A farewell to arms
Every man has his breaking point. Some men know enough to walk away first.
After 75 years, I am leaving the Democratic Party.
Of course I am not 75 years old. But I imagine I have been in the party in spirit since the Republicans passed Taft-Hartley over Harry Truman’s veto.
This is a two-pronged decision. On the one hand, it is purely a business decision. I plan to do some lobbying on energy issues related to the unnamed Climate Change company, and don’t want the spectre of partisan politics making things more difficult.
On the other hand, when I look at the Democratic Party in Washington, I see not a political movement, but a menace of incompetency and gerontocracy. The problems posed by our past president1 are fading, while the problems in the national Democratic Party are only growing. I will be happy to be rid of worrying about them.
But first, the week’s news.
Stephen Breyer retiring: In general, the Newslettr will not cover speculation related to the Supreme Court, only issued decisions. Stephen Breyer’s announced retirement is going to dominate political coverage for some time, but we will not comment further.
Convention of States: A group calling itself “Convention of States” is hoping to organize a convention to amend the United States Constitution. Their stated scope is that the convention is “restricted to proposing amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress”. This is a serious effort that requires press coverage — a convention requires 34 state legislatures and their legislation has been passed by more than 15. However, the supporters are so stridently Republican it is unlikely they will get to 34 states this year. Their website is https://conventionofstates.com/ .
Chinese Civil War: After years of seeing the advertising on TV, I finally capitulated and watched the Shen Yun stage show in person. It is a more authentic portrayal of traditional Asian culture than The Mikado. It is also filled with anti-Communist propaganda — one of the songs was about avoiding the evils of atheism and evolution. The house was less than half-full; I’m not sure if this is COVID related or if they are simply unable to fill auditoriums after so many performances.
Burkina Faso coup: We quote the Washington Post: “Military officers have ousted the president of Burkina Faso, a group of soldiers announced Monday on state television, after steering a 36-hour uprising that toppled the third West African head of state in eight months.”
Quite a few African countries operate under a “dictator/coup” political model — once a president is elected or installed by coup, they are never un-elected, they serve until death or another coup. There is something of a religion issue here as well, see footnote2.
Flip More Burgers: From the verified account of the duly elected President of El Salvador. I recommend you not listen to his financial advice. the Newslettr has previously suggested that a fair price for Bitcoin is $7000-$10000 per coin, about 1/4th of the current price.
Food Hole: In New York City, there are “bodegas”. In the Midwest, there are Casey’s General Stores3. The link is below; one article referenced but not linked in the target is the infamous 2011 “Bet She Hunts Well” article about life in the Midwest. That article is available at The Atlantic.
Tweet of the Week: Sam Altman (of YCombinator) tells a joke. For those of you at home: while a business raising $250 million after 6 years of development is extremely good by most people’s standards, Sam Altman isn’t impressed. Also, that’s not what a “Series A” round means. Yet people actually do do ridiculous things to win a stupid “who had the largest Series A” competition. The comments are a mix of people playing along, and people who didn’t get that it was a joke.
I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat. - Will Rogers
I am registering as an independent. This is not a “we need a third party” independent like Andrew Yang, but a sentiment that I am deliberately removing myself from organized party politics.
For business purposes, I do not care whether politicians are Republicans or Democrats. I only care if they are pro-solutions or anti-solutions on climate change.
The Horsemen of Decadence
Old and incompetent. Not even the strongest Democratic partisans can deny that this is where the federal Democratic Party is at.
Joe Biden is 79 years old. Nancy Pelosi is 81. Chuck Schumer, the newest member of the lawmaking troika (having replaced the late Harry Reid after his retirement in 2016), is 71. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats have never pushed back against the seniority system for committee chairmanships5 — House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro is 78, Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy is 81, and Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders is 80.
Which one is Andropov and which one is Chernenko? Or are they Vladimir and Estragon?
The incompetence is best demonstrated by the continuing debate over the bill identified by its cost (sometimes known as Build Back Better). Somehow, despite Joe Manchin being willing to spend $500 billion on measures opposing climate change, and despite there being agreement that the reconciliation bill is not subject to the filibuster, the Democrats still can’t get it done.
At this point, BBB is a monster of a bill that I’m not sure combats climate change better than the government doing nothing will do. This is a top legislative priority, the political lines are clear, and there have been years to figure something out. We have nothing. Nothing. It’s as if they don’t care. At this point, I would rather take my chances with the possibility the Republicans write a bill to combat climate change. (Apparently Mitt Romney has a plan — maybe he can get the votes.)
And if you’re concerned about something other than climate change — the Democrats haven’t done anything there either.
The Democratic Party has too many problems for me to deal with. The Republican Party has one big problem (Trump) that I can’t deal with, and a dozen smaller ones I don’t want to think about.
Here at the Newslettr, we are unable to make political change directly, we can merely report the news. Everything else is not our concern - we are Independent.
I don’t want to speculate about Trump coming back. I don’t think it will happen. But it is hard to imagine what Trump could do that would make it impossible to run. Maybe if he announced he was moving to Elko.
There is a nominal dividing line in Africa, between heavily Islamic North Africa, and heavily Christian Central Africa and Southern Africa. This division is the cause of conflicts in multiple countries.
There is also Kum & Go, which people think sounds dirty. I don’t think it’s any dirtier than a certain California burger chain’s name … I mean, is it politically acceptable to use the word Donald in a restaurant name these days?
First, if there was a substantial third party, I (and many other voters) would be independent of that as well. Second, there have been quite a few parties called Independent or Independence, and most of them have gotten no support. Third, there’s no reason to think a third party would be an improvement. George Wallace ran against civil rights with the American Independent Party, and the somewhat-similar Reform Party had a presidential primary in California in 2000 won by none other than Donald Trump.
Historically, I assume this is because the movement to abolish the seniority system came about at the same time as when women and minorities first had enough seniority in the House to head committees.
I really don’t care if he called the reporter a stupid son-of-a-bitch, but I do care if Biden has an answer to the question “do you see the problems caused by inflation becoming worse this year”. Perhaps his strategy, after the debacle with Afghanistan, is to insult reporters in order to avoid answering questions about the future.