God’s principal gifts to Americans: elderly Democrats

It’s Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week for observant Christians. In the old days, the majority of Americans believed that Jesus was God’s greatest gift to humanity. What or who has replaced Jesus? “Marilynne Robinson Considers Biden a Gift of God” (New York Times, February 15, 2024):

I’m less than a year younger than Joe Biden, so I believe utterly in his competence, his brilliance, his worldview. I really do. You have to live to be 80 to find this out: Anybody under 50 feels they’re in a position to condescend to you. You get boxed into this position where people who deal with you are making assumptions about your intellect. It’s very disturbing. Most people my age are just fine. What can I say? It’s a kind of good fortune that America is categorically incapable of accepting: that someone with a strong institutional memory, who knows how things are supposed to work, who was habituated to their appropriate functioning is president. I consider him a gift of God. All 81 years of him.

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Democracy in Florida today

Today was our presidential primary. From CNN, an example of how democracy is supposed to work from the party that says its sacred mission is to preserve our democracy:

And a baffling result from the Party of Tyranny (TM):

How does Nikki Haley, who has never tried to do anything for Florida, get more votes than Ron DeSantis, who has worked hard (and, if we believe the meager net worth on his financial statements, honestly) on behalf of Floridians for about 10 years (first in Congress, then as governor)?

I went to the local branch of the Palm Beach County public library system to vote today. The parking lot was packed at 1:45 pm and I took this as a sign of citizen engagement. It turned out, however, that the cars were parked at the library because people were using the library part of the library (despite CNN and NYT informing us that books are banned in Florida). Voting was in a community room and there were booths sufficient to accommodate more than 20 voters in parallel. The three poll workers told me that I was Voter #25… for the day. I’m grateful for the work that Ron DeSantis has done in his job as our governor, so I put in a thank-you vote.

For Irish readers, a snapshot from Sunday evening’s St. Patrick’s Day block party in our MacArthur Foundation-created development (Abacoa):

A week earlier, Abacoa hosted the Jupiter Irish Fest, complete with about 25 performers from the local Irish Dance school.

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Super Tuesday nostalgia for Ron DeSantis

Today is Super Tuesday, an important milepost in what is shaping up to be a fight among two guys in Memory Care (and one gal for whom Americans don’t seem to share my own enthusiasm (and even I have been put off by Nikki Haley’s seeming lack of coherent philosophy)).

A bit of nostalgia for Ron DeSantis, then! He lacked the ability to project empathy that Americans cherish, but he was the only candidate in the race with a coherent philosophy of government combined with a reasonable age for handling a demanding job. A mailer we got in November 2022, when Mr. DeSantis was running for reelection as governor:

(I don’t understand how a governor can take credit for having “raised teacher pay”. Counties negotiate with teachers’ unions and the U.S. Congress no doubt did the most to raise teacher pay in nominal dollars by generating raging inflation through deficit spending.)

In other news, let’s check the political diversity in the center of our empire…

There were just over 2,000 people who were willing to identify as Republican and vote in the primary a couple of days ago (total D.C. population is over 700,000; more than 500,000 should be eligible to vote (source, which notes that D.C. has “the most diverse and educated voting population in the U.S.”)).

Finally, what about the project that state-level Democrats have been engaging in around the nation to preserve democracy by preventing their subjects from voting for Donald Trump? The Supreme Court has ruled this was illegal and unconstitutional and not just the Republican-appointed justices who are characterized by Democrats as corrupt and illegitimate. All 9 justices. Will there be any apologies from Democrats for violating the U.S. Constitution? From the Newspaper of Record (TM):

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Gerald Ford’s foreign policy challenges and the Houthi situation

An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford covers a few mostly forgotten foreign policy challenges that Gerald Ford faced.

The Fall of Saigon in April 1975 was depressing, but people didn’t blame Ford for it.

One that lifted his reputation was a debacle by body count standard: the Mayaguez incident (May 1975). The Khmer Rouge seized a merchant vessel and its crew. The U.S. military rescue operation resulted in as many deaths among our soldiers as the number of crew members rescued. The American public was nonetheless happy to accept this as a victory and it boosted Ford’s approval rating substantially.

The U.S. gave the green light to Indonesian President Suharto to invade East Timor in December 1975, a former Portuguese colony, so long as the Muslim takeover of the Christian territory was done quickly. At least 100,000 Christians were killed, mostly via starvation, out of a total population of about 600,000. After decades of occupation and war, East Timor became a country in 2002. It’s fair to say, therefore, that Gerald Ford had a far larger impact on the Catholics of East Timor than he did on Americans.

Palestinians killed our ambassador to Lebanon, Francis E. Meloy Jr., in June 1976, and left his bullet-riddled body at a garbage dump. Having gone nuts with aggression in response to the kidnapping of the Mayaguez crew, none of whom were harmed, we didn’t retaliate.

The Mayaguez response included “Ford ordered the Air Force to sink any Cambodian boats moving between Koh Tang and the mainland” (Wikipedia). It’s unclear why we aren’t doing that with the Houthis. They’ve attacked U.S. warships as well as merchant ships. Why do we allow them any use of the ocean? We recently lost two Navy SEALs who were trying to board a ship:

This wouldn’t have happened under Ford’s orders because the ship would have been sunk by a plane or shell without being boarded.

Ford put a lot of effort into negotiating with the Soviet Union, but ended up with nothing to show for it. Ford and Henry Kissinger (later a Theranos board member… for three years!) spent a lot of time trying to take away from Israel territory won in the Yom Kippur War (a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria that, like October 7 for the Gazans, began well). Ultimately, Jimmy Carter could take credit for the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt (1979) and the SALT II agreement with the Soviets (1979; repudiated by the U.S. Senate after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan).

The book is a good reminder that we’re not the boss of the rest of the world and nobody listens to us unless we present a credible threat of carpet bombing with B-52s.

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Vivek Ramaswamy unaware of the family court sector of the U.S. economy

A tweet from Vivek:

Here’s an idea to bridge the divide on abortion: codify sexual responsibility for men into the law. If a woman carries a child to term, she can automatically make the man fully $$ responsible both for herself and for the child, if confirmed by paternity test. Should be an idea that both parties can agree on.

Elon Musk responded with “Yes”. You’d think that he would already be aware of the U.S. system; see “Elon Musk Battles To Keep Custody Case In Texas Where Child Support Is Capped At $2,760 Per Month For 3 Kids, Despite Being The Richest Man In The World”:

Elon Musk is in the midst of a custody battle with Grimes, and things are getting as complicated as a SpaceX mission.

According to reports from Business Insider, Musk initially filed in Texas, accusing Grimes of moving to California to avoid the Lone Star State’s child support cap of $2,760 per month for three kids.

Grimes fired back with a countersuit in California, seeking physical custody. Musk reportedly had custody of their 3-year-old son X Æ A-Xii against Grimes’ wishes. The different child support limits in California, where there’s no cap, could mean a hefty sum for Musk, currently the richest person in the world.

Given that family court profits are a huge sector of the U.S. economy and Vivek was claiming to be qualified to run the whole thing, I find it fascinating that Vivek is unfamiliar with the current system in which having sex with an already-married specialist physician can yield a spending power equivalent to what an American who goes through medical school and residency to work as a primary care doc can enjoy (profitability depends heavily on the state in which the plaintiff resides/sues). Some lawyers who specialize in this area refer to child support as “woman support” since the typical plaintiff identifies as female, the money is paid to the adult plaintiff, and there is no requirement that a successful plaintiff spend any of the family court profits on the child.

Hunter Biden was reported to be paying $20,000 per month to Lunden Roberts (Daily Mail), thus giving her an after-tax spending power in excess of a primary care doc’s (the $240,000 per year was tax-free). Why wouldn’t someone in politics such as Vivek have followed the Biden family and thus learned that sex in the U.S. can pay better than most jobs?

Of course, it isn’t just Vivek. Twitter shows over 5,000 replies to the post. Most of them seem to be from people unaware that it is already possible to get a court-ordered paternity test and then 18-23 years of cashflow (depending on the state).

How can this blind spot be explained?


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Why wouldn’t someone who lives off the government believe in the government? (California Democrat edition)

A tweet from Barbara Lee, California Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate:

52 years ago, Shirley Chisholm announced her campaign for president—becoming the first person of color & Democratic woman to run for the office.

At the time, as a Black single mom on welfare, I didn’t believe in America’s political & governmental systems.

Then I met Shirley…

She was able to marry the taxpayer and have all of her needs met (housing, health care, food; maybe not Smartphone and home broadband like today). Why wouldn’t she “believe in” a system that transferred all of that money from working Americans into her pocket?

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An Ordinary Democrat: Gerald Ford biography

I’m listening to what is supposedly one of the best books of 2023: An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. It’s a good reminder of a lot of history 1940-1980.

The book devotes a fair amount of space to Ford’s career-ending decision to pardon Richard Nixon. The mental space that Americans devote to the prosecutions of Donald Trump certainly prove that Ford was correct in his belief that the U.S. wouldn’t be able to move on to tackle other challenges if Nixon weren’t pardoned. (Various state and local prosecutors could, nonetheless, have continued to harass Nixon for violating state/local laws but they chose not to.)

The book reminds us that the U.S. used to be a Christian society and that Americans, including Ford, were sincere believers in Christianity. Prayer is often a preclude to making a decision, for example, and Christian values are cited as a reason for making a decision. One of Ford’s reason for pardoning Nixon was that it was required by Christian principles of forgiveness.

Ford’s political beliefs seem to line up pretty well with today’s Democrats. He was pro-immigration for anyone with a tale of woe to share. He wanted 18-year-olds to vote (the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971 and signed by Nixon; Florida never voted to approve it!) and he supported most forms of welfare state expansion. In other words, Ford wanted to ensure a voter base of Americans who had never worked and would never work. Where he was out of step with today’s politicians is opposition to deficit spending. Ford considered a $30 billion budget deficit horrifying and a $100 billion deficit unimaginable (for comparison, the deficit for FY2023 was about $1.7 trillion and is on track to be higher in FY2024). He believed that deficit spending would fuel inflation, which was his bête noire. Speaking of inflation, though, many of his ideas were similar to today’s politicians, e.g., when prices go up the government should shovel out cash to people whose purchasing power has been reduced (i.e., if there is too much cash in the economy, thus generating inflation, you solve the problem by injecting more cash). Ford was passionate about deregulation to increase the U.S. economy’s production/supply capability, but that doesn’t make him misaligned with today’s Democrats, few of whom support the kind of intensive regulation of transportation, for example, that we had in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Fall of Saigon is covered extensively, good background for those interested in what seems to be a continued pattern of U.S. military failure. The heroism of the helicopter pilots is referred to. They flew in terrible weather and were exposed to small arms and RPG fire from the ground in order to rescue Americans and Vietnamese from rooftops and the U.S. embassy. Let’s never complain about having to fly a Robinson R44 again!

The book reminds us how much less competitive the U.S. was. There weren’t any obstacles to getting into the University of Michigan, for example, which is today far too elite to be a realistic possibility for most white or Asian Americans. Similarly, with no elite connections or claim to victimhood, Ford found the gates of Yale Law School open to him in 1938.

The book didn’t turn me into a huge Jerry Ford fan. He was a full participant in the delusional government spending and expansion programs that resulted in the hyperinflation of the Jimmy Carter years. But the decisions to pardon Nixon and Vietnam-era draft dodgers seem to have been good ones (Wikipedia has some background on these).

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Massachusetts Democrats refuse to pay fair union wages

From one of the nation’s most progressive cities… “Newton[, Maskachusetts] schools closed Tuesday as teacher strike continues” (NBC):

Students in Newton, Massachusetts, will be home for another day on Tuesday as the public school district’s teachers remained on strike.

The Newtown Teachers Association is also pushing for increased wages, better parental leave, reduced class sizes, affordable health care, mental health resources for students, social workers at schools and more.

What percentage voted correctly in 2020? State-sponsored NPR says 82 percent:

We are informed that lack of union representation and the existence of Republicans are the obstacles that prevent American workers from getting paid what they are worth. How can we explain the need for unionized workers to strike against an all-Democrat city government?

“Progress reported in Newton teacher strike, classes canceled for 5th day” (NBC):

Among the sticking points is teacher salaries and counselors in every school.

If people break the law, the smartest thing to do is change the law. “It is illegal for teachers to strike in Mass. What’s the argument for changing the law?” (boston.com):

The Newton Teachers Association became the latest group of educators to go on strike in Massachusetts last week when 98% of its members authorized a work stoppage. As classes were canceled again on Thursday and the NTA racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, some lawmakers are continuing a push to make future strikes like this legal under state law.

In Massachusetts, public employees including teachers are prohibited from going on strike. That has not stopped teachers unions in communities like Brookline, Andover, Haverhill, and Malden from taking to the picket line in recent years.

When(if?) the kids finally do come back into the classroom, the law-breaking teachers can give them a lecture about how laws should be obeyed!


  • “Newton School Committee approves indoor mask-wearing requirement for students, staff, and visitors” (Boston Globe, August 2021), regarding the potential end of a 1.5-year school closure during coronapanic: On Monday, one member of the schools’ medical group, Dr. Ashish K. Jha, wrote on Twitter that the group believed it’s safe to bring children back to schools full-time. He praised the city’s advisors as an “amazing group of world-class experts.” (Florida didn’t have “world-class experts” so the school employees were ordered back into the classroom by Ron DeSantis a year earlier than Newton’s)
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How are Democrats able to see the border as closed when migrants continue to stream in?

It’s the third anniversary of the Greatest Administration in American history. From a conservative point of view, a defining feature of the Biden administration has been rapid acceleration of population growth via low-skill immigration (native-born Americans aren’t being replaced; it is just that the immigrant percentage of the population is at an all-time high). What do Democrats perceive?

Republicans and Democrats these days often seem to express agreement on philosophy but then disagree on facts. With respect to coronapanic, for example, Americans from both parties agree that schools for 10-year-olds shouldn’t be closed when a virus is circulating that kills people at a median age of 82. The disagreement on the school front is now around a fact: Were any American public schools closed in 2020-2021? Democrats say “No. All schools were open all the time.” while Republicans say that big urban school districts, e.g., NYC, Boston, SF, LA, et al., were closed for 12-18 months (and various suburban districts were either closed or half-open on an ineffective “hybrid” schedule).

A similar disagreement seems to be happening right now with the border. Here’s a tweet from the Democrats and my reply:

The U.S. has never enjoyed better border security, as far as the Democrats are concerned. Having seen videos of people walking through the fence and seen statistics on roughly 2.5 million encounters with migrants per year (on the U.S. side of the border, meaning that people got here somehow!), I ask whether the Biden administration has simply decided to leave the border open. Democrats respond that the border isn’t open:

It’s a conspiracy spread by Fox, in fact, that there is any openness to the U.S. border.

The question for today is how Democrats sustain their belief in the fact of a closed border with official U.S. government statistics on the hundreds of thousands of migrants who come through the closed border every month.

Background from Fox:

The Haitian man first arrived at a port of entry in Brownsville, TX in December 2022, where he was deemed inadmissible & released into the U.S. with a future court date.
In September 2023, Boston police arrested him for rape and indecent assault and battery on a disabled person. ICE filed a detainer request with local authorities in Dorchester, seeking his custody, but the request was ignored, and the alleged rapist was released into the community in November. ICE found & rearrested him a little over a week ago.

The Haitian gentleman was “inadmissible” and therefore was admitted. Paging Dr. Orwell?

The Daily Mail features photos of migrants who’ve somehow appeared on the U.S. side of what is, from a Democrat point of view, an entirely closed border:

CNN shows “More than 1,000 migrants wait in line to be processed by US Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico on December 18 in Eagle Pass, Texas.”:

From the a righteous perspective, anything in CNN is true, no? How is a border through which more than 1,000 people cross in one day in one location not “open”?

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Who can explain Donald Trump’s popularity in the current election?

Iowa Republicans love Donald Trump, it seems, slightly more than two seemingly far more plausible candidates combined (Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis). Who can explain to me why this incredibly old guy is more successful with voters than Haley and DeSantis?

In some poll data from Iowa, it looks as though oldsters are the ones who love Trump. Just as here in Florida, it is the young people who love DeSantis the most:

Trump had a few successes before coronapanic overwhelmed his younger self, but what exactly did he accomplish that so many Republicans want him back?

(I haven’t been following the debates, etc., too carefully. Has anything happened that should alter my opinion that, though DeSantis is more aligned with my smaller-government political philosophy Haley is more likely to win a general election? (Americans overall seem to want a planned economy.))

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