Seventy-Four and Still Counting

Seventy-four years ago, Sylvester and Marie Bommarito gave life to me. I’m grateful for all the love and affection I received while growing up and for my wonderful family today. For my birthday, I have taken the opportunity to reminisce about my terrific life.

During my latter years, I changed my perspectives and priorities. It used to be career success and compensation. Today, I’m focused on my spiritual strength, the well-being of my family, my health and more cerebral literary activities.

I retired in the early 1990s after spending about 25 years in financial services. During my working career, I paid a great amount of attention to “getting ahead.” Unfortunately, I neglected my family to an extent during that process. I had two children with my first wife who didn’t receive the attention they deserved. Tragically, the older one passed away a few years ago. I’m happy to say that my older daughter has built a successful career teaching and caring for children.

When my twins were born 30 years ago, I retired to care for them enabling my second wife to focus on her future. It was a God-given arrangement. I strived to be a better father, while my wife devoted her efforts into becoming a prolific investment banker. Our relationship enabled both of us to achieve our destinies.

Upon retirement and after becoming a stay-at-home dad, everything changed. No longer would I measure my life in dollars and cents. My success was to raise our children and to hone my writing skills.

This pivot caused me to write sixty published letters to the NY Times, author 10 novels and publish about 1,000 essays with Softball Politics. Current events and political drama became my new interests. I measured my success by the responses of my readers to my blog.

My efforts to care for my own physical fitness began a long time ago when I was a young person. I was always interested in sports and played football and baseball in high school. I even earned a letter on the bowling team, believe it or not.

I wanted to play football in college, but instead chose to attend Notre Dame. I didn’t have the physical qualifications to play Division One athletics, so I took up rugby.

I never heard of rugby. But the sport was made for me. It is violent and very much like American football in certain regards. After college, I managed to work out for two hours each day, in spite of many commitments, grad school, the National Guard and commuting to New York from Long Island. I started to do more running and eventually ran seven marathons including five New York marathons, one Big Sur and one LA.

For many years, I’ve worked out multiple times each day. I’ve supplemented walking and aerobic equipment with yoga and meditation. It saved my life when I had a bout with some medical issues and COVID. I have written about the benefits of yoga and meditation in earlier blogs.

One of the greatest activities that my family engaged in was world and domestic travel. It has been an important aspect of our lives. When our twins were 7 or 8, we created a travel itinerary for the next 10 years.

Our trips included every major city in Europe, Japan, Bhutan, the Chinese Olympics, Russia, Turkey, Spain, Germany, Israel, Australia, Hawaii and Alaska. My wife and I worked hard to give our children a cultural cornucopia that enabled us to see the whole world and meet others who live differently than we do.

We also visited many of the great museums in the world bolstering the cultural objectives of our trips. We have been to the Louvre (Mona), the Orsay (Monet), the Rijksmuseum (The Night Watch),the Prodo (Velazquez) and the St. Petersburg Hermitage (La Danse). My daughter was inspired to take Art History in college.

It has been a great ride during my first seventy-four years. Our children are older and young adults. They are building their careers and living away from home. My life has been a dream come true with my wife at my side.

The Wacky House Of Representatives

Several of my readers have been asking me why I have not commented on the whacky events in Washington DC. The craziness involves the election of a new Speaker of the House and the zeal with which Republicans are attacking Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, for a number of crimes.

I was stunned by how narrow of a margin Republicans won the majority in the House of Representatives. It was a nip and tuck election and the new party in power has a razor thin advantage over Democrats. Why weren’t moderate conservatives and hardline conservatives reveling in this victory?

The House operates for the most part with a simple majority. So, if Republicans stood together, they would have control over all legislative activity, and could effectively block legislation proposed by Biden, the Senate or any Representative.

Unfortunately, Mad Dog conservatives [my portrayal of uncooperative Republicans] decided to assert themselves in an attempt to stymie Kevin McCarthy from being elected the new Speaker. Twenty or so Mad Dogs said he is too moderate for the job. Why weren’t all member Republicans overwhelmed with joy being in a position to grind Washington to a halt?

Simply put, the new Speaker and his supporters had to agree to a number of rule changes to get McCarthy elected. Essentially, the Speaker’s position is diluted to a certain extent. Any individual representative can demand a change in the Speaker, one of the rule changes.

Upon some reflection, and while the House was voting numerous times for the Speaker, I thought the Mad Dogs were idiots for not supporting McCarthy and the 91 or so percent of Republicans that supported him. The Mad Dogs were stirring the pot and making all Republicans look bad.

But I changed my mind. The House Mad Dogs versus regular Republicans was in line with our democracy. It was a fair vote. So let it play out. I never thought the rebellion was good for Republicans politically, however.

Then, McCarthy agreed to virtually all of the Mad Dog demands, and still some Mad Dogs didn’t vote for him in the Speaker election. What the hell did the Mad Dogs want? Promises written in blood? So, I reverted to my initial feelings that some Republican Mad Dogs were idiots.

As far as Joe Biden and Hunter Biden are concerned, Congress is in a twitter about several things, some more important than others. Joe neglected to return classified information to the proper authorities according to law. Actually there are two tranches of secret documents in two separate places, so far. Moreover, the documents were discovered days before the midterm elections. The administration wanted to wait until after the elections to disclose the situation. [I wonder.]

Trump also had secret documents and is now being investigated for not securing the documents in his possession. Democrats are talking down Biden’s missteps but screaming for prosecution of Trump. Seems to me both situations need to be investigated with an equal amount of enthusiasm.

Hunter Biden is a wreck. He’s an addict, an alcoholic and he has used his father’s position to get favors from foreign sources. It is illegal to use elected individuals to gain favors for private citizens. If convicted of this corruption, and other crimes such as not filing tax returns and lying to federal investigators, Biden could face jail time.  The story has been downplayed by the Biden Justice Department Department, but Republicans are going to blast through political roadblocks to investigate crimes by the first family. Keep in mind, Trump and Biden could both be running for president in less than two years. Maybe we would be better served to nominate qualified individuals who are not under investigation for felonies.

Since Washington will be in gridlock politically, Republicans are going to keep busy investigating the forementioned items and other bone-head moves by Democrats during the last two years.

The Wonders Of Yoga and Meditation

As some of you know from earlier posts on Softball Politics, I have been practicing yoga and meditation for several years. I was inspired to do so after some medical issues including Covid led me into a place of negativity. I’m sure millions of other people had a similar experience, but I was determined to combat these feelings and once again appreciate the wonderful things in my life.  

As part of my practice, I recently read a truly insightful book entitled “We Were Made For These Times,” written by Kaira Jewel Lingo. It has given me even more insight into my own feelings about life and what lies ahead. It relates yoga and meditation to normal life. [I quote Ms. Lingo many times in this essay. I have not taken the time to reference her comments.] 

Yoga and meditation originated thousands of years ago. Many great men and women have tutored others in the benefits of these practices. It stands to reason that new ideas have been incorporated into the current perspectives over time. Interestingly, yogis and other tutors have not been aggressive pertaining to the benefits of practicing the skills. One must actively seek out expert instruction. Most agree that yoga and meditation can be quite helpful in dealing with the trials and tribulations of living in today’s world. But finding a competent teacher is critical to a great and safe practice.

Change. One of the most interesting and important realizations is that things are always changing. And, most people are taken aback by variations to their daily regimen. We can deal with these moments most affectively by accepting them and incorporating them into our life. A life consists of happy moments and unhappy moments. Simply put, the happy moments must offset the trying times for us to be content. Given the pace of these changes, one must be aware of his or her surroundings and willing to accept what fate has in store for them. 

The author frequently talks of transition, challenging things and the need to deal with them with clarity and compassion. The practice of staying present, being open hearted and accepting changing circumstances are incredibly helpful in dealing with life.

With mindfulness a person can learn to navigate through intense and challenging times and avoid suffering and difficulty. This activity is known as coming home to ourselves, in response to whatever is happening in our lives. We can find this home inside of us and always be safe.

Deep questions cannot always be answered with our minds. We must resort to a deeper consciousness. Huge issues are seeds that we need to plant in the soil of our minds and let rest. Our mindfulness practices are the sunshine and water that the seed needs to sprout. One day it will rise up on its own and the answers to questions at hand will be obvious.

This technique can be exemplified by the following. In anger, you might author a harsh and even spiteful letter. It would be wise to take a day or so to rethink whether to send the correspondence. It is almost always beneficial to sleep on aggressive actions. With a clear mind, one can be more effective and more civilized.

Accepting what is. Transition and change can be more difficult if we resist them and assume they are indicative of something wrong with our life. Life is never a smooth journey. We are always encountering obstacles and unforeseen events. We should accept these moments and attempt to incorporate them into our thoughts. Transition and change are a part of life.

Breathing is the most basic thing we do. It is not a life function that we need to perform knowingly. Yet consciously breathing can be a safe haven where we clear our minds and see things without fear or malice. Stress is a dangerous thing that surrounds us every day. It can be greatly decreased when we meditate with deep breathing. It brings us to the present, the here and now, and enables us to compartmentalize our fears.

Stored consciousness. When a seed is planted in our consciousness in the basement of our minds it lays dormant until watered. If this consciousness moves into the living room of our minds and there’s water, it will sleep no longer. It can be a very pleasant or unpleasant experience.

If a seed of anger rises out of a sleepy state, it can be a powerful energy ending experience. The anger can be a consciousness that overwhelms our lives for a moment or a day or a week. Unchecked, the anger can arise more often and stronger in the future.

Offsetting our anger with mindfulness must be our objective. With one deep breath a soothing feeling can overcome you and can clear your mind. Mindfulness actually leads to transformation and solace when your mind is under duress.

Impermanence. Our lives are continuously in the process of transition. Even if we live in the same place and have the same experiences for very long periods, we are still changing. Impermanence is the key to our existence. Every moment things are rearranging in our lives, and often we are lulled into believing that what exists now will always be. This feeling can cause undue stress. Being seduced by temporary youth is dangerous. We all grow old and eventually die. We must be prepared for impermanence and the things that that occur in this process. Impermanence is not an idea. It is an insight into our constantly changing lives.

Equanimity is a fundamental practice that can help us center and balance ourselves from the mountaintops of our minds as we view all sides of issues that affect us. We should not take sides. We must be patient and wait to see a situation in its entirety. This is a form of non-discrimination, impartiality, letting go and non-attachment. Impermanence gives us a more engaged involvement into the changing episodes of our lives. It opens our mind.

Nurturing the good. Happiness is not the disappearance of suffering. Even if we are in a period of transition and indecision, we still can be in touch with beauty and truth around us. Gratefulness is a powerful way to nurture the good. We must try to be grateful when we experience kindness and good wishes.

Five happinesses:

  • Meditate and pray
  • Exercise
  • Be aware of things we are grateful for
  • Do a random act of kindness
  • Keep a mental journal of happy moments during the day

The things outlined in the essay are difficult things to grasp and make part of our lives. But they will lead to more fulfillment. They are concepts that ages and ages of wise men and women have debated in an effort to give us a road map to of a good life. A perfect life is impossible. We must revel in the good and deal with the bad. Life changes every moment of every day. If you emphasize the good and accept the bad, you will be a better person.

My Holiday Gift List

I have quite a large gift list this year for the holiday season. I hope you don’t think I’m being greedy or selfish. My wish list is very costly. In fact, the ultimate bill for my gifts would be many trillions of dollars.

  • I want Covid to end. I want the torture and suffering from this horrible disease to cease immediately. Millions have died because of mankind’s inability to protect the world from the onset of Covid. This is not going to happen unless resources are directed away from less existential diseases. Scientists and health professionals had 100 years to identify Covid and they failed. For some reason, less virulent diseases gobbled up the lion’s share of research dollars. The battle against Covid should be universal, and researchers should share their findings with others around the world.
  • I want the war in Ukraine to end this minute. I just can’t help comparing the Russian aggression to the Vietnam War. Over 50,000 Americans died and countless Vietnamese lost their lives in an insignificant part of the world in the 1960s and 1970s. And for what? The US had no right to invade Vietnam, and Russia and has no right to bludgeon the Ukrainians. What makes the Russian situation more dangerous is the threat of a nuclear expansion. If this occurs, a Third World War is imminent and confrontation between Russia and the US will become more probable.
  • I want the illegal and immoral immigration encounter occurring on the southern border of the United States to subside. I feel for the hundreds of thousands of migrants who want to move to the US. Most have legitimate reasons for wanting to do so. But, the illegal movement of people across the border is encouraging many more millions to do so and will eventually end in financial hardship and violence. The US must have empathy when creating policies to deal with the immigrants to prevent chaos on both sides of the border and untold disease and agony.
  • I want Americans to be tolerant of each other regarding race, religion and sexual preference. People of color need support to improve their lives economically, politically and socially. It is the obligation of our government to deliver all citizens out of poverty and hunger. Crime and drug abuse are rampant in the greatest country in the world; it is unacceptable. Anti-Semitic and aggressive behavior towards people with different lifestyles must end. Americans must be kind and allow others to live the way that they choose.
  • I want our country to care for each citizen before redirecting funds to other countries. It is criminal that Americans are sleeping on the streets and sidewalks of our cities.
  • I want our government leaders and lawmakers to work together to improve our living standards in every state. A 50-50 Congress is not helpful in dealing with national and international problems. Wasting time and money by politicians in Washington is  something Americans have identified as a real problem; this is obvious in polling relating to the performance of our government. The current political situation fosters endless debate and  bullying in Washington. We must bring new blood into our city, state and federal governments, something that will only happen with term limits.
  • I want a credible plan from Congress to deal with global warming. The situation cannot be solved if America alone builds electric cars rather than fossil fuel cars. Countries around the world must cooperate or our children will suffocate from polluted air. All of the hyperbole regarding global warming on both sides of the debate is not productive. Once again, comity in Congress is the only way to make progress on this issue.
  • I want a national voting system that ensures that every one eligible to vote can vote, eliminates the ability to cheat and is understood by every American. If 50% of the country does not believe elections are fair, our government will falter.
  • I want an educational system that provides our country with trained people to meet all of our needs. Maybe the present college system is too expensive and unable to provide America with business leaders. Think community colleges and job training.
  • Last but not least, I want every American to have the right to free speech. This means that all are able to express their opinions on any issue, without inciting violence.

These bullet points comprise a big give on the part of Americans and our government. And the list is not complete. The world is getting more complex and dangerous every day. We need our best people in government and in business to retain our leadership in the world.

Have a wonderful and peaceful holiday.

It Is What It Is: Accepting Our Fate

The Cambridge Dictionary definition of “it is what it is” is the recognition that a situation cannot be changed and must be accepted. When we face problems with no obvious solutions, humans are subjected to a great deal of stress. If we accept situations that are irreconcilable, our lives will be more rewarding.

The greatest stressful situation is the loss of a loved one. Accepting the new reality affiliated with the untimely passing of someone we care for should be the last step of the mourning process. It is the moment we are ready to move on and once again live our lives to the fullest and not grieve any longer.

Our personal demise is the most traumatic event in our lives. The moments preceding the transition from life to death are usually sad times for the individual who will pass and his or her family. The angst affiliated with passing can be untenable.

We need to spend productive time recognizing and accepting our mortality. It is not something that should take joy from us. But it cannot be ignored as we age and approach our final days, hours, minutes and seconds. It is what it is. Everyone is born and dies.

What should we do as we age and become more fragile? Physically our doctors can cure our minor and even major problems that occur with the passing of time. But often little problems become more difficult to deal with and are not curable. It is these situations that cause great stress to us as we get older.

I believe that stress is a large contributor to the loss of life. It would be impossible to live a life without some hardships and sad moments, but we must not allow these situations to overwhelm the happier aspects of our life. We should compartmentalize our problems. An individual can have several positive moments mixed with several negative moments.

Personally, I have decided to work diligently to decrease the amount of stress in my life having reached the 70s. This effort entails a concerted desire to not let minor incidents upset me for any length of time. It can never be a foolproof effort because life is a continuum of happy and sad moments. Those of us who are able to set aside minor distractions will likely have a more fulfilling life especially in the later years.

After experiencing some debilitating medical challenges, I was in a dark place. Lethargy caused by excessive concern about my health was dragging me into a state of depression. This had a meaningful impact on the people who care for me and who love me. I needed to find an outlet that would enable me to be more upbeat and look at life more positively.

Two of the things I did that helped me accomplish my objectives were to begin to take yoga classes and to meditate multiple times during the day. It has been a wondrous adventure to gain control of my emotions and to reconnect with my family and friends. I am surprised that medical doctors and therapists do not forcefully recommend these practices in cases of minor to moderate depression.

When I informed my doctors of my new life with yoga and meditation, they were very excited and enthusiastic. I strongly suggested to them that they recommend yoga and meditation, especially in situations where life experiences are affecting their patients’ happiness.

A second project, which is a longer term, is recognition of my mortality. It’s not comforting to think about what occurs after death. But since every person who has been on earth previously has been subjected to death, it’s a subject of great relevatnce. The question is how does one prepare for the end of one’s life? This query becomes more relevant to humans when they are in middle to old age.

One thing that many millions of people do to deal with the specter of their afterlife is to pray to their God. I think religion and spirituality are important tools enabling humans to deal with the end of their life. It certainly is refreshing to believe that life after death is somehow similar to life before death. This may be an unrealistic perspective, but it seems to be one of the most common methods to deal with impending death. Being with God in the afterlife is a comforting thought.

I have casually spent time thinking about mortality in a more philosophical manner. What we leave behind is very important. In essence, our legacy is a critical element in determining whether we have led a successful life. Some people think of success in terms of money and power. I think of it as a human being measured by how they deal with problems facing them during their life. It’s easy to be a great person when there are few hardships.

And so, we return to it is what it is. We must accept and deal with events with maturity and strength to live life to the fullest.

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program is Illegal and Unfair

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens, columnists, periodically face off on the editorial page of the New York Times. They are a liberal and a conservative, respectively. On Tuesday, among other things, they debated Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. This proposal is noble in intent but outrageous in cost and unfairness.

First and foremost, Biden has overstepped his authority. “Federal courts have been rightly skeptical of any presidential [money] decision made without input from Congress…” So says Stephens. “It’s an abuse of the separation of powers, an insult to everyone who paid off their loans…”

Collins responded, “We got a generation of Americans who were encouraged to take out big federal loans- often by scummy for-profit schools that never really delivered anything.” Collins indicates that, “Even those who went to good colleges were never given the proper information about the likely future earnings compared with debt.”

Stephen’s retort was that he doesn’t see students who borrowed as victims, rather “beneficiaries who won’t make good on that end of a bargain.” Further, Stephens says “Undergraduates borrow an average of $30,000 for a degree that will raise their lifetime earnings by a half million dollars,” which sounds like a good deal. “This just sounds like a giant giveaway to young progressives who don’t like the idea that loans are things you have to repay.”

During the short debate, Steffens got the best of Collins, which elated me. The most unfair part of Biden’s proposal is that the millions of honest borrowers who paid back their loans, likely parents’ money, get nothing for being responsible. The proposal is a tragedy. And since when is the president solely responsible for the nation’s purse. It’s Congress’s job to appropriate our hard-earned money that gets taxed.

It’s refreshing to think that SCOTUS will likely act with discretion and not allow this unfair benefit to those who are able to pay loans back through hard work.

Perhaps colleges should take some responsibility. They should inform students before they select a major what is the earning power of their choice. Come to think of it, why aren’t colleges assuming some of the financial pain of their high tuitions?

Trump Could Be A Spoiler In 2024

The ultimate political nightmare may occur if Republicans don’t finally put an end to Donald Trump’s reign of terror and latest foray into the 2024 presidential election. The worst outcome is that Trump wins the election. Doubtful. The next worse result is that Trump hurts the chances of a qualified conservative candidate.

Moving forward our country needs effective leaders and lawmakers to deal with the plethora of dangers present in our country and around the globe. We do not need a self-promoting liar who falsifies actions of others and dreams of an autocratic government.

Trump did some wise things when he was president. No doubt in my mind. But those actions were more than offset by his propensity to lie about his contributions and self-aggrandizement. No matter what the issue, Trump would not accept criticism or accept constructive suggestions.

How can the leader of the free world be at war with fellow Americans and even people in his own political party?

I have no doubts that Trump will not be nominated by Republicans in 2024. He does not have the intelligence, honor, empathy, and diplomatic skills to be the town’s dog catcher. A vast majority of Americans know this, so he will surely lose in the general election.

But what might he do to hurt fellow Republicans that have a reasonable chance to be elected president? By stirring up his ragtag group of America haters, Trump could divert votes from a good conservative candidate to himself. This would result in a Democratic presidential victory, the third worst outcome.

Ross Perot split the popular vote in 1992, giving the election to Bill Clinton, over George H.W. Bush. It’s likely that Trump would badmouth the Republican nominees if he morphs into an Independent campaign, as a spoiler.

There are a lot of other things to be concerned about in 2024. If Republicans can win the White House and both houses of Congress, they would be able to cleanup the slate of misguided actions by Biden and his sycophants.

Assuming Republicans have a non-filibuster proof majority in the Senate, they will need to eliminate the filibuster once and for all. If Republicans balk at this ploy, the government will continue to be in paralysis. Of course, there will be blowback from the minority relating to a change in the law.

The issues pressing our government are serious enough to need drastic action. Republicans must nominate someone who is not shy about negotiating across the aisle or across the ocean. Immigration, crime, education, social issues, nuclear proliferation, race relations, inflation concerns and a possible World War all will be on the next president’s agenda.

House Democrats made a smart move by demoting Pelosi and the rest of her leadership team in the House. Republicans should follow suit and get rid of the old white men. And Ron DeSantis needs people who will listen to him if he can rise to the presidency.

The “instability of our democracy” is a canard. January 6 was not as great of an occasion as Democrats claim. It was shameful and scary, but there was no imminent coup d’état. Trump was not in control of the military or any one on the 6th that would have enabled him to control the country.

Our democracy is strong and honored by almost every American, regardless of party affiliation. Donald Trump would like to change this, which is the reason why every person in the country should prevent him from having a soapbox or a position of power on the government landscape.

Mea Culpa. I Was Wrong About a Red Wave.

I suppose many of my readers are expecting a mea culpa from me regarding my prognostications about the mid-term elections. Consider me “mea culpa-ed” (I’m coining a new word).

To be clear, I said there would be a red wave during the mid-term elections. I thought Republicans would win control of both houses of Congress; they are lucky to be winning the House alone.

There were some highlights for conservatives. Ron DeSantis is now the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination assuming we can finally rid the country of Trump, once and for all. More on this later. [Last night Trump said he will run. Ugh!]

DeSantis killed it. He won nearly every voting county in Florida including Hispanic dominated Miami-Dade. His leadership regarding education, COVID and crime were appreciated and rewarded by voters. And, he is young and vibrant, unlike so many of the tired old battleaxes in government today.

When Republicans finally do take over the House, it will be a major accomplishment and ensure that Biden and company will not do too much more damage in the ensuing two years before the next presidential election.

But Republicans must prove to voters before 2024 that they can control the government after the presidential election. They need to have specific plans to address pressing problems, social, racial and economic, more successfully than Democrats. The short comment is that Republicans must provide strategies on how to deal with problems rather than saying over and over that Democrats are unable to govern effectively. Moreover, some conservatives need to turn the volume down on some controversial issues such as abortion and election fraud.

I must say that I was in good company predicting a red wave. I guess the polling that influenced me and other prognosticators is still far from perfect. I’m sure that early voting and the barrage of cocksure talking heads on cable is causing the inaccuracy of electoral polling. And the excruciating delays in reporting election results obviously need to be addressed. Florida is a gigantic state, and it reported final results during Election night, whereas some states are still counting votes and slowing up the change in government in our country.

The interesting aspect of the current electoral situation relates to the other prediction I made. I said that neither Biden nor Trump would win the party’s presidential nomination.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why Democrats would re-endorse Joe Biden. He is too old; he is a liar; he is not in great physical condition; he is not in great mental condition; and he is not viable enough to deal with the rigors of the job, and so on. But mostly, he has not accomplished a damn thing of importance during his tenure and allowed inflation and crime to fester. The only positive attribute of the president is that he beat Trump in the last election.

On the other side of the coin is Trump. I have already commented ad nauseam about the plethora of reasons why Donald Trump should not be in politics, out of sight and out of mind. He is a menace and an embarrassment to our country. He has some good ideas mixed in with the craziness, but he is such a horrible person that he should not even be considered by Republicans.

Trump endorsed many candidates in the midterm elections. If they were successful, he would have taken credit and used it as a steppingstone to a presidential nomination. They were not particularly successful. Of note, Oz and Walker were supported by Trump in their bids to become senators. They lost and Republicans were unable to take control of the Senate.

I’m not a flip flopper and will stick with my guns. I can’t believe either Biden or Trump will get the nomination. Heaven help us if either one does.

Why can’t this nation find suitable men and women to lead and legislate our government?

Don’t worry, I have no plans to become a pollster or a person paid to give political predictions. Who would pay me anyway?

Voting Made Easy In New York

I’d like to congratulate New York City for doing an excellent job with early voting. City officials made it easy to do one’s civic duty.

I reviewed the slate of candidates and the referendum items the night before, and it took about 10 minutes to vote and submit my ballot at the polling station located at the Met. Everyone working at the polling place was organized and knew what they were doing. I thanked several volunteers for their service. It is a well-oiled machine.

I can’t speak to the security of the voting process, but the volunteers were efficient and ensured that I was who I said I was without checking a physical ID. A lady looked up my name, asked me for my address and had me sign. A very tidy process.

I also would like to apologize for having doubts about the voting system since the 2020 Election. This year there were short lines, no waiting and convenient hours of operation before Election Day. I took a few minutes to recall how cumbersome voting has been in the past.

I hope that the other 49 states, Washington DC and the American territories operated without any issues, and they are voting without any fraud.

Talk about American democracy. An efficient and accurate voting system is critical to fair elections. In 2020, there were a lot of accusations of fraud that were unsubstantiated. A group of thugs tried to disrupt the election. I hope that Americans are more comfortable that this vote is fair.

Our country needs to ensure the security and accuracy of the vote. It’s how we pick our leaders and lawmakers. Every year a certain number of elected officials are up for reelection. Every two years, all representatives of the House stand for election. Every six years, senators must run again. And every four years, we elect the president. That’s a lot of voting and it includes every state. There’s plenty of things that can go wrong. There are literally trillions of dollars in play based upon who is elected.

I hope that Americans vote and do it with knowledge of the people running. Having low turnout is a disgrace. The US should have the highest percentage of voters voting in each election. The US has been far from an acceptable showing in recent years.

Several years ago, my family travelled to Bhutan, a country located between China and India and the Himalayan mountains. While we were there, the country voted to change from a monarchy to a democracy. Almost every eligible person voted, in excess of 90% of the population. The polling places were orderly and everyone had to wear traditional garb to cast a ballot. Maybe America should dress up to vote. It might improve turnout.

The NY Times and Softball Politics Expect Huge Electoral Gains For Republicans

On November 8, those who didn’t vote early will make their choices for national, state and local officials. I’d like to announce that the New York Times and Softball Politics are of one mind regarding the elections. This essay will first refer to a Times article on Wednesday and end with an overview of the political landscape by SP.

The Times appears to be giving up on the liberal party in the impending midterm elections. A red wave could be in the offing. In a story titled, “Democrats Say Party Stumbles On Messaging,” the paper used a number of defeated expressions and words in the piece that make it clear what they think will transpire on Election Day. It’s not good news for Democrats.

Here are a few examples.

  • Democrats have failed to coalesce around one effective message with enough time to stave off major losses in the House and possibly decisive defeats in the highly contested Senate. [I suspect the Times is referring to immigration, inflation, education, the economy, crime …]
  • Republicans hammer away [effectively] with attacks over the economy and public safety. [These are winning issues.]
  • Democrats have offered a scattering [and relatively ineffective] shot of their own accusing their opponents of wanting to cut abortions, shred the social safety net and shake the foundation of American democracy. [In the meantime, inflation is decreasing our buying power on a daily basis.]
  • Yet as the country struggles with high gas prices, record inflation and economic uncertainty some Democrats now acknowledge that their kitchen sink approach may be lacking. [Amen.]
  • In the area where victory depends on high Black voter turnout, Democrats worry that they are not mobilizing that constituency.
  • Others say there has been too much focus on abortion rights and too little attention on the worries about crime or the cost of living.
  • Democrats point to an inadequate economic message and inability to [effectively] herald their legislative accomplishments.
  • The truth is Democrats have done a poor job of communicating their approach to the economy, said a Democratic Representative from Michigan.
  • If you can’t speak directly to people’s pocketbooks and talk about our vision for the economy, you’re just having half a conversation.

The article goes on in this vein for quite some time. The fact is that Democrats and almost everyone else believe liberals are on the verge of a catastrophic loss of power that will hurt them dearly in the upcoming presidential election in 2024 [and will enable them to add more conservatives to the Supreme Court].

Now consider SP perspectives.

The inability of Joe Biden to assist his fellow Democrats is not helping the electoral cause. Democratic leaders have called on the likes of Barack Obama and other former Democratic political stars. Biden has even resorted to having Jill Biden make rallying speeches across the country in his absence.

It’s interesting that most of the rhetoric coming from the left relates to a loss of democracy in the country. The continuing strategy of using Donald Trump as the villain has not been successful. Democrats are in power, controlling the presidency and both houses of Congress. In spite of this overwhelming position of strength, Democrats have done little to encourage voters to support for them on November 8th.

Democrats have also worked very hard using the shameful attacks on the Capitol as political fodder. The people involved in the unlawful siege of Washington do not represent the Republican Party in the United States. To say that longtime Republicans are in any way like the criminals who stormed the capitol is a great falsehood and will not be endorsed by mainstream voters.

It’s clear to me that the Democratic Party needs to reorganize and elevate younger lawmakers into positions of importance. The continuing reliance on the likes of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi will not be helpful to the future of the political party. Of course, it should be noted that the progressive tendencies of young Democratic lawmakers has not be well received by American voters.

It’s very sad that we have such incompetent and insensitive leaders currently running our government. From the words of the New York Times above it’s obvious that many in the media are fed up with lies and exaggerations about faux accomplishments by the party. Time and again the president has said we are not in a recession, inflation is subsiding and everything is under control. I beg to differ. We are destined to face more difficult times economically and politically in this country. Not until the right leaders are elected and the old leaders who are incapable of compromise are eliminated, will we have domestic and international tranquility.

In a previous blog, I lauded the bravery and determination of the Ukraine president. Once again, I would like to do so and say that there must be leaders of the same quality in our country who would bring us back to prosperity and security.

Unfortunately, if the Republicans do take control of both houses of Congress, the country is in for at least a two-year hiatus, where nothing will get done legislatively. Joe Biden will veto substantive efforts to improve our economic and political situations. Only after a presidential victory for the Republican Party will our country get back on the right track to being great once again.