Update from Battle Creek

So, I don’t travel much anymore but I happen to be in Battle Creek, Michigan this weekend. While I slept in, my wife did some accidental field research. This is the verdict from one local business owner. 

School choice: major fail. 

Battle Creek has school choice and it is not going well. Students who can afford to, flock to the better schools in the area leaving the other schools to kids with fewer … ahem … choices. So I gave a typical conservative argument to my wife. “Take a capitalist approach. If a school wants to keep its students, it needs to up its game. The market decides which schools succeed.” Only one problem. Gov funding is based on attendance. Schools with more students get more funding. Those with less get less and fall further behind. A vicious cycle. 

Cereal ain’t selling. 

Kellogg will probably be laying off folks in the near future. The cereal industry is not what it was decades ago when this town was thriving. A local businesswoman said the city’s major mall is full of closed stores. The city now survives on conventions and events – which is why I’m here, a gymnastics event with my wife and daughter. 

So, Donald Trump. Looks like Battle Creek is among the many cities who need your business savvy to revitalize. They’re waiting. What ya gonna do? 

What do you think? The bar is open. 

Bombs Away!

Killing Obamacare failed. Banning immigration of folks from unstable countries failed. Monitoring his feuding protégés Bannon and Kushner is proving to be a challenge. Ok, he got Gorsuch – but not really. That was the work of savvy pol Mitch McConnell. 

So what’s a president to do to score big in the first 100 days? Start dropping bombs of course. Syria’s Assad gave Trump a wet kiss in the form of “your predecessor was a weak punk, how bout you?” Never one to shrink from provocation, Trump lobbed 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airstrip. And he did so while enjoying a delicious slice of cake with China’s Xi Jinping.  I think there’s little doubt he was showing Xi by example that no one screws with him. 

A few days later he drops a MOAB (colloquially called the Mother of all Bombs) on an Afghanistan tunnel complex killing a few dozen ISIL members in the process. 

But this is child’s play compared to the real big bully on the block. Yes we’re talking about that nut job Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea. This dude is so crazy he kills his relatives if they piss him off. And he’s got nukes. And his missiles that can carry the nukes get better everyday. So much so, various experts are suggesting we strengthen our defenses. You know what that means, Washington and California, it’s duck and cover time!! 

I think it’s a damn shame that a punk (only in his 30’s) can have the strongest nation on Earth shaking in our boots. And make no mistake, we are scared shitless. While we were sweating Iran getting a nuke and those dangerous Muslims using them in their jihad, old Kimmy was having a grand time bulking up. Maybe if he had threatened Israel, we might have given a damn? 

So now he holds South Korea hostage and he can kill a few Chinese and Japanese while he’s at it. This greatly reduces our options. Can we say to Seoul, “hey, we can greatly damage his nuclear arsenal if you guys don’t mind losing a few thousand citizens.”  Somehow I don’t think South Korea will sign up for that. My history is pretty weak but I don’t think Harry Truman envisioned this outcome of the Korean War, a nation so badass it has the USA pissing in its pants. 

I’m torn on the whole thing. A part of me wants Trump to, in his words, bomb the shit out of them. But I have trouble accepting the massive bloodshed that will ensue. However is the bloodshed not a matter of if but when? 

What do you think? The bar is open. 

Update: As this goes “to press” (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase), Kimmy just launched another missile which was a dud. Don’t let that calm you. Public humiliation will likely only make him madder. 

A Story Without Heroes

In a country split down the middle into two irreconcilable factions exacerbated by confirmation-bias readers and an Internet all too eager to please them, I look around and see a pretty hopeless situation. Let’s take stock of where we are, rewinding back about two years.

In March of 2015, Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for President. He was soon followed by Rand Paul of Kentucky. These were the first two Republicans to jump in the race. Both men were known for distinct philosophies about government. You might not like them but you can’t deny they stood for something. They were serious candidates. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was the first to announce. Sadly, in that instance, we had someone with no convincing ideology and a party ready on day 1 to coronate her. Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chaffee and finally Jim Webb would step up to challenge her but in the end only Sanders posed any real threat and that threat was never really taken seriously by the Democratic party or the main stream media.

On June 15, after a prolonged tease, Jeb Bush jumped into the GOP race and was immediately assumed to be the front-runner. Despite the rocky presidency of his brother hanging over him, Jeb was still believed to be the “smart” Bush. Many were already predicting another Bush/Clinton face-off, the first being in 1992 when Hillary’s husband, Bill, defeated Jeb’s father, George HW Bush.

Just one day later, everything changed. A moderately successful real estate mogul, branding genius and star of a popular American TV reality series, descended the escalator in the building bearing his name, to the tune of Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World”. He announced not only that he was running for President but that his core raison d’être was to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. His indelicate assessment that Mexico was not “sending us their best” but was instead sending us “rapists” threw the left into a collective conniption and made some on the right uneasy. Thus was born the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump.

And at this time the dishonesty in the media also went into high gear. Trump’s attack, no matter how rude, was limited to people entering the country illegally. The media and the left in general immediately conflated this to anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant. You repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. Trump was an anti-Latino bigot.

But of course, Trump didn’t stop there. It seemed almost every week was taken up with some new whopper thrown down by Trump either deliberately (McCain is not a war hero – “I prefer people who don’t get captured”) or via leak (“I can grab them by the pussy”). And it seemed almost every week, the media counted him down and out. In the meantime, the 16 men and one woman who opposed him, one by one dropped out of the race. Perhaps the most devastating admission of defeat came from Jeb Bush on February 20, 2016. The establishment candidate who many believed would carry on the Bush dynasty, was called “low energy” by a loud-mouth, know-nothing carnival barker and the label stuck. Other labels would define other candidates – Little Marco (Rubio), Lyin’ Ted (Cruz). In fact, even Cruz’s father was not immune from attack with Trump implicitly implicating him in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It seemed, the more outrageous Trump got, the more his base loved him and the more his party (it was never really his party) feared him and reconciled themselves to his eventual nomination.

On the Dem side, the contest came down to an idealist with pie in the sky plans for America that promised way more than a chicken in every pot and a front-runner who had been careless at best and criminal at worst in her handling of classified materials while Secretary of State. Supporters of the idealist, Sanders, could not convince the identity-politics driven elite of the Democratic party to abandon their first potential “woman President”. As a result, Hillary Clinton, one of the least trusted politicians in the country won the Democratic nomination – odds of winning be damned. The arrogant position that beating Trump was a slam-dunk set in almost immediately.

Then Wikileaks, the “truth telling” organization run by Julian Assange, started releasing little bird droppings all over the Clinton campaign, portraying the campaign as targeting Sanders’ lack of religious conviction and other unflattering revelations. The revelations were culled from stolen emails from the DNC and John Podesta (whose email password was “password”).  It is currently assessed (using proof we the people are not allowed to see) that Russian hackers at the explicit behest of Vladimir Putin were employed by Assange in an attempt to weaken Clinton’s eventual presidency (reports are that even Putin did not expect Trump to win).

In November of 2016 the woman who did not deserve to be President was defeated by the man who had no business running in the first place.

Fast forward to today. We have a President totally ignorant of how government works, with zero incentive to learn. His Twitter account which was amusing during the campaign has not been shut down and is now the source of accusations serious enough to either raise the question of criminality of the previous administration OR raise the question of the current President’s mental health.

Where is the hero, the white knight, who will rescue us from this fiasco? Nowhere to be found. The Democratic party unable to admit they chose the worst candidate in a century, has morphed Russian propaganda and influence on American opinion (to be expected) into “election hacking”. Let’s be crystal clear. Trump won this election fair and square. He exceeded the number of electoral votes needed to win – popular vote be damned. The Russians didn’t tamper with the voting machines. But you wouldn’t know that from listening to the Democratic party.

The media won’t help us either. Their lies throughout the Trump campaign were called out by the nominee and now President. Their reaction has not been introspection. They are defensive and doubling down. We have a mainstream media whose feelings are hurt and they are more interested now in bringing down Trump than getting at the truth. So, we really cannot depend on them to defend us from a serial liar who is very possibly mentally disturbed in a way that disqualifies him from the Presidency. The credibility of the media, upon whom we rely to get at the truth, is seriously compromised.

Last week, we witnessed the symbolic cherry on the shit cupcake.Ted Cruz once called Donald Trump a “sniveling coward” for humiliating Cruz’s wife and insulting his father. Last week he went to the White House for dinner with Trump. He took his wife and his kids with him. Truly puke-worthy.

And thus ends this chapter in the story with no heroes. The country is at an all time low with no relief in sight. The story is not over but it does not look like we are in for a happy ending.

What do you think? The bar is open.