Is The War With Covid Ending? Nope!

Warm temperatures have arrived, restaurants and bars are open for business, Americans are making plans to travel this summer and the scientists have given us a green light to reconnect with family and friends.

All these things and more have become a reality, but there is a certain amount of reticence that makes us just a bit skeptical that everything is really safe. This essay is about those things that everyone should keep in mind as the war on Covid comes to an end.

Probably the most prevalent thing we have done during the pandemic is wear masks. Just about everybody was masked for the last year or so. We really couldn’t go into any stores, businesses or schools without a mask that supposedly decreased the spread of the virus.

Now that medical advisers have said masks are not needed any longer, for the most part, are we going to give them up? What are the potential risks? Well, the experts are not sure if having Covid or being vaccinated means we will never contract the disease again. So, you should keep that in mind when you go to a crowded bar, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden or travel commercially on trains, buses, subways or airplanes.

Most Americans seem inclined to get vaccinated. But there are many people who are not convinced the vaccines are safe and effective. Some think it’s all a hoax. Some believe it’s a Big Brother ploy of a sort. Anyway, a percentage of Americans will not be vaccinated. Are they endangering the rest of us? If 20% of Americans do not agree to be inoculated, does the risk of a recurrent pandemic increase? And, if the world does not get vaccinated, are we in danger? Keep in mind many foreigners visit the US annually.

It’s interesting to think about the speed at which Americans will return to normalcy. Will you throw your masks away today, tomorrow, next week, next month or next year? Will you wear a mask in crowded places prospectively? Will you send your children back to school? With or without masks? Will the teachers teach them in person? There are a lot of decisions to be made about how we lead our lives post Covid.

The most informed analysts believe that the road back to normalcy is a long one, even if there is a lot of action now. For instance, if you wash your hands ten times each day during Covid, will you reduce down to five or six times? Will you wipe off the equipment at your gym before exercising? Will you continue to carry wipes to restaurants to sanitize your hands before eating? I suspect most people will continue to be somewhat diligent, although eating inside restaurants seems to be picking up steam.

Of course, there are other issues that must be considered. How about your place of work? Will everyone be vaccinated? Is it illegal to force people to be vaccinated? Will un-vaccinated people be required to wear a red “V” on their shirts? Can you be required to work near an un-vaccinated coworker? Will there still be limited numbers of people on elevators? Can companies demand every employee come to work at the office? Will companies be flexible about stay at home worker preferences?

And finally, there are the federal, state and local government leaders. Will they try to influence how we live or allow Americans to make up their own minds about how much risk they are willing to assume. Or will leaders issue mandates.

But most important, how do we avoid another pandemic that might kill us all? Are we spending enough on research relating to deadly viruses, as compared to research for cancer another types of diseases?

I recommend that scientists spend more time thinking about existential risks to mankind.

The Deadly Struggle Continues Between Israelis and Palestinians

A great worldwide controversy has been reignited as Israel and Palestinians relentlessly attack each other with missiles and rockets. Israel claims that its onslaught is directed only at Hamas and other violent terrorists, while Hamas viciously launches missiles into civilian areas. Both combatants have killed innocent women and children, which in itself is a reason for an immediate cease fire. Note: On Thursday the sides agreed to cease hostilities.

There are greater, more existential issues at stake in this terrible and extended conflict between Israel and Palestine. For Jews, there are over 6,000,000 reasons why they need to pursue their right to call Israel their home. Granted, Palestinians have suffered difficult times and their death toll is great. But those who say that their losses are comparable to the Jewish community are misguided.

During World War II, no nation seemed particularly interested in what was happening in Germany and surrounding countries at concentration camps. Most of the world was too busy fighting Nazis in Europe and the Japanese in Asia. I asked my mother, why didn’t the US come to the rescue of Jews? She said no one knew of the brutality and murderous activities. It was not reported in the press or by government officials at the time, I was told.

When the war ended, sympathetic nations sanctioned the establishment of the State of Israel. It was to serve as a place for persecuted Jews to immigrate to and find a better life. Most thought that Jews had suffered enough, and many still needed protection.

Arabs were not enthusiastic about Jews immigrating into their region. Rightly so, they felt persecuted and abandoned. Over the years, Palestinians responded with violence led by a number of terrorist groups that were funded by neighboring Arab countries. The loss of land and religious sites infuriated Palestinians and their supporters, and unfortunately, it led them to increasing violence over time.

Along the way, Israel considered how to deal with Palestinians in both one state in two states scenarios. Agreement was elusive as Arab terrorists failed to keep promises and to guarantee Israel’s security.

The past is important to Israel for many reasons. Young Jews, who don’t have a vivid perspective of what happened to their ancestors during World War II, have not been looking over their shoulders, even as anti-Semitism still pervades the world. No Jew is ever totally safe, even in this day and age. The plight of the group is far greater than any other minority group in history. And yet, there is little empathy among many younger people and other oppressed groups.

Jews have struggled to survive for thousands of years. The least the US can do is to be supportive of Israel’s right to exist. Of course, this can only be done successfully if Israel is empathetic towards the needs of the Palestinian people.

There is absolutely no reason to think that the conflict between Israel and Palestine will not continue into the foreseeable future. There is great support brewing throughout the world regarding the plight of Palestinians and the treatment they are receiving from the Israeli government.

It’s ironic that Israel’s alliance with the US works against it to a certain extent as we have many enemies. It will take great minds and noble men and women to ultimately figure out how these two groups can live together in peace. But, US support of the State of Israel should not wane in the meantime.

Radical Elements Will Drive Elections

There are several festering political issues which could have a dramatic effect on both the midterm elections and the presidential election two years later.

As a reminder, Barack Obama was handcuffed politically by a change of one seat in the Senate. He lost a filibuster proof majority that completely derailed his agenda.

What are the most important controversies, and how are politicians on both sides of the aisle gearing up to deal with them?

Inflation. It’s been a long time since this destructive economic phenomenon has plagued America. It saps the buying power of average Americans. The outrageous spending affiliated with the pandemic, coupled with a shortage of available workers is wreaking havoc on prices across the board for consumers and distorting employment statistics.

Oil prices have increased dramatically during the past year. Food prices have spiked. Many kinds of building materials have skyrocketed. And, unemployed workers are not responding to demand for new workers as the economy heats up. Many people are holding off taking new jobs because handouts by the federal government are greater than what they would receive in low-paying jobs.

Of note, inflationary pressures coupled with higher oil prices and a shortage of every type of fuel brought down the Jimmy Carter administration in 1980. Americans will not accept lines at gas stations.

Immigration. Biden is attempting to brand US immigration as a kinder and gentler system compared to the previous administration. It hasn’t worked. Illegal aliens misread the president’s message and are flooding across our borders, overwhelming our border officials and cities close to the Mexican border. Even worse, immigrants are being treated like refugees in poorer parts of the world.

The US has been unable to pass US immigration reform because the political parties have different objectives. Republicans want a fair and reasonable inflow of new future citizens, while Democrats are attempting to buy future votes from those who are entering our country illegally. The successes of the former administration have been highlighted by the problems of the Biden administration. Voters are becoming increasingly impatient with the inability to stem the tide of interlopers who are putting a strain on our social and economic infrastructures.

Defending and reforming the police. A majority of Americans are strongly supporting reform of the police but are not in favor of taking away police funding or eliminating departments altogether. Our country cannot operate without federal, state and local law men and law women. In fact, the poorest of our neighbors have the most crime and need for protection.

The war between the ultra-right an ultra-left. If the former president becomes active and influential in the impending elections, Republicans will pay a high price. There is a huge silent group of restive Republicans that don’t have the backbone to tell the departed president to take a hike. Fear of being called out by the former loudmouth-in charge is preventing a complete break with what will happened between 2016 and 2020.

On the one hand, ultra-left socialists, anarchists, spendthrifts, anti-Semites and troublemakers are driving the nation towards the Republican Party. Every day the Squad, a group of four radical, left wing congresswoman, are doing everything possible to guarantee Republicans a victory in 2022 in 2024.

The war against Covid. Progress is being made in the fight to eliminate the flu. But there is great confusion and many mixed messages coming from Biden’s sycophants.  To make matters worse, different governmental and medical authorities are flooding the airwaves with contradictory mandates. This is causing many Americans to eschew vaccines altogether, which will prolong our torment. If the disease persists into voting periods, Democrats will suffer.

Both political parties are playing with fire led by the radical elements of their caucuses. The parties that emasculate the loudest and most destructive elements in their caucuses will likely take control of the federal government prospectively.

US Must Support Israel

I’m sad and disappointed that recent peace advances between Israel and Palestine have been torn to shreds. Once again, peace in the Middle East seems so remote.

It’s difficult for people around the world to appreciate the frustration that must exist among Jews and Arabs in the region surrounding Israel. Both groups have continuously lost land and have been persecuted in so many ways over the years.

Jewish persecution has taken place for several millennia. Time and time again, Jews have been enslaved and forced to move from place to place throughout the world. It all culminated during World War II when millions of Jews were sinfully murdered by Nazis and other enemies.

This tragedy of epic proportions led farsighted Jewish leaders to seek out a place where Jews could escape bigotry and murderous threats. The place is now called Israel. Why not Israel? It has an enormous religious draw for Jews going back to biblical times.

When one group moves into an area occupied by another and the parties have completely different customs and religious beliefs, conflict is inevitable. Beginning in 1948, Jews surged into Jerusalem and environs, built homes, erected synagogues and started new lives.

But what about the Arabs inhabiting the area? Over the years, they have increasingly resented Zionism, the loss of homes in many cases and the religious practices of the interlopers. Soon after, Palestinian Arabs began to rebel against the government of Israel led by the likes of Yasser Arafat.

The similarities between Jews and Palestinian Arabs are ironic. Both are/were nomadic. Both were religious. Both had many sacred religious sites around Jerusalem. Both had land and valuables stolen from them. Both have been persecuted unmercifully. And now, they have been at loggerheads with each other for years, unable to divide up Israeli and Palestine and live peacefully.

There exists great animosity between the Israelis and Palestinians. Both groups resent how they have been treated by others throughout history. Of course, Jewish persecution is much older. One would think that both groups would appreciate the plight of the other and be more tolerant and constructive.

Israel has been called an evil government that treats its Arab neighbors poorly, reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa. In that situation, Europeans colonialized a relatively uncivilized area of Africa and a few white men reigned over the multitude of natives. Ultimately, democracy won out, and the majority took control.

There is a correlation between the hostilities in Israel and the ultimate outcome in South Africa. The ruled class was in the majority and eventually usurped power from the minority government. Overtime, it is likely that the same will happen in Israel and Palestine, where the Arabs population is growing rapidly, and the Israeli population is stagnant.

The US has been supportive of Israel since its inception. The ties between our countries are very strong. Both are democracies. Both are capitalistic societies. Both are strong militarily. Both countries are influenced to a great extent by Jews. The bonds are sacred. Israel would not survive without US support. And, the US influence in the Middle East would be much less without Israel intelligence.

Unfortunately, it seems like it is the world against the US/Israeli relationship. Israel supporters believe that the existence of the country is critical to the security of Jews worldwide. I agree with this perspective. They have a place to migrate to if they ever encounter persecution. Yet, when Israel defends itself from aggression perpetrated by Palestinians, Iran and other Arab countries in the region, the world sees fault in its actions.

The current conflict that has arisen is a perfect example. Hamas, supported by Iran, began to fire missiles into highly populated, civilian areas of Israel. Israel responded by attacking Hamas military installations. Civilians have been killed by both sides, but Hamas is intentionally trying to terrorize noncombatants.

Why shouldn’t Israel be able to protect itself from attacks on its citizens? As usual, Israel, the more powerful and better armed side, is being degraded by Arabs all over the world and by faux peace activists that blame the violence on Israel. This is unfair and unjust. The president was correct by saying that Israel has the right to defend itself. I would question why the Biden administration continues to negotiate with Iran, given that Hamas is receiving money and missiles from the rogue government.

The violence is going to continue until a long-term ceasefire is negotiated. It’s not likely at this time. Provocateurs like Iran and other militant nations must stop antagonizing Israel and providing arms to the its enemies. The US must in no uncertain terms back Israel with whatever arms and political support is necessary to fight existential threats. Israel is our only real friend in the explosive area known as the Middle East.

Republicans Will Obstruct Liberal Initiatives

It’s seems early to think about the 2022 elections, but Republicans are already developing their talking points in an effort to win back the hearts of American voters and regain control of the federal government. An excellent article in the New York Times discussed many of the important issues near and dear to the minority.

Republicans are already attacking Democrats regarding their stance on the following issues: Supreme Court packing, the elimination of the filibuster in the Senate, defunding the police, legalizing the status of immigrants (and open borders) and statehood for Washington D.C.

Supreme Court packing could increase the size of the Court to say 13 justices by confirming four liberal judges to fill new congressionally authorized seats. What happens when Republicans regain control of the presidency and the Senate? Will the number increase to 18 or 20 justices? We should respect the age-old system of nominating and confirming new members in the Senate and not tamper with a system that has worked effectively over a long period of time.

Defunding police departments is not the solution to decreasing illegal and aggressive arrests. Given the number of police officers in the country, there will be bad apples. The number of publicized cases of deadly Black and police confrontations in relation to deadly Black on Black confrontations is miniscule. Where’s the outrage and protest relating to these situations?

Minority communities and all Americans need police protection. But, clearly, cops need more extensive training in the use of deadly force. Renegade cops should be prosecuted aggressively. And all police forces should be recruiting more people of color.

Is the security at our borders and financial well-being of border states less important than having open borders? Why do Democrats want open borders? Is it possible that they want to increase the number of voters who support their candidates? The price to pay for open borders for political gain is too great. There are Americans who need aid, so why allow interlopers to enter the country illegally and use precious resources?

Related to the aforementioned is the Democratic objective of making Washington D.C. a new state, an effort to increase the number of blue states in Congress. Our forefathers believed the nation’s capital should be managed and funded by our federal lawmakers. Nevertheless, residents in the capital initially received the right to vote. In fact, Congress can bestow as much money as they wish on the district.

And finally, there is the Green New Deal. Economists used to believe that America’s access to the capital markets was unlimited. No more. Our government is pushing the limits that America can finance any new project, especially the naïve and extraordinarily expensive proposals to decrease pollution. This situation is exacerbated by the global competition with China. America cannot afford to clean up the entire world alone in the next 50 years.

Republicans have many practical criticisms of their opponents. Trying to “socialize” the country by overspending will result in unfortunate economic turmoil. If conservatives play their cards carefully, they have an excellent chance to win back one or both houses of Congress.

Jobs Not Welfare

Joe Biden is about to restructure welfare in the country. For political reasons, he included a significant amount of money for social needs in the proposed infrastructure legislation. In fact, the welfare aspect of the law is expected to be much greater than the part dedicated to roads, bridges, etc.

The political infighting has already begun. Republicans are saying that the majority is overspending and creating new entitlements that America cannot afford.

Democrats claim their opponents are not empathetic to the needs of poor people. Republicans have no heart, and all they wish to do is keep taxes low even if women and children starve to death.

The reticence of Republicans regarding welfare is dramatically misrepresented by the other side. Virtually all Americans, including conservatives, want needy people to have the ability to feed and house their families. In fact, they are asking why Dems are so anxious to open up our borders and admit millions of dirt-poor people, while so many of our neighbors are living hand to mouth.

It’s dangerous to distill such a huge problem such as social aid down to a few issues, but I’m going to do it anyway.

The first thing to consider is how much further can our country increase entitlements by printing money and/or taxing Americans at higher rates? The answer is that after the spending spree orchestrated by Barack Obama, including a multi-trillion health insurance behemoth, and aid endowed by Donald Trump to fight off the economic effects of Covid, the Treasury and the capital markets are starting to stress out.

Continued spending is going to stymie the economic revival before it has run its course if cooler heads do not prevail. There are still many Americans trying to get back on their feet after months of belt tightening and lost jobs. The stock market is doing well, but it doesn’t represent great prosperity for all Americans.

Increasing the money supply without considering the consequences of doing so could result in a shortage of capital for long term economic growth and may foster inflationary increases. Just as wages are reaching historical highs, they may stop growing if our government is not more frugal in the short to medium-term.

The second issue, which is totally ignored by the left-wing Congress, is the long-term effect on our capital system and society as government pays for more and more entitlements. The US cannot support 50% or more of Americans as they eschew work and stay home. The US cannot offer welfare in perpetuity. There is a limit. The solution is that the US should not offer aid that it does not have a beginning and an end to it.

Except for the unfortunate among us, who have a life-long disability or other issues, government aid should have a time limit. The objective of aid is to give people a chance to pull up their bootstraps and earn enough money to care for themselves and their families. Aid should not be a life-long paid vacation for able body Americans. Once again, I’m not including those with any type of handicaps.

What do we need to do to make this happen? We need better education for children. The more education an American has, the more money he or she will earn during their lives.

For adults, education, or more accurately training, is the road to self in sufficiency. Adults need jobs and must be able to take care of themselves if America is to reach its true potential. Biden’s credit card has limitations.

The most important thing our government must do, after securing the country, is to provide a job to everyone who can work. This includes childcare and training. I’m sure those who are paying higher taxes now are prepared to do so willingly, if the federal government tried to get all Americans into the workforce.

Most people do not want to be wards of the state waiting for a check each month. They want to care for themselves and make decisions for their families, not have lawmakers decide where they should live or what they should eat.