A Crisis of Confidence in Our Leaders

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the seriesCrisis of Confidence

This is part 2 of a series (introduced in part 1) where we look at the crisis of confidence that is all around us in American society today. Let’s start this off by looking at three of our top national leaders.

President of the United States, Joe Biden

Let’s take a look at the post that Joe Biden’s team put up on Twitter a few days ago.

So, Trump turned in a miserable performance in the economic leadership of this country.  Fortunately for us, we were saved by Biden’s great leadership.  In fact, he is orders of magnitude higher that any president on this list…oh more than that, he’s by far the greatest job creating president in American history!

Well, there’s one little, itty-bitty, tiny catch.

I don’t know if you know.  Heck, maybe you’ve been so busy that you forgot.  In the last year of Trump’s presidency this strange world-wide pandemic started.  They’re calling it Covid-19.  You might have heard of it.

If you weren’t born yesterday, you probably remember that in almost all of the United States workers who weren’t deemed absolutely essential were temporarily (in some cases) laid off from their jobs.  Here is what that looked like, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  You know, the same one Biden based his chart on.

https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-unemployment-rate.htm

In April of 2020, US unemployment reached a crazy rate of 14.7%. But just 2 months prior, in February, it was only 3.5%. 

When Trump was inaugurated, unemployment was at 4.7%. This means that the unemployment rate had decreased 1.2% prior to the great Covid spike.

To be fair, the unemployment rate had been going down steadily since the storm of 2018’s financial crisis. 

But, it isn’t as if Trump was driving up unemployment. It was on a steady march downhill.

Here’s where Biden took over.

As you can see, the great spike of unemployment during the Covid lockdown was on its way out.  Unemployment had settled back down to 6.4%.

Now, the unemployment rate is not the same as the “jobs created” data.  That’s a bit harder to show a quick snapshot of data on.  But that proves my point even more. 

See, in order to muck with the numbers and make the government look better than they are, they have a very specific definition of unemployed. According the same US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work.”

So, if they have left the labor market intentionally, or have just given up in looking for work, they are magically no longer unemployed.  So, a different way of looking at employment is using the Labor Participation Rate, or the percentage of Americans who are working, or actively looking for work.  Here is that chart.

The current rate of 61.9% is nothing to brag about at all.  A lot of people have talked about the great resignation. That has been happening and this chart confirms that.

I know we are all in danger of getting lost in the data on this one, but the point is that Biden’s tweeted chart is not only silly given the Covid situation, but I cannot possibly see how it is true at all even if you squint your eyes and stand on your head. 

Joe shouldn’t get credit for people coming back to work after the pandemic, and he certainly didn’t create these new jobs.  More than all of that, he should at least get some of the credit for people not coming back to work at all.

Even further, he’s created a crisis in employment that is getting worse, and everyone knows it.  Trump was mercilessly berated for bragging about things that weren’t really true.  In some cases that it was a fair criticism, but Biden is taking this to a whole new level.  So, it’s all opposite-land. 

We have a crisis of confidence at the highest level of our country’s leadership.

Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris

Here is an interview Kamala gave on NPR, just days ago.  You don’t need to watch the whole thing.  It’s a bit tedious.  Just watch for about a minute and a half, starting at 8:32

Did you catch what she said?  Maybe you missed it.  If you aren’t into American politics and history, you might have.

Fortunately for me, this one is pretty easy.  Kamala Harris has got to be one of the worst politicians in America, actually.  Almost weekly, Conservative media is ablaze with something she’s said or done.  She did drop out of the presidential primary before her own state voted, because she was about to come in almost last in her own state in a primary…of other Democrats.  But I’ve chosen this one clip simply because it is the most recent, as I write this.

I don’t want to point out her style, the way she talks in a style that drips with disingenuousness, using sound bites that seem to have spent weeks in focus-groups.

Actually, in this case it’s kind of the opposite.

You see, anyone in American politics, and any citizen over 40, or a fan of American history, knows that there is one word that you cannot use as a national politician.

Yes, yes…ok, there are expletives, racial terms, and words that the woke mob will try and get you cancelled for…but I’m not talking about those words.  I mean one, standard English word that is so loaded with political meaning, so packed with career-ending dynamite, that no national politician would dare utter it.

That word is “malaise.”

Remember in part 1 of this series we read the words of Jimmy Carter’s Crisis of Confidence speech.  That address is however, forever known as his “malaise” speech.  In that talk, Carter never used the word “malaise” at all, but it was later attached to it in the collective consciousness.  This is an example of what people call the Mandela effect, an event people “remember” but that didn’t actually happen at all. Many people claim to “remember” him saying in that speech that America was “suffering from a deep malaise,” even though he never actually used that word or phrase even once. 

While many of the words of his address ring pretty true and at the time it was actually well-liked by the majority of the public, it didn’t age well.  Due to Carters previous and future mis-steps it was interpreted as Carter blaming the American people for their situation.  It sounded as if he was saying that rampant inflation, joblessness, and unobtainable gasoline weren’t the real problems, Americans focusing on those things were the problem.  Carter wouldn’t have agreed as to that being his point at all, but he wasn’t the best communicator, and he wasn’t a good President.

In the past year, Biden/Harris has increasingly been compared to the Carter administration.  There are many of the same social problems, and the administration is seen as feckless but good at assigning blame.  Biden does seem feckless.  Harris is always great at telling people they are the ones responsible.  The two of them combine to do a great Jimmy Carter impression.

So, Kamala appears on the interview and uses the one word, the word no politician in America has uttered since 1979, the word that could be avoided by using any one of numerous synonyms, and just charges through with her battle cry of malaise.

It’s artless, and gutsy, incompetent, and gauche.  It’s all Kamala, and it’s a perfect example of why we are in a crisis of confidence in our national leaders.

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi

Here’s a recent moment from the floor of the House of Representatives.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi was giving her speech in preparation for the commemoration of January 6th . It’s easy to think of her as being some buffoon, who provides comic relief to our overly-serious Congress.  I have been quite sure that she’s suffering from some sort of dementia for years. 

But let’s not forget that she is 3rd in the line of succession to become President.  If something should happen to our dear leader and his hand picked political genius sidekick, then she’s behind the presidential podium clacking her dentures at us all.  We’ve already talked about Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.  Well, following in succession, Nancy Pelosi is next in line.

Her moment of silence to honor our “fallen heroes” from January 6th mentions the following men:

– Brian Sicknick
– Howard Liebengood
– Jeffrey Smith
– Billy Evans

So, let’s look into what happened to these heroes that died in what our Vice President added to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, dates which are indelibly etched in the American psyche, dates which will live in infamy.

Brian Sicknick – He was a US Capitol Police officer who did respond to the events of January 6th.  He did enter the fray and was assaulted by two people.  That much is true.  However, he did not die that day.  He was not injured that day.  He died the next day of “multiple strokes.” And the medical examiner cited his death as “natural causes,” and said that the stress of the previous day could have played a part.  However, he had no internal injuries or allergic reaction from the bear spray that was being used at the time against the police.  Was he heroically protecting against people trying to do something wrong and stupid?  Yes.  Was he killed by the events of January 6th?  No.

Howard Liebengood – He was also at the Capitol on Jan 6th.  He took his own life on Jan 9th.

Jeffrey Smith – He was hit in the head during the riot of January 6th.  While it was a terrible thing, it didn’t keep him from working.  He shot himself in the head while going to work 9 days after the incident.

Billy Evans – This one is quite interesting.  William “Billy” Evans was a capitol police officer.  He was killed in the line of duty…but not at all on January 6th.  You see, in April 2021 a black nationalist named Noah Green ran him over with his car.  Noah Green was a member of the Nation of Islam, and was a proponent of a racist ideology that advocated hurting white people.  It might be easy to think that his name was just one of a number of people Nancy Pelosi thoughtlessly mentioned.  But she had honored him publicly in April after he died, and arranged for him to lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda, during which he posthumously received two Congressional Gold Medals.

In all of this, Nancy Pelosi wasn’t lying, exactly.  She was playing word games, in the same way that Bill Clinton did when he questioned the meaning of the word “is” while under oath.

In her speech on January 6th 2022, as she memorialized the events a year earier she said, “I want to acknowledge our fallen heroes of that day.”  These men are fallen heroes, and were present at the capitol on January 6th 2021.

She didn’t say that she was commemorating “our fallen heroes, who died on that day.”  But that is what you are supposed to think.  You are supposed to lay blame for the death of Billy Evans not on the Nation of Islam for vile racism, you are supposed to believe that he was murdered by Trump supporters in January, five months earlier. 

Nancy isn’t ignorant of that fact, she is very aware of her deceit (assuming she is still self-aware of anything). 

There is no way for a person to believe that she thinks that those men died in the attack on the
Capitol.  She wants to craft a narrative.  She is trying to be deceptive. 

You can play what-about-ism regarding other politicians trying to carefully craft a reality.  But you also can’t deny that anyone, from any party, who does likewise is…well…a liar.  She gets forgiven for that by fellow Democrats because she’s a Democrat.  We deserve leaders who are better than that.

By the way, there is one person who did die in the events surrounding 1/6/21.  But that person won’t be mentioned by Pelosi or any Democrat at all.  The only death that happened that day was a Trump Supporter and military veteran named Ashli Babbitt.  She was shot by a Capitol policeman as she was trying to go through a barricade.  She was also unarmed.

Was she doing something stupid and dangerous?  Probably.  I, just like every major Republican, am not advocating anything that happened on that day.  I’m not an apologist for anyone who was there, although at the time I said that something about the story didn’t seem to quite add up, and I’m often right about such things.  But, if the truth is what we all seem to know about January 6th, then those people deserve to be condemned, totally. 

But, I am pointing out the utter hypocrisy of leaders that lie about who died that day, and never mention the riots around the country that happened in the months before, riots that did end in the murder of police officers, destroyed businesses, and created billions of dollars in damage.

It is just more hypocrisy from our top leaders. It isn’t that they occasionally are guilty of the sins that they call out in others. Instead it is far deeper than that. It is that they actively are doing something that is wrong, and cover it up by loudly accusing the other side of being guilty of that thing.

I’ve paid close attention to politics for many years now, and I have always been clearly on one side of the isle, but I have noticed that in recent years whatever the Left is screaming about Republicans for doing, you can be absolutely sure that in every case, it is exactly what they themselves are doing.

All of this together shows that we clearly have a crisis of confidence in our leaders.

2022 Predictions

I don’t need credit for anything that isn’t official, but just so the reader knows, I wrote the majority of this in the two weeks before New Years.

I’m sorry to say, those that are waiting for 2021 to end in the hopes that next year couldn’t possibly be any worse are in for a rude awakening.  Remember 2020, when this whole COVID thing just got going?  It was a year of political turmoil, the sheer terror of the nightly news telling us we’re all going to die, everything was being locked-down, and there was no end in sight.  We all looked to 2021 in the hope that it would all get better when the calendar turned to January. 

But it didn’t.  2021 turned out to be worse.  There was the complete failure of the US in Afghanistan.  The news is not talking about it much, but a famine has now rushed through that country endangering much of the population.  In fact, the number of those starving to death might make this the largest world crisis in the world right now, but you haven’t heard about it on CNN. More than 20 million people are on the edge of starvation. The Taliban are fully in control and they are just as bad as they always were.

The border with Mexico turned into a horrible mess.  The numbers of people rushing into the country are without comparison.  This year is the highest on record for illegal alien apprehensions at the southern border.  Also, there are more people being caught from countries other than Mexico that people from Mexico, almost twice as many.  Yes, that means people from Ecuador, Honduras, and El Salvador, but it also means people from Yemen and Somalia, and other countries where some people really want to hurt America.

With vaccines and therapeutics for COVID out and accessible (or going in that direction).  It is easy to forget that there were actually more COVID-related deaths in the US in 2021 than in 2020.  On the final day of 2020, the US had reported over 350,000 deaths in total.  Right now, there are almost 900,000 reported deaths.  This means that in 2021 there were far more deaths than in the previous year. I’m trying to stay out of the politics of this, but I keep hearing Biden, during the Presidential Debates saying, “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths [220,000] should not remain as President of the United States of America.”

As much as people were clamoring for a better year in ’21 than ’20, there is almost no way that we can say it has been.  The economy is worse, the geopolitical situation is more tenuous, COVID has been more deadly.  Maybe US societal strife can be seen as the one outlier, but that is mostly due to the media (and related) establishment not having vitriol for the current president, and Joe Biden not using Twitter.

Before you read this, you might be interested to see last year’s predictions.

I’m sure that many people are hoping and praying for a better new year.  But, I just don’t see it in the proverbial cards.  Here are my guesses as to what 2022 might have in store for us.

# 1 – Russia invades Ukraine

This won’t be a surprise to anyone.  Russia has been massing large amounts of troops on the border.  Yes, if you get your news primarily from Facebook you likely missed this one entirely, but it’s no secret. 

Biden had a video-call summit with Putin about this.  He threatened that the US would “make it very difficult for Russia to do this.”  This obviously means that the US would try to levy economic sanctions.  This isn’t even conjecture.  The administration clarified this the week after Biden made the statement.

If this threat were a deterrence to Russia’s plans they would have responded in a way that gives the US government a way to diffuse this situation.  But that isn’t what they did at all.  Instead, they gave a list of demands which included that NATO interests leave the Eastern Block of former Soviet influence. 

This is not doable for a US administration, unless they publicly give in the Russia which makes the US look very weak.  Certainly, the administration is trying to back-channel their way out of this.  I can’t see this possibly working.  There are a whole host of reasons that Russia cannot back down.

There are two options here.  It is possible that Russia is doing this as a test of a weak US administration…a bluff.  The other option is that Russia sees the opportunity to act, and they have long viewed Ukraine as a prize for a host of reasons.  It doesn’t make any sense for this to be a bluff, and if it is a bluff then Russia has already won.  The US has already committed to act only in response to Russia invading.

So, why are they waiting?  Well, it’s all about oil…clearly.  The Nordstream II pipeline into Germany and the rest of continental Europe is still uncertified by the EU.  It cannot legally deliver the oil that it’s built for.  But, Europe is over a barrel (pun intended) on this one, and they are in a situation that they created.  EU environmental regulations don’t allow them to produce the quantity of oil that they desperately need, and so they have to rely on importing that fuel.

Incidentally, I can’t quite understand how countries (including ours now) won’t drill for oil because they are ostensibly trying to save the planet, and so we ask other countries to do it for us? It isn’t like those countries inhabit some other planet. But these contradictions are normative now, and this is a topic for a different post, I guess.

This all means that Europe will have a difficult time making it through the winter, and especially a very cold winter, without this needed oil.  Once the pipeline is certified and functioning, it will be very difficult indeed for them to shut it down.  The Trump administration was able to apply very strong economic pressure to prevent companies from building this pipeline, but the Biden administration didn’t follow suit.

The US Senate will debate possible advance sanctions related to Nordstream II companies in mid to late January, or at least some elements will push for that.  If that passes, it is likely too little, too late.  But a strong Congressional stance is the only thing that could prevent a conflict here.

I suppose that the US could give in to Russia’s demands and avert a war.  The problem is that those demands are really demands on NATO, not on the US directly.  Giving in would also be such a great sign of weakness for the US and NATO, that the implications are worse than a Russian invasion.

So, after all this exposition, I’m saying that Russia will invade Ukraine.  The trigger will be the certification of the Nordstream II pipeline.  The buildup will get very tense in maybe January or February, and will result in a false-flag type of event similar to the German invasion of Poland or the Gulf of Tonkin incident.  A full-scale invasion will follow.

#2 A domino effect in geopolitics might result from Russia’s actions

  I’m not sure what all will be involved, but look for China attacking Taiwan, Iran becoming aggressive, or North Korea doing something…well, North Korea-like.  Depending on the situation, this might result in surprisingly little reaction from Washington, or a major response.  I can’t be sure now.

#3 If China does act on Taiwan, it will also be under the guise of responding to a great perceived slight against China

  That’s how China does things. Also, China losing face (or at least thinking their losing face) from the Covid pandemic will motivate them to show strength internationally.

#4 Iran will announce to the world that they have nuclear weapons, barring preventative action from America or Israel stopping them

This will be a huge thing.  I don’t know if Israel or the US will do something to prevent this.  They probably should.  If they do, then this might avoid Iran getting nuclear weapons this year. 

#5 The American economy will be in bad shape, for sure

The stock market cannot continue it’s nearly eternal growth.  Interest rates will increase, likely several times.  I think that inflation will continue, and I’m not sure what unemployment will do.  Many things in the economy now just don’t make sense.  If there isn’t some collapse or near collapse, then economic theory makes no sense anymore.

#6 Joe Biden won’t be President

I’ve long said that Joe Biden will announce that he cannot continue as President before Q2 of 2022.  With the unpopularity of Kamala Harris, I no longer know how palatable that will be.  If it will happen next year, I would think that Q1 would be when it is best politically done.  Either way, for sure we won’t end 2022 with Joe Biden still as President.

By the way, lest you think this is wishful thinking, I prefer Joe Biden to those down-steam in presidential succession. In my view, this will be tragic.

#7 The GOP will take control of both Houses of Congress in the November elections

#8 Democrats will make a big deal of this January 6th

This isn’t a bold prediction.  It is only a day away as I write this, and they’ve already announced it. But look for some pretty crazy over-the-top stuff.

#9 Trump will be active in advocating for candidates in the run up to the election

He will might not just be out there in the general, but also in the run-up prior to the primaries.  Whether or not he will be trying to stay the political disruptor, or will be together with the main part of the party will be telling, for sure. It will be really telling if he is more active during the Primary season, or in the General afterwards.

If he actively challenges Republican candidates in the Primary it will be bad for his future in his plan to inevitably run in 2024. If he has seen by the party as supporting Republican efforts, then he’ll get large Republican support. If however, he goes after established Republicans in the primary it will both be seen as a vindictive effort against those who didn’t support him enough, and it will be seen as endangering the party’s chances of taking back power. Either way it breaks Reagan’s 11th Commandment of Politics.

#10 North Korea will be a big story in 2022

There is a good chance that North Korea won’t end the year with Kim Jung Un as their leader.  If that happens there are two directions that things could go in there.  Either, there will be consolidation around a new leader, and the current frontrunner is his sister.  The other option is for great internal strife.  If that happens, look for a Chinese-brokered solution.  The Chinese will not allow a re-unified Korea under a Democratic-style government on their border. 

In either event, look for North Korea to be pretty large in the news in 2022.  Possible belligerent acts are used within the North Korean power structure to cement leadership there.  An “us versus them” outlook is often used to build unity in many countries, and North Korea is a classic example of this repeatedly. 

#11 There will be a political revolution in at least one major country this year

The forced Covid lockdowns in both Western-type Democratic countries, as well as the extreme draconian Chinese lockdowns are creating powder-kegs that are ripe for explosions. 
I’ve heard former journalist Dan Carlin’s theory about societies needing pressure-release valves for the people to keep their internal pressures from building up too much.  When that is not allowed or available is when the people lose their self-control.  I think he’s completely right in this regard.

We’re seeing some big protests in some locked-down countries.  If the governments won’t listen and respond, it’ll boil over.  Some governments won’t.  Things could get messy.  We’ll have to see.

Bonus:

I’m not sure that Biden will do this, but I think if the former Vice-President officially  changed his first name legally to Brandon, it would be cool.

2021 Predictions (Review)

Every year around New Years’ I do my predictions for the year ahead.  This is an important part of my year, and I pay attention to the news as the year plays itself out.  I can’t say that I’m rooting for my predictions to come true, especially when I’ve predicted something disastrous.  But at the same time, I do enjoy being right. 

Some years I am more right than wrong, and other years I don’t nail it as accurately.  I don’t have the pressure of a psychic or astrologer.  I’m just making educated guesses, so I don’t have to vague and cryptic.  No, there’s no, “this will be a year of greatness,” here. 

This means picking things that are pretty specific and really putting myself out there. 

Every year before I do my predictions, I score my predictions for the previous year, and I try my best to be brutally honest.  Since this is mostly an exercise within myself (it’s not like I have a ton of readers anyway), I can be very free to be as critical as possible.

This year, I’m champing at the bit to put in my 2022 predictions, but I cannot…will not…put those out the until I’ve scored my predictions for 2021.

If you are keeping score, I got 2 wrong. Four were a mixed result, kind of half right and half wrong. I scored 5 of them right. So, if 0 points are for a wrong, 1 for mixed, and 2 points for right-on-the-money, that means that I got a total of 14 out of 22. I can’t say that I’m happy with a 64% win rate. I’ve done better in past years. I do take a little comfort in having more right than wrong, or even half-right. But still, let’s hope I do better next year.

So, without further adieu…

  1. The stock market will have a losing year. On the first day of trading for 2021 (Jan 4th) the Dow Jones high was 30,674.  The S&P was at 3,768.  The NASDAQ was 12,698.  On the last day of trading for 2021, all three will be lower than those values.  I suspect that the Dow will have lost the most value, possibly even below 27,000.  The NASDAQ will be below 10k.

I got this one way wrong. 

Since I’m not doing this after Dec 31, I can only provide almost end of year numbers.  On 12/17, the Dow closed just over 35,000 and the NASDAQ was above 15,000.

I can’t say that I’m really happy about it, though.  My 401k is happy, and so is yours.  But if the stock market stays at record highs while the fundamentals of our economy are as weak as they are, then that means one of two things.  Either the free market speculative economics that have run the stock market since America’s inception are no longer in place, or the forces that are propping up the market higher and higher will eventually fail. 

If the first option is correct, then no one has any real way of understanding economics anymore.  Yes, you can have very low job participation rates, rampant inflation, and many companies facing crises that seem to be existential, and all the while stock prices do nothing but increase.

If the second option is correct, then a crash will be harder every month it’s delayed.  That will be worse for everyone, and no one should look forward to that at this point.

I did talk a lot about the market decreasing in November.  It had a winning November too, but so far it has had a losing December, with a few hard-hitting days. 

2. Oil prices will increase–and gas will too. The price of a barrel of oil as reported on the NASDAQ listing (CL:NMX), on the first day of trading was $47.62.  The prices in Q4 will be around $70.  These prices haven’t been seen since 2014.

Right – I got this one very right.  The oil price listed on the NASDAQ (CL:NMX) was $70.86.  Furthermore, the oil price was above $80 in November, before President Brandon released oil from the strategic oil reserves. 

We all know that gas prices have been outrageously high. 

3. The economy will be worse. The US economy will take a major hit, but that won’t be seen until at least later Q3.  I am guessing that when it hits, it will hit hard.  However, the media and politicians will say this is from both “the Trump economy” and “economic effects from COVID.”

Right – I got this one very right too.  The story of the back half of 2021 wasn’t just the economy not doing well, but it was even more that the economy was performing worse that the experts were predicting.  This sent the Democrats in control of the government trying to explain that things like low job participation rates and rampant employment were actually good things.

They have tried to blame Trump and COVID, but people aren’t believing it.  This has caused the administration to reach out to the media and ask them to only talk glowingly about the economic numbers.  Parts of the media have obliged, of course.  But it doesn’t matter.  Most American’s don’t believe the media anyway, and when you can’t eat at your favorite restaurant because it can’t find workers or gas up your truck without having a coronary, then it doesn’t matter what the media tries to tell you.

4. Houses will be worth less. Median house prices in Los Angeles county are currently at $720,604 (according to http://laalmanac.com/economy/ec37.php).  A big bubble will burst in the California housing market.  I am not sure if this will happen in 2021 or 2022, but when it does, it will be worse than 2008 for them.  Look for the median price to shrink to near $500k at least.  This will be even more striking if you look at the average house value.  Prices of real estate at the upper end of the market will see the biggest contractions. There will also be a decline in housing values in other places (maybe most places), but California will be worst.

Mixed – I was very wrong on this one too.  House prices have gone up almost everywhere.  I did say that this might start is 2022.  I do still think that this will happen.  The Federal Reserve has announced that they will be increasing interest rates up to 3 times next year.  That might start the decrease in demand and lead to a housing market crash. 

5. There will be bankruptcies. 

Mixed – I talked about Sears, and while they aren’t completely gone, there are now only 21 stores left operating the United States.  So, basically they are gone.  Belk also filed for Chapter 11.

However, the bankruptcies largely decreased from 2020.  It might pick back up in 2022 after Christmas sales and in the absence of government stimulus money.  We’ll have to see.

6. Big political struggles will increase, and changes will happen. 

Mixed – The political struggles are always there, and so this seems like a bit of something that will always be true.

Except… partisanship in America and in Washington in specific are beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.  People I know that are in Congress have told me the same thing from their perspective.  This isn’t really a new thing either.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but people were screaming about how evil they thought George W. Bush was.  I remember seeing protest signs with the words “Bush = Hitler” and seeing shirts and bumper stickers with Bush morphed into a monkey or with a Hitler mustache.

They day that Trump was sworn in to office there was a protest where the same types of signs and rhetoric was bantered about.  Trump was accused of being a racist, a fascist, a nazi, and all of the other things they’ve been accusing Republican presidents of for eons. 

I sometimes wonder if Lincoln (the first Republican president) was called a racist too.

But what is different is that people on the other side have become true fascists.  It is funny that Antifa (which stands for Antifaschista Aktion – a German pro-communist group that was vying for power in the leadup to Hitler’s takeover of Germany) goes around in all-black threating violence against people who believe different things than they do. 

Incidentally, the first fascist, Benito Musolini who coined the very term “fascist,” was supported by thugs wearing all black who threatened violence against people who believed different things that they do.  In America, we used to allow that.  It was inherent in the whole freedom of speech and press thing. 

But now anything one side doesn’t want allowed is labeled “hate speech” and is removed from the public discourse, even violently if they deem it necessary.

No, I was so far not correct about attempts to remove the filibuster rule, pack the court, or outlaw firearms.  But, that mostly means that the Democrats haven’t really felt they needed this tactic yet, but I wouldn’t ever put it past them.

7. Censorship is only beginning. 

Right – This one is a clear winner in my predictions.  The bans issued by social media have increased.  One might have thought that this would all wane after the social media channels were able to steer last year’s presidential election the way they wanted.

If you don’t believe me, in the weeks leading up to the election, a laptop that Hunter Biden had basically abandoned at a computer repair shop surfaced.  National intelligence services have verified its veracity.  It implicated Joe Biden in several scandals, mostly involving Ukraine.  If you haven’t heard much about it, I’m not surprised.  Twitter and other socials banned the mention of that story completely, and even removed posts about it. 

An MRC poll https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/rich-noyes/2020/11/24/special-report-stealing-presidency-20209 recently showed that when told about the story, 9.4% of self-identifying Biden voters report that they would have changed their votes.

If you still haven’t heard of this story in the months since the election, I’m still not surprised.  A google search of “Hunter Biden’s laptop” nets mostly New York Times, Politico, etc. stories that present the story from the pro-Democrat perspective.  For stories such as the MRC poll linked above, I had to use DuckDuckGo.

There have recently surfaced some reports that are even scarier of Gmail censoring emails https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4896227/user-clip-gmail-censoring-republican-campaign-emails , which only add to the growing stories of people losing their jobs for liking the wrong thing on Facebook, or calling someone by a now abandoned pronoun.

8. Many companies will tire of the strife.

Mixed – There were both signs that this is happening, while most companies are still going with the woke agenda.

However, the companies that have rejected a call to bow to the fake progressive mob.  Companies like Goya Foods, Trader Joe’s and Hyatt have in the last year dismissed the cancel culture mob.

9. Racial hysteria will lessen. 

Right –  There are definitely not people rioting in the streets and looting.  There are no “autonomous zones.”  The racial animosity against white people and Asians is seething under the surface, but there are currently no Republicans to pin the label of “racist” on that warrants people in the streets to advance the narrative.

Notice that I didn’t say animosity or division. I said that the hysteria, people on the streets, riots, etc. will mostly bubble under the surface. We haven’t seen the last of this, definitely, but it doesn’t suit the media and Democrat parties agendas at the moment.

10. Sports will start to return.

Right – All sports are back in full swing, although they have settled into a “new normal” where players out for a week or two due to covid is a regular part of life.  Baseball was the first major sport in the United States to have no restrictions on fan attendance.

11. International relations will become very heated. 

Wrong – While I think this will be the big story of 2022 and 2023, this cannot be said as a big story this year.  I’ll take the loss on this one, but comfort myself with feelings of being ahead of my time.

Escaping Paradise

10 Things to do when escaping your home among the coastal elite and relocating to a new state

A life-long friend called me the other day and spoke about his family’s decision to leave the state of Washington. It is where they’d called home for over 2 decades.  But It seems they’d have enough.  They’ve had enough of policies that make it harder for honest people to live and provide for their families. They’ve had enough of political vitriol that separates neighbors and families, while creating boogey-men out of anyone with a different opinion. Finally, they’d had enough and of new policies forcing them to make decisions about their children’s health.  I totally understand.  I’ve been in similar situations myself, as have countless people.  Two thousand six was the moment for me.  I’d had enough of California and moved my family to Dallas-Ft Worth Texas, where I’ve been ever since.  So, I know about moving to a state far away first hand.

Now, I’m pretty sure that my friend and his wife aren’t card-carrying members of the Religious Right.  They likely don’t have MAGA hats, and their TVs aren’t regularly tuned to Fox News.  But they’ve had it.  So, they’re loading up the Jalopy (a Tesla, actually) and heading off to someplace more freedom-y. 

There’s a lot of places they could go, but likely to the somewhere through the Sun Belt or the South.  In much of those states there is less government and a whole lot more room.  Heck, Texas could fit the entire world’s population inside it before it achieved a density greater than New York city.  But, if you are an expat thinking of a move to Texas, most Texans will tell you the same thing. “Please don’t move here.  We’re full,” they’ll tell you. I know, because I’ve said it myself.  But OK, I’ll tell you a secret if you promise to keep it just between us…we aren’t really full.  We’re just scared, and reasonably so.  I had an experience last week that illustrates my point well, I think.

I was driving home from work, when nearing home I came to a stop light behind a car with California plates.  It was a rice-rocket, maybe a Honda Civic or equivalent.  The exhaust had been modified and cold-air intake probably installed.  It had been lowered, with custom wheels.  It looked like a RC car on a skateboard, trying its best to make vroom-vroom noises.  From the perch in my Ram I looked at it the way a Rottweiler glances at a yippy chihuahua. 

On the back were two bumper stickers.  One was the driver identifying himself as someone who enjoyed a particular sex-act.  It was only three words, and one of them is not a word I would want a child passing by to see.  It was lewd, and I am not a person who blanches at R-rated content.  At the time most of my thinking was that it was more unintentionally self-demeaning than anything.

The other sticker which ran along the entire bottom bumper, was one advertising his Instagram channel.  Apparently, if you liked the first bumper sticker then you should check out the pictures he posts daily.  I had a passing thought that people who are annoyed at his driving will easily find him later, but I’m not going to waste my time with that one.

It wasn’t the ridiculously customized import, the California plate, the inappropriate bumper sticker. It wasn’t even the other sticker that made me sure he labels himself an “influencer,” which made me bookmark the scene in my head.  To me it was the whole package, and what it represents.  It’s what that represents to me as a Texan. It’s likely what it would mean to an Arizonan, Idahoan, Floridian (insert any “flyover” state here) that got my attention. It’s what makes us want to buy him a plane ticket back to California. 

 So, to help explain why you might hear a “Sorry, we’re full,” or struggle to deal with what it means to move out of one of the coastal states to one of those in the vast middle of the country, I’ve put together this small primer.  I’m not aiming this at my friend in any way, or even anyone who I know at all.  Also, I’m going to completely ignore any question of if and where you should move.  I’m assuming that the decision has already been made, the security deposit has already been paid, and your bags are packed.  So, here goes.  This is what you should do, according to me, in detail and in order. Here are 10 Things to do when escaping your home among the coastal elite and relocating to a new state.

1 – Get rid of your California, Oregon, Washington, New York, etc. license plates. 

You can hang them in your garage or put them under your bed.  Just get new plates and register your car in your new state.  It doesn’t matter if you have to camp out at a government building to do this.  Just do it, and do it immediately!  Driving around with out of state plates puts a target on your back.  What those old plates represent to you might be you laziness or inability to shuck out a few schillings after you’ve already spent a lot on a move.  However, what it means to everyone else is “I’m not from here, and I’m not one of you,”

2 – Don’t lie…but also don’t lead an introduction with “I’m not from here.  I just moved here from_____.” 

People will ask you as soon as your accent or vocabulary gives you away.  At some point you’ll say “you guys” instead of “y’all.” You’ll tell someone to get on line instead of in line at the grocery store, people will know.  When you tell them where you’re from, your next words should be, “But don’t worry.  I’m not one of the bad ones.”  I’d recommend saying this even if you are one of the bad ones.  I’d recommend learning what one of the good ones means, and becoming that. But more on that later.

3 – Try to fit in as much and as soon as possible

For countless years, the news and entertainment media have been talking down to the vast middle of the country.  Political candidates for national office have actually called the majority of the US, “flyover states.”  Can you imagine how demeaning that is?  Perhaps you can’t.  But to have your home referred to as irrelevant is insulting.

No one will be impressed that you come from New York or California.  They won’t think that you are their superior.  Believe it or not, they actually tend to look down on those states you are escaping, just as coastal elites have looked down on them.  There are pretty good reasons for this, though.

First, while people on the coast tend to think of the middle states as backward and un-cosmopolitan, the opinion in the other direction is that the states on the coast are dangerous and threaten the very way of life that people enjoy.  People in cities on the coasts mostly ignore the rubes in a state like Alabama. But many of those rubes secretly (or openly) hope that an earthquake or tsunami might sweep them away. 

There’s also a constant fear that people from these states will move in large groups out of their people’s republics. Then they’ll turn the state that they are fleeing to into a carbon copy of where they came from.  For instance, Texas has no income tax for a reason.  Our legislature is in session for a few months every 2 years, only.  We like it that way.  Politicians can’t do too much damage when they aren’t even meeting. 

But in California, perpetually in-session politicians makes lucrative salaries (about $130k) passing constant new laws.  In Texas, we will gladly forgo state income tax in order to pay lawmakers about $7,000 and let them stay home most of the time.  We don’t need more government programs that serve largely to enrich bureaucrats, and we’re happy to not pay them more money.  Don’t feed that fear, irrational or not.  Don’t be afraid either, but make it your home too as quickly as you can.

4 – Make a few friends locally.

Many years ago, this would be more of a given, but in this day and age Grandma and Grandpa are just a Facetime away.  If you are moving as a family unit, it will be really easy to only interact with each other.  That is a terrible plan for your future.  Success in a major move like that depends on you building relationships with people in that new place.  If you don’t, it doesn’t matter if the weather is better, how much cheaper things are, or even that race rioters are now not actively looting your store, you’ll never be truly at home.

The nice thing is, this is generally much easier than you fear it is.  You’ll actually be surprised finding out how warm and welcoming some people are, especially in the South.  But you probably need to be a bit intentional about it.  Join a club, meet your neighbors, take walks with your dog and talk to people.  In my neighborhood, we actually bring cookies to new people, spend time talking while standing in the street, have barbeques, and even visit each other in the hospital.  It’s different than I was used to before I escaped California, but it has become something I really treasure.

You might not be used to going to church, but I have found that to be the best place to meet new friends.  They won’t force you to be baptized.  Don’t worry.  In fact, they will probably not even care if you don’t believe what they believe, but they will become people who quickly genuinely care about you. 

5 – Get out of your comfort zone at least once a week.

There will be new foods, new festivals, new experiences, and new cultures all around you.  All of us automatically think that things outside of our experience are weird.  The problem is that those things are only weird to you, not to others necessarily.  No, I’m not saying that you should take drugs, do something that you find immoral, or change your name to Eugene and walk the street in a pink mumu.  But you will become a better person, discover new things, and learn more about the culture of where you are if you do that.

6 – Get lost once a month.

We all have smartphones and many of us travel with GPS on almost all of the time.  I laugh when I’m driving with someone to a very familiar place and they turn on their Waze app to get there.  “Dude, you know where Walmart is.”

GPS is great.  You can’t get truly lost, so don’t worry about it.  You aren’t going to make a wrong turn and end up in Uzbekistan.  So, sometimes just go somewhere without a plan…no destination.  You can play “Left, Right, or Straight ahead” with your spouse and see where you end up.  The crazy thing is that you’ll discover new places that you would have never known about otherwise.  Then your GPS will show you the most efficient way back home. 

7 – Get to know at least one person who has very different opinions that you.

This one can be more difficult than many of the others.  Unfortunately, one of the big problems in America is that many people dwell almost entirely within our own echo chambers.  It’s getting pretty crazy.  The stores you shop in, restaurants you dine at, and even the very news that you consume is different depending on your political beliefs, religion, race, etc. 

This is a really bad thing, and even worse of a problem when you go to a new place.  When you get to know people who are different than you, you realize that they have many of the same dreams for their life as you.  You likely assume certain things about them that aren’t true at all, but you’ll never find out the truth unless you get to know them.

I remember having a conversation with a teenager in Texas years ago.  He asked me how I liked living here versus California.  I told him that I loved it.  I did miss certain things sometimes, like the beautiful mountains, and that Texas just didn’t have some of that beauty.

“What do you mean?” he said.  “Texas is the most beautiful state in the country.”
“No, it isn’t by far.” I retorted.  “How many states have you seen?”
“I’ve never been out of state.” He said proudly. 
“Then how could you ever know that?”
“I don’t need to travel to any other state to know that.  I’ve seen Texas!”

I laughed at his silly answer.  I still do.  You likely are laughing too, but his statement is no different than assuming certain thoughts about people with different points of view.  Strive to be better than that.

8 – Realize that certain understandings that you have about way the society runs, how government should work, and how economics should function are likely wrong. At least it may be wrong for this new place.

OK, I said that the last point was hard, but this is way harder.  The truth is that many people won’t even attempt this one, unfortunately.  That is because people respond to others with beliefs that vary from theirs by using a thought process that is instinctual and dismissive.  You do it.  I do it.  It’s almost unavoidable.

When you encounter a person with a divergent view, it is automatic to start by assuming that they just don’t know all of the facts, and if you can just educate the person about the way things really are, then certainly he will thank you and correct his point of view.  However, many times that person seems to be well-aware of the facts, and maybe he then counters with facts of his own that support his point of view. Unfortunately, in this day and age everyone seems to have their own facts and it’s hard to know which is true at all.

Your next conclusion is that the offending person just isn’t capable of making a wise decision on that matter.  Maybe you are just better educated, smarter, or have experience that gives you a better understanding.  Sometimes your intellectual opposite is well educated, able to demonstrate that he has an understanding of the situation maybe even better than you do, and even has experience that is compelling.

Finally, you are left with no alternative but to assume that the person on the other side is just evil.  He knows the facts, is perfectly capable of understanding them, but hasn’t come around to your position.  So that person must be intentionally trying to cause problems.  Maybe he is wanting to create havoc, force others to adhere to his religion, or he’s just racist, sexist, or something that ends in –phobe.

This whole line of thinking is much easier for you and I to hold when there is more distance between you and the person you are opposing.  Maybe it’s physical distance.  People in New York can think bad things about us redneck Texans, just like Texans can despise those damned big city yankees in New York.  It’s much more difficult to think of the people who live next door in the same way.

But that distance isn’t just geographic.  There are the socio-economic differences between blue and white-collar types, Democrat and Republican, Buddhist and Hindu, and black and white.  Increasingly, you even hear of people completely dismissed because of their race or politics.  I’ve even heard nationally-known politicians tell someone their opinion doesn’t matter because they are a man or white. 

Recently, I heard an audio clip of an expert being interviewed on a podcast.  The expert made a point about race relations, and the host (quite graciously) corrected the lady’s assertion.  The expert being interviewed was a liberal professor at some university, who was part of the woke white crowd.

“Well, you just don’t understand because of the white privilege that you benefit from.  But if you were a person of color, you’d see that I’m right,”  she said.
“Ummm…I’m not sure that you really have done your research,” said the host, “I’m not white at all.  I am black.”

She had nothing to say more about the matter, but began talking about her staff not providing her with the correct research.  While she was very confident in assuming the ignorance of the host based upon his racial distance on this issue, when her preconception was proven wrong she could no longer even discuss the issue.  She also had assumed that he had some genetic evil because of his whiteness, which explained away his differing view.  When that was shown to be nonsense, she had no paradigm left to understand his not sharing her point of view.

This tribalism is deadly for America and our communities.  In a country that was based not on a common heritage at all, but in a concept of how society should function, the glue that holds us together no longer works. When we put everyone into groups of us and them it only leads to that bond dissolving and the various parts of our society falling to pieces.

I notice this when I travel from Texas to many of these places that people are fleeing from.  Nowhere seems to me to be more extreme than Portland, Oregon.  While I haven’t travelled there since the chaos of COVID started, going there in recent years has made me feel like I’m visiting a foreign country, and one that doesn’t like people from my land at all.  I really don’t say this in artistic hyperbole for effect.  It is more than just my feeling.  It’s palpable.  Their language, mannerisms, and even personal ethics are different than mine.

The first time I went to Portland with work I made the mistake of wearing my baseball hat with the Texas flag on it.  People didn’t like that.  The Texas flag is pretty unmistakable, even for out-of-staters, and I got a ton of dirty looks.  Yes, it could have been that I didn’t have tattoos or piercings, all quite ubiquitous there, but when I took my cap off (a lesson that I quickly learned) people were a bit nicer.  Also, when I wore the hat people would shift their eyes up slightly before telling me to go to hell with their expressions.

The hotel did not put a mint on my pillow, there was a condom in its place, and there was a copy of some sort of self-help-ish book instead of a Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer.  Several times each day, I had difficulty in determining the gender of a clerk or server at a restaurant helping me out.  I wasn’t trying to be rude or mean, but where I live you call a stranger sir or ma’am in those circumstances.  I had to simply skip that part and it was a very awkward experience.

I’m not bagging on Portland.  It might sound like that, but I’m just reporting things that led to my feeling uncomfortable and out of place.  If you travelled to Pyongyang or Tehran, you likely would not wear your American flag T-shirt.  You would probably keep to yourself more, in order to avoid uncomfortable encounters.  You also wouldn’t readily appear overly American, particularly when a waiter was going to serving you food later.  This might be something that you didn’t think about, but you’d also likely try to be the best person that you could be because you might be the only American that person ever encounters.  I have that same dynamic when I’m visiting Portland, and no it isn’t all in my mind.  I travel a lot, to many different cities around the US.

So, remember how we mentioned that people are wary of Californians, New Yorkers, etc. moving into their communities and changing things?  People living in other states don’t want to live in a place where suddenly they feel like I do when I travel to Portland.  They like their laws the way they are.  They voted for their politicians.  You might find an abortion law in Texas to be unpalatable, or a voting code in Georgia to be objectionable, but the citizens of those states (majority-wise) support that. There are reasons that the states with the best economies are almost all Republican controlled, and the states with the worst are mostly Democrat super-majorities.

People in many states are legitimately afraid of having these things changed by people moving from the outside.  It isn’t an unreasonable fear.  People usually don’t change their preconceptions on the world when they move locations.  If they flee from somewhere to another place, they are more likely to come up with a host of other reasons that are to blame for everything going downhill, rather than to take ownership of policy that led to those ultimate consequences. 

That’s why Marxism has failed every time it has been tried throughout history, for instance.  Yet, that system is more popular now than ever.  Instead of admitting a failed system in Venezuela for example, their leaders create all sorts of straw men that are to blame.  To do otherwise would take humility that most of us don’t possess.  It takes a lot of strength of character to say, “Well, that didn’t work at all.  Maybe I was wrong.”  That seems like admitting failure, but it is actually growing as a person.  Unfortunately, most of us do everything we can think to do in order to keep from growing.

That is what people are afraid of.  A state like California has had a super-majority of one-party rule for many years.  They have crafted laws that partisans in that party thought were good ideas, while restricting opposing voices almost entirely. If business is fleeing that state now, if families are leaving because it has become a place too difficult to raise children or own property, then it might not be a great idea to vote for similar ideas and elect those same types of politicians in your new home.   It’s reported that Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” 

That is why your Vermont license plates get sneers.  But that doesn’t mean that the place you came from was all bad and the place you are moving to is all good.  OK, so the socialist paradise that you are fleeing from was a little less utopian than you’d hoped, but the place you are moving to isn’t heaven on earth either.  You know what?  Portland has the Multnoma Whiskey Library, which is one of the coolest places I’ve been to.  Oregon is a beautiful state, and has some really good restaurants.  Even if I feel out of place in Portland, there are countless redeeming qualities and some good people.  You don’t need to abandon all of your politics at all.  Just be willing to evaluate your own positions.  It’s ok to say, “I have changed my mind.”  Only a fool never changes his mind.

9 – Make a list of things you want to do and see.

After you’ve been to the new place for about 6 months, find ten things you want to do and see there.  Write the list down and give it a title like, “Things I want to do in Arizona in the next year.”  Then put the date.  The timeline doesn’t have to be a year, but that is usually reasonable.  The timeline should push you a bit.  You will probably need to do some research, ask some locals, and add things as they come to you.  When you’re done, put it on the fridge.

There is an interesting thing about lists like this.  First, it will give you a goal of sorts, and drive you to do and see more things than you would otherwise.  Here in Texas, I was talking to someone the other day in Dallas who told me that they’d never been to the Fort Worth Stockyards, a place where all tourists to this area seem to flock.  I wasn’t incredulous because it is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, but that it would make any top 10 list of things to see if you are in DFW for a week, let alone a lifetime.

You’ll discover pretty places, tourist traps, quirky locals, and places you’ll never want to go to again.  But after a while, you’ll know more about your new community than some locals will.  You’ll also learn to appreciate it, maybe even love it, in a way that you never could before.  You will have new experiences.  You’ll make new friends, and you won’t be bored.

There’s another benefit that you can’t truly appreciate until afterwards.  When you look back on that year (or whatever period of time you’ve set) and check off all the things you’ve done, you’ll start to feel a sense of accomplishment.  You’ll enjoy the sense of discovery and you’ll feel that progress has been made.  It’ll build a sense of pride for you…and for your new home.

10 – Become a tour guide.

Now that you’ve made it through the other 9 difficult items, this one is kind of like the icing on the cake, and it’s actually far less difficult now that you’ve done all the rest.  So don’t worry.

OK, I don’t mean that you need to become a professional, and ride busses with tourists from Sweden.  But a thing destined to occur after you move, is eventually Grandma and Grandpa are going to visit, or maybe your childhood best friend, or your sisters.  It doesn’t matter who it is, but it’s going to happen.  They won’t know the place.  They won’t have done their research.  When I had my first friends from California visit, they kept asking why everyone wasn’t riding horses.  All they knew about the place were stereotypes they’d heard about, but I wanted to show them how much I loved my new community.

A long time ago I went to Chicago, a city I’d never visited but always wanted to see.  A friend’s roommate volunteered to give me a tour of the city. We drove around to all the most famous places and he told me stories about the Great Chicago Fire, how it affected the architecture as it was rebuilt.  I heard stories of the history of certain buildings and areas.  He even knew the names of many of the iconic Chicago buildings and their architects.  He told me a story about from over a century ago about how Chicago came to be called the windy city.  Not only did he know the town well, but it was clear he had a deep appreciation and love for it.  It was exactly like one of those expensive bus tours.

“So, how many generations of your family have lived here in the city?” I asked.
“Oh, I moved here about 8 years ago from another state.”
“Wait
, I don’t know that I’ve ever known anyone who knows as much about their city as you know about Chicago.  I thought you’d lived here all your life,” I told him.
“I just decided when I moved here that I wanted to learn everything I could about this place, and I found the more I learned about Chicago the more I loved it.”

So set a goal that when family or friends visit that you will be their tour guide.  Then you can show them the best side of your new home, maybe dispel some of their preconceptions, and give them a glimpse of why you have discovered it to be a great place.  You know what, if you plan to do that, by the time that they do come to visit you won’t have to think about what to tell them.  Instead, it’ll be pouring out of you, because you will have fallen in love…and you’ll no longer be a stranger there, you’ll be at home.

11 Predictions for 2021

Listening Header

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, equivocating on all kinds of things. I realize, though, that with news moving as fast as it is, I need to get my predictions for the year published. I don’t want things to happen on this list and later seem like I was post-prognosticating (to wax Shakespearean).

As always, I have to say that this is NOT about predicting the future in a spiritual-type way. I am not psychich, and as a Christian I would never attempt that. It is not intended to be prophecy either. I am not speaking for God or fate. I am simply making educated guesses about what may happen. Also, especially this year, I do not wish many of these things to happen. I am simply guessing that they will. Fortunately for me no one reads my thoughts much, because if they did, in this day and age even guessing that something might happen is enough to get a person attacked by the mob. What a world.

OK, here goes…

  1. The stock market will have a losing year. On the first day of trading for 2021 (Jan 4th) the Dow Jones high was 30,674.  The S&P was at 3,768.  The NASDAQ was 12,698.  On the last day of trading for 2021, all three will be lower than those values.  I suspect that the Dow will have lost the most value, possibly even below 27,000.  I think that the NASDAQ will be below 10k.
  2. Oil prices will increase–and gas will too. The price of a barrel of oil as reported on the NASDAQ listing (CL:NMX), on the first day of trading was $47.62.  The prices in Q4 will be around $70.  These prices haven’t been seen since 2014.
  3. The economy will be worse. The US economy will take a major hit, but that won’t be seen until at least later Q3.  I am guessing that when it hits, it will hit hard.  However, the media and politicians will say this is from both “the Trump economy” and “economic effects from COVID.”
  4. Houses will be worth less. Median house prices in Los Angeles county are currently at $720,604 (according to http://laalmanac.com/economy/ec37.php).  A big bubble will burst in the California housing market.  I am not sure if this will happen in 2021 or 2022, but when it does, it will be worse than 2008 for them.  Look for the median price to shrink to near $500k at least.  This will be even more striking if you look at the average house value.  Prices of real estate at the upper end of the market will see the biggest contractions. There will also be a decline in housing values in other places (maybe most places), but California will be worst.
  5. There will be bankruptcies. Several major retail companies will go completely out of business.  I’ve long been predicting the complete demise of Sears, and this might be the year.  But look for at least one of the closings to be somewhat unexpected.  I have my eye on Nordstroms.
  6. Big political struggles will increase, and changes will happen. The Leftist cadre seems to be now in complete control of the United States.  I think that the assault on other ideologies will be just as big throughout 2021 (unless the Q-believing folks happen to be correct…and that is unpredictable now).  I believe that the first issue that they will fixate on will be gun control.  Some event of violence will spark this push.  I think that the chances are high that this will also lead to ending the filibuster rule in congress, and possibly eventually to an attempt to pack the Supreme Court.  If this happens, the narrative will be that the violence must be stopped.  They will cite rising violent crime in the cities as part of the reasoning.  If the Supreme Court does any action to invalidate this, then there will be a push to pack the court, although the narrative will be “rebalance the court, because it has been packed with conservatives.”  If this happens, it might lead to the breakup of the United States.  I do think that the chances of this playing out over the next couple of years (not just 2021) are high, although it will be surprising how fast things move in 2021.  For the record, I think all of this is a grave tragedy, and will have very bad effects on the world.
  7. Censorship is only beginning. Tech censorship will continue (and increase) through 2021.  This will mean banned accounts of popular Republican-aligned voices.  Also, this will not be simply banned Twitter and Facebook accounts.  There will be erased bank accounts, servers deleting information, and possibly even providers (like AT&T) censoring.  Some of this will end up before the Supreme Court.
  8. Many companies will tire of the strife. Because of all the arguing, some businesses will decrease bowing to the mob or excluding/apologizing/etc.  This will further separate Americans, as some businesses will be seen as “Conservative,” and some as “Leftist.”
  9. Racial hysteria will lessen. Possibly later in the year, the BLM and racial violence and protest will quiet down. 
  10. Sports will start to return. Baseball will be the first major sport to allow fans back in the stands at all games.  However, I don’t know if the major sports will fully recover, ever.
  11. International relations will become very heated. Some belligerent foreign power will create significant strife that will involve the United States.  This could involve one of the familiar list of candidates, like North Korea or Iran.  I doubt that this will be from a major power like Russia or China, but will have their backing.  I think that this may happen in concert, such as Iran announcing that they have nuclear weapons and North Korea testing missiles, or causing problems in South Korea.

What “Might” Happen Tuesday

Things to Look for on Election Night

The short answer is that I have no idea. Anyone who says they do, is wrong. They don’t. That’s the TL;DR. If you want it short, you can stop reading now.

For those who stayed (if any), here are a few things to look for. First a caveat. While I am talking about the presidential part of the election, that is possibly no more important than the Senate and House races. I am not forgetting them. In fact, I think that these will be largely bellwethers and as such, are the ones to really pay attention to on Tuesday night.

So, far as the Senate and President go, there are 4 possibilities after Tuesday night (or whenever it’s finally decided).

  1. Trump WinsSenate stays Republican
  2. Trump Wins Senate goes to the Democrats
  3. Biden WinsSenate stays Republican
  4. Biden Wins.Senate goes to the Democrats

For Republicans, the only positive outcome in #1. Even though Trump wins in outcome #2, if the Senate is Democrat, the chances of the House impeaching again and the Senate convicting, are astronomical. Trump will not serve for 4 years. That is almost a guarantee.

Further, this would mean almost certainly that Trump won by a small electoral majority. Leftist groups will be on the streets causing chaos. This is not a scare tactic or red meat for Conservatives. Leftist groups are planning this, and will happen (possibly in any Trump win). It would also mean that Trump will have won with a smaller total number of votes than in 2016 nationally (most likely). That would be more fuel for the “Resist!” crowd.

While #3 is not a dream for Democrats either, it might also create as much chaos as the second option. I also think that this option is the least likely of all possibilities.

Option #4 is a nightmare scenario. Even for average Democrats, I don’t see how it could be palatable. If the Dems had total power of both branches, the Supreme Court would be the only bulwark. The possibility of court-packing would be pretty certain. Ending the Senate filibuster rule would also happen, and the Democrats dream of getting rid of the Electoral College would be on the agenda.

I don’t think that last one would happen. I think that Democrats might try it, but there are still too many Republican or even moderate states. If the Electoral College were to end, the United States would break up. States would leave. But, even if the Supreme Court is packed, that might start to happen too. So, for all but the most Left-leaning of Democrats, having control of both the Presidency and the Senate should be scary.

The only real hopes for a Republican win are either that the polling is wrong by a small amount, and it continues to improve for Trump. In this case, he squeaks out a win. The other possibility is that there is a hidden Red Wave.

I do see those as real possibilities. Trump does seem to have momentum. The nice thing is, early returns will show what is happening. Here are the 5 states to watch on Tuesday night.

  1. Maine. Biden will likely win here. Every poll shows it. Most have him winning by double-digits. Quinnipiac has him winning by 21%. All the polls also show Sara Gideon beating incumbent RINO Susan Collins by single-digits (except for Quinnipiac), but some are even in the margin of error. What to watch: Does Susan Collins win? If she does, then either the polls were not accurate, or we’re seeing a Red Wave. If Susan Collins wins, and Trump loses by single digits, or miraculously wins, we are seeing a Red Wave. If Trump wins Maine, the election is over. Turn off the TV.
  2. North Carolina. Incumber Republican Senator Thom Tillis has been down in the polls by single digits. The numbers have been tightening on this race in recent weeks, and are now within the margin of error. For Trump, this race is basically tied in the polls. Most show the winner within the margin of error, some showing Trump, others showing Biden. What to watch: Does Trump win or lose by a lot? Does Thom Tillis lose by a lot. Slight wins for Trump do not negate the polls, but landslides denote a Red Wave.
  3. Michigan. This state is a huge canary in the coal mine. All polls are showing the incumbent Democrat, Gary Peters, beating Republican challenger, John James. His lead is in the mid to high single digits, outside of the margins or error. What to watch: If Peters wins by a small margin, or if James wins, it might portend a Trump victory. It also might show that Trump is doing very well with black voters. Further, if Trump wins, then it will likely be a bad night for Democrats.
  4. Georgia. Do not pay attention to the Senate race in this one. It’s weird. But in the Presidential election, some polls have Trump ahead, some Biden, some tied. No major poll shows the winner outside of the margin of error. What to watch: The winner here will show how accurate these polls have all really been. It is an early one to watch.
  5. Arizona. While this is a later state to watch, being on the Western side of America (but Arizona will be with the rest of Mountain Time on Tuesday), the polls have recently flipped, showing Trump with a very narrow lead. This is mostly within the margin or error here. What to watch: If Trump wins by more than 5%, then we have a Read Wave for sure.

If you want to research this yourself…

Here are a few good links to look at

Nothing but the News

Mostly Peaceful Protests burn Portland…again

Downtown Portland– Peaceful protestors gathered for a 101st night in downtown Portland Tuesday in order to advocate for equitable public policy toward black Americans and end police brutality. “We just want our black, non-conforming, and Wiccan xi’s and xim’s to be free of violence,” Antifa General and Flower Prince/Princess Karen “Unicorn” Rutledge told reporters over the weekend. “Our message is that simple.”

Karen Rutledge pictured giving instructions to other members (she’s the one in black, wearing a face covering).

Protestors are increasingly upset by negative media attention to their cause. “We are no different than anyone else. We are normal people,” said Mister Smash (who didn’t want to reveal his real name, for fear of retribution. “I put my pants on one leg at a time, myself. I don’t let my mom do that for me. She’s not even allowed into my room anymore.”

Alan “Mister Smash” Nusbaum pictured all dressed up before taking the long limo ride to the night’s protests.

Mister Smash isn’t new to the protesting world. “I went to my first protest when I was 16,” Smash says in a thoughtful moment. “The courts had just released two cops who brutally murdered an innocent man and nothing was going to stop me from making sure that justice was done.”

Smash was referring to two Portland PD officers who were involved in a now infamous incident in the “skid row” district of Portland. The officers were trying to make an arrest of the “Nursing Home Rapist,” who had just escaped from prison after murdering 3 guards with his bare hands and stealing their firearms. The two policemen shot and killed the man after he shot out all four tires of their police car and broke out the windows. The officers were later acquitted in court, sparking city-wide protests. “It was just another case of the cops murdering a person of color.”

After the trial was over the officers were fired by the mayor of Portland. The city rules give the mayor plenary power over all police matters as well as the usual mayor duties. The policemen had been defended by Mister Smash’s father, prominent Portland attorney Phillip Nusbaum. “It all turned out OK, though. The cops got off scott-free, but my dad gave me a thousand bucks for my protesting club and a new car. So basically, justice was done.”

At around 9:30 the night’s “Protest against Racial violence, Sexual repression, Genderism, Capitalism, Wealthyism, and Right-Wing Media bias” launched into high gear. Protestors peacefully occupied the middle of Capital Street Bridge, and lit the bridge on fire. “It was a statement about repression. It was beautiful.” said Karen Rutledge. Paramedics treated 12 peaceful protestors for smoke inhalation, and the protestors were quickly able to recover and return to protesting, peacefully.

Peaceful protestors trapped on bridge

The group then left and gathered later in front of the Resting Sunset Retirement Home on Fourth Avenue. “Down with the f****** cops!” “Yo ho, capitalism has got to go.” and “No justice, no peace. These streets are not your streets…anymore.” The peaceful protestors chanted in unison out of their pre-prepared protest chant books.

Peaceful protestors in front of the Resting Sunset Retirement Home

Fractured

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the seriesFractured

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I’ve been watching and reading the news with a different eye recently. It really started a couple weeks ago during the Texas State Republican Convention, at which I was again a delegate this year. During the convention, I sat through caucuses and meetings as well as the proceedings on the convention floor.

A convention is an exciting and busy event, and there is always positioning and debating. That is the point of the whole thing. When delegates from a whole state get together to pick one document that will guide all of what their collective will is going to be concentrated on over the next 2 years, there should be considerable debate.

After the convention each night, I would go home and absorb the day’s news. I consistently heard throughout the weekend about how the split Republican Party was arguing over issues of homosexuality, marijuana, and immigration. There were Republicans protesting, and the organization was undoing itself.

I consistently wondered if perhaps the news media were accidentally at a different convention, or if possibly I was the one attending a different convention entirely. I checked. I was definitely at the right place.   None of what the news was reporting was happening at all.

While platform positions regarding homosexuality-related issues were debated in the committee meetings I’m sure, the body of delegates didn’t discuss it even one time. Let me rephrase that in case you missed it: we didn’t talk about homosexuality even once…not one time…not even in passing…it wasn’t an issue. Yes, the platform does address “reparative therapy.” Anyone who has paid attention to the news knows this is only addressing the push for making it illegal to offer counseling available to those who do not wish to live as practicing homosexuals. This has happened in California already. The platform position only addresses this situation. This part of the platform was not discussed at all, or even voted on separately (lest you think I’m cheating in my prior statements).

Outside of the building on the first night were somewhere between 8 and 12 people with pro-homosexual marriage signs. They were not members of the convention. They were exceedingly kind, and it seemed everyone was kind to them. I firmly support anyone’s right to protest in this way. They were on the evening news and on radio. They must have had great pre-protest press releases for a dozen people to get so much media coverage.

Marijuana was discussed, and any pro-legalization efforts were soundly defeated by the body. There was no mass demonstration. There were however, a lot of pro-pot people who only showed up as delegates prior to that vote and then left shortly afterward. Four of them were in my row. I had never seen them before. One of them leaned over to his friend during the vote and said, “That just shows how dumb these Republicans are.” They were clearly not Republicans, and they were only there to try and create chaos. They failed. But they did have their NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) car out front, made to look like a cop car, but with big pot leaves on it. I have always found it amusing that the organization to legalize pot uses an acronym that proposes an alternate spelling of “normal.”

I took this picture right outside the Convention Center

I took this picture right outside the Convention Center

Immigration was slightly contentious, for about 45 minutes or so. But in reality, there was little difference in the ideas of the two vying groups. In fact, the only real discrepancy was that the more Conservative of the groups thought that if securing the border was allowed to be in the same legislative package as other immigration matters it would end up never being enacted. Other than that, almost everyone was in agreement. In the end, a compromise was made, smashing the two plans into one. Everyone left unified. There were no mean words, and no fighting.

But this is the opposite of everything we’ve read, isn’t it? Not in the “Liberal spin on reality” way, but just complete lies. -Ryan

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