Trump Indicted; Biden Not Indicted … Yet

 

The federal government has indicted Donald Trump on the classified documents found at his home in Mar-a-Lago. Trump is facing at least seven federal counts related to document handling and obstruction of justice. He has been ordered to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday.

The former president announced the news on Truth Social:

‘Pelted with Little Pieces of Alleged Fact’

 

Modern man is staggering and losing his balance because he is being pelted with little pieces of alleged fact which are native to the newspapers; and, if they turn out not to be facts, that is still more native to newspapers. – GK Chesterton

Although the internet, television news, YouTube, Twitter, and blogging were not available to GK Chesterton they have taken on the task of pelting us with alleged fact.

‘Remembering the Horrors of D-Day’ by Victor Davis Hanson

 

This short post is for the purpose of bringing to your attention the magnificent, very short piece by Victor Davis Hanson this morning which is one of the best summations of that event which defies brief descriptions, D-Day, and sadly illuminates the difference between that Greatest Generation and the current “Men Can Give Birth; Women Can Have A Penis” generation of bonzo wierdos.

The piece, titled Remembering the Horrors of D-Day, can be accessed here. For anyone with an interest in seeing that day through the lens of one of the most brilliant writers on the scene today, I cannot recommend a thorough reading too highly. Here is Prof. Hanson, after detailing the many astounding numbers involved in the greatest amphibious assault in history, commenting — very sadly— on why those 160,000 troops of Operation Overlord risked their lives crossing that huge expanse of sand under towering cliffs which is Omaha Beach:

The More You Know – VI

 

It is quite easy to relegate the most miserable among us to the “no redeeming qualities” bucket.  Chucky Schumer?  Nancy Pelosi? Joe Biden?  Hunter Biden?  All of the Bidens?  To be fair, not one of them has ever revealed a moment that did not point to their disgusting nature.  And then, you read something about a world historical figure of considerable disrepute that overruns your defenses like Germans at the Maginot line and, before you know it, you begin to question how life led you to such a place – like a narrator for a bad mime company.

Typical French freedom fighter

Adolescent Gender Transitions Are a Dangerous Fad

 

We now live in an era in which mutilating surgeries are done routinely as part of the preferred treatment for gender dysphoria, the belief that the gender “assigned” to you at birth does not reflect your true self.

Modern science has developed solid evidence that gender is determined at conception, not birth, and is not assigned by anybody but is fixed for life. So until recently, sufferers from gender dysphoria were thought to be confused and maybe need educational counseling while simply waiting for adulthood, when over 80% seamlessly settled into their “birth gender.”

But earlier in this century, a new “best available science” stealthily but comprehensively came to dominate the world of transsexual medicine. Suddenly, gender-confused patients, even adolescents and children, were deemed unerringly insightful regarding their true gender identity. They needed not mental health treatment but physical alteration. And they needed it now.

Why I Rarely Argue About Israel and the Palestinians Anymore

 

Debating controversial issues is fun for some people; they like the fight and drama. Sometimes they actually have a dog in the fight. But frankly, I’m not a person who likes a fight, and I never have. I’m not afraid of controversy; in fact, sometimes I enjoy discussing controversial subjects when the dynamics are supportive.

But when it comes to the Israelis and the Palestinians, I have pretty much bowed out of those discussions, even though they are with people whom I consider to be my friends. I used to be willing to take on all challenges. It just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Why, you may ask.

For me to enter a conflict-ridden discussion, I have to feel passionate about it. That certainly applies to Israel. I want to talk with people who I think are reasonable and count on reliable sources of information; this is where the subject gets dicey. There are hundreds if not thousands of sources that are on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I obviously believe in the veracity of the publications I read; people who disagree with me trust a whole other set of media. Positions are so polarized that even if there were room for learning, or possibly changing minds, no one is truly interested in that effort. We are simply too far apart.

Chinggis Makes His Move

 

Chinggis is my (by this time) rather elderly rooster, he who once was lost (as have been a startling number of others in my life) and was one of two whom I tripped over on a walk down the road,  on a day towards the end of January 2021.  His lucky day.

After a frantic call for assistance to one of my neighbors, who came down and helped me corral Chinggis and his friend so that I could take them home and make them comfy, I started to think about what to do next, and to contemplate the future.

Chinggis–as I later named him–and his hen-partner were freezing, starving, and parts of them (including Chingiss’s rooster comb) had frozen and snapped off.  The hen, who was in much worse shape, didn’t survive, but he did, and he thrived, incentivizing me to build the chicken coop over the next few months so that I’d have a place to put him rather than in the crate in the garage.  I began with only the best of intentions–“Do it as cheaply as possible, use what you have, don’t go overboard, etc,” but as time went on I found I was having so much fun that I decided to go a bit over the top.  (The prime example of “over the top,” was probably when I decided to put the same red tin roof on the chicken coop as appears on the house and barn.)  What can I say?  This was the result of it all:

Pathfinders of D-Day

 

Pathfinder arm patch.

Tuesday marked the 79th anniversary of the Allied amphibious assault in northwest Europe. The first men on the ground were the pathfinders. They were organized in teams of 14-18 paratroopers and jumped an hour ahead of the main body of parachute infantry.

The Night My First Band Fell Apart and Had a Blast

 
From an awards show. The guitarist showed up.

A different show.

This happened in 1997 or thereabouts. We played what was then called “college rock” or alternative. All originals, no covers. We were small taters in the OKC area, but we had a CD and played quite a bit. Our name, judyjudyjudy, came from Goober’s Cary Grant impression on “The Andy Griffith Show.” We liked blaring his voice through the PA during the intro to one of our songs.

It’s Ugly Out There

 

These Quebec wildfires are unbelievable. In the short time it took me to get to the Post Office this morning, the smoke brought on an asthma attack. Smart drivers are using their headlights; visibility is probably no more than 50 yards.

We’re under the little white circle.

The Man America Is Waiting For…

 

Longing for the days when the Secret Service’s biggest worry was greasing up the Presidential bathtub, America is ready to embrace William Howard Taft Chris Christie and put him in the Oval Office. So thinks the man who closed down lanes on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington Bridge to create traffic jams into NYC and hit the Jersey beaches closed to the general public during a government shutdown. He has decided that he truly is a man of the people – whether the people want him or not.

The Big Guy – no, not that one – has thrown his straw boater into the ring. And because history doesn’t repeat but often rhymes, Chief Justice John Roberts had better beware, too.

Surveillance Starts With a G

 

Lately, I keep getting a request to leave a rating for a service or product … for everything. Window cleaning, dryer repair, ordered a candle, ordered some olive oil, clothing, dentist visit, eye exam, routine doctor visit, drugstore purchase, etc. Immediately on the same day, I am asked to complete a survey … for everything I am doing or wherever I have made a purchase.

If the experience was exceptional, I want to do it. But when I click on “take the survey,” I am asked to log in with my email address and on everything, it says ‘powered by Google’! So I back out. I have Gmail, like millions of others. I have noticed the speed has picked up and my phone is anxious to fill in more words that I don’t choose, in both email and text. I have had emails disappear from my phone of a religious nature by magic. I set my phone down to take a sip of coffee or water, and the story is gone. It’s not in my trash — just disappears.

I had Dish before our current move. I was pleased with them. The tech arrived just as Covid was unfolding. He set it up and pulled out a long speaker system to lay in front of my TV. I said I don’t want that. He said I know, but I have to show that I offered it and take a picture. He packed it up. He showed me all the features. I said I don’t want voice activation on my TV or from remote, so he disabled it. He said you will get a survey. They ask you to rate my performance from 1 to 10. If you don’t rate me a ten on all answers I fail. I get a bad review. This is Google’s policy. I gave him a 10 and made a mental note.

Ukrainian Counteroffensive

 

The Ukrainians have started the counteroffensive. We don’t have solid information on how it is going in any specific way, but one key indicator is the Russian response: they blew up a major dam (and thus its 351MW generator), endangering the nuclear power stations that rely on it for cooling water. This suggests desperate panic and a “burn it all down” mindset.

Even Russia’s erstwhile allies are licking their chops. The lapdog who runs Belarus? He says he wants part of Russia. All those predictions I have been making about Russia being carved up by separatists within and invaders without? I think they will come true. Russia is ridiculously weak and powerless. Totalitarian states must have the credible threat of force to retain power. If you rely on Might to Define Right, but you no longer have the former…

The Grand Debt Deal: Look to the Future

 

Politics, in times of crisis, surely makes for strange bedfellows. That was clearly evident in the recent debt-ceiling deal, which won with a bipartisan majority in both the Senate and the House, albeit with more Democratic votes than Republican. In the Senate, 46 Democrats and independents combined with only 17 Republicans to put the deal over the top. The vote in the House had 165 Democrats joined by 149 Republicans, with 46 Democrats and 71 Republicans voting against. The vote was clearly one that was opposed by Freedom Caucus Republicans and Progressive Democrats—for, of course, diametrically opposed reasons. The former want less spending, regulation, and taxes, and the latter want more of all three.

The bipartisan middle secured a two-year moratorium on fixing the debt-ceiling problem, which means that the topic will be front and center after the presidential election of 2024, and this could well lead to a sharp switch in one direction or the other. As a political matter, I think that both sides did the right thing when they chose to blink and pass legislation that neither really wants. Each side is in position to claim victory on a far-ranging deal, tendentiously labeled the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which might not, when all is said and done, achieve any of those goals. This complex statute resists any easy summarization, but the one provision that looks most relevant to a spending bill calls for an automatic 1 percent reduction to all spending programs if the parties cannot reach an annual budget in a timely fashion. That provision is augmented by attempts to rein in spending, deal with the efforts to scoop back the “unobligated coronavirus funds,” “prohibit unfair student loan giveaways,” and expand offshore oil and gas leasing, tightening work requirements for receiving food for people under fifty-four and able-bodied adults who have no dependents at home, and greenlighting the Appalachian natural gas pipeline. Yet there is a $45 billion allocation for dealing with toxic conditions for veterans, which is no mere rounding error, even with today’s stratospheric budget allocations. It was some achievement for the two sides to craft a complex bill that ranged so widely on topics, but no one should be under the illusion that the bipartisan process shall continue after the next election.

President Biden issued a clever victory statement that held out an olive branch to Republicans for coming to the table, only to add that his victory comes from keeping key issues off the table. Thus, he was adamant that his program contained no cuts with respect to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, which to his mind have become not benefit programs but firm entitlements that the government has the obligation to fund, come hell or high water. There is a real risk in taking this hard-line position in light of the precarious financial situation of all these entitlement programs. The Social Security program is expected to run out of money one year sooner than expected, by the year 2034. At that point, the benefits are cut to 80 percent unless additional tax revenues are raised to close the gap. The situation could improve markedly if the economy expands, as is evidenced by the strong labor numbers just released, but underlying uncertainty about world events in Ukraine, the Middle East, and the Taiwan Strait change the picture radically. Medicare is even more precarious: the Hospital Insurance trust fund could be depleted by 2028. The program spends more than it receives in receipts, leading to the need to tap into the trust fund—a need that will only increase with time. Indeed, the current deal, which keeps Medicare off limits, means that nothing will be done within the framework to try to rationalize and restrain a program that constitutes 20 percent of national expenditures on health and 12 percent of the federal budget.

Feeling Important

 

Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them. — T. S. Eliot

When I came across this quotation from T.S. Eliot, it spoke so much to me of what is happening in our world. I think the elites in our society are driven to be just that—elites—where they can subdue the rest of us underlings and increase their power daily by taking away our own. Their actions defy the tenets of our democracy, elevating their narcissistic desires by claiming they are acting on behalf of the country; instead, they are acting for their own benefit. The restrictions they have put on our freedoms, the damage to our abilities to maintain a reasonable lifestyle, continue to build an abyss between their expectations and our needs. And they don’t care.

Holding My Tongue

 

Last Friday, I attended a high school musical starring my younger daughter.  Though she’s only in 8th grade, she really stole the show.  She played the female lead in a Cinderella-type story, the virtuous peasant girl who marries the Prince.  Proud papa barely begins to describe how I felt.

It’s also a special venue for me, where my older daughter performed a couple of years ago in her first semi-professional role.  It’s at the old YWCA in Tucson, where I spent a great deal of time during the Reagan years.  It was the home pool of my high school swimming team.  The pool is now a parking lot, though part of the deck is still there.  So I got to recall my sports glory days, such as they were, remembering how in my senior year, we handed our arch-rival Amphi High team their only dual-meet loss.  They did beat us at the city championships, but only because of the diving.

If You Love Life, Love CO2

 

Normal atmosphere is now at 400 ppm. CO2 is an essential gas: without it, plants do not live. Plants thrive best at 1,500 ppm — and they grow twice as fast as a result. All plant life dies with CO2 below 150 ppm.

The Sahara Desert alone has shrunk 700,000 sq km – 8% – in three decades. The earth is greener than it has been in 1,000 years. source.

Pity Robert Hanssen

 

A very strange man died Monday. Robert Hanssen, the most destructive spy in American history, was 79.  I knew him casually — our sons were classmates and we had a number of mutual friends. In the spring of 1992, he and his eldest son were at our house for my son’s birthday party. In conversation, I joked that with the Soviet Union gone, he would need a new line of work. He seemed mildly irritated and said that, in reality, nothing had changed, that the same interests and many of the same people would continue to act as they had. I was only kidding and backed off. Little did any of us know that he was resuming his contact with the Russians around that time.

I recall seeing the news on TV two decades ago when the newsman said that an FBI agent named Robert Hanssen had been arrested. My first thought (and that of my wife) was that it was a coincidence that there was another guy at the Bureau with that name. Then this picture flashed on the screen.

Talking Trees Are Smarter Than Computers

 

Late one night in my third year of medical school, I was following the senior resident around, and we got a call for a 98-year-old white female in the ER, short of breath. He interviews her, finds that she’s always been pretty healthy, but she started having more trouble breathing a few days ago.

He asks what she means by “pretty healthy.” He asks if she’s ever been in the hospital before, she says she had her appendix out when she was a little kid, maybe four years old or so.  The resident doesn’t even look at me and says, “Get records on that, Bastiat.”

I look up at the ceiling and shake my head as I’m doing math:  “Let’s see.  It’s 1993, she’s – what – 98?  So that would have been – what – 1896?  1898?  Holy %#$@.  I’m sure that will be right on the front rack in medical records…”  After the resident left, I asked her what hospital she was in when that happened.  She said she was in this very hospital, but in the old building, before they tore it down.  I though, “Well, ok, maybe there’s hope here.”

D-Day + 79: ‘We Should Thank God Such Men Lived’

 

In the summer of 2019, I was blessed with the experience of a lifetime — a tour titled “D-Day to the Rhine.” It brought us to the beaches of Normandy, where the fate of the free world was saved from the savage butchery of fascism by the largest and most complicated amphibious assault ever attempted in history. Below are a few photos I took on that incredible day, along with a few thoughts about how much we owe those men of the Greatest Generation. We should, indeed, every day of our life, “thank God such men lived.”

The Ron and Elon Show

 

On Wednesday, May 24, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his long-expected 2024 run for the presidency of the United States. He did this on Twitter while being interviewed by Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, the rocket company Space X, and Tesla.

Appearing together on Twitter was in part probably an effort by the two men to leverage the results of a recent Harris poll,  which had the Florida governor and the tech entrepreneur being two of the three most popular political figures in America. Musk was first, Trump was second, and Ron DeSantis came in third.

We Can’t Even Pretend to Pretend Anymore

 

So, Roger Waters at the age of 79 is still touring with his band, Pink Floyd. And while performing songs from The Wall, an album all about anti-authoritarianism, he wore a Nazish uniform. This sparked outrage on the internet. Outrage trolls on Twitter said, “There is no reason for anyone to wear a Swastika” (a remark which drew countless GIFs from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Schindler’s List in response.) Sadly, there was also a hostile reaction in the real world, as Berlin police began an investigation into a performer wearing a costume in a concert.

This is yet another example of the current culture’s inability to pretend. There are actually people who think that if you dress as a Nazi, even for the theater or a costume party, you must be a Nazi. 

This helps explain the strange approach to acting these days. If you are making a film about a blind, red-haired Inuit, you better find an actual sight-impaired, ginger resident of Alaska to play the part. If you get an actor who pretends to be visionless or wears a wig or uses dark make-up, you are guilty of cultural appropriation of the worst kind. These days, only a Trans Man should play a Trans Man, only a Korean should play a Korean, and only a conservative Republican should play a conservative Republican (well, probably not the last of these. One should always cast a left-wing loon as a conservative because only they can get the correct deranged stare and sinister chuckle.)