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.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Neither Trump Nor Biden Deserves To Be President Again

"Men in Government must take the wealth they consume, from the wealth that productive men create.  The important question is, What amount can they take safely?" - Rose Wilder Lane - The Discovery Of Freedom - page 52

Just a quick perusal of Biden's proposed fiscal year 2025 budget request released on March 11 covering the next ten years' receipts & projected federal spending shows that he has not paid any heed to Miss Lane's above question - the answer to which has always been the tug of war to see if America slides into becoming a mediocre socialist society or maintains enough freedoms to continue as the envy of the rest of the world.

Biden's budget shows $16.297 trillion of additional deficit spending that keeps federal spending as a percentage of GDP @ well over a record 24% for all of the ten years covered in the budget.  The national debt is projected to grow from the current $34.543 trillion to $52,674 trillion by the end of 2034.  The budget projects real calendar year economic growth between a measly 1.8% to 2.2%, CPI inflation of 2.3% each of the ten calendar years, a civilian U3 unemployment rate of between 3.8% to 4.0%, & ten year Treasury notes yielding between 3.7% to 4.0% annually.

Biden claims deficit reduction because his baseline deficit total of $19.524 trillion is reduced by $3.227 trillion by massive new taxation including such line items as 1) imposing a minimum income tax on the wealthiest taxpayers, 2) increasing the top marginal income tax rate for high-income earners, 3) reforming the taxation of capital income, 4) closing loopholes in estate and gift taxes, 5) raising the corporate income tax rate to 28% & the corporate alternative minimum tax rate to 21%, & 6) increasing the Medicare tax for people making over $400,000 per year.

The above proposed tax increases are made "to ensure the wealthiest Americans & big corporations pay their fair share" in funding 1) expanding access to child care & free universal preschool for low & middle-income families, 2) reducing the cost through subsidies for healthcare & housing for homeowners & renters including building houses for extremely low-income households, 3) providing national, comprehensive paid family & medical leave for working families, 4) restoring & making permanent the American Rescue Plan expansion of the earned income tax credit for workers without qualifying children, 5) expanding the child credit, & making permanent full refundability and advanceability, 6) doubling Pell Grants, providing free community college, & eliminating student loan origination fees, 7) improving healthcare, 8) strengthening public health & improving health outcomes & 9) extending investments in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who is projected to collect an additional $236.710 billion in FY 2025 from the American public.

This from a man, Biden, who over the last three years has presided over the most deliberate purposeful destruction of the American way of life in our almost 248 year history of independence.  

And he is in the process of getting away with it, but before I explain how, I remind the never-die Trump supporters in the readership that you intellectually precluded yourselves from complaining about Biden's spending & taxing plans detailed above because Trump holds the record as the biggest deficit spender for any four year presidency.  No matter how detestable Biden's financial assault on the country has been, it is still second to Trump's deficit spending record.

But the corners that Biden is painting Trump in that I am talking about refer to the skillfully deceptive political sleight of hand that all Democrats excel @ & always with a big assist from the hostile anti-American media.

For instance, on March 12 the Republican controlled House Judiciary Committee finally got their chance to question Robert Hur, the special counsel who had investigated Biden's mishandling of classified documents & wrote a report that found Biden to be a "sympathetic, well meaning elderly man with a poor memory” who exhibited “diminished faculties” & “significant limitations” & that because of Biden's poor condition "no criminal charges are warranted in this matter."  

Now you would think the GOP committee members would have had a field day with this conclusion which Hur was required to explain in his report by DOJ rules.  In short Hur thought that Biden presented himself so pitifully during the investigation, & that he therefore could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Biden knew what he had done, that no jury would find Biden guilty if he acted that way again @ trial.

To be sure, Republicans made some strong points during the hearing - which Hur answered by always referring to his report.  But the report also discussed the Trump case of mishandling classified documents & found on page 250 of the report that "It is not our role to assess the criminal charges pending against Mr. Trump, but several material distinctions between Mr. Trump's case and Mr. Biden's are clear.  Unlike the evidence involving Mr. Biden, the allegations set forth in the indictment of Mr. Trump, if proven, would clearly establish not only Mr. Trump's willfulness but also serious aggravating facts."  

And that opening was all the Democrats needed to turn the hearing, specifically announced by Republicans to question their invited guest, into a very compelling interrogation of Trump's mishandling of classified documents & even more.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D, PA) forced Hur to read the following passage from page 11 of the report: "Unlike the evidence involving Mr. Biden, the allegations set forth in the indictment of Mr. Trump, if proven, would present serious aggravating facts.  Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite.   According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it."

After Dean's nasty exchange with Hur, Congressman Ted Lieu (D,CA) took his turn starting by insulting the committee chairman, Jim Jordan (R, OH), before asking a series of yes & no questions to Hur:

Lieu: In your investigation did you find that President Biden directed his lawyer to lie to the FBI?
Hur:  We identified no such evidence.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden instructed his lawyer to destroy classified documents?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden directed his personal assistant to move boxes of documents & hide them from the FBI?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden directed his personal assistant to delete security camera footage after the FBI asked for that footage?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden showed a classified map related to an ongoing military operation to a campaign aide who did not have clearance?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct justice?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden engaged in a scheme to conceal?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Do you still stand by your analysis? 
Hur:  I do.
Lieu:  In your investigation did you find that President Biden set up a shell company & covertly paid $130,000 in hush money to an adult porn star?
Hur: No.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden directed his lawyer to pay $150,000 in hush money to a former Playboy model?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  In your investigation did you find that President Biden called the Georgia Secretary of State to demand that he quote "find  11,780 votes?"
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Did you find that President Biden devised a scheme to organize a slate of fake electors to undermine a free & fair election?
Hur:  No.
Lieu:  Did you find that leading up to January 6, 2021 President Biden urged his supporters to travel to D.C. & to storm the Capitol?
Hur:  No.

Watching this hearing live I felt that both Dean & Lieu presented compelling points that stalled & overwhelmed the momentum the Republicans had expected to gain from the hearing & actually flipped the focus to Trump's misdeeds from Biden's reality of not having the mental wherewithal to face a court in his own mishandling of documents case.  Democrats relied on what they called a strong State of the Union performance on March 7 to prove that Biden could continue with the awesome responsibilities as president in a very dangerous world.  No mention that Biden had rehearsed the speech for @ least five days & was well rested the night he gave the speech or that any impromptu appearance always confirms what Hur wrote in the report about Biden

In essence, Biden's Democrat House henchmen set the table for the Biden campaign to run negative ads showing special counsel Hur reading Trump damaging excerpts from his report & answering questions that summarize Trump's legal problems that will turn off many moderate Republican & Independent voters.  The fact that Hur is a Republican himself who even clerked for Chief Justice William Renhquist will only increase the credibility of the political assault on Trump.

But the biggest corner Biden is trying to paint Trump in, & really all Republicans, pertains to Biden's flagrant disregard for border security & the resultant millions of illegal aliens who have been dispersed throughout the United States - all entirely Biden's fault.  Biden has concocted a scheme blaming Republicans for not giving him the laws (see border deal below) he needs to effectively do his job @ the border - it evidently took Biden over three years, after all the damage was done, to reach this conclusion.  He blames Republicans' lack of cooperation on Trump's orders to not give Biden a political win on the border issue.  Biden is counting on people forgetting what they have seen on TV every day for the past 3+ years - throngs of people wading across the Rio Grande River & then crawling under razor wire to enter the country any way or anywhere they can.  The problem is that people do have short memories & it is certainly possible that Biden & Harris squirm out of any responsibility for the security breaches @ the open southwest land border that started with Biden's first full month in office & has continued uninterrupted since. 

One of the main problems with the border deal negotiated between Senators Lankford (R, OK), Murphy (D, CT), & Sinema (I, AR), & objected to by Trump, is that Freedom Caucus members (& me) don't believe that Biden would shut the border down if either the discretionary or mandatory activation trigger authorities in the deal are breached [i.e., average of 4,000 or more aliens who are encountered each day (discretionary), or during a period of 7 consecutive calendar days, there is an average of 5,000 or more aliens who are encountered each day, or on any 1 calendar day, a combined total of 8,500 or more aliens are encountered (mandatory)].  These targets have been exceeded virtually every day already.  Congressman Chip Roy (R, TX) - Liberty Score A @ 100% - wants to see Biden enforce border security before signing any legislation that also includes aid to Ukraine.  You can review the bill here with Activations of Authority found on pages 211 & 212.  It would not only paint Trump in a corner if Biden gets away with this - it would be demoralizing to pass legislation only to have Biden ignore it & still not enforce border security but take any money for Ukraine to protect their borders.  The cartels would just smuggle enough human traffic into the country to be just below the activation limits & to the untrained eye watching on TV you would see no difference.  Demoralizing indeed.

BTW:  Democrats have a long term & short term plan for the millions of illegal aliens who have entered the country.  The long term plan obviously is that Democrats think the illegals will eventually vote Democrat.  The short term plan is more insidious - congressional districts are determined by the number of people living in a district, not the number of citizens living there, so as more people move out of California for example, California House Democrats need more illegal aliens to come in to fill those vacancies so that California doesn't lose more House seats.  By sending illegals to California, New York, & Illinois Democrats can hold their seats as productive people leave & maintain their control in these Democrat strongholds.  

To be sure there are other corner painting issues: 1) Trump correctly mentioned needed cuts to Social Security & Medicare in a recent CNBC interview to which assuredly Biden will pounce after saying in the State of the Union speech "If anyone here tries to cut Social Security or Medicare or raise the retirement age, I will stop you," 2) Trump has set himself up to disappoint some on the abortion issue saying he will decide soon where he stands on federal abortion limits while emphasizing it will be a political decision because "you have to get elected" - this after appointing three Supreme Court justices who had known strict anti-abortion positions all their lives & unsurprisingly voted to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision thereby taking abortion out of the federal purview - now Trump wants to put it back, 3) the Covid-19 vaccine was developed under the Trump named Operation Warp Speed & it is an issue like abortion that Trump bragged about - getting the (experimental) vaccine ready for the public in nine months - but as people turned away from the vaccine Trump stopped talking about it also - but you can bet Biden will bring it up to his advantage, 4) as president, Trump led a TikTok ban (only to be legally stymied) but he has recently reversed himself thereby being @ odds with the House who voted 352 to 64 in passing a bill that would lead to a nationwide ban, disappointing the 170 million users, if TikTok is not sold by its Chinese parent ByteDance.

Look for Biden to make the most out of the above position reversals, aided of course by the press.

But regardless of how clever the negative ads & insults are or the demeaning nicknames (Biden's latest for Trump is Broke Don) Biden will use his 50 years in politics to paint Trump in more than one corner - always focusing on the most strategic group - e.g., abortion for suburban women, & people crawling all over the Capitol on January 6 for Independents & moderates.

But the truth is that both Trump & Biden have each proven in their own terms in office to be trouble whether it is Biden's terrible pull out of Afghanistan leaving the Taliban in control that has allowed Islamic State to regroup as evidenced by the 130 people murdered @ Crocus City Hall northwest of Moscow, nominating a woman to the Supreme Court who does not know what a woman is, or choosing a national security advisor (Jake Sullivan) who just eight days before Hamas's October 7, 2023 attack in Israel said “The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades” or Trump violating his oath of office in the worst way possible on January 6.

Neither one of them deserves to be president & it is up to us to find someone who is.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Grocery Store Quiz

It is pleasing to have recently discussed some of the quizzes presented from time to time with subscribers who use them as an opportunity to monitor & participate in their children's education - & even to improve their own education.  One mother told me she wants to make sure she knows how to correctly answer the quiz herself before presenting it to her daughter who is in the eighth grade.

My friend Anne Neal, past president of ACTA, told me more than once that people love quizzes.  And this is borne out in that five of the top ten most read posts on RTE worldwide recently have been quizzes.  The Rockefeller Center Christmas Store Quiz tops the list & the old favorite Water Bucket Quiz is in the top ten more often than not.

So let's try one that is very timely - the Grocery Store Quiz.  I will post all correct answers or alternatively will send the correct answer privately to anyone who requests it if no one gets the right answer to the quiz below.

Grocery Store Quiz

Consider the following graph that shows the changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for groceries, dining out, & all items from January, 2020 to & including January 2024.


The Fed reports that the Grocery CPI was 261.057 for January, 2020 & 327.327 for January, 2024.  If groceries increased in price by 3.78% from January, 2020 to January, 2021 what was the change in price from January, 2021 to January, 2024 of a basket of groceries that cost $75.00 in January 2020?