Life in America

The 2021 Winter Storms edition of The Status Quo: An Electronic Newsletter is dedicated to those Texans who suffered needlessly as a result of the greed and incompetence of their elected officials. Having been forced to recognize the failures of Texas’ power grid scheme in 2011 by a similar weather event, Texas Republicans past and present had ten (10) years to address the systemic failures of the current distribution system. However, they opted to ignore the lessons of the past and the question we need to be asking is why. This conservative Veteran believes that Republicans who control Texas government ignored these obvious failures because they knew that to transform the confusing and unworkable system to a more practical and reliable system would force them to admit their one-of-a-kind distribution scheme is rooted in the bankrupt idea that “free markets” are always a better path to govern than through government regulation.

Only the Strong Survive

During Winter Storms Uri and Viola, the Republican Party’s unwritten policies of greed and indifference to the suffering of others were on full display for the world to see. The rejection of good governance by embracing convoluted schemes of power distribution under the guise of “free markets” led to the suffering of millions of Texans. We know this to be true because we saw it with our own eyes. Moreover, it was also the cause of death for many of Texas’ most vulnerable residents. The first official number of dead from these two storms is 57 as of 17 March 2021. For this alone, Texas Republicans should be ashamed only we, San Antonians, know they are incapable of feeling shame. They revel in their indifference while lacking the courage to admit when they are wrong.

Let the record reflect it was in February 2021 that the Republican Party’s infatuation with free markets was shown to be just a façade. Greed is what Republicans are infatuated with and no amount of spin can change that fact. Indeed there is no doubt that free markets have their place in a democratic society. In fact, they are key to the success in the 21st century as they operate for the most part better than markets regulated by government. This is a lesson taught to us by history and our own national experience. However, free markets have their place in American society and controlling the distribution of electricity is not one of them.

Free markets currently govern America’s health care system and look how well it functions. A well-oiled machine if what you call success is obesity, diabetes, drug addiction and bankruptcy. Americans should be ashamed of what we call “health care” but then again we, as Americans, know we are incapable of shame. We shutter at the idea of offending some wallflower by speaking truth to power but we could not care less that rape-kits sit untested in the basements of local government allowing serial rapists to prey upon our women and children. We do live in a society tuned upside down where might makes right and the less fortunate are expendable. America is not about survivable of the fittest. America is or was about the common good not the almighty dollar.

It is hard to imagine a more convincing example of the failure of the free-market approach than what we witnessed in Texas this past February. It is also hard to imagine more persuasive evidence of the indifference of Texas Republicans than their race to blame renewable energy for the cause of the February 2021 power outages. Men like Governor Abbott used photographs from 2015 depicting helicopters de-icing wind turbines in Sweden as proof that renewable energy was the cause of the power outages in Texas in 2021. It seems lying has become the Republican Party go-to-response when asked to explain its failed public policies. The question every conservative should want answered is when and where did this sickness come from?

As if to make sure everyone knew what Texas Republicans think of their constituents, the “former” Mayor of Colorado City, TX informed his constituents during the storms that “Only the strong will survive and the weak will perish.” How pathetic. How Republican. Yet, to be fair to Mayor Boyd, he was simply posting to social media what many Americans have come to know as the motto of the Republican Party. When Mayor Boyd wrote, “No one owes you or your family anything” and “Folks God has given us the tools to support ourselves in times like this,” he was simply relaying the message the Republican Party has been sending the American people since the days of Newt Gingrich.

If Americans are interested to know when Neo-Christians and Neo-Conservatives (see previous edition of the Newsletter) began to control the Republican Party from the far-right, they need look to 1994 when Newt Gingrich became the Speaker of the House. The “Contract with America” turned out to be just another silly slogan that Republicans used to gain re-election. It was similar to the same silly slogans Democrats have used in the past to secure election. Hope and Change will always be my favorite. How ironic that the Democrats threw away that hope and change when they nominated Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton for President- the only Presidential candidate more repugnant in the eyes of many Americans than the new to politics former Fake President of the United States. Of course we now know he is at least as repugnant as Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton if not more. And we also know that Gingrich, Hastert, DeLay, the Cunningham’s, Graham, and the invertebrate Ted Cruz, represent the new Republican Party; where lies, greed and indifference to the suffering of others are the hallmarks of effective governance when effective governance means only one thing: securing re-election

What is hard to imagine is that the Republican Party was once led by men like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Everett Dirksen, Hugh Scott, Robert Dole, John McCain, and countless other conservative politicians who understood that the principles of conservatism did not include just limited government and fiscal restraint. These men knew that compassion for one’s fellow man was a core conservative principle just as they knew the importance of demonstrating to the world that America’s commitment to good governance was proven by practicing what it preached. If these men were alive today, they would work tirelessly to remove any trace of the former Fake President of the United States’ corrupt influence from the party of Abraham Lincoln as well as isolate and defeat the fringe element of the Republican Party. We, as conservatives, united under the banner of truth, must pick up the struggle and return the Republican Party to its roots; roots so deep they extend back to a time when white men died to a make black men free.

…and the Weak will Perish

As if God wanted to remind us of the inequities that permeate our land of the free, home of the depraved, the two winter storms that claimed the lives of many across the nation delivered those inequities by way of graphic photographs, angry tweets, and cold hard facts. In an effort to ensure that all Trump devotees are not left guessing as to what the word inequities means, it is important they understand that inequities is a word used to describe something that lacks fairness or infers injustice. Not that they care about the profound inequities that exist in America just that they know what the word means should they continue to proclaim themselves Christians. It is also important for the rest of us to remember that certain words present a problem for the former Fake President of the United States and so many of his gullible followers. He like many of them have the vocabulary of a “really great” and “wonderful” fifth grader. A “tremendous” fifth grader if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

Another example of the inequities and absurdities of life in America was brought to us courtesy of the Novel Coruna virus. This inequity, which proved very deadly for the less fortunate among us, was placed on display in Los Angeles, CA for all Americans to see. It is no coincidence that this inequity occurred in Los Angeles, CA. Los Angeles, CA is home to Hollywood and Hollywood is the epitome of everything that is wrong with America. Racism, bigotry and criminal conduct brushed aside as inconsequential are the hallmarks of Hollywood and the local government it controls. To those who have never lived in the Southland, let there be no mistake that Hollywood governs Los Angeles just as the banking industry governs New York, the car industry Detroit, the oil business Texas, and money in Washington D.C. The example below is not of the countless mentally ill living along Skid Row because bleeding heart liberals in CA want government to provide room, board, and entertainment to murderers, serial rapists and fixated pedophiles. To hell with the mentally ill say the elite in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. They are mentally weak and as such should perish to steal a phrase from the far-right in Texas.

On the contrary, the example below involves the inequities of our front-line health care workers and the holiest of holies – NBA players. In November of 2020, registered nurses gathered in Los Angeles to protest the fact that UCLA’s athletic department conducted 1,248 tests in a single week while health-care workers at UCLA hospitals were denied testing. Last year, National Nurses United, the country’s largest nursing union, released the results of a survey of more than 15,000 members and about two-thirds reported they had never been tested. How pathetic.

Before the race-baiters in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Hollywood pass off the above reference to the NBA as an example of racism, it is imperative they understand the NFL is worse and MLB is close behind. From August 2020 to the end of the 2020, the NBA conducted over 675,000 coronavirus tests. How many tests were done in the black and Hispanic communities near where these stadiums are located? As for nurses and emergency personnel living and working in those communities, if they think they have been exposed, they are on their own in obtaining testing. Meanwhile the overpaid and wholly non-essential NBA player gets a test a day at no charge. These inequities are why America is no longer a country united. These inequities are why college educated Americans especially younger Americans are turning away from the Republican Party. These inequities are why America is no longer the last best hope of mankind. We, as conservatives, can change this inequity by uniting under the core principles that once made Conservatives the bedrock of American politics. Or, we can watch as our nation continues its fall from grace hoping against all hope that we are not left to perish in the ashes of the new world order.

Will Senate Republicans allow their louts to rule the party?
By George F. Will (The Washington Post, 13 February 2021, 1235 CST)

The first of this century’s national traumas is denoted by two numbers: 9/11. One purpose of, and a sufficient justification for, the second impeachment of the 45th president was to inscribe this century’s second trauma in the nation’s memory as: 1/6.

Although not nearly as tragic as 9/11 in lives lost and radiating policy consequences, 1/6 should become, as its implications percolate into the national consciousness, even more unsettling. Long before 9/11, Americans knew that foreign fanaticisms were perennial dangers. After 1/6, Americans know what their Constitution’s Framers knew: In any democracy, domestic fanaticisms always are, potentially, rank weeds that flourish when fertilized by persons who are as unscrupulous as they are prominent.

The Framers are, to the 45th president, mere rumors. They, however, knew him, as a type — a practitioner of what Alexander Hamilton (in Federalist 68) disdainfully called “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity.” Post-1/6 America has a quickened appreciation of how those “little arts,” when magnified by modern modes of mass communication as wielded by occupants of the swollen modern presidency, make civilization’s brittle crust crumble.

Intelligent people of goodwill disagree about the constitutionality of an impeachment trial of a former president. Forty-four Republican senators voted (generally less from constitutional conviction than from political convenience) to truncate the trial. They lost, but their role as jurors remained. In that constitutional role their duty was to decide whether the president’s two months of inciting what occurred on 1/6 constituted an impeachable offense. Saturday’s revelations about Donald Trump’s comportment during the riot — redundant evidence of his character, surprising to no senator — were no match for 100 senators’ unifying desire to spend a week away from the Senate.

The presentation by the House impeachment managers was a demonstration, the more welcome for its rarity, of congressional conscientiousness and meticulousness. Congress is an investigating institution, for three purposes: To establish the need for particular legislation. To provide oversight of the operation of existing laws and the institutions they undergird. And to inform voters about matters that they must understand in order for representative government to function. The investigative aspect of impeachment proceedings serves this third purpose.

Information is inherently good, and the trial was a cornucopia of information about the sights and sounds of 1/6. And about the Republican Party. Its congressional membership overwhelmingly says, and perhaps believes, that 1/6, and the low presidential intrigues that preceded it, were not violations of the presidential oath to defend the Constitution.

As the trial proceeded, there appeared a new aspirant for membership in the Republican senators’ large Lout Caucus: Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), et al. In Ohio, Josh Mandel announced his candidacy to replace Rob Portman, the temperate conservative and meticulous legislator who is retiring in 2022. Mandel said the impeachment “got my blood boiling to the point where I decided to run.” His blood boils frequently: This will be his third Senate run.

His agenda for creating a more perfect union is “to pulverize the uni-party,” meaning “this group of Democrats and Republicans who sound exactly the same and are more interested in getting invited to the cocktail party circuit than they are in standing up for the Constitution.” With his stupefying unoriginality, Mandel sounds exactly like innumerable congressional Republicans who clawed their way to Washington by espousing an anti-Washington-cocktail-circuit stance as conservatism. Mandel has perfect pitch for populism’s rhetorical banalities.

Were he to win, he would occupy the seat once held by Robert A. Taft Sr., the son of a president, and one of the five senators (with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Calhoun and Robert La Follette Sr.) first honored with portraits in the Capitol’s Senate Reception Room. Taft’s wife was once asked, “Do you think of your husband as a common man?” Aghast, she replied: “Oh, no, no! The senator is very uncommon. He was first in his class at Yale and first in his class at the Harvard Law School. We wouldn’t permit Ohio to be represented in the Senate by just a common man.”

Taft was known as “Mr. Republican.” Seventy years later, Mandel is an increasingly common Republican. Today’s two major parties have framed political competition since the middle of the 19th century — since the Republicans rose from the rubble of the Whigs. An essential conservative insight about everything is that nothing necessarily endures. Care must be taken. The Republican Party will wither if the ascendant Lout Caucus is the face it presents to this nation of decent, congenial people.

2021 Inauguration Day

The 2021 Inauguration Day edition of The Status Quo: An Electronic Newsletter is dedicated to those who were not able to say goodbye to a loved via social media. From traumatized health care workers to suffering families, the pain so many endure today must fuel a movement to not only reform our governments from the ground up but also motivate us to hold accountable those enemies, foreign and domestic, whose actions and inactions have caused so much pain and suffering. Since we already know how badly we failed each other, we must document for future generations which government officials besides the former fake President of the United States betrayed us and which government offices besides the Office of the former Vice President failed us. For if we fail to hold our elected officials accountable, we will betray the memory not only of those who died needlessly but also the memory of those who sacrificed their lives to preserve a government of the people and for the people. We simply have no other choice if conservative principles are to survive.

Neo-Christians

As the third decade of the 21st century dawns, Americans can take pride in having achieved the impossible. Despised around the world for decades, Americans have reached a new low in foreign relations. In 2020, Americans were not only despised around the world but are now held in contempt by their enemies and pitied by their allies. Pitied by their allies for supporting a pathological liar who left them to fend for themselves in the face of a global pandemic while being held in contempt by their enemies for allowing career politicians to divide them into warring camps, the American people must understand the consequences of abandoning personal responsibility and embracing a corrupt political process beholden to money. How much longer will the American people tolerate a broken Legislative branch? It is destroying the future of our children and grandchildren.

For over twenty years, this Veteran has demonstrated how easily career politicians are manipulated into serving interests other than the national interest. Two examples of this manipulation should provide ample evidence of just how easily career politicians both red and blue are used to serve interests other than those of the American people. In 2003, many Americans first became familiar with the term Neoconservative or Neo-con. Neo-conservatism is or was a political movement born during the 1960s among liberal hawks (war mongers) who became disenchanted with the increasingly pacifist foreign policy of the Democratic Party. These warmongers became disillusioned with the growing political power of the “New Left” and their desire to end the war in Vietnam. They saw the anti-war protests as somehow damaging to American foreign policy and they labeled the “New Left” anti-American. Sound familiar?

As much pain and suffering as “Neo-cons” brought to the U.S. Armed Forces, their families and the Iraqi people, the newest group of charlatans manipulating our elected officials are aiming to inflict a different type of damage on our country. These charlatans are Neo-Christians. These new or “neo” Christians represent a new form of Christianity; one that embraces greed and lust for power while discarding compassion for the suffering of those in need. It is their hope that they can turn Jesus Christ into a partisan political tool and in many instances they have succeeded. Some call themselves Evangelicals while others call themselves Fundamentalists but what they are not is Christian.

The real damage these Neo-Christians are inflicting upon America is that they are displacing two of conservatism’s core principles with an unmitigated lust for power and a greed that knows no bounds. The displaced principles referenced above are an adherence to the rule of law and a personal commitment to the Judeo-Christian values that once made America the last best hope of mankind. This displacement has left the Republican Party a political organization without honor. The fact that these Neo-Christians reject the rule of law by embracing poor governance is why our former fake President failed to protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic. No better example exists to prove this assertion than how our former fake President dismissed warnings from multiple U.S. intelligence services that Russia prevents a clear and present danger to America and the Neo-Christians still supported him. The damage Russia has done to our government is only now coming to light.

If conservatives are truly afraid that President Biden or any other Democrat is going take away their guns, expand the federal government to rival the bureaucracy of the former Soviet Union and dismantle our national defense, they must coalesce around the principles of good governance, fiscal responsibility, a strong but intelligent national defense, a limited exercise of federal authority, and the true tenants of free enterprise. Moreover, conservatives must do these things while shedding the career politicians and the lunatic fringe created by our former fake President in favor of women, minorities who have suffered from an oppressive system of injustice and most importantly those Americans who have turned away from Christianity because so many of its leaders both Catholic and Protestant have made Christianity appear so perverse. Unfortunately, this will not be easy because the party of conservatives no longer exists. The fire sale for its proverbial soul occurred 4 years ago and the buyer was Donald J. Trump – the now former Fake President of the United States (FFPOTUS).

Greedy Old Patriarchs and the Lunatic Fringe

When Rudy Giuliani is the spokesmen for a fake President, it is time to acknowledge that truth no longer has a place in the Republican Party. When Ted Cruz becomes the arbiter of truth, we must understand the truth will never see the light of day. When Lindsay Graham embodies the idea of self-sacrifice, the idea loses its meaning. It is time to remove the cancer of political expediency that has spread throughout the Republican Party since the first great lie was told by a Republican President in 2003. The Republican Party has now propagated two despicable lies and its members do not seem to care to hold those responsible accountable. What is ironic is that only the core principles of conservatism can save America from the coming tide of failed social programs, a weakened national defense, and a renewed effort to place blame where it does not belong. Let Conservative Americans place the blame where it belongs and the first place to start is with Donald Trump and his lackey Mike Pence – the most dangerous Neo-Christian of all.

Goodbye Principled Conservatism
By Bret Stephens, New York Times, October 30, 2020.

If Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court turns out to be the last major act of a one-term Trump presidency, it will be a fitting finale. Republicans, like the Federalist Party of yore, will consolidate power in the judiciary. Apart from that, they will have spent the past four years squandering their reputation, forsaking their principles, and trashing the kind of political culture they once claimed to hold dear.

As victories go, the word Pyrrhic comes to mind.

How did the conservative movement reach this pass? Hemingway’s great line about how one goes bankrupt — “gradually, then suddenly” — seems apt. But the tipping point arrived on a precise date: July 20, 2015. That was the day Rush Limbaugh came to Trump’s political rescue after the developer nearly self-immolated with his remark that John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, refusing early release at the price of gruesome torture, should not be considered a war hero.

“This is a great, great teachable moment here, this whole thing with Trump and McCain,” Limbaugh gushed. Americans, he said, “have not seen an embattled public figure stand up for himself, double down and tell everybody to go to hell.”

Here was a stunning moral inversion. Limbaugh turned public respect for McCain’s wartime record into an act of surrender to political correctness. And he treated Trump’s shamelessness as an expression of moral courage. It set the template for the campaign, and presidency, that followed. Every time Trump lied, broke a promise, humiliated a subordinate, insulted a stranger, bullied an ally, tweeted something vile, said something idiotic, threatened to blow up NATO, and otherwise violated moral, political and institutional norms, his appeal among the Republican base didn’t decline. It rose. As far as they were concerned, he wasn’t embarrassing himself or degrading the country. He was “owning the libs” — hoisting them, as his supporters saw it, on their own petard of priggish propriety.

This form of politics — not as a complement to statecraft, but as the outpouring of resentment — is what has come to define the conservative movement in the age of Trump.

Conservatives used to admire Edmund Burke. Not anymore, insofar as Burke stood for the importance of manners and morals to the health of the state. Conservatives used to admire Milton Friedman. Not anymore, insofar as Friedman stood for free trade, sound money and a balanced budget. Conservatives used to admire Scoop Jackson. Not anymore, insofar as the Washington state Democrat was a champion of the idea that human rights should stand at the center of U.S. foreign policy. Conservatives used to admire Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Not anymore, insofar as both Reagan and Bush believed in humane immigration reform, international coalition building, standing up to Russian tyrants and, when possible, making deals with Democrats.

In place of all this, what today’s debased conservatism now boils down to is anti-liberalism. Sometimes this resembles old-fashioned conservatism, particularly when it comes to economic regulation and the judiciary. At other times it has entailed undisguised reversals of past conservative positions, such as Trump’s appeasement of North Korea or his derision of the 1994 crime bill.

But anti-liberalism is not conservatism. At its principled best, conservatism holds that liberal ends — the right of the individual to enjoy the maximum degree of freedom compatible with the right of his neighbor to do the same — are best secured by conservative means. Those means are the practices, beliefs and institutions that, for the most part, lie outside the state: stable families, religious communities, voluntary associations, productive businesses, the habits of a free mind. Ultimately, the goal of conservative politics is to produce competent citizens capable of responsible self-government.

Anti-liberalism, by contrast, seeks self-serving ends through illiberal means. The ends are the benefits that accrue from the possession of political power, ethnic dominance, or economic advantage. The means are the demonization of competitors for power and the delegitimization of people, laws, and norms that stand for the ideals of an open society. In this sense, Trump’s Ukraine gambit was the quintessence of anti-liberal politics: a self-serving and secretive use of raw power to threaten the security of an embattled democratic ally in order to criminalize a domestic political opponent.

It’s true that Trump did not quite get away with that gambit, thanks to a courageous whistle-blower, just as he didn’t get away with some of his other his anti-liberal efforts, like canceling the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement, firing Robert Mueller or terminating DACA (for now). But if anti-liberalism can still meet effective opposition within government, that’s mainly because Trump is often an inept practitioner of his own brand of politics. Another four years in office, however, will only embolden him, entrench his cronies, and inspire his imitators.