Here we are!
In my case, ‘here’ is back in Argentine outback where daily life consists of the basics in the abundance: sunshine, big steaks, farm fresh produce, beautiful wine, and endless opportunities to be physically active.
To that end, I’m currently training hard for my next cabalgata, a three day ride into the Andes with fellow horsemen. The area we are headed for is particularly interesting as the only form of government is on the local community level, with zero intervention by the authorities who know they are unwelcomed.
I suspect I’ll have more to share on that experience in a few weeks, but in the meantime I will share my favorite song to listen to while riding, Crazy by Seal.
Back when I was active in polo that was the song I always listened to while warming up. As you listen, imagine the beat matching up with the hooves of a cantering horse. Nothing is more exhilarating to me.
In today’s edition of these irregular, random and often rambling repartee I want to touch on the bizzaro political landscape observed during our annual summer pilgrimage North.
After a couple of months in the United States I’ve concluded a paradigm shift is underway in the overarching matter of politics.
Overarching because that which the politicos deem good and worthy sets the direction of human advancement, and that which they deem bad and unworthy is soon battered to shreds by the hurricane force winds of bureaucratic and legislative meddling.
Green energy good, coal bad.
Of course, in a democracy it is the will of the people, periodically expressed at the voting box, that should guide the nesting habits of the political parasites, though these days a number of other actors including the media, donors and lobbyists loom large.
Even so, cold hard election results ultimately cut through all the bluster and b.s. and confirm the will of the majority. Given that a large percentage of the country’s voters, and 99% of the media, discount the results from the last election as an aberration, the current election cycle becomes critical as it will either prove them right, or confirm what the majority meant to express when they pulled the lever in favor of Trump.
Which makes this next election so very interesting, as it will decide the victor in the bitter struggle now underway that pits the forgotten majority against the top layer elitists with the prize being the future of the US culturally and economically.
In my opinion, the shakeout that follows these elections - no matter which way they go - will have long-lasting consequences.
POLITICAL PARADIGM SHIFT
Most people, if asked, would say that the two party oligarchy in the U.S. will continue uninterrupted pretty much indefinitely.
After spending the last few months enveloped in the ubiquitous political cycle in the United States, I’m not so sure.
In fact, it would not surprise me at all if the Democratic Party as it is currently constituted fractured and was reborn as two weaker parties, before ultimately being reconstituted as something completely different.
And I’m not so sure about the Republicans, either.
Before I get to my reasons for that observation, I thought you might find it of interest to learn that at the beginning of the American experiment, there were essentially no political parties.
Nowhere in the constitution are political parties anticipated, and the nation’s first president, old Apple Tree Washington himself, had no political affiliation.
It is a matter of record he considered a partisan president as an abomination - believing that the president should serve all the people, and not just a subset. His own words reflect his concerns about the consequences of political parties on the country.
“If we mean to support the liberty and independence which has cost us so much blood and treasure to establish, we must drive far away the daemon of party spirit and local reproach” – George Washington
As you students of history will know, the whole two party system thing pretty much dates back to a philosophical disagreement between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.
Hamilton’s Federalist party was in favor of a strong central government, ironically based on the government of Britain. By contrast, Jefferson’s Anti-Federalists (officially, the Democratic-Republican party), believed in states rights.
Jefferson thought himself a Virginian first and then, in that capacity, a citizen of the United States.
That philosophical schism fractured the body politic, and gave rise to distinct parties, then the fracturing of those parties to be replaced by others (remember the Whigs or the Readjuster Parties?) until here we are with the Republicans and the Democrats.
While many believe that the parties would be more properly named the Republicrats and the Demopublicans - and until recently I wouldn’t have disagreed - since Trump's election the Democrat party has slid so far down the rabbit hole that a distinct difference has re-emerged that, imo, spells doom for the party as it currently stands.
Why? What has changed?
Like many failed political structures of the past, the Democrats have slowly but steadily embraced some very, very bad ideas. These ideas typically start small, and sometimes with good intentions, but then inexorably morph into something very large and very destructive.
Thus the sensible idea of not littering the planet, or dumping toxic waste into rivers, morphs into a Green movement where all industry is the enemy of the people and children are terrorized daily in their classrooms with descriptions of fantastical dystopian futures just over the horizon.
Or the idea of being respectful to your fellow humans regardless of their gender or their sexual or religious orientations transforms into a political correctness movement that Pol Pot himself would approve of.
As I have referenced several times in the past, Thomas Sowell’s description of the political and philosophical fault line in the citizenry accurately sets the stage for the current situation.
Sowell’s divide, so well described in his book, A Conflict of Visions, consists of those who acknowledge we humans are constituted of a wide range of beliefs and habits that should be accommodated societally, provided they cause no harm.
Being a transvestite should be of no interest to anyone, legally, whereby beating a cross-dresser simply because you don’t like the lifestyle crosses the line and should lead to an expedient trip to jail.
The rule in this regard are clear and could be stated as “Thou shall not beat people up unless they aggress against you”.
Those on the other side of the Visions schism believe all humans can and should be made better through a forceful application of laws and regulations the citizenry has to comply with, or else.
In this scenario, being a transvestite is seen as a protected state, and everyone has to accommodate their lifestyle choice by following new laws and regulations requiring the rest of us to adopt specific language when addressing them, or else.
Furthermore, courses on the joys of being a transvestite are mandated to be included in the public school curriculum, even at the earliest grades when children are already overwhelmed with the struggle of figuring out how the real world works.
But the meddlers don’t stop there, as even in privately owned establishments accommodations must be made in acknowledgement of their special needs.
A little bit of this sort of thing might be tolerated by the average go-along-to-get-along person, but, of course, once you grant special status to one group, all the rest will invariably demand their own place in the sun and the next thing you know, the culture is inexorably altered. And not for the better.
For the meddlers, China’s new social credit system will seem a dandy idea.
Of course, those that affiliate themselves with the Democratic party fall heavily into the latter slice of the philosophical pie, rushing to embrace small bad ideas even as they avalanche down the hill in a devastation of bad ideas.
The result has been a shocking degradation in political common sense for the Democrats. So much so that my dear mother, who has been a die-hard voter for Democrats her entire life, now laments that the current slate of Democratic presidential candidates includes no one she wants to vote for.
In her words:
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s bizarre. There’s no one to vote for.”
“What about Elizabeth Warren? She seems to be the front runner at the moment.”
“Well, she comes across as a scolding schoolteacher, and stands for some weird things I can’t understand”.
But What About the Economy?
Though I dislike pretty much everything Bill Clinton stands for, he gets a reluctant nod for centering his campaign back in the day around the notion that “it’s the economy, stupid”.
Today’s Democratic candidates, in sharp contrast, are using their precious time on the public stage to proffer the following priorities:
- Abolish ICE/Unlimited immigration. Which, for the record, would make the US the only country in the world with open borders.
- Slavery reparations. This may be stupidest and most impractical attempt at political pandering I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness. Oh, wait, Elizabeth Warren also wants reparations for people who enjoy sex with others of the same gender. In today’s world, defining what gender is, remarkably, a matter of some debate.
- Free healthcare, and not just for Americans but for illegal immigrants.
- Welfare for illegal aliens. So, open borders, free healthcare and money for nothing for all comers? The sucking sound created as Central America emptied into the United States would crack the sound barrier.
- Free university, and the forgiveness of all student debt. Just what the average taxpayer wants: to pay off the debt so many people ran up getting a Degree in Creative and Environment (sic) -- the actual degree the daughter of a friend of mine recently graduated with.
- Gun confiscation and labeling the NRA a terrorist organization.
- Eliminating the Electoral College. You know, because the last election didn’t work out as hoped.
- A completely unnecessary and scientifically naive trillion dollar climate plan. In addition to the insane amount of money it would cost, the hurdles it would erect in the way of industry would wreck havoc on every business in America. So, pretty much destroying the American economy because, you know, in ten years Miami will be under water. (Happy to take any and all bets on that one).
- Allowing felons and 16 year olds to vote. I guess that’s one way of boosting the Democrat’s voter base.
- Universal income. Money for drawing breathe, what could be wrong with that?
- The opposite of any and all policies Trump supports. At this point he could propose a ban on clubbing baby seals and the Democrats would find some reason to be against it.
And those are just the ideas being talked about in the televised Presidential Candidate debates: scrape down even a thin layer and the ideas bandied about become truly ridiculous. Did you hear the one about free abortions for male transvestites?
As I see it, the old school Democrats who knew to sound and act like Republicans when politically expedient - or economically advisable - are being overrun by a younger generation within whose minds the bad ideas propagated in grade schools and universities have now fully blossomed.
I think the old saying, “hung on their own petards” suits the situation well.
At this point, no member of the Democratic party can push back against the mad ideas noted in the above campaign platform points without being torched by members of their own party.
That said, the old school Democrat politicos are not about to roll-over. Power seekers at the pinnacle of the political ladder aren’t about to go quietly into the night, any more than the new justice warriors are going to back down on their quest for a whole new host of legislation aimed at creating their version of a perfect world.
The trigger for the schism, imo, will be Donald Trump’s re-election by a comfortable margin, an event they’ll be hard-pressed to pass off as the result of uninformed voters made up of incestuous hillbillies and neo-Nazis.
At which point the old will blame the young, and the young will blame the old and the schism will widen until some bright light, maybe Alexandria Occasional Cortex, who seems to favor the spotlight, will set in motion the creation of a new party that will be communistic in every aspect but the name.
As for the Republicans, in order for that party not to similarly fracture, the old guard needs to look out of the windows of their Manhattan penthouses and understand that Donald Trump is the direct consequence of ignoring the well being of the average American for decades.
I say that because unlike the long parade of purportedly more suitable candidates he rolled over, Trump recognized the struggles the middle class are having making ends meet in the current set-up, and built his campaign around a platform of tearing down at least some of the institutionalized barriers keeping them down on the proverbial farm.
On that point, I recently came across an article on what a middle-class budget looks like. At the low end of the range, $45,200, people can’t even afford health insurance. And even the folks at the top end, $135,600, don’t make enough to save for retirement.
In the final analysis, it really is the economy stupid, something Trump alone understood. Therefore, as long as the economy doesn’t tank over the next year, I think his re-election is a shoe-in.
After which the “progressives” and the “moderate” Democrats are going to engage in a civil war that will split the party.
Personally, I plan to sit back and enjoy the show as whatever party the politically correct meddlers ultimate coalesce around tangles itself into knots and sinks into oblivion… at least until enough time has passed that people once again forget history and the bad ideas avalanche down the mountain again.
Mister Soppy Goes To Washington - an Epilogue
I’m sure many dear readers want to hear nothing more of my mucosa misadventure in Dulles, and rest assured, I shall not go there again, other than to mention that as a direct consequence I blew out an eardrum.
It’s better now, though as this is the second time I have ruptured that particular ear drum (the first being skin diving) I suspect there is some loss of hearing, evidenced by the frequency of my saying, “Eh?” lately.
I would, however, like to share a tangential epilogue to the story, a mind boggling example of the illogical and counterproductive nature of customs agencies such as I encountered in Dulles.
This latest madness was kicked off by our sending two bottles of wine from here in Argentina to a friend, Marin Katusa, in Canada.
To set the stage, I will note that the stated value of the two bottles was a total of $8.00. Total.
I won’t share the earlier exchanges that occurred as Marin tried and tried again to get the bottles released from the steely grip of Canadian Customs, but suffice to say the process dragged on and on, until finally a sufficient amount of additional paperwork was presented and there was a “breakthrough” and Marin was informed he could pick up the bottles.
We pick up there, using our actual WhatsApp dialogue as Marin kept me posted on what followed.
Dwgalland: Hey! Back in Argentina, and so happy to be. Did you get the wine?
Marin Katusa: Not yet. Worked out paper work. But it’s not in vancouver. I have to pay in person in a different city
Marin Katusa: No credit cards cards accepted. Have to pay in person with exact change or bank draft. So I’m bringing quarters and nickels.
Marin Katusa: And I have to pay in a different city in person. Burnaby. Then pick up in a different city called Richmond. Gong show
Dwgalland: That is absolutely ridiculous.
Marin Katusa: I’m going today after market close.
Dwgalland: I think you will like the blend, as the cab has a fair bit of oak and the malbec is from our best extreme altitude vineyard. But you are a man of the world, you will decide for yourself. Let me know when you have the wine.
Marin Katusa: Ok. So I just drove to Burnaby. Nice ppl working the staff. I brought a bag of dimes and quarters to pay the $36.35 in provincial taxes. Now I got the paper work and stamp on the paper work and will have to drive to Richmond (1 hour away) to pay $1.59 federal tax.
Marin Katusa: Then I get a stamp and have to review the product with an officer. At the UPS warehouse. Hoping it’s not lost or damaged
Marin Katusa: This is insane.
Marin Katusa: Watching govt apply physical stamps. Seriously. We are in the digital world and more stamps for these two bottles than when I brought $200M of foreign mining eqpt thru port and drove 3 hours to princeton to build a mine
Marin Katusa: The govt is going backwards. Something about stamping and authority to the human psyche of non productive ppl
Marin Katusa: Now they are rejecting this as its being processed as a commercial entry
Marin Katusa: This is bananas.
Marin Katusa: Sorry-I need a “flight bill” from UPS
Marin Katusa: I’ve spent 5 hours on this thus far.
Marin Katusa: Absurd
Marin Katusa: This is a great story for readers to where the world in the “free world” is going
Marin Katusa: Now the fed custom agents requested I go to UPS to get the flight info and way bill
Marin Katusa: Did that
Marin Katusa: And brought it back. And now the agent filled out info. Said everything looks good. But he can’t process it
Marin Katusa: And now his supervisor must do the rest. New line up.
Marin Katusa: 6 h later
Marin Katusa: Got it
Dwgalland: Seriously, insane.
Marin Katusa: Best part was the end
Marin Katusa: There was a federal tax of $1.59
Marin Katusa: And their computers only accept a min of $2
Marin Katusa: So they didn’t know how to process $1.59
Marin Katusa: Good thing I had exact change
Marin Katusa: Told them here it is. Give the stamp since you guys are stamp happy and figure it out on your own time.
As you may have discerned by now, Marin is indomitable and the only reason he kept going was simply to see just how long it would take. Most people would have said the hell with it and just left the wine there.
To state the obvious, this provides a classic illustration of why societies need to keep a close check on their bureaucrats, lest they unleash a kudzu-like tangle of dehumanizing, utterly ridiculous and counter-productive regulations such as those which sidelined me in Dulles, and the did the same to our wine in British Columbia.
Now imagine the insanity a new Green Deal would unleash?
And with that, I will sign off for the time being by commenting that I literally couldn’t be happier with our lives here in this simple pueblo in the middle of nowhere Argentina, and hope you are enjoying your travels through the universe on Space Ship Earth as much.
If you’re not, then there’s no time like the present to make some changes.