Lame Duck. Rail Strike. And Illegal Immigrants Voting

Now that Thanksgiving is past, the country will shift from turkey to duck.  As in Lame Duck. Congress will spend two weeks taking up bills they couldn’t pass in two years.

Will Rogers offered this definition of a Lame Duck Congress, “It’s like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn’t satisfactory and you let ’em out, but after you fired ’em, you let ’em stay long enough so they could burn your house down.” (DT #1980, Dec. 8, 1932)

The biggest problem Congress might face is a rail strike, scheduled for December 9. I’ve heard it would cost our economy $2 Billion a day.

Did you know that any one of the 12 rail unions can veto a labor contract? You’re probably surprised there are 12 unions workin’ on the railroad. Two of them are the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and the National Conference of Firemen.

Boilermakers? Firemen? Those guys must be at least 80 years old. There can’t be many steam locomotives left with boilers that depend on coal shovelers. At least not ones pulling a long string of rail cars loaded with coal, crude oil, corn, or cargo containers from China.

Another major ongoing problem is illegal immigration. At least 5,000,000 have entered since President Biden took office. Homeland Secretary Mayorkas is kinda stuck between a rock and a 30-foot steel wall. Congressman Kevin McCarthy of Kern County, California, the apparent incoming Speaker of the House, plans to pursue impeachment of Mayorkas unless he agrees to stop immigrants at the border and send them home. But Mayorkas is doing exactly what President Biden wants, redefining an ‘open border’ as a ‘secure border.’ So, he is squeezed between impeachment or getting fired. What a choice.

Meanwhile, the Washington DC city council and mayor passed a law that anyone who has spent 30 days there can vote in elections. Does that include lobbyists and foreign diplomats? I think the real reason for the law is because Texas Governor Abbott is busing illegal immigrants: if Republicans keep sending us thousands of immigrants, we’re gonna let ‘em vote.

Analyzing the Election. Happy Birthday President Biden.

If you want to get elected to an important position, it helps if you’re already in that position. No matter how their state performed the last 4 years, sitting Governors in 26 out of 27 states were reelected. U.S. Senate candidates had a similar result. And if Senator Warnock beats Hershel Walker in Georgia’s runoff, it will be 100% incumbent victories. This would give Democrats a 51-49 majority in the Senate and they wouldn’t need VP Harris to break a tie.

About the only way to beat an incumbent is to outspend ‘em. For the House of Representatives, the ones who spent the most won 96% of the races. It seems kinda odd that Democrats received more money than Republicans, yet Republicans won 3 or 4 more of the 435 seats than Democrats. Even a small change in numbers gave Republicans control, ending Speaker Pelosi’s long reign. (Data were reported in The Kiplinger Letter.)

Not many years ago, Republicans donated far more money than Democrats. Somehow several rich men and women who became millionaires as a Capitalist, seem to become Liberals in their older years.

Although voters complained about the economy, inflation, illegal immigration and drugs, they voted for Senators who supported a President with the lowest approval rating in recent history. Two-thirds said the country is on the “wrong track,” but they seem to like it that way.

Abortion was not a main factor in polls, but became a main factor in the voting booth. I think this Will Rogers quote explains it if you replace the word ‘drink’ with ‘abortion:’ “I have always claimed America didn’t want a drink as bad as they wanted the right to take a drink if they did happen to want one.” (DT #2083, Apr. 7, 1933)

Happy birthday #80 to President Joe Biden. Politics aside, reaching 80 in good physical shape is worth celebrating. It’s also a good time to decide to retire in a couple of years and let younger folks battle it out in 2024. One youngster in Florida is running: 76-year-old Donald Trump.

A Federal Judge in Washington gave a sentence that can serve as a guide for thieves stealing from hundreds of stores, including Target, CVS, Apple, and small local shops. The Judge sent a man to prison for 3 years, and required him to pay $2000 to cover the cost of the merchandise he stole.  At that rate anyone stealing a car would end up in the ‘big house’ for about 20 years. And if you steal diamonds from a store on Rodeo Drive in Hollywood, you get a life sentence.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

      “Elections are a good deal like marriages; there’s no accounting for anyone’s taste. Every time we see a bridegroom, we wonder why she ever picked him, and it’s the same with Public Officials.” (WA #126, May 10, 1925)

Election’s Over (almost); So Cheer Up.

The election was Tuesday. Counting the votes was Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday…

For Arizona and Nevada, counting votes is like a cricket game. Most cricket games last 3 or 4 days. But did you know an England vs. South Africa cricket game once lasted nine days. Arizona vs. Nevada may break that record.

If you think election counting issues only started a few years ago, think again. Here’s Will Rogers: “I hope some of the men who get the most votes will be elected… If I was running for office I would rather have two friends in the counting room than a Republican Slush fund behind me. More candidates have been defeated after 6 o’clock in the evening than were ever defeated during election day.” WA #100, Nov. 9, 1924

“Did you ever hear of as crazy a law as Kentucky has? They make ’em wait twenty-four hours before counting the votes. That’s to give the counters a chance to think it over and be honest. Twenty-four hours is supposed to make you honest in Kentucky. Why not wait till both candidates are dead, then there can be no crookedness shown.” DT #1339, Nov. 7, 1930

President Biden has had Democrats in charge of both the Senate and House for two years. A reporter asked him, “If you lose the Democrat majority in the House, and maybe the Senate, what will you change in the next two years?” His immediate answer: “Nothing.”

Really? With record high prices for gasoline and groceries, fear of being attacked on the subway or sidewalk or pulled from your car, and illegal immigrants flooding across the border, he can find “nothing” to change?  But give the President credit; he understands his voters. In a lot of states and Congressional Districts, a surprising number of Democrat voters don’t mind inflated prices, high crime rates, and illegal immigration as long as they can have abortion as a birth control option.

No matter which way the votes go (eventually) in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, Congress will be about evenly split. Here’s Will Rogers again, “Washington, D. C. papers say: ‘Congress is deadlocked and can’t act.’ I think that is the greatest blessing that could befall this country.” WA #59, Jan. 27, 1924

The biggest shock to me among Senators elected was that 2.5 million people in Pennsylvania voted for John Fetterman. I was going to joke that it should not be a shock because even dead men have been elected. And then I read, also in a Pennsylvania election Tuesday, that a man who died a month ago was elected! Democrat Tony DeLuca defeated his Green Party opponent for the state Legislature. Voters for DeLuca figured a dead man would better serve their district than a live person who plans to cut off their gas and oil.

Let’s completely ignore Senator-Elect Fetterman’s stroke (we hope he fully recovers): what qualifications, work experience, and passion did he bring to the campaign?  Here’s a reminder from Will Rogers, “Funny thing about being a U.S. Senator, the only thing the law says you have to be is 30 years old. Not another single requirement necessary.”  (June 21, 1935)

On Friday, Nov. 11, we ignored politics for awhile to celebrate and honor our Veterans. As Will Rogers said in a speech, “Take care of the ones who fought in the last war because we might want to use ‘em again.”

          Christmas is right around the corner. An 80-foot-tall Norway Spruce was delivered to Rockefeller Center in New York City. Now, when you stretch to place the star on top of your family Christmas tree, be glad you don’t have to decorate this one. The “star” weighs 900 pounds. Thankfully, they will wait until after Thanksgiving to light it.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“When the votes are counted, let everybody, including the candidates, get into a good humor as quick as they got into a bad one… So cheer up. Let’s all be friends again.” DT #1953, Nov. 7, 1932

“If your side lost don’t take it too much to heart. Remember there is always this difference between us and Italy. In Italy, Mussolini runs the country. But here the country runs the President.” DT #1954, Nov. 8, 1932

Will Rogers’ Birthday. Powerball. Will Democracy End?

Got back home last night after a delightful visit to Claremore, Oklahoma. It’s always fun to celebrate another birthday, especially when it’s #143.

Powerball is getting almost as much attention as the election. So many people have gambled and lost since August 3, that it reached $1,900,000,000. It’s almost false advertising because if you win you get less than half that much cash, $929,000,000. Minus taxes. And if you lose, like other millions of folks who seem to be both generous and unlucky, you hope to have enough left in your pocket to buy gas and milk with.

Tomorrow is Election Day, Nov. 8. Plenty of excitement from both Democrats and Republicans, especially where races are close. President Biden added another factor: FEAR. Did you hear him? This election is a “Threat to Democracy.” Many other Democrats use that phrase, too. (Actually, we live under a “Constitutional Republic” but most of us call it a democracy.)

But how is an election a threat to democracy? The President says that a vote for anyone other than a Democrat will lead to the “end of democracy.” All right, suppose we vote for Democrats and they keep control of Congress. Here’s where the FEAR becomes real. With support of a big Democrat majority in Congress, President Biden said this week he will stop oil and gas drilling, and no more coal burning electric power plants will be built.

That would mean, yes, you’ll still have a democracy. But this winter you may starve or freeze at home in the dark. No diesel to deliver food and other essential goods. No gasoline to let you drive to a warmer climate. No electricity to charge an Electric Vehicle. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a cord of firewood, a dozen candles, and a few cases of Chef Boyardee.

Of course, this is a farce. Democracy won’t end, no matter who you vote for. And President Biden can huff and puff all he wants about solar and wind. It can’t provide 100% of the energy needs for our growing economy. Not by 2030, not by 2050, and probably not by 2100. So just relax and vote.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (on elections)

“Coolidge made less speeches and got more votes than any man that ever run. (William Jennings) Bryan was listened to and cheered by more people than any single human in politics, and he lost. So there is a doubt just whether talking does you good or harm.” DT #673, Sept. 21, 1928

“You know the more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best.” WA #3, December 31, 1922

“(You know) Lincoln’s famous remark about ‘God must have loved the common people, because he made so many of them.’… Well, you are not going to get people’s votes nowadays by calling ‘em common. Lincoln might have said it, but I bet it was not until after he was elected.” WA #82, July 6, 1924

“There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, for we couldn’t go through with this thing again. And, when the votes are counted, let everybody, including the candidates, get into a good humor as quick as they got into a bad one. Both gangs have been bad sports, so see if at least one can’t redeem themselves by offering no alibis, but cooperate with the winner, for no matter which one it is the poor fellow is going to need it. So cheer up. Let’s all be friends again. One of the evils of democracy is you have to put up with the man you elect whether you want him or not. That’s why we call it democracy.” DT #1953, Nov. 7, 1932