In just a few days, I turn another year older, 77, to be precise. I have actually stopped celebrating birthdays because I don’t really want to be 77 and see no reason to celebrate being closer to death one more year. I would rather be 37 again, if I could. My father retired at age 70 as a physician. This birthday will mark my full retirement as my contract with the residency terminates on my birthday. At age 70 I closed my private practice as a surgeon, but started a new job as a professor of surgery. I founded a residency with one resident that quickly grew to 15, three in each of 5 years, the current requirement to become a surgeon. It was the most exciting, fun, and rewarding job I had ever had. To see young doctors mature into competent surgeons was an honor and a source of great pride for me, especially knowing that some of their success was attributable to me, the legacy I have always wanted!
When my first resident graduated, I decided age 75 was old enough to stop doing clinical surgery, although I continued to teach. Commercial pilots have the mandatory retirement age of 65. Flying a 747 at 35 thousand feet I always imagined would be similar to taking out someone’s pancreas. It requires book knowledge as well as practical knowledge and manual skills that need constant retraining and adding new knowledge all the time. I believe that both cognitive knowledge and manual skills have a time stamp on them. There comes a time when an individual just doesn’t have skills to the same extent as when he was younger. When is that time? It comes at different ages for different people. I asked one of my mentors when that is. His answer, “You will know!” Indeed I did know. Running up and down hospital stairs to get to the ICU to render care for a patient in dire straits was a physical challenge. That midnight call from the chief resident that the patient we had operated on that morning didn’t look all that good gave me heartburn, or was it chest pain. My residents asked questions, the answers to which I had to lookup more and more often. However, I still, on occasion, could bewilder them with a question the answer to which they should, but didn’t know, which gave me mischievous self-satisfaction.
Surgeons need to pass a final test after they finish their residency. It is composed of a qualifying written exam they must pass to be allowed to then take the oral exam, administered by the American Board of Surgery (ABS). It is usually composed of three teams of two surgeons each that makes them board-certified to perform surgery upon passing both exams. To practice for these, I had “mock orals” for them and had a lot of fun attempting to stump them with questions they would experience in the real orals. I participated in those exams, not only with my residents, but jointly will most of the surgery residencies in Southern California. I had the chief residents of several of the more prestigious residencies as my examinees. I was surprised how easy it was to mislead the smartest and brightest among them while under stress. Of course, that is the idea. Surgery can be quite stressful at times.
Since I have experienced some of the trials and tribulations of age, I can’t ignore the upcoming national elections with both candidates in their seventies, but Biden has about four years on Trump. Our oldest presidents have been 69 for Ronald Reagan and 70 for Donald Trump at their swearing-in. Reagan developed Alzheimer’s disease after leaving office. Still, there were some signs that may have started before with symptoms in 1984 during his second term, which were pointed out by his son Ron, and Lesley Stahl, the CBS reporter, although cognitive tests failed to show anything.
Being President of the United States is probably similar to doing surgery or piloting a 747, at least in cognitive thought processes. Biden will be 78 years old in November. You can’t help but notice that there are times when he loses his train of thought and jumbles his words to where he cannot finish his sentences. I empathize with anyone who has those issues. I feel quite fit mentally, but I can tell I am not as sharp as I was ten years ago and do not think I should be doing surgery anymore. As we enter our election for the next president, I have concerns about electing a man one year older than I, for the most crucial job in the world. A man who has his finger on the nuclear trigger with a lot more lives at risk than a 747 pilot or a surgeon operating on one patient. He likely has early dementia, but refuses to be tested as Trump has been! If Reagan is an example, the deterioration goes fairly quickly, and Kamala was not the best choice for VP. Just saying!
How does global warming cause fires in straight lines along highways? Looking at the fires in California, Oregon, and Washington, someone has to connect the dots. Rumors that ANTIFA is responsible, but maybe false but they certainly set fires in Portland and elsewhere. These are just the ones that have been caught, but there are more arsonists out there that need to be apprehended.
So far, 28 people have died, and dozens are missing, not to mention all the pets, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and all the wildlife that have succumbed in the cruelest manner. Last night, 9/12/20, two Sheriffs, one male one female, were ambushed and shot multiple times in Los Angeles. Rioters affiliated with one of the organized groups then blocked access to the hospital with mobs shouting, “ I hope the bitch dies!” Now that is “hate speech,” and that needs to stop! Both are still alive but in critical condition with shots to the face and head. What have we become? We are losing the battle against anarchy. I am beginning to think that we are too late to fix this. “Burn, baby burn!” has become the reality.
I can’t be the only one that notices these “coincidences?” I don’t care if Democrats or Republicans send in the troops, but someone has to. Are there any alternatives to this madness? The inmates are taking over the asylum. Does anyone wonder why the sane ones want to arm themselves? This is the stuff that causes dictators to take charge, as a democracy will not, or cannot, handle the truth. If Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor Kate Brown, and Governor Jay Inslee do not act decisively and declare martial law, then the Federal Government needs to do so.
Riots are not peaceful demonstrations and need to stop. The hotbeds in Seattle and Portland are the source of these anarchists. They need to be controlled by preventing ingress and egress. The known sources of money for those rioters need to be charged with aiding and abetting arson and murder. Our politicians need to stop calling them “brave Americans.” This includes the Hollywood crowd that has been sending money to bail out the scum from jail, who then just slink back to their “Autonomous Zones.” Criminals need to be rounded up, quickly tried, and punished. If they committed capital offenses, they need to suffer the consequences.
This is what an insurrection looks like. But it is a small percentage of people that are creating the mayhem, some of them paid organizers. Hopefully, it is still possible to control the situation before our state burns up. But there must be some forceful action and soon!
I am puzzled as to why the whole racism issue has emerged NOW before our next national election. Why do we have race riots about racial justice? Why are there lootings and burnings of buildings happening now? We had a black president for eight years, and what did he do to improve the black race situation? His numbers on black crime, black on black murder rates, black high school drop out rates, police shootings of black boys and men, fatherless families, black unemployment rates, and black illegitimacy rates are nothing to brag about and showed not one iota of improvement after eight years. Look it up! Where was the outrage for Obama’s abysmal record? Where were the protest marches of BLM?
The Democrats have finally hit on the perfect storm to destroy Trump after multiple failed attempts. A fortuitous pandemic set the background for unrest and erased all of the economic gains of the Trump administration. Then the unfortunate killing of a black man by a white cop triggered the firestorm. The number of blacks killed by police every year is between 200 to 250, including every year of Obama’s tenure. Whites are killed by police about twice that number, despite the fact that the black crime rate is roughly five times higher than the white crime rate. This indicates more police restraints when dealing with a black criminal, and contradicts the mob’s screaming that the unjust police are killing black people. The opposite is true. The police treat blacks with greater deference than whites when it comes to pulling the trigger.
Why, all of a sudden, does one killing of a criminal high on Fentanyl and Amphetamines become the poster child, and now the hero, for this race riot? Not considering the details because they will not be known until the trial of the indicted white cop, and cell phone video is incomplete in explaining the preceding events. The riots do not pass the smell test. It seems like a carefully orchestrated setup. The inciting event was not the best choice for a trigger. The criminal history of George Floyd and the drug overdose does damage the story, and makes his resistance more complicated given the Amphetamines on board. Amphetamines are known to accentuate aggressiveness, increase muscle strength, and the Fentanyl obscures the now-famous T-shirt logo “I can’t breath” line if you understand the pharmacology of Fentanyl, which depresses the brain’s respiratory center. Two autopsies reported the Amphetamines and Fentanyl in his blood.
The rapidity of the deployment and the organization of the mob suggests that it was not as spontaneous as it appeared, but preorganized long before the Floyd affair, waiting for a suitable trigger. The timing is also suspicious of preplanning. I would like to know who is the financial backer of all this unrest?. Somebody is! Who is benefiting from racial division? I must admit it is a brilliant strategic move in its timing and opposition to the “Law and Order” argument. One factor I can attribute to coincidence, but with four factors pointing to a rented mob, I come to the conclusion that this was a covert DNC production. #1instant mob #2 tenuous trigger #3 statistics dispute the main complaint #4 highly suspicious timing
I saw a video that all of you should see: uncletom.com, produced by Larry Elder, a black radio commentator, who addresses many of these issues. If you are liberal, you will get a different perspective than you have ever seen. If you are conservative, you will learn some history that you never knew. It costs you $8.00 to rent, but it is worth it. Many of my questions have been answered, but my own theory as to the recent racial discontent is even more specific.
My theory of the whole issue is that when Obama was elected, there was much enthusiasm and hope from the black population that now things were going to change. Guess what? Nothing changed!
Statistics on black vs. white police killings do not bear out the claim of police treating blacks more harshly and shooting quicker. The opposite is true. The real issues when Obama took office in 2009, were black fatherless homes were at 67%. It dropped a paltry 2% in 2017 at the end of his term. Black unemployment increased from 7.6% to 7.8%, rather pathetic , to say the least. Pre COVID under the “racist Donald Trump,” unemployment was the lowest it has ever been, 5.4%.
Black illegitimacy in 2017 was up to 77% at the end of Obama’s term. In 1965 it was 24%. The black family was much more of a standard core family in the mid-1960s before Johnson’s “War on Poverty” with its dramatic increase in welfare. WELFARE DID MORE DAMAGE TO THE BLACK FAMILY THAN SLAVERY DID.
Black on black crime kills more black people each and every year than all the Ku Klux Klan killed during their entire rant of 86 years. Is that not an amazing statistic that gets absolutely no press. It is a topic the left does not want to talk about. Black on black homicides were 2500 to 3500 a year most of Obama’s tenure. Welfare removed the father figure from the family and made the family matriarchal. More black children grew up with a father during slavery than now. These are statistics Obama should be ashamed of!
Obama, who had the chance to make great strides in the real issues ignored the problem! It was a great disappointment. Obama had made it one of his campaign promises. He stated that Dr. Martin Luther King had gotten the black race 90% to their goal, and he was going to get that last 10% needed to get to the Promised Land. He did exactly nothing, just as all democratic run administrations, federal, state, or local since Abraham Lincoln.
The Jim Crow laws were created by white southern Democrats and Dixiecrats to keep blacks from voting. It was the Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower who sent in the 101st Airborne Division to open the schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was a Republican Congress led by Everett Dirksen that pushed through John F. Kennedy’s civil rights bill nullifying Jim Crow. This was unfairly credited to Lyndon B. Johnson due to the assassination of Kennedy. Furiously fighting against it were the Democrats who opposed the civil rights act through the longest Filibuster in history, led by Al Gore’s father, Albert Gore Sr., along with the Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond. It was Lyndon B. Johnson who came upon a “brilliant” new game plan. His idea was if blacks were going to vote, they might as well vote Democrat. He was fond of using the “N” word, something the media never brought up, but was undeniable. “I’ll have them n….s voting Democrat for 200 years,” he said – something that is still coming true.
Now with a new election, the left sees a chance to take over just as they have taken over in many major cities of the country that they have destroyed, like Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, St. Louis, New York, Detroit, Memphis. Los Angeles, and Houston, etc. The best way is to divide and conquer. Race is an excellent way to divide people. And what better way than to discredit the current administration by blaming them for all the failures of government to improve racial inequality, which of course, had not been addressed by the previous administration. If you look at what Trump did with his efforts on unemployment, ridding employers of oppressive regulatory policies, and the tax reductions, he helped black people more than Obama ever did, who did nothing in his two terms, as demonstrated by all metrics: unemployment, black murder rate, black incarceration rate, high school drop out rate, black illegitimacy rate, number of fatherless families, etc. Obama actually harmed black education by cutting annual funding for black institutions of higher learning by $85,000,000 annually; something Trump reversed by restoring $100,000,000, the largest federal funding of black colleges by any president ever. It was Bidden who is responsible for creating the largest mass incarceration of black Americans through his work on the 1994 crime law, and the “Crack Law” that punishes possession of crack cocaine more severely than powder cocaine. Whites prefer the powder and blacks the crack, which disproportionately keeps blacks in jail longer, another Biden ringer.
Democrats have harmed the progress of the black race in cities run by them, and their social welfare programs have destroyed the black core family by the most devastating blow a family can have, namely the removal of the father. Instead of ranting about racial justice, which Obama ignored, the protests should be about fatherless black families, the disproportionate high school dropout rate of black children, the disproportionately high crime rate in black communities, including the high black on black murder rate, and the unprecedented abortion rate of black women, now at 52%. Those are the issues BLM should address, all problems that Obama and Biden could have fixed but didn’t and apparently didn’t care about.
My 8th book just came out on Amazon. This is a collection of essays that explains the flaws of Socialism that will offend some of you and make others cheer, but my real purpose is to wake those of you that are sleeping or hiding. I have used Socrates for the cover because of my favorite of his quotes, “The most hated are the ones who speak the truth!”
I have always had the opinion you cannot change anyone’s mind about religion and politics. Many of these beliefs have been instilled in us when we had very moldable minds, by our parents and other early role models. The pathways are set and usually cannot be changed. So why did I bother? I, too, had my pathways set in my formative years by real-life experiences from my parents and myself that have set my ways against Socialism, and I do NOT mean the Social Welfare State, a totally different animal that originated in Germany in the late 1800s, created by Otto von Bismarck and existing in many countries including in the USA, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, etc. The Social welfare state supports those individuals in need of help to survive, the sick, the old, the very young, the injured, etc. and has nothing to do with control of the means of production and distribution of goods, as defined to be Socialism by Webster and economists. To control the means of production requires violence.
I have an inevitable desire to honor and trust my parents and their life experiences. Marx and Engels have sold us pseudo-scientific theories that, when put to the test, failed in every country they have tried it. Nevertheless, Socialism is rearing its ugly head again. Bolshevik Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressly, Kamala, and other real Socialists have captured the democratic standard-bearer and pulled him to the left into their camp, which espouses real Socialism, control of the means of production, and distribution.
My parents were staunch individualists. The Socialists, both the Marxist Socialists and the National Socialists, almost erased them, and they bearly escaped their clutches. We probably have the most important national elections of our life before us. I will not change anyone’s mind as to how they will vote, but I may be able to convince those that are afraid to express their opinions to come out of the basement. The left-leaning segment of our population is mostly open and not afraid. The right is often timid and afraid of voicing their thoughts, the silent majority, and the under-cover Trumpists. I do not see this as a Biden vs. Trump issue, but as a Capitalist vs. Socialist battle. The choices we have are between Socialism and freedom. Jefferson and Reagan are not the choices as they are not on the ballot. It is Biden and Trump both with blemishes but with clear differences. My words may wake up some memories in you and raise the specter of failed political theory, which is the guiding light of the democratic hard-left political wish list that Biden brings to the table versus four years of tremendous economic success (before COVID likely to resume after COVID), tax and regulatory relief (despite COVID).
The failures of Socialism are seen in all the rest of the countries that have tried it: the USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, all the eastern European block that did not give up communism when Russia failed, but soon had to follow suit, like East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, the former countries that made up Yugoslavia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia, additionally, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Did I forget anyone? I never thought I would again have to reject this failed political joke created by two egg heads in the mid-1800s. This stupid idea almost cost my parents their lives and with them my existence (see my books Tales of a Country Surgeon and Tales from my Home Town). There are only five countries in the world today that are communist: China, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba. Three of those have relied heavily on capitalistic measures to save their declining economies, and North Korea is a total disaster on all fronts.
We now have a group of intellectuals that have never personally experienced Communism, like Bernie Sanders and his crew, who want to resurrect that failed system. Bernie has pulled Biden to the left and with it the Democratic platform. There are more Communists working as professors in our universities than there are in all of Russia now.
Admittedly, Trump does have flaws, he is constantly caught in crude statements that lack grace but are typical of the New Yorker personality, and he could temper many of his Tweets. But unlike most of my left-wing friends, I do not think he is stupid. He is refreshingly not like any polished politician who often speaks without saying anything. What you see is what you get. He is a billionaire, mostly self-made, some of his businesses have come out of bankruptcy more than once, and he did not achieve his success by being stupid nor demented. He has done most everything that his Covid advisers, like Fauci and Brix, have recommended, as they confirmed multiple times from what I have heard them say. He announced shutting down the western border January 31, 2020, and eastern borders on March 11, 2020. I remind those of you with short memories of Biden’s critique of “hysterical xenophobia”, even though Biden apologized for that remark later. Apology or no apology, it points out that Trump had a better understanding of the crisis and was ahead of the curve before Biden and many others. There were mixed messages from Trump along with his “learned science advisers” early on before much was known: Mask, no mask, social distancing 3 feet, 6 feet, 15 feet, a variety of drugs including hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, steroids, famotidine, high titer antibody serum, nitrous oxide, etc. that are still in flux. Furthermore, there is a flurry of various controlled and uncontrolled studies backing up this or that point of view. Despite the recent consensus of wearing masks, a recent report from Sweden now says masks are useless, and they don’t advise them or use them. Incidentally, they have one of the best numbers if that means anything. Science relies on evidence that often vacillates, and is not all that exact. Don’t worry, I still believe in masks and wear mine. Although, In my over half a century of practicing medicine, I have learned the hard way that today’s best practices are tomorrow’s heresies. Knowledge is constantly evolving, and with small sample size, results will often differ. It is still not all in folks!
Do we need to look at the tax returns of a billionaire who works for us free of charge? We should be asking for the tax returns of the politicians who took office poor as church mice, and consequently became millionaires after coming to office. That would interest me more!
The economy prior to the Covid19 pandemic was the best it has been with employment numbers, as good as ever achieved in our history, especially for the racial minorities, Black and Hispanic. CNN, in 2016, predicted if Trump became President, the economy would tank! More recently, the same people on CNN say Trump had nothing to do with the good economy, if you care re-run those wise remarks. Of course, their most recent position is that it’s all Trump’s fault. Which version of the truth are we supposed to believe? This is especially significant now that the economy has made an amazing comeback so far, and unemployment is shrinking.
The fact is all politicians have been known to slant the truth. Is that news? Is that supposed to guide our political thinking as to who tells the biggest lie? Biden has legendary zingers, as well as plagiarizing Robert Kennedy, John Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, and British Labor Leader Neil Kinnock. But for me, I really don’t care if he was the first or last in his class, just as much as I do not listen to what Trump says about hydroxychloroquine and other medical issues. The press counts those as lies. My filters see them as wishful thinking, cheerleading, and politics. It is easy to tell which are lies and which are not. If you can’t, I feel sorry for you because your hate is at such a level that you can’t tell the difference between fact and hopefulness. There is a bit overzealousness in the lying count, 20,000 lies, really? I suggest you recalibrate your lie detector a bit. But since we are talking about lies, let us talk about the biggest lie of all. Bernie, AOC, Kamala, and others are telling us a whopper. “Democratic Socialism” as defined by our trained Marxists is a much more sinister Socialism. All you need to do is look at their published plans for us. AOC and Bernie have real Socialism in their back pocket, and it is not Social Democracy which is a capitalistic democracy that has peaceful social welfare programs such as education, health care, care for the elderly, workman’s compensation, and child care. Real Socialism is a political system of government where the state controls the means of production. The state owns everything that makes anything. They tell you what to make, where to make it, when, and how much to make. The idea for this form of government came before it actually existed. It was one man that put the theory into action, Vladimir Lenin.
For those of you who don’t know the story, and see Socialism as just another way that is a little kinder and fairer, you are sadly misguided and just plain wrong. He ordered the murder of Tzar Nicolas II, his wife, Alexandra, the four daughters, and their young son in a basement execution-style by shooting the whole family. Some of the girls, although hit, were still alive and had to be killed by bayonetting them to death.
You see, Socialism can never be democratic; it doesn’t work that way. You can’t take possession of things that are not yours democratically. If you believe that you believe in a Fairytale. Nor can you replace the Socialists in a Marxist, Chavist, or Nazi Socialist government by voting them out democratically. “Der Führer” will not let you. So that too is fiction. They will not leave, and that too would require violent force. People just don’t hand over possessions or power willingly. It was that way in 1917 in Russia and in 2018 when 5,000 people died at the hand of the Velenzuelan armed Forces, and in 2019, another 1600 were put to death on the orders of Nicolás Maduro. Bolshevik Bernie is just as deluded as Karl Marx was. Humans are like the rest of the animal kingdom when it comes to what is mine and what is yours; furthermore, Socialism has a fatal flaw. It believes that the state can make better decisions for people than people can make for themselves.
People are assigned to jobs by the all-knowing state, and if some don’t like it, you can guess what the Democratic Socialists will do with them. The word “Democratic” was placed before “Socialism” to make it sound milder, just like National Socialism sounds better. There have not been any successful states that have been Democratic Socialistic societies (and the Scandinavian countries are not Socialist if you know anything about economics). Nor have Socialists, Communists, or Nazis been replaced anywhere democratically with the exception of Israel, the UK, and India, further demonstrating that Socialism has failed in every country it has ever been tried. A very telling movie I saw recently, and recommend for you to see, The Death of Stalin, although a black comedy, will let you in on how Socialism really works.
This moron (me) was valedictorian of my high school class, fourth in my medical school class, in the 99th percentile countrywide on my surgery boards, plus I have seven books so far that I have published, and I am a Professor of Surgery. I do not say that to brag or impresses you, but to make me more incontestable, convince you that I am not a moron and I am more capable as a human being to present to you facts and reasoning that may resonate with you if you know from where I hail. I swear that is the truth. Most of you Trump haters know what he says in detail, but very little of what he has done. Remember, actions speak louder than words. His medical opinions mean very little to me and are non-sequiturs as he has no control over use or non-use of any drug or treatment. But I do pay attention to his actions on EPA regulations affecting my ranch, along with Fish and Game that controls when and how I am allowed to clean the overflowing Timber Cañyon Barranca running through my property when it is full of debris. It so happens to be the habitat for the red-legged frog, unfortunately for me and the frogs, as the frogs are also on the endangered species list which Fish and Game watches all too closely. HUD (Housing and Urban Development) impact my property which maybe someday I will be allowed to develop. Also, there is Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that regulates banking, which influences my retirement account. Trump has reversed two regulations for every new one, and many more that I know you could care less about because you are more concerned that he can’t pronounce “Yosemite” or that he called Haiti and El Salvador, “sh.. holes!” By the way, have any of you ever been to Haiti or El Salvador? I’d be interested in what you think.
This is a Biden vs. Trump comparison on some of the major issues:
|Supports late-term abortion||Does not support late-term abortions|
|Health care: Obama Care with more||Repeal ACA|
|Regulate social media||Also regulate social media|
|Open Borders||Controlled Borders|
|Rejoin Paris Climate Accords||Stay out of Paris Climate Accords|
|Has Socialsist advisers||Does not have Socialist advisers|
|Opposes death-penalty||Supports death-penalty|
|Refund police(Biden term for defund)||Do not defund police|
|ANTIFA &BLM are brave Americans||ANTIFA & BLM are criminals|
|Raise minimum wage to $15/h||States to decide minimum wage|
|100% renewable energy by 2050||Continue with fossil fuels|
|Reduce age for Medicare eligibility||Spending cuts in Medicare|
|Pressure on China is off||Pressure remains on China|
|Top income tax goes to 39.6-70%||Top tax rate stays at 37%|
|Top corporate rate increases to 28%||Top corporate tax stays at 21%|
Although economists disagree on what effect tax has on the economy, most believe that higher taxes move money out of the economy and ultimately slows the growth and lowers the GDP. All the programs that the Socialists want will require more than just an increase in taxes. There are not enough high earners and wealthy people to pay for all on the wish list, including Medicare for all, funding renewable energy, free higher education, reparation payments, baseline citizens’ income, etc. It will require the confiscation of assets to generate those funds according to the economists that figure those things out. The National Socialists (aka Nazis) contrived a very clever way to confiscate property from whom the Democratic Socialists can learn. They simply raised the taxes on properties they wanted until the owner could not afford the property anymore. Nazi Socialists were no dummies.
The issue with China has been a campaign promise of Trump since 2016. China has been aggressively stealing our intellectual property, and industrial spying has been well recognized, but very little has been done to stop it by previous presidents, Democrats, or Republicans. Climate Change is a controversial topic that has come down to resembling religion with accompanying similar emotions and arguments. 98 % of scientists do not agree that it is settled, especially the part about how much of an urgent crisis this is. Even if CO2 is the main culprit, lowering it is unaffordable with current means, and not as urgent as the alarmists claim, especially for the poor countries of the world, and they would suffer marked damage to their population in terms of starvation and health. There are other options to lower CO2 without the damaging effects it would cause by eliminating fossil fuels (see my website gusiwasiuk.com the essay on Why the Green New Deal Will not Work). Gambia, which has almost no industry, is close to meeting its promised reduction of carbon emission, but it too will still fall short. The main polluters aren’t even trying. For us to do so is useless as all those agreements have been so far. It would also hurt us economically while China keeps on churning out CO2.
As far as the criticism of handling the pandemic, you should realize this was a state by state project with governors resisting federal “interference” treating it as a political football: stay at home orders, masks, which businesses to close or open, schools, etc. It was the governors who shut down the businesses, not Trump. When a business is shut down, its employees are laid off by their employer on the order of the state public health department and not by Trump. What part of unemployment do you folks not understand? Incidentally, employment has dramatically improved from its lowest point during the pandemic of 14.7%. It is now down to 8.4% as of September 4, 2020, still a ways to go to reach its 50 year low of 3.5% in September 2019, but still an amazing achievement for this short time. Car sales and housing starts are also very encouraging. All will dip again with a Democratic sweep of all branches of government, according to the economists. Although if just one branch remains Republican, the economy will thrive as Wallstreet likes a split government.
The basic science of the Coronavirus was poorly analyzed at the outset, and China was less than helpful in providing information in the early phases. The Democratic Candidate Debates show how little democratic leadership knew or cared about the evolving pandemic. The anti-Trump rhetoric at the debates swirled around climate change and not the virus, as late as February 19, 2020, when there were 74,000 cases in China with 2,100 deaths. By then, the “xenophobic hysterical racist,” Trump, had restricted travel from China on January 31,which was denounced as unnecessary and racist by Democrats, Biden, and the media. Now he is blamed for not acting soon enough and letting the virus in. He should have been a clairvoyant. Where were all the smart people then? They continued to deny the dangers.
The February 1, 2020, Washington Post, “Get a grip America. The flu is a much bigger threat than Coronavirus.” February 7, 2020 CBS This Morning Saturday,– “Coronavirus is not going to cause a major issue in the United States.” March 4, 2020 Anderson Cooper CNN – “So if you’re freaked out at all about the coronavirus, you should be more concerned about the flu.” March 11, 2020, Trump shut down travel from Europe. CNBC reported this was “politically motivated and unnecessary.” Do you think CNBC was doing exactly what they blame Trump of doing? Were they also just a little bit politically motivated instead of doing honest investigative reporting?
People that made many of the decisions were the governors of each state. Each state, in conjunction with their health department, made their own plan for better or worse, and the use of hydroxychloroquine is a medical decision, not the President’s decision. We can all agree that Trump does not have an MD degree. If you take medical advice from any laypeople seriously, you are the one whose IQ I question.
The public was less than helpful in following the public health dictates of masks, social distancing, and public gatherings (and still is!). Nancy Pelosi, herself, encouraged demonstrations of thousands of people elbow to elbow exercising their constitutional rights, even if it did include looting a few stores and setting police cars on fire. Admittedly having the Republican Rally in Tulsa was not a good idea either, but at least no property was burned down, and no police officers were killed. A critique that is often launched is that Trump does not have a national plan, unlike Biden who promises to give us one. What exactly would this national plan do? There are only a few options. Wash your hands. Wear your face mask. Don’t congregate. Don’t leave home unless absolutely necessary. Various countries, like China, Singapore, Italy, South Korea, and others, imposed fines up to $3000 or jail time for any quarantine violations. The “Never Trump” people point to how good the European death numbers are. Our bad numbers are again blamed on Trump. The European numbers were achieved with very strict house arrests. For example, in Italy, if you were outside of your home without government paperwork permitting you to do so, you were fined with rather stiff penalties and or jail. Some communities marked people with non-removable markers (reminiscent of concentration camp tattooing and Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter) that were supposed to be in self-isolation and, if caught, in the street, were severely punished. Can you imagine the public outcry claiming Nazi tactics? I can almost hear Nancy Pelosi screaming, “Storm Troopers!” We can’t even get everyone to wear masks. Civil disobedience would have dramatically escalated. So much for the national plan unless you want to invoke the COVID Fairy to sprinkle some fairy dust on us. Maybe Biden has some.
Perhaps the Socialists will change all that. Socialists have some very clever ways and from historical evidence, painful to make you do things, another reason to think twice before voting Socialist.
Medicare age lowering to 60 will increase the Medicare population. Most experts think Medicare eligibility age should be increased so that funds will last longer. As it is, at the current level, it will be out of funds by 2026. Biden’s plan will not help. Although Roe v. Wade is settled law for almost half a century now, and that first-trimester termination of pregnancy is legal, I think that late-term abortions are barbaric. There is a difference between a gray ball of cells and a formed body with arms, legs, and a brain that could survive outside the mother, cry, have an audible heartbeat, and feel pain. Aborting them requires a definitive life terminating act, sort of like drowning, suffocation, injecting a very high concentration of salt into the uterus, or puncturing the skull. Believe me, I know! Infanticide is not something that a civilized person or nation should tolerate. Finally, the question of Biden’s health is an issue. I will refrain from commenting as I have not examined Biden, but I have seen behavior that concerns me. Each person needs to make his/her own honest, unbiased decision. I do think “Trump Derangement Syndrome” is real. Socrates was right when he said, “The most hated people are the people that tell the truth.” Everything seems to be Trump’s fault. No alternative explanation is possible. Was the Corona pandemic really mishandled and all because of Trump, even though many of the setbacks had complex reasons with multiple inputs from governors, myriads of public health experts, Congress, the media, and above all poor public compliance? What remains undeniable is Trump’s success with the economy. Of course, that was pre-pandemic, with the lowest unemployment in all sectors, including minority groups. Such numbers have never before achieved by any president including with our recent minority president. And now even with new spikes of the virus in California, Arizona, Florida, and Texas, we already see the economy roar back. The stock market has made an amazing recovery, just 3% down from its highs (dramatically better than the 30% loss it was initially), especially the NASDAQ and the S&P 500, both of which have reached new record highs.
Another very important economic index that is spectacular is consumer net worth, which is at an all-time high. The economy has made an unbelievable comeback. Of course, that couldn’t be due to Trump’s handling of the economy. He just gets the credit for destroying it. The rest of the market is poised to reach higher levels than pre-pandemic levels. But the economists I listen to are afraid of what higher taxes and open borders will do to our current steadily improving economic trends. The market is already calculating a democratic sweep into their prediction of an economy that will again suffer if we see all three branches of government under democratic control. According to my financial adviser and bankers, Wallstreet is giving a democratic sweep a better than even chance at present. It will require new financial strategies, especially for fixed income folks and retired people like me, especially if the more radical left gains control should Biden have to step back for health reasons and allow the VP and “the squad” on his advisory committee more powers. That is a real possibility!
With Trump, we know what we are going to get, more or less status quo. When Covid is repressed, and a vaccine is available, which is just about to happen, there is no reason why further recovery of the economy and near full employment will happen. We will have the same tax structure, a strong military with less foreign entanglement, more emphasis on managing public disorder, controlled borders, and continued haggling for better deals from China, Europe, and Canada. And this is supposed to be the bad news that justifies turning the country into a Socialistic one-party government, open borders, socialized medicine, with protesters demanding justice, which apparently means what we see in Portland and Seattle in other cities, maybe in our city. What did I miss? Do we need some adults here?
I am dumbfounded that so many Democrats, independents, and even misguided Republicans are willing to risk having a Socialist president instead if something requires Biden to step back. And make no mistake, Kamala is a Socialist. By analyzing her voting record, she has been rated the most radical Senator in Washington, outranking Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Without question, with a Biden win, we will get fundamental change in our government. Certainly higher taxes, some assets would be taxed at 100% (usually called confiscation), little or no passing on of wealth to children on your demise, no borders, castrate the police, a one-party political system, nationalizing big industry such as medical care, utilities, communications, banks, oil, pharmaceuticals, and whatever else they want to. Marissa Barrera, a health policy adviser to Bernie Sanders, says, “Nationalize everything. I don’t even care what it is… y’all lost your capitalist privileges.” You see, because a pandemic that started in China is obviously Trump’s fault by not closing the borders soon enough, and is furthermore evidence of the failure of capitalism, Socialism needs to take over to fix things just like they did in all those other Socialist countries. Amazon, Google, and Walmart merged with the US Post office that, as we all know, has been so “fiscally successful” would be Bernie’s wish and a triumph of Socialism. The “Never Trumpists” fail to comprehend the grave implications that a Biden win would bring to the political structure of our country. Many of you do not understand that it is not all about Trump! Where is Reagan, Jefferson, and Lincoln when we need them? Last time I looked, they were not running. The greater picture is all the Socialist baggage a Biden win would bring. I am hoping that the “Never Trumpist” constituencies will convince them of the error of their ways. The “Never Trumpists” need a quick study of history. Just as they have allied with Biden and his leftists, there was a group in Russia called the Mensheviks, who thought they could negotiate with Lenin and the Bolsheviks, but they found out differently. The Great Purge sent the lucky ones to the firing squad and the other ones to a brutal but short Gulag stay before the grave. They did not get the chance to take back their miscalculations. Once we are a socialist society, we will be one for a long time!
You will then find out what Democratic Socialism really means. Incidentally, it was with the early show trials of the Mensheviks that Stalin learned all about how to obtain confessions. Dislocating shoulders was an effective way! Something the Vietcong learned from the Bolsheviks and tried on John McCain when he was a POW in the early 1970s.
We will see a rollback of any accomplished deregulation and certainly no further deregulation, which so far has impacted all business for the better from what I have seen. The oppressive bureaucracy has been pulled back a little by Trump. The EPA, the Bureau of Land Management, OSHA, Fish and Game, Dodd-Frank, Affordable Housing, and others have overregulated banking, home building, energy, oil and mineral production, agriculture, my current job regulated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). They are especially concerned about coyotes pooping on my avocados high in the trees, which, judging by their concerns, rival the Covid deaths throughout the country. I have seen a breath of fresh air with governmental agencies that are all just a little less enthusiastic about enforcing unreasonable, unaffordable regulations. Just a few days ago, I had to report the finding of a dead bear on my property. Previously Fish and Game would insist on coming out and doing an autopsy on the bear to prove a bullet didn’t kill it. The Fish and Game official wanted to come out, but the bear was already 6 feet under, and he agreed to just let me fill out some forms and send pictures that I had already taken, just a little more common sense.
For the first time in recent history, we are energy self-sufficient. We do not have to depend on the Middle-East, Russia, or Venezuela for oil. That is an achievement that all Presidents in my lifetime have had a desire to accomplish. It took Trump to achieve it. The Islamic terrorist threat has been greatly reduced with the containment of ISIS, and the elimination of leaders like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Qasem Soleimani. Border security is clearly better despite the open border wishes of Nancy Pelosi, which will come true with a Biden victory. Open borders will influence criminal traffic, drug transport, unemployment numbers, welfare costs, healthcare safety net overloading, demands on schools, terrorist access, but it will not separate children from their parents anymore. Thank God!
I am afraid that meaningful and intelligent discussion is becoming increasingly difficult. There is so much mindless vitriol on both sides that facts, logic, and proof are substituted by name-calling, ad hominem attacks, and even worse – obscenities. Both sides must realize that in the last election, it was very close to an even split. That means half the county was for one candidate, and the other half was for the other, for those of you from Peoria. (I know, I came from Peoria too.) It was our system of the Electoral College that gave the victory to Trump. The Electoral College was critical to the Founders because it prevents the tyranny of the majority (of one), and gives the smaller states a voice. Without the Electoral College, California and New York would always elect the President. Politics brings out the worst in us. Generally, people follow what their parents believed, i.e., deep-rooted and often not changeable. Keep in mind that calling half the country “morons” is not exactly brilliant either. I would classify it “moronic” as well.
All of you that intellectually espouse Socialism have the amazing ability to blot out all the evidence against communal property and the incredible blindness of not seeing the countries that have tried it and failed. Just look at the numbers of people escaping from the Socialists of Cuba, South America, former East Germany, North Korea, etc. How many defectors went from the US to the USSR? This should be a clue who has a better economic system, a socially more just system, a better human rights record, etc. even for the blindest Socialist. In 1988 Bolshevik Bernie honeymooned in the USSR and saw a “utopian worker paradise” through his rose-colored glasses instead of what it was, an incredible abortion of human misery that collapsed just three years later. I know you won’t do it, but I dare you to rent the movie Dr. Zhivago where all the homeless are moved into his house, and he gets one room of it. Boris Pasternak, the author, wrote about his own life’s experiences. It was banned in the USSR. My parents, with similar experiences, could not watch the movie because it brought both of them to tears. The reality of what Socialism is might finally click with you. Believe it! Socialism is not an idle threat when you have the government with numerous self-proclaimed Socialists already in power. So think twice before you vote in more of them!
I hesitate to publish this because it will change very few and possibly not a single mind, and it will turn some of my friends into former friends. But I am beyond that. At age 77 (same age as Biden, but you’d never know it according to my wife), I have stopped worrying about who likes me and who does not. Besides, I have always enjoyed “stirring things up”! THEY tell you that THEY “know what predators look like (but won’t share that information), that the current administration is only interested in THEIR own and THERE friends’ financial gains (really? This is from the guy who came into office dirt poor and now has a net worth of 70 million), besides Trump mishandled the economy and the pandemic (at what data have THEY they been looking?).” What the Socialists don’t tell you is what THEY will do, that comes after you vote them in: raise your taxes, open the borders, socialize medicine, eliminate the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution, ban fossil fuels, amnesty for all illegals (with welfare and medical care), nationalize most large business, and many more radical ideas to defund you (along with the police).
Socialism has somehow become respectable again, despite the fact that every country that has tried it has been hurt by it. Mighty nations (like the USSR) have collapsed under it. China has switched much of its economy to a capitalistic hybrid that has saved them, after almost succumbing to Mao’s idiocies, like the Cultural Revolution, a little clue what leftist leaders can do when they become demented. The pure communist countries, like North Korea, are grotesque examples of pure evil.
Our young people have been indoctrinated for decades by most universities that teach socialism/communism. Most of the professors have actually never gotten personally close to it, but they are experts because they have read a book or two. I, on the other hand, almost lost my parents to what I consider an immoral monstrosity created by two spoiled rich kids, Marx and Engels, who grew up into spoiled men that then stole money from their parents to write an inane book about money (Das Kapital) something of which they had absolutely no realistic concept and no understanding of the human condition. Humans are programmed to want more if they work harder and resent people that are rewarded for doing nothing.
Many of you will not read beyond this point. Who wants to listen to an old fart who is obviously biased, and Trump is seen by the left as a flawed human whom they hate beyond belief, to the point where it warps their thinking, ruins their life, and their Facebook posts. They say he is crude, tells lies, and is incredibly imprudent (especially for a billionaire). Getting rid of Trump is worth risking the destruction of this country. Whatever it takes! The catastrophe is that with a Trump loss, we buy an incredible turn to the left for our nation. The Democratic Socialists have an agenda that will fundamentally change this country. They know better what is right for us, the moronic masses. Among some of their plans are as follows (I did not make up theses bullet points; they are taken from their published literature, my editorial comments are in italics):
- The Green New Deal will become the new rule. – you should start learning it now!
- Ban fossil fuel to save the planet. We have 12 years before irreversible changes set in.
- Confiscate all guns and ban the Second Amendment. (because guns kill – and here I thought it was people who kill)
- While at it, suppress parts of the First Amendment too. Certain kinds of speech need to be banned (you will be notified as to what types of speech are unacceptable)
- Get rid of the Electoral College. (this would give Los Angeles County the voting power of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North and South Dakota, Delaware, Rhode Island, Montana, Main, and New Hampshire combined, no joke!)
- Get rid of police and replace them with social workers and psychologists
- Reduce the prison population.
- Racial sensitivity needs to be incorporated into the justice system, in fact into all systems, to eliminate systemic racism once and for all.
- Downsize the military.
- Promote late-term abortions, also called partial-birth abortions, (meaning, right before birth is not too late)
- Socialize medicine. Health care is a right.
- Establish a Wealth Tax. The very wealthy need to pay their fair share. (you will be surprised who they are; it shall include many more than you think; it might even include you)
- Increase the death tax. Wealth should not be passed on. The family farm will cease to exist. (Stalin did that in Ukraine at an accelerated rate. Those that refused to do so he starved to death, about 11,000,000 people)
- Top marginal tax needs to go up to 70% to pay for all the benefits (the rate that almost bankrupted Sweden in the 1970s)
- Reverse all of Trump’s tax cuts, personal income, corporate, and capital gains
- Forgive all student loans.
- Make college free for all.
- Every person, working or not, needs to have a basic income (citizens income).
- Pay reparation for the families of former slaves and all Native Americans.
- Increase the minimum wage.
- Remove the wall and have no borders. (get rid of ICE)
- Help all immigrants (legal or not) to come to the promised land (even previously deported ones and criminals, also give them a decent start by providing welfare and free health care for them). We are the land that welcomes all!
- Amnesty for all with fast track to citizenship. (that would add 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 to the voter population. Three guesses with whom those new voters will side. We will become a socialist one-party nation)
- End all new drilling and mining on federal land.
- Regulate all foods and eliminate the sale of health-endangering foods, foods containing too much sugar, salt, and animal fat. (They will inform us of how much is too much)
I am choosing to vote with law and order, against Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and Joe Biden, who calls them brave Americans. They are left-wing communist-inspired anarchists who have announced a complete restructuring of our country, new flag, new anthem, new Bill of Rights, new Constitution, get rid of police and hire social workers, change our historical monuments, and change our soul.
The first thing the Socialists did in other countries was to forbid criticism of the regime, i.e., you cannot say anything even close to negative about the presiding government. That is defined as hate speech, and punishment, anywhere from prison to the death penalty, would be dealt out. That would include what we see on our social media of political commentary. Our Supreme Court has meticulously avoided regulating Freedom of Speech, even so-called “hate speech.” It is narrowly defined now by the SCOTUS and is limited to making disparaging remarks regarding race, color, religion, sex, nationality, age, and genetic issues. All legal attempts to broaden that definition have been rejected by the Supreme Court so far. But every Socialist government from Castro, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Hugo Chavez, Mao Zedong, etc. all had their Gestapos that monitored correct speech, and even children were enlisted to spy on their parents. Their definition of hate speech was not as specific and included anything they claimed to be hate speech.
My father became well acquainted with what freedom of speech in a socialistic milieu means. He was the town doctor in annexed Austria, in what was called the “Anschluss,” and in 1939 became Nazi Germany. A family in the town, the Sturm’s, had a son and a daughter. In 1943 the son came back to his hometown in a body bag. He was killed on the Russian front. At his funeral, his 18-year-old sister walking behind the coffin expressed her grief by exclaiming that she would rather walk behind Hitler’s coffin than her brother’s, something the SS did not miss. She was arrested as soon as the coffin was in the ground. Speaking in a threatening manner of the Führer, Adolph Hitler, was a capital offense (hate speech). She would be executed, as most civilian traitors, by decapitation. Military traitors were executed by hanging. The grief-stricken father came to my father, the town doctor, for help. “They are going to kill the only child I have left!” he exclaimed. After thinking about it all night, my father went to the prison and explained that the girl they had was his patient, and he needed to administer some medication to her. Actually, he really wanted to talk to her as to what he thought she should do. He educated her as to what a hebephrenic schizophrenic act like. He then went out to the prison SS colonel to explain that this was a long term schizophrenic patient of his. By then, the Nazis had been shamed into stopping “mercy killings” of a variety of people with illnesses, including the insane, by the Catholic Church. They had their own doctor confirm the diagnosis. It was no longer seemly for the Reich to execute an insane person. She was released to my father’s custody. Her father was forever indebted to my father for saving her life.
The point of the story is Socialism, whether Marxist Socialism or Nazi Socialism, neither tolerated critique of any kind! Freedom of speech cannot possibly exist in Socialism, the dictatorship of the people! Hate speech is what they say it is! And it threatens their existence. The Socialists of Bernie Sanders have no idea what freedom of speech is when interpreted by practicing Socialists. If our “trained Marxists” are attentive students of Marxism, they too will catch on to the need for eliminating freedom of speech as a danger to them. I can just guess what a Facebook comment like “F….ing Moron President” if referring to them would evoke. I would think Kamala would find that very threatening. They just might bring back the Guillotine. Don’t say it can’t happen here. It happened in the civilized country of Germany just 80 years ago, and in the Soviet Socialist Republic only 30 years ago. Kamala has shown that she could be merciless when she was Attorney General of California, blocking evidence that would have freed an innocent man on death row so as not to spoil her record of prosecutorial wins. Eventually, a higher court forced her to reveal the evidence. It is not without cause that she has earned the reputation as a “Cutthroat Politician.”
Having a George Floyd statue preside over Golden Gate Park, instead of Francis Scott Key, really will make most black people (as well as white people) wonder how to explain why a drug-addicted criminal is there instead. Perhaps a little kiosk with the entire video of the police body camera next to the statue would highlight the rather stupid and unnecessary death he suffered, (hint- the full video is difficult to find – if it hasn’t been taken down yet). I rather doubt it will make little children proud. It will remind us all of how anarchy works.
My parents left Romania because they learned to reject Socialism and Communism, and they had a price on their heads. If you look at the Democratic party, the extreme left has taken over the party’s thinking. Democrats are no longer the party of Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, and even Carter or Clinton. My overriding factor is that anyone who aligns with Socialism is a NO vote from me! I did not learn this in books or at universities, but from my parents, as well as what the rest of my family experienced with Socialism, including the internment in the Siberian Gulags.
AOC has declared herself as a Democratic Socialist. She is a protégé of Bernie Sanders, who is likewise a Democratic Socialist. Do you people know what Democratic Socialism is? Keep in mind that North Korea calls itself the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of North Korea. It is neither Democratic nor a Republic, sort of like Democratic Socialism. Most of the turning over of private property to the state has not happened voluntarily, but by armed force, to nationalize (confiscate) assets, not all that democratic!
Most property is owned collectively in all Socialist countries, which means by the state. Utilities, transportation, and health care are included in the state-owned and run businesses. Most of you have never worked in the VA (Veterans Administration) or the military, both government-run health care systems for the active and former heroes, a little preview of socialized medicine. I have been active military and trained at the VA. Even my “socialist” friends could not tolerate working there. Even in a Democracy, the bureaucracy was stifling. It took hours to find test results, and X-rays, when patients had been relocated in the larger institutions. Incompetent doctors, nurses, even janitors, could not be fired without an act of Congress.
I recall a heart valve replacement operation where the restocking clerk had failed to replace valves that had already been used. One cannot guess the size valve needed until the heart is open. The correct size was missing. You can imagine what happened to that poor soul. In the military, the medications that I prescribed were changed to different ones (that were inappropriate) based on cost, without ever letting me know. Every now and then, they try to fix the system, but it is still broken! But of course, remember it is free!
Every country that has tried Socialism has failed. Even the USSR fell apart. The Socialist apologists always point to the success of the Scandinavian countries, which they claim as Socialist successes. I must point out that is a lie. Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are free-market economies. Admittedly they have high taxes and very generous social programs, but that does not make them socialist or communist. Actually, they are solidly capitalistic; the means of production are in the hands of private money, private ownership, private direction, and not state-run. That voids the Socialists argument. AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib need to retake Economics 101. The Scandinavian countries’ economies are supported by the prosperous businesses that they tax heavily. In the 1970s, they went overboard with taxation, and businesses, as well as wealthy people, started to leave the country. Their economy became weak; unemployment became a problem for the first time. The Volvo, an automobile made in Sweden, was taxed so high that the tax bill exceeded the price of the car. They had to pull back on their heavy taxation and generous social programs, but they did find the sweet spot on the Laffer Curve of taxes that would generate the highest tax revenue for the government, without driving people to leave the country.
The university professors tell us that Socialism is the civilized form of government. The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles spells out the mechanism of how to reach the worker’s paradise. The workers (proletariat) need to take over from the rich (bourgeoisie) and control the economy. When everyone is equal (social justice), there will be no class distinction and no class struggle.
Russia was the first to try this, but what really happened was that the “dictatorship of the proletariat” didn’t work out so well because they did not have the means or knowledge to manage the economy. Thus a new class sprang up. This new class, the bureaucrats, were the real dictators! They had more power than the old superior bourgeoise class. They could imprison you, tear you away from your family, and even kill you. They had special privileges, even their own grocery stores, in which the workers were not allowed to shop. The real workers actually worked in near slave conditions, with often the lack of the necessities of life like, food, shelter, and clothing. Literally, millions of people died from starvation, execution, torture, and imprisonment. My family experienced this personally and upfront. Building walls became a necessity. Unlike our wall, that is meant to keep people out, the Communist walls were designed to keep people from escaping the “worker’s paradise.” The state never did “wither” as it was supposed to, according to Marx.
My surgeon cousin from Romania was allowed to visit me, but only if his wife and family remained in Romania to guarantee his return. He worked in a tertiary referral hospital in Bucharest. I had more equipment and advanced tools in my little country hospital in Santa Paula, CA, than his university hospital had. I gave him tools he had only read about, such as a Fogarty Catheter, a device to remove blood clots from plugged arteries. He also coveted all my sports jackets that he took back with him. This was in 1985. Socialism was a pitiful failure. As a surgeon, his income was not enough to afford a car. He rode a Moped to work. His salary was supplemented by “preoperative visits” at his home for patients he would operate on the next week, where the customary “donation” took place to assure a good outcome. His specialty was upper gastrointestinal surgery. Since Romania did not have the drugs to control stomach acid as we did, and Nicolae Ceauşescu, Romania’s Communist dictator, saw to it that vodka was one of the few things that they had plenty of, my cousin had to remove people’s stomachs for any ulcer diseases. That took care of acid production, and they could still drink vodka! He had done 5000 gastrectomies (stomach removals) at that point in his life. Despite his family remaining “as hostages” in Romania, he desperately wanted to defect to the US. I convinced him to return to his home because he was over 50; his English was poor, and he would likely never get to practice surgery in the US. He did return to Romania and stuck it out until 1990 when Romania became a free market economy. By then, they could get stomach acid-reducing drugs, and he didn’t have to remove as many stomachs anymore, also he did not have to solicit bribes and finally got his car. That is a little vignette about the “Socialist Worker’s Paradise” that I’ll bet Bernie Sanders never heard.
I am an Austrian by birth. My parents both considered themselves products of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and grew up in the milieu of the Habsburg culture, the Kaiser and his palaces in Vienna, the Strauss waltzes, Austro-Hungarian aristocracy and military, the grand social life of the early 1900s, etc.
“Wiener Blut” sums it all up. It literally means the lifeblood of Vienna, but that is not its entire meaning. Wiener Blut started as an operetta with rather dark origins. Most of the music is the product of Johan Strauss Jr., the Waltz King, but Johan’s younger brother, Joseph, contributed substantially. Johan left the production to Adolf Müller, and Johan was only peripherally involved. The operetta premiered in 1899, with considerable production costs. Johan never saw the production because he died from pneumonia five months before, perhaps related to an influenza outbreak. The operetta was a financial disaster and bankrupted Adolf Müller, who shot himself at his desk, at the opera house. Five years later, it was produced again, but this time met with the resounding success, which continues its popularity to this day. The real intended meaning of “Wiener Blut” is the spirit of Vienna, or the soul of Vienna, rather than the red stuff in your veins.
My first encounter with Vienna was as a six-year-old. Austria was by now a tiny country, no longer an empire, and my family was looking to get out of the political and social disaster, the aftermath of World War II, to which we were now assigned through no fault of our own. My father had lost his job as the doctor of a small town in central Austria. All of our possessions that could be sold had been, and it was an issue from where the next meal would come. We had to go to Vienna to organize and file some documents in order to leave Austria and immigrate to what we thought would be a part of Africa, which was then called the “Gold Coast,” now Ghana. We were turned down to immigrate to the US because my father was under indictment by the Russian Communist government for being an “enemy of the people,” and his mother had been sent to Siberia in retribution, because her son had escaped the clutches of Stalin, but that is another story. The closest relative that could be caught was punished instead. This was 1949, and Joseph Stalin was still the friend of Harry S. Truman and an ally of the US. Vienna was in the Russian sector, risky for my father to enter, but there was no other choice.
A politically connected friend of our family offered to drive us to Vienna, besides he had an automobile. Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was Governor of California, was taken to task for not telling the truth, saying that the Russians had tanks throughout Austria, as that supposedly was not historically accurate. But when our friend took a wrong turn on the ancient convoluted streets of Vienna in June 1949, suddenly, we were faced by two Russian tanks with their turret guns trained at our little VW “Bug.” You are not supposed to have memories that far back, but I will never forget that scary moment. We beat a hasty retreat. We had apparently made an inadvertent approach to a Russsian military garrison that was verboten to us. There were indeed Russian tanks in Austria, just like Arnold said! My father got the necessary documents, and we drove back to our home in Hinterstoder, Austria.
The little ski resort village that was our home throughout the war years had an assorted eclectic mix of inhabitants, the indigenous farmers, and innkeepers, along with people from Germany and Austria from larger cities that were being bombed by the Allies. These people could safely live out those dangerous times. It is there I met Wolfdieter. His father had been in the German army, and his mother was an accomplished opera singer, and I would add the maker of the best apple strudel I have ever had! He was two years older than I, and we became friends, playing, hiking, and generally doing what boys do. Seven decades later, we met up again, courtesy of the internet. I had written a book about my hometown, Hinterstoder, Tales from my Home Town, that Wolfdieter stumbled upon and obtained from Amazon Kindle since he now lives near that town. He pointed out a few minor inaccuracies in the book that will be corrected in the next edition with his help. Wolfdieter had his own adventures after the war. Through his mother’s musical background, he pursued a musical career and became quite successful. Among his many accomplishments, he was the conductor of the Vienna Boy’s Choir in the 1960s. We met again when he came to Los Angeles with the Choir to perform in the recently built Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center.
The Vienna Boys Choir has a fascinating history that highlights Vienna with the “Spirit and Soul” of Vienna. The Choir is one of the oldest choirs in the world. It received its original charter from Kaiser Maximilian I in 1498 and has become a musical ambassador of Austria. The Choir travels all over the world to give concerts with a mix of popular, classical, liturgical, folk, and seasonal music, especially Silent Night, composed in 1818, a stone’s throw over the Alps from Hinterstoder. The Choir has had input from the standard-bearers of music, including Joseph Hayden and his younger brother Michael, both of whom were members of the Choir as boys. Franz Schubert’s early songs were also composed when he was one of the Vienna Boys Choir members. Mozart and his supposed rival Salieri, as well as later the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner, worked with the Choir. If they had a particularly successful performance, Bruckner would bring them a cake in his characteristically unsophisticated style. Many of today’s famous conductors: Claudio Abbado, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Sir George Solti, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and others have led and performed with the boys.
I am proud to call Wolfdieter Maurer a friend and now an editor of one of my books.
I recently read the book “False Alarm” by Bjorn Lomborg that I think everyone ought to read. Some of his thoughts are summarized here, and some are my own ideas. Correlation does not mean causation. Just because CO2 is 416 ppm (the highest it has been since Homo sapiens walked on earth) does not mean it is the leading cause or only cause of global warming. CO2 has been much higher and much lower (6000 ppm to 180 ppm) in the past. During these wild fluctuations, earth has been an ice ball with glaciers from both the north and south pole to the equator, as well as completely ice-free, with polar bears frolicking in lush tropical forests on the two poles regardless of the levels of CO2. Oil is old organic material (algae, dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers, bacteria, plants, etc.) that has been confined in the earth’s mantle under pressure for millions of years. Prudhoe Bay and Arctic oil fields are definitive proof that the poles were once free of ice. There are times in the past few million years when CO2 was under 200 ppm, and times it was over 4000 ppm with no consistent correlation between temperature highs or lows and levels of CO2.
CO2 is indeed a greenhouse gas, but it is not a very good one. The higher it goes, the less able it is to contain heat from escaping the earth. Other gases have a much stronger effect, such as water vapor (like in clouds) which is actually the strongest. Methane (cow farts), Ozone, Nitrous oxide, Chlorofluorocarbons, and a few others are also suitable greenhouse gases. The “ppm” means parts per million 416 ppm translated into molecules equals 4 molecules of CO2 in 9,616 molecules of air (mostly oxygen and nitrogen). It is hard to wrap my brain around that if we decrease CO2 to 312 ppm or 3 molecules to 9,615 molecules, which they say will significantly reduce global warming for the better and save the planet! Despite all of that, I do think that CO2 is likely, at least, a contributor to global warming and is, for the most part, man-made. And I do care about global warming! Additionally, oil is a precious resource that we should not fritter away by burning it. Oil is our source of plastics, a product worth more and with more significant uses than gold.
I do believe that Earth getting warmer is concerning, but not as urgent as some say! We also have more than one option to deal with global warming that we, until now, have been more or less ignoring. Furthermore, there are positive consequences of increasing CO2 and temperature. Agriculture can produce further north in the northern hemisphere or south in the southern hemisphere, and CO2 is a fertilizer. Plants that are more suited for warmer climates could just grow in the equatorial latitudes. Earth has gotten greener since the rise in CO2. Greenhouse farmers pump CO2 into their greenhouses to make larger tomatoes, zucchinis, and other fruits and vegetables. Cold kills far more people than heat, according to the CDC. About 1300 people per year die from cold and half of that from heat-related deaths in the USA. Heat is easier to mitigate with cooling centers, and AC, also usually for shorter episodes than cold.
The Biden Campaign Platform has incorporated the Green New Deal. What that means is we may be embarking on the nearly impossible task to lowering or better yet eliminate fossil fuels, the accused villains, of global warming. Fossil Fuel cars are to be replaced by the electric car, shutting down coal and natural gas plants, and reducing the need for oil. Public transport will be by high-speed trains, replacing aviation travel! All buildings are mandated to be net-zero emissions.
There are some hurdles to overcome. Currently, US energy sources are 63% fossil fuel, 20% nuclear energy, and only 18% renewable sources such as solar and wind (wind contributes all of 1% to the global energy needs). The reason that renewable energy is not here yet, is that renewable energy is just too expensive, and nuclear is still not acceptable to the majority of the people, especially the environmentalists. As it stands now, electric cars use just about as much fossil fuels as gasoline cars if you include all the “charge ups” and eventual degradation of the batteries in an environmentally acceptable manner. High-speed trains have been a disaster, looking at our experiment of LA to Fresno (yes, Fresno) to handle all that traffic on State Route 99, a project which started in 2018, and is anticipated to be completed in 2027 at the cost of $4 billion.
The odds of eliminating fossil fuel emissions by 2030 or even 2050 are rather low. Looking at the various accords that have failed, the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the 2005 Kyoto Protocol, and the 2015 Paris Agreement. The United Nations has admitted that all these policies have achieved the sum total of nothing. In fact, by all measures and criteria, we are greater polluters than ever before in history! None of the nations, especially the three major ones, the US, China, and Europe, who produce 80% of the emissions, have lived up to a fraction of what they promised to do. What about We all could do a little and together we will achieve just a little, as said sarcastically by Uk’s chief climate adviser, David MacKay. Unfortunately, all the actions we could take amount to only fractions of the whole problem. A Norwegian researcher studied cutting food waste, and eliminating meat, which has become part of the discussion, especially with all the vegans who are by their genetics, also environmentalists. The amount of money saved is spent on items that cause the same or more carbon emissions, sadly canceling any benefits.
One of the biggest problems of eliminating fossil fuels is that it will hurt the economies of poor countries to a much greater extent than the rich countries. They really can’t give up burning coal and gasoline because they would put their population at risk for starvation, exposure, and complete lack of any health care they presently have. Poverty is a major obstacle to reducing greenhouse gases. Taking coal and oil away from Africa would cause unconscionable human suffering and death.
But even the rich countries apply ambiguous accounting methods to renewable energy. Germany has backed off nuclear energy because of Chernobyl and Fukushima. They are utilizing “renewable energy” but really don’t have enough. They have turned to the “old renewable energy,” Wood. They don’t have enough of that either, so they buy it from the US. The transport to Germany is by diesel ocean liners. The combined carbon footprint of the transport and the burning of wood is more than if they just burned coal. Incidentally, nuclear energy is the safest and cleanest form of energy we have. Mortality rates for coal far exceed nuclear risk (per billion kWh coal kills 100, while nuclear has killed 0.4, counting Chernobyl and Fukushima).
Lowering CO2 content in our atmosphere is going to take decades to achieve, even if we are able to do so and be unaffordably expensive. Adapting to a warmer climate is easier and cheaper and doable. It happens by itself much of the time. The farmers learn to grow crops that are more suited to the climate. The hated GMO foods may just have a place. In the last 60 years, we switched to GMO bread through the work of Norman Borlaug with no fuss. Surprisingly no one has grown a third eye or a tail. Non-GMO bread is not even available anymore. He made GMO wheat that has 21 genes instead of the normal wheat that has seven genes. We were able to get three times the wheat production, and he got the Nobel Prize for saving millions from starvation.
The Coastal inhabitants know how to build dykes, just like the Netherlands have done for centuries. They also know to enforce Building codes and do not allow building in flood planes. Humans are very adaptable. There are people that live in the Sahara. Temperatures of 122 ˚F are not unusual in the summer. They also live in the Himalayas with very cold temperatures in winter, a balmy 17 °F at the base of Everest is the average. Las Vegas has learned to paint their roofs and streets a light color, which can lower the temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Adaptability is relatively easy and cheap, much easier than giving up fossil fuels, and cheaper than high-speed trains. Bangladesh has reduced their mortality from the hurricanes they have weathered by building coastal shelters but still need to do much more. All it takes is money. Of course, it is not always possible or enough, but it is a starting place.
Other effective methods could be the Al Gore carbon credits, which I am sure he is using when he flys to exotic locations in his private jet. Speaking of exotic locations, Krakatoa, a caldera in Indonesia, erupted in 1815. It was the most violent eruption in known history. Tons of sulfur dioxide were pumped into the atmosphere. It created a worldwide “nuclear winter,” and was called “the year without a summer.” Ice skating on the River Thames in London became a pastime that summer. Crop failures lasted for years. This offers us a plan to lower our temperature quickly. It would not be the first thing to do, but what if those climate alarmists are right, and we have just 12 years before irreversible damage occurs. Should we not have the means to fix things fast as a backup plan if the Paris Agreement falls through?
I am not proposing to fire up Krakatoa, but we could use modified methods that are less drastic than putting 30km3 into the stratosphere. White is a better reflector than black, which absorbs heat. If tiny ice crystals are seeded in clouds, it makes them more reflective. Injecting ice crystals into clouds could just do the trick. Ice goes away much faster than sulfur dioxide. Why not try geoengineering? The worst it could do is make it snow ice crystals. There is always the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon’s method, who used the human fat that he aspirated from Hollywood starlet’s butts to run his SUV. At least most of the time it isn’t fossil fuel (true story)!
Another technology that is still in development is cleaning the air of the excess CO2.That seems to be a very eco-friendly and reasonable method. We actually have it already; it is called trees. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough of them. If trees can do it, surely we can find a way to duplicate that function of trees, and there is research already in progress.
Better and more efficient energy storage methods would be a great help. The amount of energy that the sun puts on our earth every single day exceeds all energy that humans have used since we walked on two legs. We just don’t know how to capture and store all that energy economically. Batteries are not efficient. Other methods go back to ancient times, like the Archimedes’ screw pump that lifts water up a hill. When the energy is needed, that water is released to run down and turn a turbine. We have not used gravity to any practical extent. Heavy weights lifted up then when needed, letting them back down and tuning gears that capture the energy, just like the old grandfather clocks do, Pumping up chambers with air and releasing it when needed. Water split into its component parts, hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen fuel cell, produces clean energy and leaves only water as its waste product. Tides have not been used efficiently either. The moon’s gravity exerts enormous power just going to waste.
Nuclear energy is safe and cheap, despite what the environmentalists say. By their math, 200 people dying in coal mine shafts is more acceptable to them than 0.8 people dying of radiation. But there must be even safer methods that are yet to be invented. Nuclear fusion could be our salvation, but that has always been “20 years away” ever since Madam Curie discovered radioactivity one hundred eighteen years ago! The hardcore climate alarmist is opposed to any approach to control our climate, except by lowering CO2 achieved by eliminating fossil fuels, almost as if eliminating fossil fuels were the primary goal. Fixing global warming any other way is not acceptable to them. That is not reasonable and likely not feasible or affordable. We need other arrows in our quiver should we need them. This will require money, innovation, and research. It is the ethical option rather than starving all those children in Africa if we take away option one, eliminating fossil fuels
Heaven help us if the “Trained Marxists” achieve their goals of more power, and I include the Democratic Socialists, who think the same but are not as violent, at least not yet. From what I have seen and learned about them, they must have missed a goodly number of training sessions or, conversely, they had terrible teachers. I am a first-generation offspring of victims of Marxism. Both my parents grew up as Lenin and Stalin were transforming their homeland into the Marxist economies that today’s wizz kids Marxists intend for us to copy. In their youth, my parents were young university students who embraced it all, just like the college students of today. It made sense to them. It was sold to them as science, just as it is sold to today’s college kids. Slowly they discovered what applied Marxism really was, a cruel joke that did not fit with the structure and functioning of the human brain. I was “trained” with an alternative view on a daily basis by my father and mother in those philosophies, and I think I had better teachers! My teachers learned Dialectical Materialism, not just from books and college professors, but on the ground with boots on.
It is naïve to think that evolution evolved our external appearance, bigger calvariums, bipedal gate, a larynx that could make intelligible sounds, etc., but not evolve our thinking, the most complex part of us. That also evolved. But it was tilted to the individual. It was not made for groupthink. Most great human strides came from individuals. Collectivism plays almost no role in the bigger scheme of things.
Most science is individual thought, Galileo, Einstein, Hawking, Edison, Tesla, Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Jonas Salk, and so on. Music is not usually composed by committee. Philosophy, from Socrates to Descartes, was individual thinking. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, although they had assistants, created alone. Dante and Shakespeare didn’t have the Central Committee to back them up when they got writer’s block. Great leaders were solo kinds of guys, Churchill, Eisenhower, Gandi, and do I dare mention Columbus? The point is that man’s great achievements came from individuals and occasionally from small groups. Large collectives run into logistic problems of “too many chefs spoil the soup.” The best way to kill a good idea is to run it through a committee.
The words “Socialism and Communism” were used interchangeably in the past by Friedrich Engels editor of “Das Kapital,” and now it often is challenging to tell apart. In China, Mao ran a Marxist country, with complete control of everything by the state. It took a large military and a lot of prisons to keep the ideals of communal ownership and government control over all of life. But that didn’t work either. Mao created the Cultural Revolution to fix things. That only threw the country into more poverty, starvation, confusion, and killings. One of China’s ten ruling governors claimed that 20 million people died as a result of the Cultural Revolution in China! The question remains as to who killed more, Hitler, Mao, or Stalin? Just remember Hitler, too, practiced a hybrid of Socialism called National Socialism (National Sozialismus know as Nazi in its abbreviated form).
Capitalism is the private control of the economy. The banks are owned by individuals or groups of individuals, the butcher shop is owned by one butcher, the autobody shop is often a partnership. In contrast, Socialism/Communism is the state controlling the entire economy. The Central Committee runs agriculture, steel manufacturing, airlines, and even the corner grocery store.
The third variation is National Socialism. It is the state controlling those parts of the economy that are of national importance. Volkswagen made the “people’s car” under the personal direction of the Fürer with the help of Ferdinand Porsche; Krup and Thyssen teamed up under government leadership manufacturing artillery and ammunition. Messerschmitt, being a civilian aircraft builder, easily converted to fighter planes. Smaller businesses were left in private hands. My father and mother ran a small “private” medical practice in an Alpine village of 1000 inhabitants.
The unemployment and food shortages created by the Great Depression were easily solved. The little known secret is that Hitler defined himself as a Socialist (“Zweites Buch” p.50 –”I am a Socialist.”). China now calls itself Communist, but its economy has primarily become Capitalist, i.e., under private control, through Deng Xiaoping, with a 180 ̊ change from Mao, which is essentially saving the country from inevitable implosion if it had continued under Communism.
My parents had to escape the Utopian Society that was using Marx’s book, “Das Kapital,” as a blueprint to create the new order of things. Their only choice open to them at the time was Germany, as all other options, including the USA, would have turned them over to Stalin for liquidation as enemies of the state. You would have been deprived of reading this essay as well. My grandmother was too late to get out. She spent ten years in Siberia under forced labor and slavery conditions in one of those Gulags, so well described in “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Humans did not take well to the Marxian ideas of “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” Socialism and Communism have in common the confiscation of all property, as well as taking over the creation of goods along with their distribution. The Central Committee controls all decisions of how much and where to produce , as well as how much to charge for the product. Even your daily needs are preplanned and dictated by the Central Committee. From factories to bakeries and butcher shops, it all comes under communal (state) ownership.
Something that Marx had apparently never read or if he did, ignored it, was the “Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith. Smith observed, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their OWN INTEREST.” Humans have a degree of altruism, but when it comes to you vs. me, the me almost always comes first. As frail or poorly educated as the individual may be, he/she is still the better judge of what is best for himself/herself (Capitalism) vs. the collective wisdom (Socialism/Communism) that is so nicely demonstrated in Seattle and Portland.
Even altruism has roots in the self. If I help you, you will eventually help me. However, Socialism gives too much credence to altruism and not enough to self-preservation and survival of the fittest. People do not want to give up what is theirs, their store, their farm, their bank account, etc. It took those Gulags to convince many to do so. Those that Stalin could not convince he murdered, estimates of 12,000,000 are quoted. It takes a lot of convincing for people to accept Karl Marx.
The modern Socialists, of course, say that was not true Socialism. We will do it correctly! Yet so far, every attempt to correct the failings of Socialism/Communism has nevertheless still failed miserably. People had to be forcibly detained to accept the Utopia in East Germany. A massive wall, vicious dogs, and killer gun turrets were necessary to dish out their version of Socialism. And this was no “Banana Republic;” it was post-war Germany, well organized, and typically German. Despite the organization, no one climbed the Berlin Wall to get INTO East Germany. The “Banana Republics” likewise have failed. Just look at Venezuela, one of the most naturally wealthy South American countries with oil and mineral wealth, great climate, soil, and human resources. At this point, they don’t even have clean water to drink!
Fidel Castro took over the thriving island of Cuba, admittedly from a corrupt dictator, but despite that, people had a decent life with jobs, money, food, and the little pleasures like automobiles, luxury hotels, entertainment, and so forth. It was a tourist destination. No one was risking their lives to escape Cuba then. Castro made it into a stockade that people would do anything to leave anyway they could, often with loss of life and limb to cross the shark-infested waters of the Atlantic Ocean in makeshift overloaded boats to get to Florida. Nobody swam toward the Communist paradise. There is a message there!
When the United Socialist Soviet Republic ceased to exist on December 31, 1991, I thought that finally, Marxism, was dead, dying of natural causes. I have always believed that Marxism was ultimately a stupid idea made up by two eggheads who were spinning the “Emperors gold clothing,” something that was way above their paygrade. But alas, it was not to be.
It is the intellectuals who revived it. There is something about higher education that attracts the smart professors to teach that humans (especially to the moldable young brains) that we ought to be nobler; Capitalism is not fair; wealth needs to be redistributed more equally; to share and share alike, to care more for our fellow human beings, in other words, to be socialist!
And indeed, there are socialistic institutions that have, to a degree, a place in our capitalistic society. Countries, including the USA, have employed socialistic ideas and incorporated it successfully with Capitalism, such as universal education, social security, safety net healthcare, and gender equality. We cannot credit Marx for all those ideas. At about the same time, Otto von Bismark, a very conservative, with impeccable right-leaning credentials, German chancellor, mandated “sickness insurance” (Workman’s Compensation) through the employer, as well as “old-age insurance” (Social Security) both very socialistic thoughts. The secret, however, was to cherry-pick those ideas that helped those that really needed help, not everybody. If everybody gets the same, there is no incentive to be better, to do more, to work harder, or to excel.
Not one single country that is fully socialized has succeeded. And by the way, Sweden is not socialized. It is very much capitalistic. Production of goods is under private control. It does, however, redistribute wealth through taxation. That is why the very wealthy leave Sweden, like ABBA. Additionally, I would be loathed to call North Korea a successful example of Socialism. After the fall of the USSR, several of their former client states remained Communist. None of them have survived; they are all some hybrid with mostly Capitalist trends. Full-on Socialism will, I guarantee, destroy us just like it ruined the USSR, almost did in China, and has done so in Venezuela. Cuba may yet come back with the help of a timely injection of Capitalism.
At a certain point, that is, I think, when people realize they can gain access to the public treasuries, at least at first. Once they have drunk the Kool-Aid and have been bought off by the” free money,” “free services,” “free medical care,” etc. Socialists eventually run out of your money, and reality sets in. All those free things turn out to be much more expensive than previously promised, not to mention the mandatory long lines that come with all the free stuff, as does the degradation of quality. Quality is governed in the free market by the people who stop buying when a service or product becomes inferior or more expensive than it is worth. With Capitalism, if there is a demand, an entrepreneur will make a better and less costly mousetrap to sell you. The Central Committee gives you one choice, take it or leave it. The people that pay the bills object, the people whose stores get looted, the people who lose police protection from the mob, the people that lose their culture, they need convincing. The mess we see in Seattle, Portland, and Chicago can only be cleaned up at the point of guns (better yet tanks).
Lenin needed the mob to overthrow the Tsar. He called them “the useful idiots.” But as soon as they had achieved their purpose, they ceased to be useful and were packed off to Siberia by Lenin. The first to board the trains to the camps on the tundra were the intellectuals and the rioting students. Then the real indoctrination could start. Socialism/Communism needs the Gulags to first put an end to anarchy (which they incited, as they are doing now) and then convince the population to be more social (ist), and that takes force. Therein lies the problem.
It is high time we changed the celebration of Christopher Columbus as the discoverer of America and universally make it Indigenous People Day. The indigenous people that existed when Columbus “discovered” them were people who certainly deserve to be remembered.
There will have to be a committee to decide which indigenous people are to replace the Columbus memorials. The Kalinago tribe were cannibals and practiced infanticide. They were particularly fond of roasted infants. It will be difficult to find a sculptor who can tastefully (no pun intended) do justice to such a memorial. I am thinking that the indigenous cannibal devouring an infant’s thigh, although a bit graphic, does accurately represent them, and is so much better than the supposedly genocidal Christopher Columbus.
Ritual murder (human sacrifice) was common among the indigenous tribes to please the gods. They had particular skills in cutting out the beating heart of live humans using obsidian, which is sharper than any surgeon’s scalpel, but would also present a challenge for the sculptor tasked with designing the memorial.
Possibly the Aztecs would be more appropriate. They were especially bloodthirsty, killing 84,000 people in four days of a killing orgy as a consecration festival for the great pyramid at Tenochtitlan. Now that was a decent genocidal effort. Honoring those barbaric indigenous tribes will fit much better with the current barbarian mobs that are running Portland, Seattle, and Chicago anyway.
Christopher Columbus didn’t kill anywhere near those numbers. Granted, he was a little miffed when he returned from Spain to find that the 30 sailors in Hispaniola he had left, had been killed by the indigenous people, and Columbus struck out in retribution.
In the 16th century, there was a political and psychological weapon used by the rivals of Spain to demonize it, minimizing its achievements and exaggerating depictions of violence in the conquest of the New World. Remember Spain lost the war with the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Intentional efforts to defame Spain and Catholicism created the “Black Legend,” well recognized by current academics. Subsequent historians propagandized with vast exaggerations. Victors write the history! Elisabeth the First saw to it, and Columbus was one of its victims. Just reading one side of history often gives one the stilted point of view of the version they want you to believe.
The Taino were the first people that Columbus encountered, and most of them died of diseases like measles and smallpox which the Spaniard brought, but not because of any genocide. Admittedly, had Columbus not come, the diseases would not have killed such huge numbers. But one gift deserves another. Syphilis existed in the Americas long before Columbus came. Bruce Rothchild, a paleopathologist, found convincing evidence that proves Syphilis plagued the Americas long before the arrival of Columbus. It was not seen in Europe until 1495. Interestingly more people died of Syphilis over hundreds of years in Europe when the Spaniards brought it back from the New World, until Alexander Fleming discovered the cure in 1929, Penicillin. The revisionist historians need to correct that bit of erroneous history.
Columbus was a product of his times, by no means a perfect man, and flawed just like all humans. His goals were to find a route to Asia and trade for expensive and fragrant spices from the Spice Islands, and not to subjugate or kill indigenous people. He gave one-tenth of this income from his transatlantic voyages to the city of Genoa, his birthplace, to feed the poor. He adopted an indigenous boy and raised him as his own. He highly respected and lived in peace with the indigenous people that did not attack him or want to kill him. They even, of their own free will, helped him build a fort. He praised their intellect and skills in his writings.
Obviously, he should have gotten better racist training, I would say. He did participate and profited from slavery and forced labor, as did many Europeans and much of the African ruling class. Slavery was also a time-honored way to deal with any indigenous tribe that was defeated in the constant intertribal wars long before Europeans brought slavery to their attention. He was on record telling his soldiers to treat the indigenous population with mercy. He intended for them to become Christians and voiced the opinion that they had good comprehension for eventual conversion. This was the stated goal of all the Conquistadors of the time.
In his own words, Columbus defended himself: “They judge me over there as they would a Governor who had gone to Sicily, or to a city or town placed under regular government, and where the laws can be observed in their entirety without fear of ruining everything, and I am greatly injured thereby. I ought to be judged as a Captain who went from Spain to the Indies to conquer a numerous and warlike people, whose customs and religion are very contrary to ours; who live in rocks and mountains, without fixed settlements, and not like ourselves; and where, by the divine will, I have placed under the dominion of the King and Queen, our sovereigns, another world, through which Spain, which was reckoned a poor country, has become the richest.” Columbus was accused of atrocities that were committed by his brothers in his absence that prompted Cristobal’s return to Spain in chains. Isabella and Ferdinand exonerated him when the truth came out, giving him freedom, returning his assets, but not allowing him to govern. The revisionist historians fail to tell the whole story. They are selective in what they want you to know for reasons that are obvious.
Lief Erikson discovered America some 500 years before Columbus but hardly gets any credit. Perhaps we should replace the Columbus memorials with his likeness if we knew what he looked like. Of course, he kept his discoveries to himself as best as we can tell, eventually abandoned Vineland, and didn’t figure out the Atlantic Ocean currents and wind that consistently would get a ship back to the same place. Nevertheless, he was there before Cristobal. It still took a lot of courage to venture forth into uncharted waters and ignore the wisdom of his critics. He was a master sailer and had learned the secrets of the Trade Winds making the crossing in just five weeks. He landed in the Azores to resupply. I was stationed there during the Vietnam conflict and visited the church where he prayed before the final push to his discovery, an event in my life that gave me the incentive to read all I could about Columbus. I have concluded that the mob historians are ignoramuses for the most part.
We have a habit of judging past historical figures by present-day standards. It is called “presentism.” We selectively apply it, allowing some things to pass but not others. It was okay for Apostel Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, VI,5-7 to preach, “Servants be obedient to them that are your masters… as servants, of Christ, doing the will of God…” to encourage slaves to obey their masters. It was in the context of that time in history the mantra. It was acceptable for Torquemada to tear a person limb from limb to convert Jews to Christianity, that was what you did during the Inquisition! More recently, we excuse the taking of California and Texas from Mexico as our “Manifest Destiny.” It was overwhelmingly the democrats in the Senate and the House who kept slavery a states issue, which was the root cause of the Civil war, something we fail to note in the history books. Perhaps in addition to clearing out all Confederate generals, all the democrats (and it was mostly democrats) that supported slavery need to be purged from the records and artworks as well.
The mob historians are naive and quite forgetful, like forgetting that Ulysses S. Grant was on the Union side. I am sure they never picked up and read the rebuttal of the National Italian American Foundation in defense of Columbus. Once you start revising history, you need better evidence to do so. I am happy to help them, but I doubt they will ever call on me.