Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
- Debate. Second round of democrat debates took place last week with all 20 current candidates having the opportunity to expound on their areas of expertise to the watching public. I didn’t watch a lot of them, as there were weeds to pull, but did come off with a few impressions. The first night was anger night, with palpable anger directed against President Trump and the people who put him into office mainly from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. There was some attempt by a couple of the other candidates the first night to pull them back from the brink which only brought more anger. Winner of the first night was clearly Maryanne Williamson, who brought her New Age worldview to the stage. Viewers afterwards pegged Goolag search for all things Williamson. The second night was billed as Round 2 between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden. Biden was at least awake this time around, deflecting the predictable Harris race-baiting attack at least a little bit. The most interesting part of the second night was a full-frontal assault by Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI) on Kamala Harris’ record as a prosecutor in San Francisco and her time as California’s Attorney General. Gabbard was effective, reminding the audience that Harris put over 1,500 people into jail for marijuana violations while giggling in response to a question if she had used marijuana while in college. Gabbard was highly popular in post-debate Goolag searches, right up until the point the Harris campaign blamed those searches on Russian bots. Harris also dismissed Gabbard afterwards as a bottom-tier candidate while Harris was one of the front runners. So, what do we have? The socialists (Sanders, Warren), are angry, barely keeping themselves from crossing continuously into “Get the Hell off my lawn!” land. Harris is the current media choice for the nomination, and they will move heaven and earth to get her elected. The State of California is doing their best to help Harris, having “redesigned” the State Department of Corrections web site to remove arrest and incarceration statistics from everything except the current year. I’m sure that data will be available from the state in a timely manner upon request (/sarc). From the two nights, Williamson and Gabbard appear to be the most problematic should they run against Trump. Harris, Warren, Biden and Sanders in roughly that order appear to be the current front runners.
- Kamala. For her part, Kamala Harris continues to demonstrate that she is not all that confident of her abilities. Scott Adams gave an extensive analysis of her mannerisms during several post-debate Periscope broadcasts. As to Gabbard’s recitation of her record as a prosecutor and Attorney General, the surprise is not so much the heavy-handed lack of compassion (after all, she WAS a prosecutor), but it was the relatively pedestrian nature of her actions while in office. Concentrating on small, pedestrian crimes, hammering perps who cannot defend themselves, going after marijuana users and parents with truant kids in school, and cutting insider deals with well-connected democrat politicians on sexual harassment charges are run-of-the-mill stuff for political prosecutors. Perhaps they have a bit too much power, as Harris is tapping into her inner Mueller, Weissman and / or Comey.
- Emergency. In the latest example of the Municipality of Anchorage is now a one-party blue city, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz found an excuse and blew around the Anchorage tax cap. The vehicle was a declaration of a Civic Emergency for homelessness and health. The excuse was state budget vetoes that took a bit of money in the form of state grants from agencies that care for the homeless and those with mental illness. The declaration allowed the Mayor and his democrat and union dominated Assembly to spend over the top of the tax cap by as much as they want to for as long as there is a majority on the Assembly that will approve that spending. Given that there is currently a 9-2 veto proof democrat majority on the Assembly, that can go on for a while. Berkowitz initially asked for another $5 million, to set up “temporary” emergency shelters for up to 800 people the Muni is expecting to be pushed to the streets when the impact of the budget cuts hit. Now, I don’t know why he needs the additional money, as Camp Berkowitz decamped from the Park Strip a couple weeks ago and moved to Valley of the Moon Park near downtown. There are homeless encampments throughout the greenbelts across the town and they seem to be doing quite well without the additional money. Assembly elections are next April with 7 of 11 members up. I think we have another issue.
- PFD. The Alaska Legislature finished their work in the second special session and sent their legislation to the governor for action. They passed a $1,605 permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), passed the capital budget, reversed a few vetoes, and added in some things to rectify mistakes made in the operating budget. For the fourth year in a row, they diddled with the statutory amount of the PFD. This amount is set in state statute, and up until Governor Bill Walker vetoed half the amount four years ago, nobody dared touch it. In the intervening years, the legislature went along with passing a partial payment three times, essentially ignoring the law. Rationale? They wanted to spend the money elsewhere. There is also an undercurrent of “you didn’t earn that” and “$3,000 is too much” and “we can’t afford that” from mainly the Republican side of the house that plays into the reluctance to follow the law. Their problem is that Governor Dunleavy was elected to control spending, return to a statutory payout and if possible, return what Walker and the legislature refused to pay out. The good news is that not a dime of the vetoed PFD has been spent. It is all sitting in the Earnings Reserve of the Permanent Fund, something that takes a ¾ vote to get into. The reserve approaches $20 billion today. As that total value of the Permanent Fund continues to increase, this state will shift from spending based on oil tax revenues to a mix of spending based on oil taxes and Permanent Fund earnings. The problem we have is a total and complete lack of spending discipline by the legislature in both parties. The Governor proposed a constitutional amendment to cap spending. I think any discussion of the future of the PFD needs to include a full statutory payment, a change in the payout formula currently at 50 – 50% between Earnings Reserve and PFD, and passage of a constitutional amendment to cap state spending (this will require a vote of the people to approve). Next year is going to be most interesting.
- Baltimore. President Trump finally got tired of endless attacks by House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D, MD) on his people. A week ago, he loosed a series of Tweets accusing Cummings of failing his district in Baltimore and inviting him to go back and clean up the mess created under his leadership. This triggered everyone left and right, with the words racist and racism being used in the media over a thousand times to describe Trump that weekend alone. This was President Trump’s attack on the blue cities, the blue city leadership, and an appeal to the residents of those cities. This is Trump renewing his 2016 call to the black community: “What do you have to lose?” in this case, they get to lose rats, trash, drugs and despair. Kim Klacik, a black woman who is a local Republican official and a contributor to the local Fox channel made a video report of local conditions in west Baltimore. Death threats and racial epithets flew early and often as messenger shooting was underway. Local conditions had previously been reported by local PBS, decried by former mayors and even Cummings himself 20 years ago. Perhaps they are all racists today as their criticisms and descriptions of West Baltimore was identical to the newly designated racist president. Media closed ranks around Cummings quickly, wrapping him the same sort of moral bubble wrap that they ensconced Ted Kennedy in. Problem is that Cummings, out of a well gerrymandered congressional district, has done little to help out the people who put him into office, while in congress outside of taking care of himself and his family.
- China. While the democrats and media spent nearly three years caterwauling about the Russian threat to the US and US elections, the ChiComs run free, confident in their ability to remove President Trump from office. As this point, it appears they have decided to wait out the tariff negotiations until the elections next year in hopes that Trump will be defeated and a new, much more pliable president and congress installed. And they are doing their level best to make sure that outcome takes place. Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon last week reported a dissident Chinese billionaire who used to be on the inside describing the influence operation being conducted by the ChiCom government intended to ensure he loses in 2020. This operation has been underway since mid-2018. The operation is being directed by President Xi, Wang thru the Chinese Communist Party National Security Commission, which controls control over internal security organs. It is exploiting internal political divisions within the US. The Trump administration has done significant damage to the Chinese Communist Party over the last four years. ChiCom influence targeted farm states in the runup to the 2018 elections. They used paid ChiCom propaganda supplements in local newspapers. They also used ChiCom intel operatives in the US who worked with networks of pro-China agents – Americans and others – to do China’s bidding. Gertz described the “four weapons” used by China to turn the election. These include the use of Wall Street financial leaders. Former Goldman and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who helped swing 2008 to O/Bama is supportive of China. Second weapon is the anti-Trump political leaders and lobbyists. The media is the third Chinese tool. The final line of attack is an effort to co-opt overseas Chinese and Asian Americans. One example of this influence is the use of the four weapons was an orchestrate clash with pro-Taiwan protesters in NYC earlier this summer. The current flashpoint between Trump and the ChiComs is the budding revolt in Hong Kong. Watch this one closely.
- Misandry. Out of Psychology Today (of all places) comes an article asking what happens when Toxic Masculinity becomes Cultural Misandry. This falls out of the author’s work on the impact of divorce on children, particularly boys. Last year, the American Psychological Association issued their revised guidelines for Psychological Practice for Boys and Men. It took 13 years and combined 40 years of research, mainly from the feminist standpoint. It is written from the viewpoint that traditional masculinity is the root cause of men’s mental health problems. In coming to this conclusion, the APA ignores structural factors such as the incredibly biased family courts system, and ugly, unnecessarily nasty responses to men at risk who ask for help. Abusive behavior is described as typical male behaviors, part of a “… patriarchal ideology that fosters violence and abuse, sexual harassment and rape.” Selfish, violent and abusive behaviors by men are not considered pathological exceptions, rather today in the feminist worldview as the masculine norm. The research did not include any research demonstrating that anti-male ideology and misandry work against many (most?) men today, particularly against divorced men and their children. In fact, traditional masculinity is part of the answer to men’s mental health problems rather than the cause. A return to traditional fathering and mentoring boys, is the solution rather than the problem, yet it is under assault by the APA itself. Father’s involvement and responsibilities are arbitrarily removed by many judges in the US and worldwide as the rest of the world adopts the US family courts model with resulting disastrous impact on the remaining children.
More later –