Weekly Comments: The Biden-Trump Debacle. Supreme Court Decisions

Did you watch the entire Biden-Trump debate? Congratulations.

You may be surprised at how I watched it. I decided to concentrate on the content for each candidate and ignore “performance or style.”

A couple of comments I predicted last week came up. Biden mixed up “millions, billions, trillions.” Trump responded once with “I really don’t know what he said.”  “Convicted felon” was expected. “We finally beat Medicare.” was not.

As I said, I watched for content. As to style and performance, both Trump and Biden were pretty much as we have seen them the last couple of years.

Here is the shocker. After the debate, I was surprised to hear TV journalists and commentators, almost unanimously, say that Biden failed miserably. This was on CNN and MSNBC! Was this the first time they ever saw him confused, stumbling over words, mumbling incoherent answers? Where have they been the last 4 years? Did they expect a full week of practice would produce a brilliant orator? I’m glad they recognized that Biden had a terrible debate.

These are journalists (“news hounds,” as Will Rogers called them) with direct access to top people in the White House. Why did they accept the obvious lies about what terrific shape Biden was in “behind closed doors?” The apparent answer is that they were in on the deception.

The New York Times, Washington Post, and the mainstream TV networks totally supported Biden’s policies. By contrast, do you remember any major policy of the Trump Administration that they applauded?

As a part time professional speaker, I’m wondering about seven days of preparation and practice for 90 minutes on stage. Since Biden had a full stage setup at Camp David, I’m sure that almost every night at 9:00 they did a mock debate with moderators and Trump impersonators. I also bet they were recorded because that’s how speakers (and speech coaches) would make improvements. How did he do in the practice debates? I doubt we will ever see those videotapes.

Interestingly, the next day President Biden gave a campaign speech in North Carolina. He was forceful and determined, not bumbling and incoherent, illustrating the huge difference between Teleprompter Joe and Debater Joe.

The Supreme Court handed down a couple of major decisions this week, with another due tomorrow. One might free a lot of people on trial for entering the Capitol on January 6.

For me, the most far-reaching decision gives judges, not bureaucrats, the final decision on interpretation of laws passed by Congress. The Judicial Branch will no longer “defer to federal agencies to interpret the law if a statue is unclear.”  The decision overturned a requirement that fishing boats must pay for a federal inspector onboard full time.

More broadly, for example, it means an environmental activist in the EPA cannot prevent a rancher from building a pond a couple of miles from a small stream. And the Energy Department can’t make rulings intended to outlaw gasoline powered cars. The Bureau of Land Management cannot randomly change 20,000,000 acres of federal land from grazing to “Wilderness.” Any such “mandates” may now be appealed to a judge (and jury).

The challenge now is for Congress to write laws that are “plain and understandable only one way.” (See Will’s quote about lawyers.)

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

       “There is very little dignity, very little sportsmanship, or very little anything in politics, only ‘get the job and hold it.’”  DT#1949, Nov. 2, 1932

      “The minute you read something and you can’t understand it you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. Then if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don’t know just what it means, why then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. If it’s in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer.” WA #657, July 28, 1935

The Biden-Trump Debate. Loan Transfer. Tips and Tariffs. Building Pipelines.

The Biden-Trump debate will be this week, June 27, on CNN. President Biden is spending all week preparing. As President he has access to a lot more details than Trump. His staff are feeding him a lot of specific numbers, such as the price of eggs, gasoline, insulin, and rent. He will memorize data about the economy, global warming, immigration, Covid deaths, January 6, Ukraine, Israel, China and Russia. Regardless of the question asked, he is advised to insert “Trump” and “Convicted Felon” into his answer. Don’t be surprised if he starts an answer with, “Jake, where did that question come from?” He might reply to Trump, “There you go, you keep lying about my record and now you lied about yours.”

His debate coaches fear he will mix up millions, billions and trillions, and that he will absentmindedly switch to a story about his childhood. He is even practicing standing behind a lectern for 90 minutes, without wandering off.

Meanwhile, Trump is receiving a lot of advice, whether he wants it or not. He’s been told to be kind and gentle, not bombastic. To keep his answers short and distinct. Never mention any previous election or January 6. When your mic is off, stay quiet, and no physical reaction.

He is practicing different responses to possible Biden answers. Such as, “I have no idea what he just said.” Or, “Congratulations Joe, you answered that question exactly as you rehearsed it for the last 7 days.” Or, “As you know, I’m under a gag order so I’m not allowed to respond.”

That’s enough foolishness. I hope the debate goes well for both candidates and that we learn insights on how they plan to govern as President, 2025-29.

Do you remember the 30 pro-Hamas rioters at Columbia University who took over Hamilton Hall, held three men hostage, and caused millions of dollars in damage? They will not be charged. The prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, freed these professional agitators so they can protest the Republican Convention in Milwaukee.

President Biden continues to defy the Supreme Court in transferring student loan payments from the ones who signed for the loan to the rest of us taxpayers.

One lucky recipient of a bailout did what I suggest that all of them do: Benjamin Kamens bragged about it on the internet. Every student who gets out of a loan repayment must be identified and give details like this example: “Joan Doe, Wellesley College, European Art History and Gender Studies in 2008, $92,500 forgiven, museum night janitor.” Most of us would be disgusted. However, we might be pleased with this example: “Laura Doe, Central State, Elementary Education in 2012, $7,600 forgiven, public school teacher.”

Many of the grads from elite colleges should vote for Trump. His plan for student loans is better than Biden’s. The good news for grads with degrees in fields without a career path is that Trump plans to eliminate income taxes on tips. With the money saved, they can repay their student loan.

Trump’s suggestion to eliminate the income tax on tips is good. These are mostly low-income workers. While many are completely honest and keep track of their tips, as a whole much of that income goes unreported. The IRS probably spends more money trying to collect the tax than they end up collecting.

But Trump is wrong on widespread tariffs. We learned that lesson in 1930 when the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was signed by President Hoover. Other countries retaliated with their own tariffs. World trade came to a halt. Other countries stopped buying our manufactured goods and farm products. Tariffs made the Great Depression far worse.

Do you like simple math problems? Try this one. If it takes 2 years to build a pipeline 1200 miles, how long would it take to build one 300 miles long? Maybe ask a 10-year-old to solve it.

Here are the details. The 1200-mile pipeline (actually two in parallel most of the way), were the Big Inch (24-in diameter) and Little Big Inch (20-in), from Texas to the Northeast Coast. Delivering crude oil and refined products. Built in 2 years during WWII, 1942-44.

The 300-mile pipeline is the Mountain Valley Pipeline, 42-inch diameter, across West Virginia to southern Virginia. It began delivering natural gas last week. So, was it built in 6 months? Unfortunately, no. This is more of a political problem than a simple math problem. The answer is 10 years.

Historic quote by Will Rogers: (running for President, 1928)

       “It just looks like the only way we can get the ‘Issues’ of the day straightened out is in a Joint debate… it looks like I am going to have to take you [Herbert Hoover] and Al [Smith] on before the votes are in the can this fall… I will meet you anywhere in joint debate–in any Joint you name.” Life magazine, Aug. 9, 1928

Henry Ford, the Model T, the Edsel, and EVs. Tribute to Jerry West 

I’m starting this column in memory of Will Rogers’ good friend, Henry Ford. And I’ll go ahead and tell you the end of my story: Henry’s grandson, William Ford, must stop throwing away $5,000,000,000 a year.

Back to the beginning. Henry invented the Model T Ford. Now I just learned why it was Model “T.” He had already gone through the alphabet… Model A, Model B, and so forth were all failures. It was only after Model S that he figured out how to set up an assembly line and make ‘em so cheap that everyone could afford one. Or at least the monthly payments on one. That was in 1908. In 10 years, half of all cars on the road were Model T Fords.

Henry thought the Model T would be the top seller forever. But by 1927, after selling 15 million Model T’s, Ford was losing out to dozens of other car manufacturers with fancier models. So, Henry’s son, Edsel, had to force his dad to stop making the Model T and switch to a new, modern Model A.

Now the story jumps to late 1957 when Ford introduced a new model, the 1958 Edsel. After spending millions on the new design and marketing, it flopped. Only 120,000 Edsels were sold in 3 years.

Today, Henry’s grandson, William Clay Ford, has a tough decision for the future of Ford. Similar to ending the Model T and the Edsel, Ford should stop manufacturing Electric Vehicles. Immediately!

For every Ford EV sold, the company is losing $130,000. For 2024 the expected loss on EVs is $5 BILLION.

Get out of the EV business. Focus on vehicles that are popular and profitable. Ford leads the industry with the F-series. Americans want an F-150 Lariat, not a Lightning. For buyers who want a smaller pickup with 40 miles per gallon, design a brand new F-50. Make it smaller and lighter than the Ranger. For inspiration, look back a hundred years at the Model T Huckster.

For those who yell, “Electricity from solar and wind is the future,” I say consider the present and the next 25 years. The proud owner of a $100,000 EV needs to know that 85% of the electricity to charge the battery is generated from natural gas and coal. And with the demand for electricity accelerating faster than subsidized solar and wind systems can be built, EVs will likely depend on fossil fuels for 50% to 75% of their energy beyond 2050.

I intended to write about Trump’s tax plan for tips (good) and for tariffs (bad), Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s admission about January 4, 2021, and Rudy Giuliani’s comments about Hunter Biden’s computer before the 2020 election. Maybe next week.

But I have to include a tribute to Jerry West. When he starred for the West Virginia University basketball team for 3 years, 1958-60, we listened to every game on the radio. None were televised. Then he starred for the Los Angeles Lakers for 14 years. After coaching the Lakers 3 years, he became one of the most successful team executives in NBA history. You probably know the NBA logo is a profile of Jerry West. In the NBA he is one of the best ever. In West Virginia he is THE GOAT. (Greatest Of All Time)

Historic Quotes by Will Rogers: (on Henry Ford) (Radio, June 1, 1930)

“Ford’s success is due to the fact that he uses common sense in his business.”

“When he found he was wrong in his [anti-Semitic comments] with the Jewish people, he apologized.  He saw them in a Chevrolet and he says, ‘Boys, I am wrong!  I am wrong!’”

“A Ford car and a marriage certificate is the two cheapest things there is.   We no more than get either one than we want to trade them in for something better.”

“There is more jokes told about [a Model T] than any other thing.   A Ford car and a Democratic Convention has kept a lot of us comedians alive.  He is the first man to realize that every joke sold a car and every joke bought one.”

“He has got quite a sense of humor… He is a great old fellow and he is very, very human. I always liked Mr. Ford. I think he is a great man, and I wish we had a lot more like him.”

Election Preparations, Immigration, Protesters, and Will Rogers’ Foresight for WWII.  

Election season is heating up. Here’s Will Rogers before the 1932 election, “With the elections coming on you are going to be fed a lot of hooey about a lot of things. [Both sides] are to put their best side forward. They are just trying now to figure out which side is their best.” (WA #492, May 29, 1932)

This year both sides want to get their “worst” side behind them quick. A Trump trial ended in May. The Hunter Biden trial may end this week. President Biden and Donald Trump are both hoping the debate on June 27 will showcase their “best” side.

Hunter Biden is charged with illegally buying a gun. Lord knows he needed one with all the time he spent in dark alleys buying crack. The biggest news, other than hearing from 3 or 4 of his exes, is that Hunter’s laptop computer is authentic.

You will remember that just before the 2020 election, 51 top officials from the CIA and other “intelligence” agencies signed a letter saying the laptop was “Russian misinformation.” Candidate Joe Biden repeated that claim forcefully in the final debate with President Trump. That “big lie” kept a lot of Democrat voters from switching to Trump. Instead of apologizing for the lie, the 51 so-called intelligence experts are proud of their role in swaying the election.

Attempting to put his best side forward, President Biden announced, with great fanfare, a big change on the border. He said that if more than 2500 per day cross illegally from Mexico, he will close the border. This comes after he has welcomed over 10,000,000 immigrants, flooding our cities and states with more crime and fentanyl, and a shortage of funds for housing, police, and education. However, he has ordered the Border Patrol and ICE to continue letting them all in. No change in policy. No deportations.

Are you frustrated with the “pro-Hamas” protesters? While they shout for Palestine to be free, they ignore that Palestinians have been “imprisoned” by Hamas, not Israel. They surrounded the White House yesterday, vandalizing a statue and fences with red paint, and deriding the President as “Genocide Joe.” It is Hamas that is intent on genocide, vowing to kill ALL Jews. And for any citizens of Gaza that die, Hamas is responsible. The main criticism President Biden deserves concerning Palestinians is for restricting how Israel conducts the war on Hamas.

Concerning protesters and rioters, a State Senator in Ohio introduced a bill that would require them to pay for any damage. That may sound complicated, and maybe even unfair if a “peaceful” protester gets caught up in a riot. If individual rioters couldn’t be identified, or they are broke, we all know there are big funders paying protesters. Send the bill to them. Triple the repair cost.

The 80th anniversary of D-Day in France was a great tribute to all who served in WWII, and especially to the ones who climbed the cliffs on June 6, 1944, and are still living today.

Remarkably, in the quote below, in 1925 Will Rogers foresaw America, 1940-45.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“Even when our next war comes, we will through our shortsightedness not be prepared, but that won’t be anything fatal. The real energy and minds of the normal majority will step in and handle it and fight it through to a successful conclusion. A war [World War I] didn’t change it before. It’s just the same as it was, and always will be, because it is founded on right and even if everybody in public life tried to ruin it they couldn’t. This country is not where it is today on account of any man. It is here on account of the big normal majority.” WA #115, Feb. 22, 1925

Weekly Comments:  Celebrate June. A Family Gathering.  Other News  

June is a month for celebration. Eat ice cream, drink a big glass of chocolate milk, enjoy a double-cheese burger, and add real cream to a bowl of strawberries. Yes, June is National Dairy Month. It has been celebrated since 1939.

Yesterday, our family had a celebration of a different kind. Every year a lot of cousins and “semi-related” wonderful people on my mom’s side of the family gather on a hill at Wildcat, West Virginia. On the first Sunday in June we hold our own “Decoration Day”, placing flowers on graves (and flags for veterans) in the Lowther Cemetery. And we celebrate with food. Plenty of home-grown dishes prepared from old family recipes. Yum.

Has your life improved in the last few weeks? While that may seem like an odd question, think about it. Has the cost of groceries for your family decreased? How about a hamburger meal at Wendy’s or McDonald’s? Is it cheaper to fill your gas tank or to pay your car insurance? Is your rent (or mortgage payment) less?

I’m guessing your answers are: no, no, no, no, and no. So, while inflation was the big story in our lives, what was the big story for the national News? The Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump trial fascinated TV Network commentators. The ending reminded me of a Jerry Lewis Labor Day weekend telethon: “We just raised One Hundred Fifty Million Dollars!”

The Donald Trump trial ended just in time for the Hunter Biden trial to begin. As with Trump, it’s easy to predict the verdict based on the location. Hunter will be found innocent of all charges in Wilmington, Delaware. That trial will end just in time for the June 27 debate on CNN, Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden. Or, as a comedian dubbed it, “Convicted Felon vs. Confirmed Senile.”

Historical quotes by Will Rogers:

“It’s no disgrace not to be able to run a country nowadays, but it is a disgrace to keep on trying when you know you can’t.” Letters of a Self-Made Diplomat to his President. 1926

“We are a good-natured bunch of saps in this country… When a judge convicts a murderer that’s cruelty… Everything is cockeyed, so what’s the use kidding ourselves.” DT #1226, June 30, 1930