billion. Once upon a time, to quote the “California Dreaming Was Becoming a reality.” Now it in exodus. Once upon a time, not that many years ago, one had to pay a large surcharge to U-Haul to rent a truck to California. The opposite is true today. U-Haul charges substantially more to rent a truck leaving California. The population officially dropped by 182,083 last year. The net migration out of California has exceeded the in-migration for several years, 135,000 last year. California’s population continued to increase until last year because of a high birth rate and immigration, not always documented. Did I mention that Gavin Newsom is also disingenuous and incompetent?
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Thomas Jefferson's 1618 Excised Words From the Declaration of Independence That Changed America for the Worse
Thomas Jefferson has become a divisive figure in American History. We celebrate him because he wrote The Declaration of Independence and its soaring words “All Men Are Created Equal.” We celebrate him because he was outspoken against slavery and banned the importation of slaves into the United States, the Atlantic Slave Trade. The Woke Generation condemns Thomas Jefferson because the opponent of slavery was an ardent slaveowner who repeatedly impregnated a slave. The hypocrite’s actions did not match his words. He also thought blacks were mentally inferior to whites. He opposed the institution of slavery, but sold slaves to raise money since he was continuously in debt. He wrote in 1785 in his book Notes on the State of Virginia: “There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.” He also said: “I advance it therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time or circumstances are inferior to the whites in the endowments of both body and the mind.” All of the above describe the public Thomas Jefferson, who was trapped between three strong crosswinds. First was his lifetime hatred of the institution of slavery. Second was his impecunious nature which trapped him in the plantation society built around slavery. The third was the realization that America was not ready to abolish slavery during his lifetime. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first Southern leaders to oppose slavery. He thought slavery was abhorrent, but in his lifetime only freed two slaves and only five more in his will out of the over 600 slaves he had possessed during his lifetime. By way of contrast, George Washington, George Wyche, John Randolph and other slaveowners freed as many slaves as they could in their wills. His estate sold 130 slaves after his death to cover his debts. He opposed the slave trade, believing the elimination of the slave trade would lead to the end of slavery. The slave trade was banned, but the value of existing slaves rose. Their fertility increased the number of slaves in the United States. He hoped that slavery would disappear over time, but realized land and slaves were the largest capital investments. Every slave reaching adulthood was a valuable asset. Slaves were wealth. The drafters of the Constitution included a ban on Congress acting to restrict the slave trade for 20 years. President Jefferson signed on March 2, 1807 a ban on the international slave trade to go into effect on January 1, 1808, the first time allowed by the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, the opponent of slavery, drafted the Declaration of Independence. His draft contained 168 words that would have changed the course of slavery in America. We read today: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to with another…… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….” Then came a long list of grievances against King George III. Thomas Jefferson’s draft contained these 168 words: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase their liberty of which he has deprived them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.” Whose hands deleted these words? We don’t know, but Jefferson thought it was Georgia and South Carolina. These 168 words, had they remained in the Declaration of Independence, would have forced the drafters of the Constitution to squarely face the legitimacy of slavery rather than entering into compromises masked by circuitous language. A national reckoning would have occurred long before the Civil War. Thomas Jefferson took steps to limit the spread of slavery nationally and in Virginia. His proposed Ordinance of 1784 would have banned slavery outside the original 13 states in 15 years. It failed, but the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 three years later banned slavery in the Northwest Territory. The states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota entered the Union as free states. Thomas Jefferson in Virginia unsuccessfully in 1776 proposed a phrase in the draft new Virginia Constitution which stated: “No person hereafter coming into this country shall be held within the same in slavery under any pretext whatever.” The Virginia General Assembly in 1778 banned importing slaves into Virginia. On the other hand, he approved the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, recognizing the rights of the French and Spanish slaveholders in the territory. The population in the Louisiana Purchase was about 60,000 with half being slaves. The purchase included the future states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma as well as parts of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wyoming Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1795) said of blacks: “Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to whites, in reason much inferior as I think once could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” He further did not believe that whites and free blacks with the end of slavery could live together: “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate that these people [negroes] are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.” He added: “Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; 10,000 recollections by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of one race or the other.” His early proposal was to gradually free the slaves. Existing slaves would remain slaves, but their children would be emancipated, educated and upon reaching adulthood be colonized outside the United States. He wrote in a 1814 letter: “There is nothing I would not sacrifice to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige of this moral and political depravity.” He had great trepidations near the end of his life over the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Missouri was part of the Louisiana Purchase. It wished to enter the Union as a slave state, which would have extended slavery out west. The compromise was that Maine would enter as a free state and Missouri as a slave state, retaining the balance between free and slave states, the North and the South, 12 states each. In addition, no new slave states would enter the Union north of 3630’, the southern border of Missouri. The former President viewed the Missouri Compromise as a “fire bell in the night,” calling it “the knell of the Union. It is hushed indeed for the moment, but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence ….” He opposed dividing the nation into free and slave states. The prescient President recognized in a 1820 letter to John Holmes “a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him or safely let him go.” The general, but nor unanimous, consensus today, supported by DNA, is that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings children. His personal relationship with his slave Sally Hemings adds to his disgrace. He was not the first nor the last planter to have sexual relations with a slave. Indeed, John Wayles, his father-in-law, was not only the father of his wife Martha Wayles, but also of Sarah Hemings, the half-sister of Martha. Sally’s enslaved mother, Betty, was, depending on the reports, either a full-blooded slave or mulatto. Sally gave birth to six children by Thomas Jefferson, four of whom survived to adulthood. Her children by the President were either three quarters or 7/8 white. They were still slaves! Thomas Jefferson was locked into, in a sense enslaved, by slavery for financial reasons. One skill he lacked was sound financial management. Debt was a constant problem because the income from Montecito did not cover his expenses. He inherited 11,000 acres, 135 slaves and $4,000 in debt from his father-in-law in 1757. He sold half the land and several slaves to cover the debt, but debt was a recurring problem for him. Virginia recognized slaves as chattels with value. Thomas Jefferson mortgaged 52 slaves and pledged an additional 98 slaves as collateral security for personal loans. His estate was over $107,000 ($2 million in current dollars) in debt. Debts legally had to be paid before assets distributed. The estate sold 130 slaves to pay off the debt. Thomas Jefferson’s problem, and America’s heritage, is that be abhorred slavery throughout his adult life, but was personally locked into slaveholding for economic reasons. He recognized as a politician that the country was not ready to abolish slavery, so he abandoned efforts to end it. The Philadelphia Association for the Abolition of Slavery was founded on April 14, 1775. 17 of the first 24 regular attendees were Quakers. Benjamin Franklin, once owner of three slaves, was elected president of the society in 1785. He petitioned Congress in 1790 to ban slavery. The petition went nowhere. The north eastern states, excluding the border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri gradually phased out slavery prior to the Civil War joining the Midwest states. The United States had 19 Free States and 15 Slave Trades at the onset of the Civil War. The nation was essentially split along the Mason Dixon Line. The North was growing in population and building an industrial base while the South remained a plantation economy. The young Thomas Jefferson, the enfant terrible Thomas Jefferson fought at both the national level and in Virginia to extirpate the mortal sin of slavery. He failed, America failed, because America was not ready to abolish slavery. It required a later generation of political leaders, Abraham Lincoln, the new Republican Party, and hundreds of thousands of young Americans dying to free the slaves four decades after Thomas Jefferson’s death. He failed to end slavery, but stopped the Atlantic Slave Trade. His words "All Men Are CReated equal" set out out a marker for the United States. He fought the good fight against slavery, but moved on realizing it was futile in his lifetime to abolish slavery. He continued to speak out against slavery.
Monday, May 10, 2021
Inflation is Rearing Its Ugly Head The annual inflation rate was 1.4% in January, 1.7% in February, and 2.6% in March. The Producer Price Index measuring wholesale prices rose 4.2%. The trend line is ominous. Financial sages are warning us. Warren Buffett said at his annual meeting “We are seeing substantial inflation…. We are raising prices. People are raising prices to us, and it’s being accepted.” Sam Zell, the legendary 79 year-old billionaire Chicago “grave dancer,” is known for buying troubled real estate, holding and developing, and then often selling at a high profit. He is now hedging with gold – for the first time. He sees inflation everywhere. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned in March of the Biden trillion dollar proposals: “The data flow tends to bear out inflation fears. Relative to a couple of months ago, there is much clearer evidence of labor shortage, there are more and more pervasive supply bottlenecks, commodities and future commodities prices are rising …. Housing is on fire, and market inflation expectations are trending upwards. None of these are inherently transitory factors, so to my mind, grounds for concern are increasing.” The CEO of Kellogg’s said “We haven’t seen this type of inflation in many, many years.” The first sign was President Biden’s election. Gas prices started shooting up. California is now over $4.00/gallon and climbing. The rest of America is reaching $3.00/gallon. So much for American energy independence as the Biden Administration is progressively shutting down fossil fuels in the name of climate change. The Biden New Deal is but a varnished crippling Green New Deal. $5/gallon gas near the end of the Bush Administration was devastating to the economy with the Great Recession. It will be again. Oil rose to $65/barrel. Transportation costs jumped 19% in March. Rising transportation costs drive up the price of all products, whether transported by car, truck, boat, train, or plane. Detroit is still dependent on slightly less gas guzzling SUV’s. Corn futures are up 50%. Soybeans up 50%. Chicken products soaring. Seafood 18.7% Grain Turkey products Peanut Butter Pork Paper products: paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, tampons. Construction Materials: lumber, drywall, steel, aluminum Lumber futures 543% since pandemic low. Iron and Steel Resin, pulp Cardboard and corrugated boxes in short supply And computer chips! Food companies in recent years have reduced the size of their products and the numbers in a package, another form of foood inflation. Warnings are everywhere, but in the eyes of the Biden Administration. Jerome H. Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, views price bumps as temporary with the economy reopening. The Fed views the increases as “transitory,” forgetting that price increases get baked into the ongoing base price of products. The Fed and Treasury officials may actually be worried, but they don’t want to admit failure of the Biden economic plan only 100 days into his administration. They are praying behind closed doors that the inflation is only transitory. He’s vowed to maintain interest rates near zero for two more years. He added that the Fed will respond when the inflation rate exceeds 2% over a period of time, which leaves a lot of slack. The rate lagged 2% the past 13 years. The Fed will be reactive – not proactive Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday said: “I don’t think there’s going to be an inflationary problem, but if there is, the Fed can be counted on to address it.” The two major tools of the Fed and government to control inflation are raising interest rates and imposing taxes to drain money out of the economy. Both are devastating tools to be effective. Leftist economists advance the modern monetary theory (MMT) that posits sovereign nations such as the United States can monetize their debts by borrowing money in a fiat currency they control. They can thereby print money without worrying about budget deficits or funding programs. They send the printed or electronic money into circulation at low interest rates. MMT defies basic economic, history, and common sense. Most Americans were not around during the last period 4 decades ago of runaway inflation. President Carter’s 4 years in office were a disaster. 1980 saw a 13.5% inflation rate. The consumer price index almost doubled in 4 years. Banks in 1980 charged a prime interest rate of 21%. Short term interest rates were 18% in March. The Fed’s prime rate reached14%. Mortgage lending collapsed. Today’s mortgage rates are inching back up to 3%, a far cry we faced in May 1980 in buying a house. We were quoted 15½% with 4 points. Fortunately the bank lowered it to 14% and 1 point the day before closing. We refinanced later. Fed Chair Paul Volcker and President Reagan tamed the inflation monster 4 decades ago, but the Biden Administration is risking unleashing it onto the American people. The lessons of 40 years ago have been forgotten or more likely never learned by today’s leftists. The Fed does not control interest rates. The market controls interest. The hubris of the Fed is that it controls interest rates. The federal government went deeply in debt over the past 12 years. The federal debt was $9.2 trillion in 2008 at the end of the George W. Bush Presidency. It tripled to $28 trillion after 12 Obama-Trump years. The estimated deficit for this year is $2.3 trillion, not including the next $4 trillion in Biden spending. Debt has a cost. The federal government borrowed money to pay $345 billion in interest last year, 1.66% of the nation’s gross national product. The debt and interest payments compound. Inflation is a hidden tax which falls most heavily on the poor. The $6 trillion Biden spending coupled with the Trump payouts are popular. Money, money, money! America is on a sugar high! Then comes the crash! Parents understand the sugar high with children. Always remember President Obama’s admonition about Joe Biden: “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.”
Saturday, May 8, 2021
I noticed in the past two weeks one cashier with long lines at an Albertsons, zero cashiers at a Target and only one at another, and two cashiers at a crowded Walmart. What happened to 3 or more in line with an announcement additional check lines are opening up? The retailers are funneling customers into self-checkputs. Where, o where have all the cashiers gone? Displaced by the union and governments which profess to protect their interests. Covid-19 devastated America last spring. America was locked down. Pharmacies and food providers, such as grocery stores, Walmart and Target, could stay open. Their employees were in constant contact with scores of people, obviously including contagious patrons, who might be asymptomatic. Management decided to augment employee wages by $2/hour as hero pay. The extra payments continued until June when America started to reopen. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) thought Hero Pay was a great idea. The union represents 1.3 million grocery and meatpacking workers. The political might of the unions convinced several cities and counties to legislate Hero Pay of $4-5/hour for their employees at supermarkets, pharmacies, Target and Walmart. The Union is not interested in Hero Pay for all – only for frontline workers. California is a one-party state with the Democratic Party nominally in control. However, when push comes to shove the unions call the shots in California. The “Hero Pay” and teachers unions not returning to school indicates the power unions have in the California political system. Long Beach’s City Council on January 19, 2021 enacted an ordinance requiring companies with 300 employees and over 15 workers per location in Long Beach to pay workers an extra $4/hour for four months. Kroger responded by announcing the closure of 2 underperforming stores of its 8 Long Beach stores, a Ralph’s and a Food for Less. The company issued a statement: “This misguided action by the Long Beach City Council oversteps the traditional bargaining process and applies to some, but not all grocery workers in the city.” It added: “The irreparable harm that will come to employees and local citizens as a direct result of the City of Long Beach’s attempt to pick winners and losers, is deeply unfortunate. We are truly saddened that our associates and customers will ultimately be the real victims of the city council’s action.” Andrea Zindar, President of UFCW Local 324 with 22,000 workers in Los Angeles and Orange County, called Kroger’s action an attempt “to intimidate and discourage workers.” Both the city and the county of Los Angeles upped Long Beach by going to $5 per hour. Los Angeles City Council members call the $5 a matter of economic justice. The Los Angeles Council wasn’t listening to the supermarkets or the Chief Legislative Analyst who issued a study of the effects of enacting Hero Pay: higher prices, store closures, and reduced employment and hours. Kroger announced the closure of three underperforming stores in LA, two Ralphs and a Food 4 Less. Kroger said the $5 Hero Pay would add $30 million to the payroll over the four months “making it financially unsustainable” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia echoed the “They can afford it crowd;” “Grocers are making record profits.” Los Angeles Council Member Paul Koretz said “They absolutely can afford the increase …. They absolutely should be paying the increase.” The average Los Angeles grocery store worker, earning $18/hour, will receive a roughly 28% pay increase Hero Pay is becoming contagious. It spread to neighboring, once conservative Orange County. Irvine’s City Council voted 3-2 to impose Hero Pay of $4/hour on large grocery stores and pharmacies despite Walmart closing a mammoth store and Albertsons announcing two store closures. Cities imposing Hero Pay include Berkeley, Montebello, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Monica, West Hollywood Santa Ana’s council voted 5-2 to impose Hero Pay on 27 grocery stores, 24 pharmacies, and four targets and Walmarts. Santa Ana Councilwoman Thai Viet Phan said: “These workers have been on the front line since the beginning. And it’s scary for them.” Fellow Councilman Jonathon Ryan Hernandez added ”Hazard pay sends a message that we really do value people.” Not their own municipal employees. Not one of these cities is considering Hero Pay for their employees, such as first responders, healthcare workers, and transit workers, who extensively deal with the public. City councils find it easy to enact Hero Pay for others because it’s not their budget. The idea of Hero Pay should, if politicians were consistent, apply to nurses, doctors, EMT’s, and restaurant workers, but they’re not represented by the UFCW. Coachella extended Hero Pay not only to retail and food workers, but farm workers. The Coachella Valley has 8,000 farm workers, of which 30% are in the city of Coachella. Food retailing is a low margin business. Supermarkets often earn 1% on sales with LA supermarkets netting up to 2.2%. Labor costs in LA average 9.4% of sales, which leaves little margin for error. A 9-10% increase in wages can shatter budgets, leaving three alternatives: raising prices, cutting underperforming stores, cutting employment, and reducing overtime. Albertsons, Krogers, Target and Walmart are not eleemosynary institutions. Companies which do not earn a reasonable rate of return on capital will wither and die. These stores are survivors in cut-throat retailing in which scores of once mighty grocery chains and discounters have failed. The radicals in the Seattle City Council also think $4 Hero Pay is a great idea for grocery workers. Kroger responded by announcing the closure of two QFC supermarkets, issuing a statement: “Unfortunately, Seattle City Council didn’t consider that grocery stores – even in a pandemic – operate on razor thin margins in a very competitive landscape …. When you factor in the increased costs of operating during Covid-19, coupled with consistent financial losses at these two locations, and this new extra pay mandate, it becomes impossible to operate a consistently profitable business.” The Seattle City Council has proven in the past couple of years that it is either ignorant and/or oblivious to economic reality. Trader Joe’s in Seattle raised pay by $4/hour in response to the Seattle City Council vote, but said it would cancel a scheduled a midyear company-wide raise. Large retailers hired tens of thousands of temporary workers because of the increased needs caused by Covid-19. The large workforce will drop as the large retailers readjust. They’ve begun by reducing checkout cashiers by pushing customers to use self-service checkouts. The retailers have calculated the payroll savings offset the increased shrinkage costs (shoplifting). They are also outsourcing, when possible, jobs to independent contractors. The response to the temporary enactment of Hero Pay ordinances is a poor omen of the pending increases in the minimum wage.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Let’s gloss over the historic gaffes and misstatements of Senator/Vice President Biden. Let's ignore the five decade history of plagiatism and self glorification. Let’s go straight to the presidential inconsistences. Where to begin? How about his current pet phrase America suffers from “systemically racism?” Yet, he and Vice President Harris both affirmed Senator Tim Scott’s post State-of-the Union Response that American are not racists. How about his current pet phrase America suffers from “systemic racism?” One alleged manifestation of systemic racism is the “excessive” incarceration of African Americans and Hispanics. Senator Biden sponsored The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the 1994 Crime Act or Biden Crime Law. The Biden Crime Law resulted in high incarceration rates. Both presidential candidate Joe Biden both and President Biden promised to follow the science on the Coronavirus. The CDC now recommends persons vaccinated need not wear masks outdoors. He selectively does saying it’s only a precaution and that it’s “It’s a patriotic responsibility, for God’s sake.” His sense of patriotism includes cancelling the traditional 4th of July Fireworks at Mount Rushmore. President Biden signed an executive memorandum to prevent political appointees from interfering with career federal scientists. That memo did not apply to the American Federation of Teachers influencing and writing part of the CDC Guidelines. Presidential candidate Joe Biden was outraged at President Trump’s anti-Asian shutdown of travel from China. President Biden just shut down travel from India. President Biden said they was no crisis at the Border, but then on April 17 said the Border was a crisis. Oops a gaffe, which in Washington speak means accidentally telling the truth. His staff immediately backpedaled. Then four days ago he blamed the crisis on President Trump for not consulting with him and disclosing information during the transition. Unity. President Biden called for national unity in his Inauguration Address. He is now trying to jam the progressive agenda through Congress on raw partisan votes. The blowback and payback will be vicious. He opposes the Green New Deal by name, but is implementing it in fact.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Reflections a Week Later on Derek Chauvin's Conviction: Can a Trial be Simultaneously Fair and Unfair
The jury took slightly over 10 hours to convict Derek Chauvin on all three counts. What took so long? The video was clear. No extenuating circumstances. No ambiguity. Almost everyone, including hardened police officers, had the same reaction of outrage when they saw the video the first time. George Floyd was murdered. The prosecution tied up every loose end, dotting all the “I’s” and crossing all the ‘T’s.” No avenue was left for the defense. Was George Floyd on a lethal level of drugs which could result in asphyxiation? The experts split, which created a question of fact for the jury. Not that it mattered. Even if George Floyd was “Dead Man Walking,” Officer Derek Chauvin accelerated his death. A fact, which would compound Chauvin’s guilt, was not raised by the prosecution. The story is that George Floyd and Derek Chauvin unpleasantly crossed paths when working security at a Minneapolis bar. If true, Officer Chauvin acted with malicious intent. That was a fair trial with a clear result. Yet the conviction is reversible. Holding the trial in Minneapolis was fundamentally unfair. Derek Chauvin’s lawyers, as is normal, will file appeals. Most of the appellate arguments will fail, as is often the case. Judges are human. They have emotions. They know Derek Chauvin is guilty in fact. However, Judge David Cahill made critical, highly prejudicial mistakes at the beginning. First, he did not grant a change of venue. Second, he did not sequester the jury. The trial never should have been held in Minneapolis. The case cried out for a change of venue. Dr. Sam Sheppard was convicted of the 1954 murder of his wife. The trial was a trial by media with the Cleveland Plain dealer leading the parade. One of its frontpage headlines was “Why isn’t Sam Sheppard in Jail.” A drumbeat of inflammatory, salacious articles appeared in the media. Accusations of adultery were published the first day of the trial. The Supreme Court held a fair trial was impossible under the carnival atmosphere and bias of the trial judge. A change of venue should have been granted in the first trial. Dr. Sheppard was acquitted at the retrial, after having spent 10 years in prison. The new judge called the first trial “a mockery of justice.” The Sam Sheppard case inspired a great TV series and a movie, The Fugitive. Minneapolis did not have a carnival atmosphere. It had murderous riots. Minneapolis blew after the video was released – three day s of riots, looting arson over three days with 2 deaths, 1500 properties lost or damaged, and $500 million in damages. And a police station burned. Everyone in Minneapolis knew it. America burnt: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Portland, St. Louis, Seattle, Washington, D.C. The national toll was 18 deaths and about $2 billion in damages. The Minneapolis City Council voted to defund the police. The city announced during jury selection that it reached a record setting $27 million settlement with the Floyd Family. That was a $27 million highly prejudicial statement of guilt. Chauvin’s attorney asked for a delay when the settlement was released. Judge Cahill refused. He refused to sequester the juror, thereby allowing them to be arrive of the outside developments. They were admonished to avoid newspaper, TV, radio and the internet. Good luck with that. Then came Officer Kim Potter fatally shooting Dante Wright in neighboring Brooklyn Center near the end of the trial. More riots and looting, six days worth and peaceful protests. The jurors had to know. The National Guard was called in: 3,000 National Guard, 1,100 law enforcement. Minneapolis fortified before the jury deliberations. The jurors knew. An acquittal would have ignited another paroxysm of violence, riots, looting and arson. They knew the “house” of a defense witness was vandalized. Barry Brood testified for Chauvin. His Santa Rosa, California “home” was vandalized on Saturday morning, April 17. It wasn’t Brood’s current home. He hadn’t lived there in years. The jury probably knew. The jurors could not have been impartial under the circumstances. Representative Maxime Waters showed up in Brooklyn Center the night before the Chauvin jury verdict. She poured fuel on the fires: I hope we get a verdict that says, Guilty, Guilty, Guilty, and if we don’t, we cannot go away, we’ve got to get more confrontational, we’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.” She said to reporters: “If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice.” The jurors undoubtedly knew of the widespread predictions of more violence if an acquittal verdict was returned. Judge Cahill the next morning in the jury’s absence said in open court: that her words may have given “something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.” He added: “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and the judicial branch and our function.” President Biden said the morning of the jury verdict that he was “praying” for the jury to reach “the right verdict,” adding the evidence was “overwhelming.” We know Derek Chauvin was guilty in fact. We also know holding the trial in Minneapolis was inherently unfair. His trial was simultaneously fair and unfair. One final comment. Derek Chauvin should not have been a police officer, much less a training officer. He had a history with 18 complaints filed against. Derek Chauvin was a ticking time bomb ready to explode. Other Derek Chauvins are on other police forces. Contracts between the governments and police unions and due process protect the officers in their employment. Bad cops remain on the force until the next George Floyd tragedy.