US Must Focus On Existential Isses

Do you have a sense that the world is topsy turvy, fraught with crises? There are scores of hotspots around the globe that are causing great consternation that we hear about every day in the news.

Let’s discuss the problems starting with the most problematic and existential.

Certainly, pandemic concerns are number one on the list. To this day, there still are so many unanswered questions about COVID and the other related diseases that have stopped the world in its tracks. We don’t even know whether the pandemic is in decline or whether it’s morphing into new strains of sickness. We don’t know whether you can contract COVID more than once. The only good news is that it appears that the flu is not killing as many people as it did initially. The pandemic appears to be able to morph into a new deadly strain at any moment. Can it still wipe out mankind? Probably.

Many countries that have nuclear weapons have been rattling their swords and threatening a holocaust if they don’t get the attention of others. I can’t believe that Iran and North Korea still pose existential threats to their neighbors and countries thousands of miles away. They, along with other aggressive countries, don’t seem to appreciate that the use of a nuclear weapon could lead to the extinction of man.

Recently, Russia and even China, our two most powerful adversaries implicitly threatened the US with nuclear weapons. Why would either country suggest that nukes are on the table? The angst affiliated with these threats only serve to make peace that much more unattainable.

Putin has illusions of grandeur relating to rebuilding the Russian empire. He doesn’t have the resources or the conventional military might to intimidate the West, and in particular the US. His generals have proven that the army is poorly trained and ineffective. If Russia cannot overpower Ukraine, how could it overwhelm Europe with US support? But it becomes a huge problem when Russia suggests that existential weapons are a viable option. What would the US do if Russia employed tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine? Somebody on our side better be worrying about this contingency. Putin appears to be at his wits’ end.

China, on the other hand represents a power that has unique resources. Of note, it has huge standing army and its interests are focused primarily in remote places in Asia. Money is no object for the Chinese. To make matters worse, the West’s response to the Ukraine conflict has emboldened China into thinking that taking control of Taiwan is a reasonable objective at this time. The indecision in the White House is not helping the situation.

Domestically, the US has dilemmas that are screaming for leadership. It’s incomprehensible that social issues, including gun control and women’s rights are overwhelming our leaders.

Please understand, the decades old problems affiliated with improper use of weapons is an important issue that involves the deaths of thousands each year. The recent tragedies involving domestic terrorism are critical and must be addressed immediately. But the  impact of a possible nuclear war in Europe trumps all else.

Similarly, women have been fighting for equal rights too long but, the country is about equally split relating to women birth rights. This controversy is still light years away from resolution, whereas crime on the streets and aggression by our enemies are more immediate concerns.

Further, the humanitarian crisis along our southern border is eroding the country. From my perspective, I cannot believe that stopping an incursion of millions of illegals is not among the highest priority of our nation. The interlopers are materially affecting our social traditions, using resources that should be available to needy Americans, opening the US to much more disease and subjecting the authorities to greater amounts of crime.

It has become evident that the unwise enactment of entitlements has had a horrendous impact on our nation’s financial condition. Inflation is moving higher at a frightening pace eroding buying power, in great part due to the actions and legislation being enacted for social purposes. It’s time to take account and moderate the outflow of money for social programs.

Crime on our streets is reaching unsustainable levels. Defunding the police was one of the most inane proposals ever. To make matters worse, the supporters of taking funds away from the police are the ones being hurt the most in urban environments. Big cities need a lot of well-trained police protection. By not having it, innocent people will be affected and further traumatized.

The never-ending brouhaha relating to the January 6 assault on the Capitol is a complete waste of time. The offenders on that fateful day should be indicted and jailed. All the effort and money being spent on defaming Trump are a great waste of resources. Democrats are subjecting us to this farce as a way to temper the losses they will sustain in the impending midterm elections.

In summary, our country is not focused on the most important and risky problems. There is a dearth of leadership in Washington. I’m hoping for a grand change in the membership of Congress on Election Day 2022.

Don Corleone and Don Bommarito Reunited

I was working at a Wall Street firm as an intern in the summer of 1969 when Mario Puzo’s amazing book, “The Godfather” was published. I commuted to my job on the Long Island Railroad. There was an outstanding bookstore in Penn Station that was selling Puzo’s book in hardcover. I had to have it.

I looked forward to reading about how modern-day gangsters lived and fought with each other. The book promised to give readers insights into deeply held traditions. After all, the mafia was a very private institution shrouded in secrecy. I’m a second generation Italian but had no connection to the kind of people I would soon be learning about.

While I was waiting for my father at the station, who was commuting with me, I purchased the book. I was very anxious to read about the highly touted story of the Corleone mafia family. When my father saw me with the book, he asked why I didn’t wait for the paperback to be published to save some money. He made no comments about the book’s subject matter and whether it was a stain on our ancestry. 

I told him that I was surprised that he was critical about me buying a book when he was giving me as much money as I wanted on the weekends to go out drinking with my buddies. He immediately apologized and said that he was out of line.  He agreed it was a good purchase, and he wanted to read the book when I finished it. Needless to say it didn’t take me very long to read the tome. It was the best book I had ever read up to that point. The mysteries of the Corleone family along with the life and death moments were very exciting.

The 50th anniversary of the movie is being celebrated this year, and of course I took the opportunity to watch the movie for the umpteenth time. I wanted to make some personal comments about the book to my readers and the story behind it. And in that regard, I also watched a movie which chronicled the events during the making of the Godfather movie. The film is called “The Offer.” I learned that writing the book, then the screenplay, then hiring stars, then filming the picture was fraught with all types of problems; egos and money were at the top of the list. Also, Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola were a team and needed to find a way to work together.

It was very difficult for Puzo to get support for his novel to be made into a movie in the late 60s. The Italian American community, led by a mafia strongman, objected to the characterization of Italians and the showcasing of violence and criminal activity.

Puzo and Coppola, the director of the movie, wanted to convert the book into a script that people would find fascinating. It is a story about a very unique family. The sensitivities about insulting Italians were paramount. Was the book another gangster novel or was it a deep dive into a troubled ethnic family that became wealthy from illegal activities?

Certainly, getting Marlon Brando to play the part of Vito Corleone, and Al Pacino to play the part of Michael Corleone went a long way towards giving the book and the movie credibility.

Earlier this week, I watched the first part of the original Godfather movie again. The opening of the story was the marriage of Vito Corleone‘s only daughter, Connie Corleone, played by Talia Shire. During the wedding, Don Corleone received guests in his private office. They all asked him favors including assaulting some boys who beat the daughter of a neighborhood undertaker and helping a neighbor get immigration papers for his daughter’s boyfriend.

For those that have been loyal to Don Corleone, he granted their requests. It’s a tradition at a Sicilian wedding to do favors for the attendees. The respect and an honor amidst all the sinister unlawful activities was a bit hard to swallow. Brando stroked a cat as he listened to other people’s problems and decided whether to help them. The cat was not part of the screenplay.

In the meantime, there was action celebration all throughout the wedding segment. Sonny Corleone, the Don‘s oldest son and renown ladies’ man, was having an affair with one of the bridesmaids. Luca Brasi, Don Corleone‘s very large and scary henchmen, was looking to thank the Don for inviting him to the wedding. He spent an inordinate amount of time rehearsing his speech. Brasi has a memorable line. He hoped that the first child of the newlyweds would be “a masculine child.”

Suddenly there was a lot of girls screaming. Johnny Fontaine, the Don’s godchild, showed up at the wedding. Supposedly, he represented Frank Sinatra. Don Corleone would do anything to help him in his career, which was in decline. During his meeting with Don Corleone, Fontaine began to whine about not receiving the nod for a lead role in a war movie being produced by a big-time movie producer. The Don slapped him across the face a few times and made fun of his whining and weeping. The Don was going to make the producer “an offer he could not refuse.”

Michael Corleone, fresh from World War II heroics, arrived at the wedding, he being the youngest son of the Don. He was accompanied by his girlfriend Kaye who was not exactly someone you were expected to see you at a mafia wedding. Blonde hair, blue eyes and skinny by Italian standards, she showed up on Michael’s arm and made a big hit with the Corleone family, but not the Don.

The last of the scenes I watched was the one where Tom Hayden, the Don’s consigliere (main advisor), was sent by the Don to try to convince the Hollywood movie producer, a man named Wolk, to give Fontaine the role in his movie. Wolk had some derogatory things to say about Italians. He said he would not be intimidated by gu—s, and he would not give the part to Fontaine.

Cut to the next scene in Wolk’s bedroom. It is one of the most memorable. Somehow the bleeding head of a spectacular horse that cost Wolk $600,000 was in his bed as he slept. Wolk had blood all over himself and started screaming uncontrollably when he saw that somebody cut off his prized stallion’s head. Fontaine got the part, by the way.

I may write more about my feelings relating to the Godfather, but I strongly recommend that anyone who has not read the book or not seen the movie to do it sometime in the near future. It is highly entertaining. Moreover, there are some great lines in the film subsequent to the scenes that I was watching. My favorite one was when one of Don Corleone‘s other henchmen killed a worker who was not loyal to the family. He left the body in a car near a swampy area. As he was about to leave, the henchman told his assistant “to leave the gun and take the cannoli” that he had brought with him.




Children, Guns and Murder

The Uvalde murder of children and teachers will be remembered as a situation in which the police did not respond according to protocol. The incident was not a hostage situation. Initial responders should have entered the school immediately and attempted to disarm or kill the shooter at all costs. If anyone is not prepared to come to the aid of a child threatened by an individual with a weapon, he or she should not be a police officer.

Having said this, it’s almost unfair to criticize someone who is not prepared to risk their own life, even to save young children. But police are supposedly trained to do exactly that. Whether lives would have been saved if the police acted sooner, we will never know.

Murder in schools is not something Americans can ever accept under any circumstances. The value of a life is not easy to quantify, but most agree that the loss of a seven-year-old is among the worst things that can happen in our society.

My heart goes out to all those who were caught in the carnage last week. Parents, other children who were spared and observers will be haunted by the evil that pervaded the quiet little town of Uvalde. And, we, all Americans, should put our differences aside so that this never happens again.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am anti guns and believe our society would be a better place if no one owned deadly weapons. But many disagree and say the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. Practically, it’s folly to think we can become a society without weapons. But there is no place for automatic and assault weapons in my view.

So, we must compromise and find common ground to monitor and limit the number of weapons, prevent children and troubled people from carrying them and ensure that everyone who has a gun understands how to care for it responsibly to make our communities safer.

Radical and demented individuals have an enormous impact on the security of our country. These individuals are motivated by their political beliefs, religion, job dissatisfaction and/or depression. If they are able to acquire weapons, they wreak havoc on peace-loving people.

Looking back to the 9/11 attack, a small gang of terrorists from the Middle East killed several thousand people. They used box cutters to hijack commercial airliners and pilot them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. What was the motivation to engage in a suicide mission and impose such terrible grief upon fellow human beings? If they were alive to speak for themselves, perpetrators would probably say the deaths eliminated heathens and non-believers.

I think it’s righteous to protect innocents, especially young school children. One side of the gun debate blames the proliferation of handguns and rifles for countless deaths. The other side believes that the people who kill are the killers, not the guns they use. Any sensible individual should accept that there is truth in both perspectives.

Millions of Americans own guns legally and care for them responsibly. They resent efforts to make it more difficult to purchase and own guns. These people point out that thousands of people are killed on the streets of the major cities by individuals that own illegal weapons. Why take away the constitutional rights of legitimate gun owners? Shouldn’t our politicians, Supreme Court justices and police focus on illegal ownership of weapons?

On the other side of the coin are those against gun ownership saying that there are so many guns in this country that it is too easy for a person to acquire one and shoot up an elementary school after experiencing an unfortunate moment or event.

There are about 340 million people in the US. On any given day, a huge number of people are having a bad experience- marital problems, money problems, problems with the kids, problems with neighbors. A certain number of people are going to spin out of control every day of the week. The key is to get these people help before they do any harm to themselves or others. The mental aspect of gun control is what needs to be analyzed.

Security for our children is also on the line. Schools must do more to protect them starting with the hiring of more individuals. If they are not armed, what is the sense of doing so? I heard a report that there is over $110 billion of unallocated Covid funds that could be granted to the states to secure our children.

And what about the violence that we are subjected to on the streets, on TV, in the news, in the movies, on our cell phones? Turn on the 11:00 o’clock news and it will always have a story or two about robberies, murder and abuse involving weapons.

Illegal acts should all be subjected to arrest and imprisonment. Cops are currently shy about taking action because some politicians blame police for unnecessary aggressive techniques. Thankfully, defunding of police is a dead issue.

I hope that the latest tragedy in Uvalde will finally have an impact on gun control and control of people who have access to guns.  

Wherefore Art Thou, Joe Biden?

Now that America is deeply engulfed in the primary season for midterm elections, it might be useful to review the significant issues that will likely influence voters.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Joe Biden is going to continue to be lambasted for a number of serious errors; the president is at historical lows for performance regarding almost every aspect of his job. This will hurt his liberal colleagues dramatically this year and should result in many changes in Congress and local governments.

Biden is not responsible for Russia invading Ukraine, but he is the commander-in-chief of our armed forces. The president was slow to respond to Russian aggression enabling Putin and his thugs too devastate Ukraine. This all happened before Ukraine could defend itself with help from the United States and its allies. Many believe that Putin has taken advantage of Biden’s reticence about Russian actions. To say it differently, Biden was reluctant to infuriate Russian leaders even as they attacked a helpless and peaceful country. US leaders must have the courage to meet senseless threats from rogue countries without hesitation.

The result of not coming to Ukraine’s rescue with more armaments was that the country has been reduced to rubble and Russia has annexed several parts of the country. The nation’s infrastructure has been decimated and millions of Ukrainians have lost their homes and have become refugees.

The poor performance by the US government to adequately support an ally will weigh heavily on our country’s relationships with other nations. And, Americans will express resentment of the denigration of our military. We are the greatest military power in the world and must apply it in desperate situations such as Ukraine.

A continuous flow of illegals across the southern border of the US is vexing more than just the border states. With the help of Mexican smugglers, individuals with dubious character are settling down in numerous states throughout America. A large number bring not only illegal intentions, but also sickness and abject poverty. Moreover, they tax the financial stability of those states that must care for them health-wise and educationally.

Is this open border policy an attempt to increase the number of poor Americans for political advantage? Many believe all the millions of illegals that make it across our borders will have a real impact on the balance of voters in our country in the near future as the US gives illegals a path to citizenship and the voting booth. Liberals are prepared to seriously damage many states financially and socially for the support of more voters down the road. More than a majority of Americans resent this diversion of resources to illegal immigrants away from needy citizens.

The woke movement across the country has law-abiding citizens at their wit’s end. Increased violence justified by a warped interpretation of free speech is likely to subside because more people are recognizing that liberals are not the only ones who have a right to express themselves.

Violent responses to relatively minor events are affecting law enforcement, local businesses and Americans who yearn for peaceful existence. Too many woke organizations have gone too far with their demands resulting in sinful justification of crimes against innocent people.

Defunding the police is a dead issue. It has resulted in decreased police protection in areas that need more police intervention the most. This trend is taking place across the entire nation. Eric Adams, mayor of New York City is leading the change. Voters are demanding more protection from all types of crime in the impending elections.

The oil crisis is the most important element causing the spike in inflation. Oil usage to produce many types of products is far-reaching across many industries. Rising crude prices have an immediate effect on a plethora of important and common commonplace purchases of consumers.

The Biden administration was slow to respond exhibiting a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the problem and the complicated relationship between energy and inflation. Fossil fuel reduction is a noble objective, but it must be coordinated so as not to affect commerce worldwide in the short term and medium term. The left’s zeal to dismantle the fossil fuel infrastructure in the country is dangerous to the short-term prosperity of the US and all other industrial countries.

The impact of higher gas prices to average Americans is devastating. A multi dollar increase at the gas pump could very well drive the world into a recession. Biden and Democrats will pay dearly for their pathetic response to this crisis.

It’s difficult to imagine that the Biden administration is even more inefficient than the Trump administration. It’s absolutely true that one hand does not know what the other hand is doing in Washington. Biden sycophants are continuously correcting their boss. The communication between different parts of government is terrible. Even the vice president is frequently befuddled by Biden comments to the press. This disorganization is creating a great problem for our country and is something that is obvious every day on the news.

Even though Democrats control the executive and legislative branches of government, they have been unable to effectively manage the country. There are many splinter groups throughout the progressive party that have their own agendas. This has made effective government unattainable. Senators Manchin and Sinema, both Democrats, are responsible for several initiatives being stopped in their tracks.

More recently Biden said he would use military force to defend Taiwan from a China invasion. This is a change from historic policy regarding Taiwan. On the same day, Biden aides were walking back the comments by Biden, correcting their boss once again. It is inane to threaten China with a face-to-face conflict.

And who could excuse the president for his anemic reaction to the shortage of formula food for infants?  

Considering the errors, missteps, walk backs and ineffective leadership, one can only imagine how Americans will vote in November 2022 in November 2024.

What Can Musk Achieve?

Elon Musk is being analyzed by many people on the heels of his offer to buy Twitter. The man is a trillionaire, supposedly, so friends, foes, competitors, regulators, legislators and ethicists are expressing their opinions about whether the man deserves to hold such enormous power over automobiles, space travel and prospectively freedom of speech.

Regarding automobiles, Tesla is leading the crowd of manufacturers trying to build affordable battery-operated vehicles. It’s early in the game, but Tesla seems to have an edge in the race for dominance on our streets and highways (the stock market seems to confirm this observation). Of course, every other manufacturer is actively working on prototypes that will also replace fossil fuel cars.

The interesting thing about the race to build cars that run with electricity is that they are presently too expensive (prices start at $69,000), there are not enough places to recharge the batteries of the cars and some companies will have to build fossil fuel cars until the changeover occurs years into the future. I doubt Musk will be building any cars that run exclusively on fossil fuel. This is a burden that the GM’s, Fords, Toyotas and Mercedes of the world will likely bear.

Trillionaires can dabble in just about anything they care to. One morning in the last six months or so, Musk woke up and said to himself that Twitter and all the other high tech social media companies are not giving all individuals and companies an equal opportunity to express themselves. And that’s not constitutional.

Moreover, Twitter has experienced some bumps in the road aside from freedom of speech issues, so Musk thought it needed some managerial assistance. And so, he asked himself why shouldn’t he come to the rescue of those being spurned by Twitter, buy the company and give Donald Trump and all Americans an opportunity to speak their mind without being subjected to undue censorship.

Trillionaires all believe they are far superior intellectually and morally than normal human beings. Would the world be a better place if must Musk jumped into the fray and negotiated with politicians, ethicists, philosophers and political scientists about how to properly run a social media company and how to define free speech?

The problem with all this is that are there are several big social media companies trying to convince government regulators and politicians what our citizens can say without the threat of censorship. It’s going to be a real food fight if Musk gains control of Twitter.

When it’s all said and done Musk may or may not move forward on this this journey to offer free speech to all Americans. But his instincts are correct. Free speech cannot be available only to liberals, social activists and woke individuals who are favorites of the liberal media. If one person is denied his or her right to speak out it’s a sad day for America and the US Constitution.

Musk and Twitter

The stakes are very high in the Twitter cat and mouse drama. The stage is set for Elon Musk to take control of the company, and he has already started to solicit investors and bank loans to finance the proposed leveraged buyout of Twitter.

So, what’s good about the proposal, and what’s bad?

Twitter is used by many powerful people as a means to communicate with followers and interested parties. It has become a significant player in the social media world. But, it’s also a platform that gives trolls an outlet to publish disgusting, hurtful and disrespectful messages. It gives any subscriber an opportunity to say whatever he or she wants to say, even to disseminate misinformation. And there’s the knock; the platform must be monitored. Who’s monitoring the tweets and posts made on the service and what are their protocols? This question is the basis of a gigantic freedom of speech controversy.

The existing Twitter has a strong liberal bias. There’s nothing wrong with their left-leaning perspectives unless they use it to boost their politics and opinions, and censor perspectives of others. To reiterate, it’s a free speech conundrum. The prospective new owner, Elon Musk, says he will not censor unless tweets are over a certain line where they encourage violence. We should expect liberal and conservative perspectives to be expressed freely on the platform if Musk is successful.

This all seems like a positive development for social media to offset some of the big players that have a liberal stance on controversial issues. Will the proposed transaction inspire yet another megalomaniac and his sycophants to share his perspectives and minimize others, except that he has a right-leaning viewpoint of the world?

Musk is on a mission to protect free speech in America. His words probably give many a positive vibe. How can freedom of speech ever be a bad thing? But do we really want a quirky, extraordinarily rich man guiding us through the free speech battleground.

To date, Musk has made a trillion dollars running a car company, which could very well be a prototype for electric cars in the future, and a rocket ship company. Is he also a philosopher and a legal scholar? Why should one give this man more power than he already has to control discourse on a monstrous stage? The answer to the question is that he isn’t breaking any laws and he has the resources to buy Twitter for over $40 billion plus.

The New York Times reported that Musk had already secured $7 billion from 18 entities. The group includes some Silicon Valley friends, including venture capital firms. The original capital raised included $13 billion in bank loans from seven banks, $21 billion of Musk’s money and $12.5 billion from a loan against Tesla stock. With the new inflow of $7 billion, he will reduce the loan against his Tesla stock. Funding for an additional $20 billion dollars has not been identified in public information.

Supposedly, Musk has suggested to investors that they may double or triple their money, but a 10 times return would be a challenge. Not a bad return!

Twitter’s annual income exceeds $13 billion and its earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation would potentially hit $6 billion by 2025. This is a bold prediction.

Needless to say, very smart money is chasing Musk based upon his previous successes. But what the hell does he know about managing a social media platform?

One issue that has not been addressed in any detail to this point is what impact a busted deal would have on the economy and the prospects for his investors? Seems to me that if Twitter ultimately fails, the banks and large investors could have a very difficult time. And what about interference by lawmakers and regulators? Will they make it difficult for Twitter in the future to achieve its projections and to expand into new areas?

TRUMP No, BIDEN No

I’m reasonably confident that Donald Trump will not be a factor in the 2024 Election. However, Trump is asserting himself in numerous congressional races throughout the country. What if Trump can convince Republicans he is still the leader of the party and should be given an opportunity to run for president once again? The answer is, it would be an unmitigated disaster for the country and for the Republican Party.

To clear the air, I should note that I did not vote for either Clinton or Trump in 2016 or Biden or Trump in 2020. In fact, I have continuously badmouthed the former president, and the current president. Nevertheless, there are a number of conservatives who are thinking about supporting Trump. Immigration, crime, claims that Trump was robbed in the last election are strong subjects for the former president to discuss.

I really believe that, at most, Trump will have some influence in the Republican primaries over conservative contenders who are frightened by him. I’ve stated that Trump will be a ghost in 2024, on this blog. But Fox News talking heads are selling Trump once again, incredibly, as the anti-Biden candidate. The truth is that both men are incompetent, untruthful, too old and downright harmful to our democracy. It is these facts that worry me most.

I don’t want Trump or Biden negotiating with Putin relating to the Ukraine crisis. Trump thinks every diplomatic situation is like a real estate deal or buying a casino and throwing it into bankruptcy. He thinks he is more intelligent than all other politicians, a blatant misconception. He is a shyster and accused felon. Biden has no leadership qualities at all. Say no more about him.

So, is Trump going to attempt to steal the presidency? Probably. He will likely use techniques that were employed on January 6, 2020 when Trump encouraged his followers to storm the Capitol and disrupt the election process. I don’t doubt that there was some voter fraud in 2020. But no one has uncovered definitive evidence that it impacted the outcome of the election. Biden was voted in fair and square. Do Americans really want a rebel rouser like Trump as their leader, the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth? Do they want a confused and disjointed administration and inane policies?

These are questions you should ask yourself if you have the slightest inkling that you want Trump to be president. He proved without a doubt, that businesspeople are not great politicians. Trump tried to find qualified people to work with him for years. Most quit. If he wins again, very few super talented individuals would agree to join his new administration.

Donald Trump has been accused of being a tax cheater, liar, seditionist, narcissist and misogynist. The man has no redeeming character qualities. He leads by attacking anyone who disagrees with him. Foreign leaders laughed at him behind his back when he exited the room. Intimidation was his most used weapon.

Trump became president in 2020 because he actually ran against someone who is more despicable than he, Hillary Clinton. Americans were sick and tired of the same old corruption in government. Voting for a businessman was an experiment that didn’t work out.

Donald Trump is not honest, with followers or with himself. He is incapable of making an error and fessing up to it. Do you really want Trump as a person who would decide whether to launch nuclear missiles? Putin and Xi think the man is a moron.

Smarten up Republicans, just ignore Trump and vote for the individuals who will serve you with honor, integrity and determination. It is disheartening to think that Donald Trump is once again dominating headlines for anything other than crimes he committed while leading the country.

The Biden Administration Gets An “F”

In November 2022, Americans will vote to emasculate the Democratic Party. Republicans will ride a red wave and take control of both houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The significance of this event cannot be overstated.

Republicans will immediately assume leadership of the legislative process. President Biden will be unable to find support for his pathetic agenda. Progressive initiatives will come to a screeching halt as Republicans treat the president as a lame duck.

Republicans will likely be stymied for the days until the next presidential election. It’s unlikely that conservatives will be able to overcome a barrage of vetoes issued by the White House between 2022 and 2024. Legislative paralysis will overcome Washington, as Republicans slash and burn down every progressive initiative while simultaneously being blocked by presidential vetoes.

But this will be the beginning of a new era with Republicans in the driver seat because Joe Biden has no chance of being reelected. To make matters worse his party has no viable opponent to face off against the potential Republican nominee (could it be Kamala Harris? Ha, Ha.). Of course, all this becomes moot if Donald Trump is able to reassert himself, which I doubt. I predict the former president will become a ghost after the midterm elections in November.

Just to clear the air, I believe that Democrats are getting what they deserve. They nominated a man with little credibility. He is too old and feeble to lead the country, which has become evident during the failure of every important issue he championed. Ultra-progressives, like the Squad, thought they could dominate the legislative process and the White House. But, Biden legislation proposals were unable to pass, and thankfully so. They would have bankrupted America, if successful.

A new realization has overwhelmed the country. Several huge issues have caused independents and even moderate Democrats alike to question the most important Democratic aspirations. Overspending on social issues at a time when prudence and frugality are needed was the beginning of the end for the Biden administration. What has resulted instead is inflation and even greater national debt pressure on our financial system. Even lifelong Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin saw this materializing. His courage likely prevented a financial disaster in the country.

Joe Biden has failed on every major policy issue facing the country. Let’s review some of the most important ones.

Americans don’t want an open border that allows illegals to wade across the Rio Grande River and to use resources that should go to needy Americans. For more than a year, the wave of undocumented immigrants has caused dissension in borders states and concerns about gang activities, drug smuggling and COVID concerns. Now Biden wants to double down and eliminate Title 42, which gives the US the ability to stop illegals from coming into the United States. Polls indicate that a majority of Americans are not happy with immigration standards at all.

Biden pulled out of Afghanistan prematurely and left US citizens in jeopardy. But mostly, Biden showed that he could not be trusted by our allies to meet commitments made. After all the years, the deaths incurred and money spent, Afghanistan is even more corrupt and dangerous than when the US first invaded it years ago.

During the impending crisis with Russia, Biden has proven that he is not a commander-in-chief. Someone is running the show relating to Ukraine in Washington, but it isn’t Biden. The country needs our support to fight against Russian aggression. We should give the brave people of the Ukraine the resources needed to repel and defeat Russia. The threats of nuclear war are a canard. Mutual destruction has been effective for over 75 years. Russia will not end mankind over its spat with Ukraine.

The COVID crisis is possibly the most frustrating issue of all. There is no consensus among the leaders of our country, the scientists and the citizens. Every group has their own agenda. The edicts from the president, the CDC, Fauci, governors, congressmen and congresswomen, teachers, truck drivers have all been different. The average American does not know what to do to protect him or herself from the disease. Leadership is abominable. I hope the mandate to unmask is the right one, and we don’t have another outbreak of COVID.

Democrats are finally recognizing that they are not the final say on many other important issues. Democrats are not our parents; they serve us. For instance, parents want a say in what their children learn in school especially regarding sexual and social issues.

Americans want to be protected by a strong police presence. Defunding our police and first responders was an idiotic proposal fostered by misguided anarchists.

Free speech applies to everyone, not just liberals. Schools should afford students the opportunity to consider both sides of controversial subjects, not just what the liberal press and liberal teachers forced upon them.

Forgiving school debt is an insult to students who have worked hard to meet their responsibilities and to taxpayers who cannot afford to pay other people’s debts.

And finally, Democrats should spend more time learning about inflation. It occurs when too much money chases limited goods and services. By creating an energy shortage, while trying to eliminate fossil fuels at the same time, Democrats added greatly to inflation in the country.

The current administration gets an “F” from this citizen. I suspect many others feel as I do, and the red wave will overcome Democrat candidates in the next two elections.

What If Russia Employs Nuclear Weapons?

Is the US on the righteous side of history assisting the Ukraine in its opposition to an unlawful Russian invasion? Considering the reactions and rhetoric of other nations to this point, it seems so. But President Biden must be cognizant of the ramifications of providing diplomatic and military support to the Ukraine government.

It’s outrageous that Russia, without provocation, unleashed a vicious and immoral attack on a sovereign nation. In other situations throughout history, deadly force was used in response to illegal actions against targeted nations. Consider the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. Consider the US response to Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s incursion in Kuwait. In both cases, the preponderance of world opinion was favorable about US actions. But, in both cases neither of the aggressor nations had weapons of mass destruction. And so, they were not an existential threat to mankind.

The responsibilities of the US in its response to Russia are far greater in the current situation. The megalomaniac who leads the Russian Federation has about the same number of intercontinental nuclear missiles at his disposal as the US does. It’s unknown whether one man, Vladimir Putin, can literally push the button and effectively end the world. Are there any fail-safe precautions at play in Russia? Does Putin need concurrence of his cabinet or his generals before deploying WMDs?

America and other nations are providing weapons to the Ukrainians that are enabling the invaded to fight back against the invader. There has been no direct contact between NATO forces and Russian forces. Rather, the West has imposed severe sanctions on Russia and many of its foremost citizens. This is a not so blatant attempt to bankrupt Russia. The sanctions will ultimately prevent Russia from selling enough oil and gas to meet its obligations to its people and its creditors, and they will create great economic hardships for the Russian economy and its citizens.

Are these aggressive moves by the West excuses for Russia to directly challenge NATO, and in particular the US? If we were sure that Putin was in control of his mental facilities, the answer to the question is no. But we are not sure of Putin’s mental stability.

This fact creates a whole new dimension to the conundrum. How far should Biden go in his efforts to thwart Russia? For instance, should the US provide fighter jets and bombers? Should the US provide more powerful surface to air and surface to surface missiles, like the ones that sank a Russian warship? How far can Biden go before Putin decides to take action against the West? And more important, how will Biden respond to the possibility of limited nuclear or chemical arms being used in a confrontation?

This is truly an existential debate. The last thing our world needs is an intercontinental nuclear showdown. Yet, the US and the West cannot stand by and allow any country to invade another country without provocation.

Is the US on solid ground? Even if it is true, does it justify tempting Russia to use its nuclear arsenal?

Musk and Free Speech

Elon Musk is proposing to acquire Twitter for $48 billion. Can the richest man in the world pull off such a daunting gambit? Perhaps. He will need to convince the world, his stakeholders and financial regulators that he will honestly protect the right of free speech, which has become a sizzling hot topic with the growth and power of a few tech companies. Musk says he will be the guardian of free speech if he is successful.

There is no absolute agreement about the meaning and power of free speech. If you asked five intelligent, well-read people what free speech means to them, you would likely receive many different responses.

When discussing free speech, hardliners say that a person should be able to express his or her opinion in words and/or actions without any censorship or regulation by government, corporations, parents, teachers, police or neighbors. Of course, there are some practical limitations. Language and actions that lead to violence are generally excluded from free speech protection. This aspect of the issue results in great disagreement in public forums.

Does Twitter and the other companies that foster social media have a responsibility and the right to restrict commentary on their website? If editors at Twitter believe Donald Trump is a menace to society, is it their prerogative to ban his tweets?

Twitter may feel that Trump’s rhetoric, or anything related to the former president, is harmful to society. Should the company have the power to ban any commentary by him or reporting by others. Should Twitter be able to do this legally?

Free speech advocates often say that any expression of opinion is fair game, and Trump should not be censored. If any despicable rhetoric is censored, it is a chip off the pillar of freedom of speech. Frankly, the two sides on this issue are at loggerheads.

When it comes to government intervention with extreme opponents, or those with a more tolerant perception of free speech, the controversy always becomes more vitriolic. The current state of affairs is really mixed depending upon the issues involved. For instance, supporters and opponents relating to “protest” are always in violent disagreement. On college campuses, protests of radical perspectives have frequently led to violence, yet the perpetrators of the action believe they should have the protection of freedom of speech.

Historically, even the vilest organizations such as neo-Nazi groups have been given leeway to march and offer their opinions. Many free speech advocates believe that every group has a right to speak and organize, and if any are not allowed to express themselves, we might as well rip up the Constitution.

Elon Musk resents the influence Twitter has and wants to restructure the company so that it does not censor anyone, even if rhetoric is harsh and objectionable. He seems to think that he is the person most able to manage the right of free speech in our country. Many may laud Musk’s desire to protect free speech, but will resist a situation where Musk is making decisions for the country.

The concept of free speech is much larger than any one company or one individual. And, shouldn’t Congress and SCOTUS be the groups that make and interpret free speech law? We are at a dangerous moment in history. Should the US allow corporations and their management to make free speech rules for us, or not?