About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Midterms Provide An Opportunity To Check Biden/Harris Progressive Agenda

Progressivism is defined as a philosophical movement intent on "progressing" or moving beyond the principles and practices of the American Founding.  This movement has accelerated in recent years to not only moving beyond but to tearing down America - our holidays, statues of our history, renaming schools for people we honor, & finding everything rotten with America - the most generous country in the world.  If you don't agree, name another.

Sadly, the Progressives have been able to gin up factions that spread discontent when & where there should be none.  

Teaching critical race theory in schools, starting with telling seven year olds that their parents are racists & continuing the brainwashing right through college with Marxist training that life is a class struggle not a unifying experience of cooperation like in a free enterprise system where everyone is free to rise to whatever level of happiness & satisfaction their talents take them has become the Progressives' standard indoctrination.

The ten most dangerous cities in America have Progressive Democrat mayors.  These mayors work hand in hand with George Soros funded DAs to form the basis of the soft on crime movement where criminals are let loose within hours of being arrested to terrorise communities all over again.  This feeds on itself so that a demoralized police force is seeing retirements & resignations go up while applications for new officers are way down amid calls to "defund the police."  Who wants the police defunded in their communities or neighborhoods?  Who else would you call for help other than the police if you see a violent crime being committed - like in your own house?

We are being taken for a ride by the Biden/Harris administration coupled with a Progressive Democrat controlled House & Senate.  As much as I have come to dislike the Republican Party, the only practical way to stop us from being taken further in a fundamentally bad direction by Biden/Harris is to vote for Republicans in the midterms so that Democrats lose control of Congress.  This will provide a constitutional check on Biden/Harris.

The enduring power of the Constitution is not that it is words on a piece of parchment but rather the structure of the government it created, & particularly the separation of powers, provides an opportunity @ times like this to reign in a rogue Executive Branch.  Midterm elections provide a mid course correction opportunity - & one is needed now.

Subscribers to this blog have told me they are paying as much attention to the midterms as they do to a presidential election because of the importance of putting a check on Biden/Harris.  Left unchecked by an invigorated newly elected Democrat controlled Congress with even bigger majorities means we can't count on Manchin & Sinema to be the last line of defense again.  Eliminating the Senate filibuster, packing the Supreme Court with Progressive justices who ignore the Constitution, & admitting Washington DC & Puerto Rico as states are some of the threats that will be made good if just a slightly bigger Democrat majority in Congress, than we have now, prevails in the midterms.

Biden campaigned for President as a moderate who could unite the country, but he has followed AOC, Bernie Sanders, & Elizabeth Warren to such a great extent, that he is so all-in the Progressive movement that he nominated the first Black woman to the Supreme Court who was so "woke" she could not say what a woman is because she is not a biologist.  Who could think her obvious attempt to hide something during her confirmation hearing will turn out well for America as she sits on the bench of the Supreme Court?

Every Democrat in the House has voted to support the Progressive Biden/Harris administration well over 90% of the time (my Congressman votes with Biden 99% of the time & with Pelosi 100% - sources FiveThirtyEight & Propublica respectively) & it is this lockstep in a fundamentally bad direction that calls for an overwhelming Republican victory on November 8.  Democrats do not deserve to be reelected.

Below is a recent article by Dennis Prager, regular columnist on the Right & Free blog that I subscribe to.  Dennis provides a vivid account of America's societal breakdown that can start to be turned around on November 8.

Parental Authority Is the Basis of Civilization by Dennis Prager

As most Americans now realize, America is experiencing a societal breakdown. This should be obvious to anyone, even those facilitating this breakdown as they openly acknowledge they seek to break down American society.

This is a society that teaches its youngest citizens a suicidal lie: that America was founded in 1619, that it was built on slavery and that even today it is systemically racist. At the same time, it does not teach the fundamental moral fact that every culture practiced slavery — Arab, Muslim, African, Asian, Native American — and usually more viciously (e.g., Arab slave masters routinely castrated black slaves so that they could not reproduce) than in America.

This is a society that robs its youngest of sexual innocence. Teachers — nearly all of them women, the sex that society has always regarded as the natural guardians of sexual innocence — now routinely sexualize young people with discussions of sexual behavior and by having drag queens perform for them.

This is a society that has taken as a given that there are more than two sexes; that has Jewish and Christian clergy sign emails with "preferred pronouns"; that will praise the Disney Corporation for dropping all references to "boys and girls" from its theme park announcements.

This is a society in which refusing to say that men give birth can lead to social banning and the loss of one's job and income.

This is a society that encourages violent crime. It elects prosecutors who allow violent criminals to avoid having to pay bail. Its elites advocate defunding police. It keeps raising the dollar amount of stolen goods that constitutes a felony. In short, America is now a society in which the dominant message to would-be criminals is that crime pays.

This is a society in which fewer and fewer young people are marrying, fewer are having children, and more and are having children without being married, usually without a father in the life of the child.

This all began with the demise of moral authority — and moral, social and intellectual chaos is the inevitable result.

Prior to the 1960s, America had moral authority — God, country, parents, the Bible, teachers, police, and clergy.

Not one of them is a normative authority today.

Starting in the 1960s, each one was overthrown. The '60s motto "Never trust anyone over 30" perfectly embodied this — given that every one of these was older than 30. Soon, teachers were called by their first names and frequently talked back to, even cursed; on college campuses, "America" was often spelled "Amerika," and the flag is now declared a symbol of white supremacy; police were referred to as "pigs"; clergy were rendered irrelevant; the American motto, "In God we trust," was ignored or mocked; and the Bible went from the dominant book in American life to the trash heap of history.

Most important, parental authority rapidly declined.

Moral stability — in other words, civilization — is dependent on parental authority. Once that breaks down, all the others mentioned here also break down.

If you look at the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, you will notice that each tablet has five commandments. The first five are laws between man and God, while the second five commandments govern behavior toward fellow human beings (do not murder, steal, etc.). The first four "rest" on the Fifth; and the second four "rest" on the Tenth.

Taking the second tablet first, the four commandments that precede the Tenth depend on obedience to the Tenth Commandment. When people murder, commit adultery, steal or offer false testimony, it is almost always because they "covet" what their neighbor has — his property, his animals, his spouse.

Likewise, the first four commandments regarding God as the One Moral Authority rest on people obeying the Fifth Commandment: "Honor your father and mother."

Parental moral authority is the vehicle to divine moral authority. That is why the Fifth Commandment, to honor one's parents, is the only human-to-human commandment on the first tablet. It is also the only one of the Ten Commandments that promises a reward — "that your days on the land will be lengthened" and "so that it goes well with you." You will have a long-lived civilization and things will go well with you when parents have moral authority.

Beginning in the '60s, parents stopped telling their children what to do and instead began asking them to do things. Parents became much more interested in being loved by their children than in being honored by their children. Children stopped fearing parents, and parents began fearing their children. Parents became much more interested in their children's feelings than in their behavior.

Today, elementary schools and high schools work to diminish all parental authority. The most obvious example is hiding from parents that their 10-year-old says he or she is not their biological sex. And should a parent tell his or her 10-year-old, "This is not so, you were born a boy and you are a boy" or "You were born a girl and you are a girl," those parents run the risk of having the child taken away from them, not to mention severe condemnation from doctors, psychotherapists and social workers.

One result of the breakdown of parental authority is that we probably have more child-parent alienation than at any time in American history. There are millions of parents whose adult child will not talk to them — many of them because of the way the parent voted (if the parent voted for former President Donald Trump, not if the parent voted for Hillary Clinton or President Joe Biden).

The bottom line is this: when parents don't rule the home, chaos will rule society. And chaos always breeds tyranny. So, the choice is stark — either we have strong parents, or we will have a strong state.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Two Man Profit Quiz

Our contributor who has recently been specializing in quizzes sent me another puzzler that has been going around the internet, as follows:

Two men each put $20 on the table.  The first man gives the second man $30 & picks up the $40 on the table.  Did each man make a $10 profit?

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Biden Avoids Real Issues In Midterm Election Campaign - Will You?

"Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic . . .  But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country . . . They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country . . . But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can: We are not powerless in the face of these threats.  We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy . . . But as I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault." - With the theme that Trump & his MAGA followers are a threat to the nation, Biden opened the 2022 midterm election campaign in a speech, broadcast in prime time, outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, on September 1, with two Marines standing guard in dress uniforms in a formal position taken by Marines for officially sanctioned events or when guarding embassies.

A lot of the thunder from the mean-spirited, bizarre, poorly delivered speech was lost or forgotten the next day when Biden said "I don't consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country" as if someone told him Democrats might need some of the votes of the 46.9% of the national electorate who supported Trump in 2020.

The speech got off to a bad start with me literally in the first five seconds when Biden coughed into his hand while asking the audience to be seated. The red light backdrop resembled hell with the aforementioned Marines standing guard.  See below.  

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Although Biden provided plenty of criticism of Trump & his followers he offered only generalities for Democrat programs & never mentioned the pressing issues of the day.  See FNC graphic below.

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Biden also did not mention specifics of his just passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) like spending $80 billion to hire new IRS agents whose main function will be to audit taxpayers or the new corporate Alternative Minimum Tax, where corporations pay 21% of taxable income or 15% of the income reported on financial documents, whichever is more.

Over the months Biden has blamed inflation on "Putin's War," but a quick check of the graph below shows that inflation started right after Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline the first day he took office & "Putin's War" did not start until over a year later on February 24, 2022.

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Biden also has come in the past two months to point out inflation is no more because the month over month inflation has been "zero" or "an inch" respectively.

He is wrong about that.  Actually the index (CPI) reached its top in June @ 296.311.  It was 296.276 in July & 296.171 in August meaning that someone (a typical urban consumer in the CPI parlance) whose personal consumption mirrored exactly the categories & weighings used to construct the CPI actually saw prices go down the past two months.  But they would still be paying $1.29 more per gallon of gasoline than when Biden took office ($3.77 vs. $2.48 or 52.0% more) & 49 cents more than a year ago ($3.77 vs. $3.28 or 14.9% more).

This is why it is important for everyone to know their own individual inflation rate.  I'd like to meet the "average" or "typical" urban consumer who would say that the prices they paid went down the past two months - other than for still sky high gasoline.

But these are details that some aide told Biden about.  The American economy is not based on monthly data like Biden presented but rather is based on year over year changes - people get annual reviews & raises; companies issue annual reports; Social Security cost of living adjustments are given once a year - a special form of the wage price spiral theory; & your income tax return is due every April 15.  Your salary does not increase every month.  In fact, in times of high inflation it noticeably diminishes in purchasing power over the year until you get an annual raise, an arrangement that always keeps your purchasing power behind the inflation curve.  So whether it was 9.1% (CPI increase in June from a year before) or 8.5% in July or now 8.3% in August people are feeling the increases in prices.

See graphic below that shows year over year real average hourly inflation adjusted earnings have declined every month since Biden took office, meaning that wages have not kept up with inflation.  Prices may have stayed nearly the same in July from the month before but real earnings declined 3% from July, 2021.  At 8.3% inflation, the arithmetic works out that people work 12 months to have 11 months' worth of buying power.

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And then we have Kamala Harris saying "We have a secure border, which is a priority for any nation includings ours & our administration."  Phew, what a whopper.

Including the recently released August figures the total apprehensions for fiscal year 2022 to date @ the southwest border are 2,150,639 - the first time the figure has been over 2 million for any fiscal year & there is still one month to go to tabulate all the apprehensions in FY2022.

See graphic below for apprehension figures through July.

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The graphic below shows the total enforcement actions for the nation through August, 2022.  The 2,493,721 figure is larger than the population of 15 states, all but our three largest cities, the total U.S. military, & the active duty militaries of both the Chinese & Russians.

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The above examples of Biden on inflation & Harris on border security are gross & blatant lies that even the least discerning among us should be able to recognize.  

But the Democrats' arrogance has gotten so bold that it has turned to insult.  For instance, after being soft on crime & leading calls to defund the police ever since George Floyd slipped a counterfeit twenty dollar bill to buy a pack of cigarettes - with no shame, Josh Gottheimer (D., NJ)  proposed a bill to fund the police that passed the House 360 - 64.  The purpose of the bill was to provide cover for Democrats who are thought to be vulnerable because of the soft on crime issue.  And in a stunning turn of real vulnerability Ilhan Omar voted for this legislation while her other Squad members (AOC, Tlaib, Pressley, Bush) voted against it.  Omar won her primary in August by 2.1 points (50.3% - 48.2% & a margin of 2,466 votes).  Will Omar just have a scare in a primary or can she be removed from office in the midterms?  It is insulting for Democrats to think that voting for this bill will mean they are for the police & not just trying to buy votes.

Conservatives think that none of the above is appetizing to conventional voters & Republicans like to say Democrats have no issues to run on. 

Republicans were encouraged when Mayra Flores won the special election on June 14 for the vacant seat in Texas congressional district 34 - right on the border.  With only a 7% turnout Flores won by 2,220 votes 51.0% - 43.3%.  Accordingly, the election results of this district in November are the most important in the country.  If Flores & the other two Latinas running in Texas border districts win it will be a watershed event.  If they lose it is another terrible sign for the GOP & America. 

Shortly after the Flores victory in Texas Republican prospects started to change.  The so-called generic ballot suddenly shifted in August to showing Democrats holding on to Congress in the midterms.  See graphic below. 

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Republicans claim that such polls should not be believed & that it is inevitable that a red wave (actually the term they use is red tsunami) is coming in November.  I personally question every poll I look @ but also believe that pollsters are in business to continue making polls for profit so I analyse them from that standpoint rather than just dismiss them when I don't like the result.

In this case we have other evidence that the Democrat vote is picking up steam.

First a statewide vote in traditionally conservative Kansas on August 2 overwhelmingly rejected a Kansas constitutional amendment on abortion.  Kansans voted to keep abortion a constitutional right by a 60 to 40 landslide margin.

Republicans have convinced themselves that the abortion issue will fade as a high priority for Democrats by November.  This seems dangerous.

Below is the actual ballot explanatory statement for the proposed constitutional amendment that was rejected.

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And then there is the 19th congressional district special House election in NY held on August 23 where Democrat Pat Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro 52%-48%.  Trump had won this district by 7 points in 2016 & Biden had won it by 2 points in 2020 so it certainly was up for grabs & really was winnable for Republicans if the red wave was coming.  The previous holder vacated the seat to become Lieutenant Governor.

Ryan had trailed by double digits in several polls before he started to campaign on abortion rights.

Republicans snuffed this out with the same abortion reasoning as above in Kansas & literally laughed it off saying it was no way indicative of what is coming because it was NY, after all.

Lastly, on August 31, the Alaska special election to fill the late Don Young's seat was won by Democrat Mary Peltola over Sarah Palin by 5,240 votes 51.48% - 48.52%.  This time Republicans blamed Alaska's new ranked choice voting system.  The top three candidates will compete again in November once again using the ranked choice voting system.

The June 2 post pointed out that Democrats will squeeze the lemon dry on four issues that draw support even in an inflationary environment: 1) Stricter gun control laws, 2) abortion, 3) Trump, & 4)  student loan forgiveness.

Democrats know that Trump brings out more Democrat voters against him than Republican voters to support him so they want to keep him in the news every day.  Of course Trump is only too happy to oblige with his massive ego that has done him in more than once the past two years.  The Mar-a-Lago feud with the DOJ, restarting the January 6 hearings, & the NY & Fulton County, Georgia legal matters will all ensure that the suburban women, who voted against Trump in 2020, are constantly reminded why they disliked him so much.

The student loan forgiveness issue is one of winners & losers (i.e., chumps who paid off their loans).  Biden must have figured that forgiving up to $10,000 ($20,000 if you received a Pell grant) in student loans is a net winner that will obligate voters to turnout for the midterms to vote for Democrats.  He is working from a pool of 43 million people who owe an estimated $1.6 trillion.  To qualify, individuals must have an adjusted gross income less than $125,000 in either tax year 2020 or 2021, $250,000 if married.

Biden is making this as broad & easy as he can to take the debts of those who incurred it & transfer it to those who don't owe it.

Nearly eight million people may not even have to apply because the Department of Education already has their income data - these people may simply see their loan balance reduced without doing a thing.  The rest can apply in early October online & should expect their loan reduction in four to six weeks.

Payments for those who still have a loan balance will resume in January.  This is not the bad news for borrowers that it @ first appears to be because of a new income-driven repayment plan that could forgive some loans much faster & all loans with much less payments than the current plans.

The proposed income-driven repayment plan caps monthly payments @ 5% of discretionary income defined as the difference between annual income & 225% of the federal poverty level ($13,590 for 2022) up from the current 150% of the FPL.  No one making less than this discretionary income amount - $30,578 for 2022 or about $15 an hour for a full time worker - owes anything.  If you make your monthly payment interest will not accrue (it will be covered by the Department of Education funded by taxpayers) so your loan balance will not increase.

An actual test case I am aware of has the borrower owing $67,000 in student debt while earning $50,000 per year.  This means the person will be required to make twelve $81 monthly payments each year based on 5% of $19,422 ($50,000 - $30,578).  One proposed plan I saw cancelled such debt after 20 years if the monthly payments are made on time.

Working the numbers in constant 2022 dollars, for simplicity, means the borrower pays a little less than $1,000 per year for 20 years toward the $67,000 student loan @ which time the loan is cancelled by the federal government who releases the borrower & the entire debt is forgiven.

In this arrangement the borrower has paid $20,000 over the twenty years & has seen the remaining $47,000 loan balance cancelled & has also seen over $77,000 of interest, @ 4.99% per year, not accrue .  This borrower would have to earn $97,578 per year to pay off the entire $67,000 student loan in twenty years - & again if no interest is accrued.

Now you can do any examples you are aware of but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that $420B will be cancelled from the initial $10,000 forgiveness part of the program ($20,000 if you received a Pell grant) & another $150B from the income-driven repayment plan.

A great percentage of the student loan debt will be wiped out with the above plan so Biden has accomplished another goal of Progressives like AOC, Sanders, Warren, & Schumer - namely to have @ least $50,000 of student loans, including interest, forgiven like the above example does through the backdoor.

Of course this is an open invitation for colleges to raise tuition meaning the federal government can repeatedly do this all over again with other groups of students in years to come.

It is no wonder that lawsuits have already been brought with more to follow.

This post shows that the Biden/Harris administration has not been working on solving the nation's problems - inflation, gasoline prices, crime, border security, & fentanyl smuggling.  In fact their policies have deliberately made these problems worse & really are a continuation of BO's destructive purposeful design to fundamentally transform America into just another mediocre country where the citizens are dependent on the government.  

Biden/Harris present bald-faced lies like "Inflation only went up an inch," "the border is secure," & we have "always been for funding the police."  All of this is to secure votes to keep both chambers of Congress under Democrat control so the government dependent onslaught can continue for the rest of Biden's term.

We must decide if we want to put a check on Biden/Harris as our glorious Constitution provides for elections every two years so that changes can be made if necessary - like they are now.

We never hear Biden/Harris talk about liberty, deregulating incentives to unleash the free enterprise system, or productivity & economic growth that is the basis of an improved standard of living.  Instead Democrats demoralize border patrol agents & police officers while supporting Black Lives Matter & Critical Race Theory being taught in schools along with the 1619 Project.  Democrats discourage enlisting in the military by injecting "wokeness" into the troops' training by emphasising diversity & pronouns instead of fighting readiness so that the Army met only 52% of its recruitment goal for fiscal year 2022 which ended Friday.

Biden/Harris's goal is not to build people up but rather to tear people down by trying to convince young people, people of color, & unmarried women that their future is one of victimhood & that their lives can only improve by voting Democrat so they can partake @ the buffet of the 126 welfare programs identified by the Cato Institute.

There are 11.2 million job openings & 6.0 million unemployed people yet small business owners say finding qualified people is their biggest problem.  There are three million fewer workers today than in February, 2020 - mostly men in their prime working years of 25 - 54.  And almost half of U.S. households currently shortsightedly support an adult child according to WSJ columnist Andy Kessler.  This time off can only result in a lower standard of living for future generations who inherit a less robust economy.  Yet Biden/Harris continue the government handouts that principally cause the degrading humiliating loss of self respect & self worth that these people will surely feel when the gravy train stops.

But there is even more wrong than just this economic picture - something is different this time.  It's like we have moved to another level of self destruction.  Instead of people rushing to help people being mugged or just plain beaten for no reason, people rush to take photos or videos to see if they can get a policeman in trouble. Criminals are emboldened knowing they will be out of jail in hours if not minutes because the Soros DAs will not bring charges.  The ten most dangerous cities in America are run by Democrat mayors.  Think of the safety in NYC under Rudy & Bloomy & compare that to the rampant crime under deBlasio & now Eric Adams.

This will not end well for any of us including Biden/Harris supporters.  It ends with a group of elite Progressives @ the top where the income inequality between the handful of Elites & the people is gargantuan.

What I have described is a dictatorship where the despots use law enforcement (FBI) against their political opponents.  These despots really don't care about the people no matter how much they say & pretend they do along their way to power.  In fact they are already using law enforcement as described & have repeatedly shown they don't care about the people.

Our problems - wages & retirement incomes can't keep up with price increases, school children are taught their parents are racists & America is a rotten country, drug stores are looted in broad daylight because the criminals know they will not be prosecuted for shoplifting merchandise below $950 in value - are preposterous & intentionally manufactured.  

And if the people can't see this after the past two years God help us.