2020 Election Forward To 2021


Posted on : 1/05/2021 11:08:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

 It has been a busy and tiring couple of months.  Keeping track of the cascade of claims about the 2020 election is a full-time job.  I already have a full-time job.  I finally have had some time to think and now have some time to write.  Get ready to be pissed.

First and foremost, Joe Biden won the Presidential election in 2020.  There is not sufficient credible information to undermine that conclusion.

I base that statement on four primary elements.

  1. Compared with 2016, Donald Trump's percentage of the vote in urban areas largely went up.  As an example, his percentage of the vote went up in Detroit.  While it is true that more people voted overall, a greater percentage of voters supported Donald Trump in Detroit.  Compared with 2016, Donald Trump's percentage of the vote in non-urban areas went down.  Stick a pin in this for a minute.
  2. His legal team is something like 1 and 54 in court.  These courts include many conservative judges.  Absolutely none of those courts has granted relief to alter any of the votes that will soon be cast in the Electoral College.  If Clarence Thomas wasn't prepared to overturn the election, then there simply isn't justification for pursuing those legal cases.
  3. His legal team is either lying or incompetent.  They stand on the front steps of a courthouse (or landscaping company, you pick) making grand pronouncements about possessing sufficient proof of fraud to overturn an election, declaring that there are tens of thousands of illegitimate votes, and then go in front of a judge to claim that there are dozens or maybe hundreds of questionable votes.  Either they lack the competence to accurately describe the evidence they are about to bring to court, or they are lying.  For some of these people, notably Rudy Guiliani, this is a terribly disappointing end to their careers.
  4. Donald Trump gained support in every demographic category except one; white men.  As a matter of percentage of votes, Donald Trump improved among blacks, latinos, Asians, and women.  He lost support from white men.  Stick a pin in this for a minute.
Joe Biden is going to be our legitimately elected President after 20 January 2021.  Joe Biden will be my President.

Now accepting the legitimacy of his election does not mean accepting his agenda nor accepting the Democrat's party platform.  I believe that giving Joe Biden the Presidency will result in harm to the Republic.  He lacks the will to counter the socialist and identitarian elements that dominate the Democrat Party.  While he has recently spoken out against the excessive use of Executive Orders, he has also indicated that he wants to undo most of Mr. Trump's EOs.  Most of Mr. Trump's EOs were focused on repealing Mr. Obama's EOs.  And the vast majority of Mr. Obama's EOs were hot anti-Constitutional garbage.

While I will accept Joe Biden as the legitimate President, I will reserve my right to vigorously oppose any of his administration's policies that would appear to risk harm to the Republic.  I'm guessing that I will be opposing most of them because the modern Democrat agenda is mostly harmful to a Republic dedicated to the defense and extension of individual liberty.

We should pause for a moment to point out that this process was made more difficult by the behavior of many Democrat politicians and leaders in 2016.  Hillary Clinton may have technically conceded the election, but she spent the next four years claiming that Mr. Trump's Presidency was not legitimate.  Many elected Democrats declined to attend his inaugural.  Democrat leaders took the unprecedented step of organizing protests on the day of Mr. Trump's inauguration to declare his Presidency illegitimate.

Anyone that participated in that unconscionable behavior and has not since recanted and made appropriate apologies is part of the problem.  By failing to exhibit traditional American behavior of accepting an electoral loss in 2016, they have legitimatized the current efforts from the right to reject the licit election of Joe Biden.

Being opposed to Trump administration policies is one thing.  Attempting to deny that Mr. Trump won the 2016 election is an entirely different beast that only served to undermine our Republic.

And let's be clear, a "they did it first" defense stinks.  It's a fourth-grade level justification at best with sincere apologies to fourth graders everywhere.  I am not suggesting that the current activities are appropriate because Democrat politicians went there first.  I am aggressively asserting that if no one violates traditional norms, then we never have to deal with these problems in the first place.

As Democrat politicians have been demonstrating new and untried methods for violating political norms for my entire adult life, I simply don't have much sympathy when they now discover that those same norms are useful.  They simply must be able to support those political norms all the time and not just when it is convenient for their position.

I have seen far too many examples of unrestrained rhetoric from my friends on the right since the election.  They are citing the old saw about there being three boxes critical to democracy and individual liberty; the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammo box.

And again, let's be clear, the ballot box is currently trending towards those of us in the libertarian and/or conservative end of the world.  As Senator Ben Sasse is fond of observing, we are a center-right nation.

Everyone assumed that the House would swing even harder towards the Democrats.  It almost swung back to GOP control.

Everyone assumed that the Senate would flip to Democrat control and that the margin would be at least by 2-3.  Instead, we may have a tied Senate and perhaps might even keep GOP control which would act as a brake on the Democrats' demonstrably harmful agenda.  (It's now late on the day of the run-off election.  Man - nailbiter!)

Everyone assumed that Joe Biden would win in a landslide.  A landslide occurs when a candidate gets 70%+ of the electoral votes; roughly 375.  Joe Biden won 306 electoral college votes.  Pretty much a squeaker of a win.

Getting back to those "pinned" items above, we had a greater percentage of non-white males voting for the GOP than has happened in decades.  Donald Trump was apparently so racist that all those POC were willing to vote for him in relatively large numbers.

So here's the big question.  How do we build on that?

Do we hold our collective breath until our faces turn blue?  Or do we welcome those voters into the conservative/libertarian fold?  The latter is reaching for the ballot box.

Do we hold onto a marginal person who refuses to acknowledge that he lost an election or do we pursue a positive agenda?  The latter is reaching for the ballot box.

Here's the thing.  I've watched this happen before.  Militiagan was a thing back in the 1990s.  You know what those guys never did?

  • Put on some slacks and a nice polo shirt.  Trim their beards.
  • Volunteer to work for their local Republican party organization.
  • Donate money to the GOP (think Georgia would be in doubt tonight if every Trump voter had donated the cost of a box of ammo to that campaign?)
  • Donate money to organizations doing the hard work of research and issue advocacy.  i.e. The American Enterprise Institute, Reason Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, Cato, etc.
  • Donate money to groups like The Federalist Society that promote concepts of individual liberty and an originalist reading of the US Constitution.
  • Subscribe to magazines and newspapers that report on the news that is routinely ignored by the mainstream media.  i.e. Reason Magazine, National Review, Wall Street Journal
  • Actually read those periodicals so they will be armed with the facts.
I had the privilege of listening to Rush Limbaugh during the Christmas break.  It was only for about half an hour during my lunchtime.  I have not listened to his show in close to a decade.

For those that don't know, Rush has stage 4 lung cancer.  He was diagnosed last January and was told that he wouldn't be alive come summer.  But the treatments seem to be working to slow down the progression of the disease.  

As I understand it, his show has a great many guest hosts these days.  He hosts the show when he is physically up to the task.

What did I hear?  I heard what made me a week one regular listener.  I heard gratitude for the opportunities he has had.  I heard appreciation for the continuing support of his fans.  I heard a man grateful to be an American.  I heard confidence for the future of America; a future he simply will not live to see.

When is it time to give up on America?  When is it time to abandon the American experiment in exceptional governance?

According to the man with weeks and maybe months to live, the answer is "never".

We build and we build.  We win when we can and we are largely winning today even if the 2020 election ends up being a bit of a setback.  We build and we win.  When we lose we regroup and we build.

If the Constitution is to be destroyed, if free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to a jury trial, the right to equal treatment before the law are to be stripped from our nation, let Democrat politicians be the ones to do it.

Let the rest of us defend the Constitution as written and amended.  Let the rest of us defend federalism that allows individual states to craft laws based on the needs and desires of their citizens.

Let the ones that don't believe in the Constitution be the ones to fire the first shots.  History suggests that those that shoot first are almost always the ones that lose the most.

What Does A Quilt Cost


Posted on : 12/20/2020 05:31:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

 A friend asked a question of me that I had not heard before.  They asked if I was accepting orders for quilts.  The short answer to that question is "no", but there is a longer answer.

I have read about other quilters opening up the possibility of creating a quilt in exchange for cash.  The responses to the associated costs are generally a sense of shock with a sprinkling of outrage.  When the costs of a quilt get broken down, it suddenly becomes a less attractive option.

Most of my quilts are created for babies. They measure a little under 5 feet by 5 feet.  That works out to 25 square feet or roughly 2.8 square yards.  

Most fabric comes on a bolt that is close to 40" wide; that a bit over 1 yard.  We can talk about yards of material as a linear measurement or an area measurement and the result is essentially the same.

For most of those baby quilts, I buy somewhere between 4 and 5 yards of material.  I buy material on sale when I can get it.  I also know a couple of online stores where I can get pretty good prices from time to time.  But there are also times when I pay FLEET pricing; Full List Each and Every Time.  As a gross average, let's use $10 per yard of material.  That works out to $50 for just the material to make the top.

Then there is batting that goes in the middle.  I generally get it on sale.  Using $15 per yard, then we have another $30 as you always get a little more than you really need.

Finally, there is the backing material.  Due to the size of the quilts, you have to use a wider material width.  Those easily run $12 per yard and sometimes more.  There is another $24 in material cost.

The total fabric cost then runs to roughly $100.  That doesn't include thread or any of the other consumable supplies.  It also doesn't cover the cost of time.  A baby quilt takes me roughly 20 hours to complete.  What is the value of my time based on the quality of work that I do? 

Consider that fast food joints in my area are hiring people with no experience at $10 per hour.  Consider that shops are hiring people in my area with no experience at $14-16 per hour.  There are costs (i.e. employers portion of the payroll taxes, etc.) on top of that.

I've made over 20 quilts and learned a bit on each one.  Mostly I've learned what not to do, but that is another story.

While my work won't win any awards, it's also not exactly beginner level work either.  I'd feel pretty good about asking for $20 per hour or about $400 for a baby quilt for labor.  That makes the total about $500.  

If we are talking about a queen or king-sized quilt, then you end up multiplying that by at least 3.  It's a lot of work and material!

And that is why I give quilts away.  I know I've done my level best and have provided them with a visually interesting piece of work.  It's the one part of the process that is mine to control.  I don't have to put a price tag on the quilt.  The kind words of thanks and stories about the kids that grew up dragging their quilts around the house are more valuable to me than the cost of the materials and time spent making them.

If I start doing it for money, then the entire activity becomes something else.  Something that has to be justified rather than appreciated. 

A Quilt for Tracy


Posted on : 12/18/2020 10:11:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

 This one won't go on Facebook until late in 2021.  Why?  Because my sister-in-law won't receive it until Christmas of 2021.  Don't ask me.  I just make 'em.

My beloved bride wanted me to make a quilt for my sister-in-law, Tracy.  She found some Michigan State fabric.  Apparently, Tracy is a fan.  Who knew!

I wasn't sure what I wanted to make and as time was short at the end of the year, I opted for a pretty standard approach.  I used a solid block of material alternated with a 9-patch of fabrics.  

We had four different fabrics.  I created a mix of three-square strips and then semi-randomly assembled sets of those strips into a 9-patch.

The result was pretty easy as well as visually interesting.

Now my beloved bride always thinks that the back of a quilt should be "soft".  "Soft" fabrics like flannel or fleece are a bear to work with as they aren't dimensionally stable.  They will stretch if pulled.  A stretch back means that the front will pucker when the back is allowed to relax.  Alternatively, if you don't have enough tension on the back, then it will pucker.

I'm not terribly happy with the back on this quilt.

In any case, don't anyone tell Tracy. We wouldn't want to ruin next year's Christmas for her!

A Quilt for Baby Rose


Posted on : 12/18/2020 09:38:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

 Another nephew and his beloved bride decided to have a baby this year.  They are doing it the old fashioned way and are waiting for the doctor to tell them if the baby has a port or a dongle after the little squab has been delivered.  Those crazy kids.

I had my eye on the fabrics in this quilt right about the time that I had time to work on a new quilt.  I have also been aching to produce a quilt using Joe Cunningham's "Rock the Block - Album Style" approach.  Joe does really teach a patter as much as he teaches a concept.of artistic discovery.  He has a class on Craftsy.  It's actually a class that presents four different variations on a general approach.  It's a very good value if you are into quilting and want to expand beyond just following someone else's pattern.

I used a bit of this general technique on the quilt that I made for young Lincoln earlier this year.  But now I've had a chance to use Joe's approach on a complete quilt.

The fabrics come from a series by Wilmington Essentials called Gems Bubble Up.  If you look close, you can see the bubbles.  They're everywhere!

I did try to do a little free-hand quilting.  It didn't turn out very nice.  So I went back to the old standby...straight lines!

I learned a couple things this time around.  One is to be careful about using too many narrow strips.  If you buy the class, you'll know what I'm talking about.  There is such a thing as too many narrow strips just as there is such a thing as too many wide strips.

I also learned to mix it up a bit.  I made a bunch of sections with narrower strips and a bunch of sections with somewhat wider strips.  Then when it came time to put things together, I tried to put the two sections together to generate some unusual patterns.

Lastly, make lots of extra pieces. I thought I had way too much fabric.  It turns out I barely had enough.  I was hoping to have some extras so that I could play around with the pieces when it came time to put them together.  Not having a stack of spares restricted my results.

My next quilt will probably use some of the techniques that I used in this quilt.  I found an image.  I have a plan.  Y'all will have to wait and see!

A Quilt For Kingston


Posted on : 12/18/2020 09:14:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

 Our nephew and his girlfriend decided to bifurcate this year.  As one does, one makes a quilt!

As luck would have it, we made a run to Indiana earlier this year.  This was in late May and the lockdown had gotten us down.  Indiana was open for business.  We hopped over the border to do a little shopping and to have some dinner in a restaurant.

While out and about, we found a little hole-in-the-wall Joann's.  It was easily the smallest Joann's that I've ever seen.  And I've seen a few, too!

While wandering around the fabric, we came across the two fabrics that were used for this quilt.  We had no idea how it would get used or who would be getting it.  We didn't even know about our nephew's pending baby.

Lo and behold we got the news a couple months later.  For a change, I didn't have to run off to find fabric as we already had it in inventory.

As things worked out, the quilt was delivered a bit before Kingston.  Our nephew and his girlfriend do good work.

Welcome to the family, King!

Review: Hammer and Tongs and a Rusty Nail


Posted on : 12/15/2020 02:30:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Hammer and Tongs and a Rusty NailHammer and Tongs and a Rusty Nail by Ian Tregillis
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a 1-star review. That accurately reflects my experience.

As this is really just a short story, the review will be equally short.

Tor published this short story that is part of George R.R. Martin's "Wild Cards" universe. I made it 20% of the way through before stopping. At that point, I really didn't care about the characters and really didn't have a great idea of their abilities or limitations. I've enjoyed all of the other Wild Cards stories I've ever read.

I might have continued on and given this a 2 or a 3-star rating. But the publisher and their copyeditor didn't show up for this project. It seemed like there was a spelling issue on every other page. Mostly just missing spaces that were needed to split up two words that had mistakenly conjoined.

The author didn't care enough to run spell-check. The editor didn't care enough to do the same thing. Avoid this story and move onto the next.

View all my reviews

Review: Soulsmith


Posted on : 11/25/2020 10:11:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Soulsmith Soulsmith by Will Wight
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a 2-star review which is a reasonable measure of my experience.

I read the first book in the series a couple of years ago. The narrative of the second book in the series picks up as if the reader is going immediately from the first book to the second. Rather than being a series of books, it appears that the author intends to write a single, long book.

I simply had no engagement with the characters in the first few chapters that I read. So I'm passing on the rest of the series.

View all my reviews

Donald Trump 2020


Posted on : 11/01/2020 01:27:00 PM | By : Dann

Please join me in a brief trip back in time to 2016. The two dominant candidates for President were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. At the time, I considered Donald Trump to be ineligible as a matter of character and experience for my vote for that high office. He had no useful government experience and his character...well it wasn't good.

The same was true about Hillary Clinton; her record in public office is abysmal and her character...again, not good.

So I voted for a candidate that did have a record of success in office and was of good character; Gary Johnson. I still think America would be a better place in 2020 if he had been elected.

Jumping back to a few days before election day, what do we have.

Donald Trump, whose character remains...not good. Anyone who read his book "The Art of The Deal" would instantly recognize the egotism that has been at the center of the Presidency for almost four years. He believed then and he believes today that if he thinks something is a good idea, then everyone should believe it is a good idea. He governs from his gut. We have been fortunate in that his gut is occasionally aligned with the interests of the American people.

While his character hasn't changed, his experience in office has certainly changed. While we cast our votes for the candidate, in reality, we are voting for the team that will form their administration. And the Trump administration has been reasonably successful at producing policies that are in the interests of the American people.

The following is in no particular order and some of these items may well overlap.

The Good

  • NATO - NATO lived for decades under the American defensive umbrella. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, NATO countries began to skimp on their commitment to the alliance. Mr. Obama complained about the same issue. Mr. Trump did something productive to get the individual nations to increase their defense spending. He also re-aligned our deployment posture in Europe to better contain Russia.
  • Iran - Mr. Trump got us out of that disastrous "deal" that allowed Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability and re-instituted sanctions that will hopefully undermine the theocrats and give the Iranian people a shot at having a civilized government. He also put the Iranian regime on notice that targeting our troops in Iraq was unacceptable behavior by targeting General Sulemani.
  • ISIS/ISIL - After the US struggled for 8 years of feckless leadership under Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump made the moves necessary to put down ISIS in about 6 months.
  • Israel - Given that the various terrorist (or terrorist adjacent) organizations that run the PA, it was time for the region to move on. The administration has brokered a series of peace deals that will hopefully foster long-lasting peace in the region. If Mr. Trump were a Democrat, the Nobel committee would be grasping for ways to award him multiple Peace Prizes in one year.
  • Taxes - He led the effort to cut middle-class taxes. He cut corporate taxes making America a competitive option for corporations which in turn means more American jobs. He capped SALT deductions for the rich.
  • Constitution and Laws - Oddly enough Mr. Trump has moved the government back towards operating under a Constitutional constraint. He is enforcing laws passed by Congress and he is undoing anti-Constitutional directives from past Presidents. For the last ~20 years, American law has expected that our embassy in Israel would be located in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem. Mr. Trump made it happen. For the last ~30 years, American law has expected the government to collect those who enter/stay in our country and send them home. There is no allowance for Presidential whims. The Trump administration enforced the law as written and passed. He even supported a change in our immigration policies by suggesting that Congress do its job and pass a new immigration law. We do not need any more Presidential "pen and phone" activities. We need Congress to assert its rightful place by passing detailed laws which are then enforced by the administration.
  • Supreme Court - I'm frankly tickled pink by two of his three successful nominations to the Supreme Court. Neal Gorsuch has a demonstrable small "l" libertarian streak. I think Justice Kavanaugh has a similar temperament. It's too early to know about Justice Coney-Barrett, but it looks like she will be a third Trump appointee that is solidly in support of the Constitution as written and amended. It is a document that was written to constrain government power with an expansive view towards the liberty of the individual. Coupled with Justice Thomas, we might finally have a court that will take a stand against the modern administrative state and force Congress to do its job, legislate, and restrain any administration from using Presidential edicts as a means of creating new laws out of whole cloth. For those that don't want a "strong man" style President to run free in the country, a Supreme Court populated with originalists is your best defense.
  • Regulations - Mr. Trump established that any agency seeking to create a new regulation had to identify two old regulations to be eliminated. The net result is that business activity increased in this modestly reduced regulatory environment.
  • The Economy - Prior to Covid, the economy was running great. The Obama administration told us that 6% unemployment and 1-2% annual GDP growth was as good as it was going to get for the foreseeable future. Due in part to the administration's tax and regulatory policies, unemployment ended up close to 3.5% with the lowest black and hispanic unemployment since those statistics were first measured. GDP growth was over 2%. And, most importantly, the income of the bottom quintile started going up faster than that of the upper quintile. That hasn't happened in decades.
  • Veterans - Under the prior administration, the Veterans Administration was killing veterans via neglect. Bonuses were being paid based on budget compliance rather than on how effectively veterans' health issues were being resolved. The VA is currently far better. Further improvements can and should be made. It is also obvious that the current administration is focused on serving veterans rather than considering them to be a budgetary liability.
  • The Media - While not an unvarnished success, he...or more correctly his various spokespersons...have had a pretty good record of pointing out the inconsistencies in the reporting by most of the major media organizations. In particular, Kayleigh McEnany and her binder of past news stories have been a godsend. The media is, on average, far to the left of the average American. They stopped with any pretense of reporting news in a non-partisan manner decades ago. Someone needs to point that out. As a big plus, while Mr. Trump has been verbally abusive towards the press, he has never sent federal agents to investigate reporters as was more common in the Mr. Obama's administration.
The Meh

  • Iraq/Syria/Afghanistan - Let's be honest, those countries are a geopolitical mess. I can't say that Mr. Trump made any substantive progress, but he hasn't taken those nations backward. Those nations are independent actors and there are simply times when even the President of the United States is unable to move things in a positive direction. That is particularly true when other actors (i.e. Iran, Turkey, and Russia) are seeking to influence things in a different direction.
  • North Korea - Mr. Trump's hot and cold diplomacy ran from brinkmanship to near fawning of Kim Jong Il. The result did little to change North Korea's relationship with the rest of the world. He tried. Every President tries. He fared no better and no worse than the rest.
  • Trade - This is a bit of a mix. On the one hand, he did get some modest concessions from Mexico and Canada in the USMCA deal. And his use of tariffs has somewhat moderated China's behavior. Those aren't big successes, but they are successes. On the flip side, the tariffs have taken more out of American pockets due to increases in the cost of imports. The trade deficit hasn't changed and may have gotten slightly worse. I'll give him credit for trying to correct the severe imbalance in our trade relationships around the world. Past administrations did a poor job of negotiating those deals. Mr. Trump simply wasn't able to do accomplish anymore.
  • Border/Immigration - This has been a bit of a mixed bag. Illegal immigration has slowed somewhat. The child separation process was conducted in a ham-handed manner. Separating children to ensure that they are not being trafficked is a sound objective. Failing to adequately document who those children were with so they could be returned to their legitimate parents once the parents were sent home was a failure. Simply failing to document the disposition of their cases in a transparent manner was a public relations failure.
The Bad

  • Corona Virus - While a bit of a mixed bag, there is just far too much negative for this to go in the Meh bag. Mr. Trump has done some things well. Shutting down immigration from China early on was a sound and productive step. His task force focused on getting ventilator production up to speed. He had the military supplement overwhelmed hospitals for the 1-2 month period where such support was critical. His administration has moved several solutions for a vaccine quickly down the development process so that we might all put this contagion behind us. But...
    • he remains focused on the economy to the detriment of all other concerns. Having a job is great. Being alive to work that job is a bit more important.
    • In the early days of the virus, the CDC and FDA insisted on running their standard playbook rather than using the proven testing regimes from Europe or South Korea. In that crucial period where we fell far behind in testing, we needed more Trump, and we go less.
    • In the early days, we were told that masks were not effective. That was a lie told to prevent people from buying up all of the masks (N95 and otherwise) that were going to be sorely needed in various healthcare settings. He should have made those FDA and CDC bureaucrats tell the truth; masks work to varying degrees but are most needed elsewhere. He could have made it patriotic to wear a less effective homemade mask, but he didn't.
    • There is probably a whole other essay in the wings about the effectiveness of various masks. What isn't in question is that N95 masks work. While the government accelerated the production of ventilators and vaccines, I've seen no real effort to increase the American production of N95 masks. They should be so plentiful that they should have been sold at every street corner convenience store at half the pre-Covid price. There should be official government videos playing to demonstrate how they are effectively fitted to individual users. Government notices to "cover the nose AND mouth" should routinely be a part of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, etc. advertising.
    The sad truth is that Mr. Trump missed so many opportunities to easily improve the Covid problem. And he missed all of them.
  • Character - Donald Trump lacks character. His history of womanizing (to say the least) and serial infidelities marks him as a person who can (and probably will) turn on anyone who trusts him.

    His business acumen is correctly described as patchwork at best. He borrows large sums for his businesses, takes a hefty cut for himself, and then leaves the investors holding the bag when the company goes into bankruptcy. Again, and again, and again.

    While many criticize Mr. Trump for his crude and boorish statements/tweets, I think the larger problem is his utter lack of strategy. A President can be crude from time to time, but it should be done with an eye towards a larger purpose. As an example, sticking his rhetorical thumb in the eye of the media is sorely needed from time to time. Labeling every news piece that describes him or his administration critically as "fake news" devalues the meaning of words like "fact" and "truth". Donald Trump is pointlessly crude and someone needs to t

    His random positions and odd statements made it so that men of high character could not serve in the administration in good conscience. If people like Jim Mattis and John Kelly couldn't be convinced to stay, then there is a serious problem in the Whitehouse.
This Was Avoidable

We didn't have to be in the current situation. Jim Webb ran for the Presidency in 2016. Rather than supporting a true moderate with sound character and a successful record in public office, the Democrats went for Hillary Clinton. In 2016, I would have gladly considered voting for Jim Webb instead of Gary Johnson.

Rather than come back to the middle in 2020 and run a true American unity ticket, the Democrats ran a slate of leftists. Joe Biden has never been a centrist. He has always been in the center of the Democrat party. Given that the Democrat party has been infiltrated by people that share more ideology with the World Workers Party than anyone else, the leftward drift of the Democrats has pulled old Joe leftward. Their influence is reflected in their party platform which is about as far left as that party has ever been in my lifetime.

Joe Biden, personally, is suspect. If the phrase "appearance of impropriety" is to have any useful meaning, then the revelations about his and Hunter's activities should be sufficient to have excluded him from consideration by the Democrats. Add to that the obvious signs that Mr. Biden is beginning to show some signs of his age. Add to that his counterproductive record as a legislator. Joe Biden was ineligible for my vote in 1988 because he was a typical gaffe-prone legislator. Now he is much older and certainly not nearly as sharp.

Kamala Harris is another politician that has just been wrong on the issues for far too long. As a prosecutor, she put tens of thousands of minorities behind bars for marijuana possession. Now she laughs off marijuana as a non-issue without bothering to apologize for her past actions. Her office withheld exculpatory evidence in a serious felony case. And she willingly participated in the calculated smear campaign against Brett Kavanaugh.

There were far too many other options on the table. While I might not have voted for any of these, I probably would have followed up on 2016 with a 2020 vote for the Libertarian candidate as a centrist Democrat would not have been demonstrably worse. Had Mr. Biden opted for a centrist as his VP, I could have voted for a third-party candidate as I doubt he will finish out his term in office.

Tulsi Gabbard was interesting; at the very least respectable. Deval Patrick has a history of working across the proverbial aisle. Andrew Yang brought a fresh perspective to the race. Even John Hickenlooper might have been able to pull off an interesting race for the Whitehouse. I would have considered voting for some of these candidates. At the very least I would have supported a third-party nominee as being closer to who I want in office without risking grave damage to our Republic.

I will be voting for a split ticket on Tuesday. There are a few Democrats running for local offices that I think can be trusted to execute the duties of those offices properly. There are a couple of Republicans that I simply cannot vote for based on their past actions.

And I will be voting for Donald Trump for President. Not because I think he is a stellar candidate. Not because he is fitting to stand amongst leaders like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Reagan, Coolidge, Lincoln, Kennedy, and Truman.

But because letting the modern Democrats have any more power in the federal government is not a responsible option for the preservation of the Republic. This is strictly a defensive vote based on avoiding policies that would be more harmful to our country than Donald Trump's demonstrably deficient character.

Let them toss the socialists back into the World Workers Party, abandon their modern identitarian focus, re-tool their policies so that they serve all Americans, and talk to me again in 4 years.

[Modest edits 12/18/2020]

Review: Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli


Posted on : 9/06/2020 11:59:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli by Maximilian Uriarte
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you thought that Max's The White Donkey was good, then get ready. This new book is a tour de force view of the Marine Corps, the war in Afghanistan, and how there isn't any situation that is defined by a single feature.

The artwork is gorgeous. Pages will go by with subtle and meaningful shifts in the image that heighten the tension of the story without a single word on any page.

The dialog is tight and accurate. The story covers many aspects of life in general as well as life in the Corps in particular.

This is the single best graphic work to be issued this year.


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