Immigration, Infrastructure, and Reconciliation

You know all about the thousands crossing our southern border, illegally, every day and night. You may or may not care. Over a million since January and they’ve come from a hundred countries. There’s no let up in sight. No matter what the President and other officials say in English, when translated into native language, it means, “Come to America.” You also know that many of them are good people and given a chance will work hard and be successful. But there are plenty of dangerous gang members and criminals sneaking in, undetected.

While I was in Texas, I learned of one particular incident. Imagine you were this rancher living 40 miles from the border. Late one evening she and her daughter and their dog were walking on an unpaved road along the south side of the ranch. As they got near an open shed, she noticed a strange man inside. Concerned, she rushed back to the house and called law enforcement. Soon, Texas Highway Patrol officers showed up. By this time the man’s friend had already picked him up, but the officers caught up with ‘em in town. The man was a drug dealer. He had about 50 pounds of drugs and his old car had broken down near the ranch.

Dealing with illegal immigrants is fairly common for these folks. Ranchers have put up security cameras. If an outsider is spotted, they alert neighbors. Widows are determined to stay on their ranches, but they live in fear.

Whatever happened to this idea that Will Rogers wrote about? “They got a bill in Congress to make a road from Brownsville, Texas, up along the Rio Grande to El Paso, then on out to San Diego along the Mexican boundary. It’s a good idea and should be built. It’s called in the bill a military highway.” (DT #449, Jan. 3, 1928). And a new 30-foot fence beside that road would solve a lot of problems today.

You probably live far away from the Mexican border. But you need to understand what folks near the border, especially in Texas and Arizona, have to put up with. Pay attention when you see Border Patrol Agents, local Sheriffs and Governors pleading with Washington for relief. And lately, in addition to drugs, guns and other illegal paraphernalia, many are arriving with Covid. If they are wearing masks, believe me, it’s not for Covid.

Meanwhile in Washington, Republican Senators agreed to spend One Trillion dollars on an Infrastructure bill. Oddly, these same Republicans offered $1.7 Trillion for Infrastructure a couple of years ago and the Democrats turned ‘em down. They still aren’t sure what’s in this current bill, and Chuck Schumer won’t tell ‘em. Meanwhile Speaker Pelosi already announced, “The House will pass the Trillion-dollar Infrastructure Bill, but it will cost you $4.5 Trillion.” Whoa!

Can you imagine agreeing to pay $250,000 for a house, then the real estate agent says, “Great. But it will cost you a total of $1,000,000?

After you pick yourself off the floor, you find the nerve to ask, “Will we get any benefits from that extra $750,000?”
“Well, of course! Plenty of new benefits for your community. And for your family, you’ll have free child care and free schooling through college.”

Still in a daze, you counter, “But our children are already grown. We paid for their education. They have no college debt.”
“Wow, that means we can do more for the poor, downtrodden, and unemployed. And, most important, to fight climate change we’ve got to build a million free charging stations for folks who drive a Tesla.”

Back to that “extra” $3.5 Trillion. You have heard Speaker Pelosi talk lovingly about her “Reconciliation Bill.” It is a so-called budget bill and she demands that it be passed along with the Infrastructure Bill. Reconciliation sounds marvelous. Such a nice word. Any good English teacher can tell you that synonyms include: Compromise, Understanding, Settlement.

But there was no “compromise.” It is a one-hundred-percent Democrat bill. For anyone who “understands” economics and has common sense the bill is ridiculous. It won’t help the economy and will keep adding to the federal debt. It won’t “settle” anything if it passes the Senate 51 to 50. A vote on such a huge, multi-year bill is supposed to require 60 votes to pass.

Even though it is advertised as only $3.5 Trillion, if it passes and you are still around in ten years, I bet it will balloon to double or triple that estimate. They also claim that our current inflation rate of 5% is temporary. “Temporary” implies that if the cost of a $1.00 item is now $1.05, next year it will go back down to $1.00. Not a chance. More likely you can bet on $1.10.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

          “The trouble with inflation is you get it started and you can’t get it stopped.” Radio, May 26, 1935

I’ve NOT Been Everywhere (in West Texas)

Since I wrote about traveling in West Texas last week, I’ve had a few folks remind me I did not get to their town. You do know that Texas is BIG, right? Unlike Hank Snow’s country song, I’ve not been everywhere.

One is Muleshoe. We drove through Littlefield and Dimmit, but did not go a few miles farther west to Muleshoe. Will Rogers, at age 18, worked there a few months, on the Mashed-O Ranch (120,000 acres), which was originally part of the famous 3-million-acre XIT Ranch. Years later, Will returned three times. He wrote about two visits in his syndicated columns: Down here at the Mashed-O, my old friends the Halsell’s ranch, branding thousands of calves. I have been roping at ’em all day and they just look around and say go on comedian and do your stuff on the stage, but don’t try a real cowboy’s racket. I’ll catch one of the little rascals yet if I have to bribe him.” (DT #1849, July 8, 1932)

And, “Flew all night just to get over here to the Mashed-O outfit to the calf branding. They are branding 5,000 calves, but the whole cattle country is mighty dry. The government is doing what they can to help ’em out, but even a Democrat can’t make it rain. But they are going to bring that up at the next Congress. There is no finer and more satisfying business in the world than the cow business when you get half a chance, but when the elements are agin’ you, you are just like a candidate that runs second.” (DT #2476, July 10, 1934)

Two other towns we missed are Dalhart and Higgins. In our drive we stopped in Hereford and Amarillo, but did not go farther northwest to Dalhart (Headquarters of the XIT), or northeast to Higgins on the Oklahoma border. In 1898 Will quit school and wound up at Higgins, “I not only left (Kemper Military School) during a dark night, but I quit the entire school business for life. Not wanting to face my father, I landed in Higgins and Mr. Ewing gave me a job on his ranch. His son Frank, about my age, really run the outfit. We took a trail herd to Kansas and I worked with him for some time. I got enough to buy me an old horse, and I went out to Amarillo, Texas. I rode in there in the summer of ’98. Got a job with another big trail Herd going away out in Western Kansas.” (WA#169, March 7, 1926)

Another place we did not get to was Stamford. During a popular cowboy event, Will flew in from California and showed up, unannounced. When he walked in, of course everybody recognized him. They wouldn’t let him sit in the stands; they got him on a horse and sent him out into the arena with the other cowboys. “Cowboy sports and contests are about the most popular thing there is, especially where they know what it’s all about. I had often heard of the great time this little city (Stamford) holds every year. It’s called a cowboy reunion and it is. It’s put on by real ranch hands. This is the heart of the old Texas ranch country. The outfits send in their chuck wagons and they have a great time. Lots of good horses and lots of good ropers. Grass is high and cattle are a good price and everybody feeling fine.” (DT #2780, July 3, 1935)

I did not tell you much about Lubbock, other than Buddy Holly. I mentioned talented song writers in that area. A current one is my young cousin, Charlie Stout, nephew of my host on this trip, retired TTU Prof. Betty Stout. He wrote “West Texas in My Eye,” recorded by The Panhandlers. It’s easy to find on YouTube. Key lines: “Lately I’ve been thinking, I could leave this town…I ain’t crying, that’s West Texas in my eye.”

The statue of Will Rogers on Soapsuds (called “Riding into the Sunset”) at the main entry to the Texas Tech University campus was funded by Will’s good friend, Amon Carter. Amon was the creator and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and was famous for saying, “Fort Worth is where the West begins, and Dallas is where the East peters out.”

Amon Carter was a fascinating, prominent person, and not just in Texas. My friend, Dave Lieber, wrote a book, “Amon! The Ultimate Texan,” and a one-man play that stars Kevin Delk. Dave was a columnist for many years for the Star-Telegram. Now he writes the “Watch Dog” column for the paper in a little town east of Fort Worth. Yes, it’s Da _ _ _s.

Amon graduated from Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University), and served as the first chairman of the Board of Directors for TTU.

Will Rogers entertained in Lubbock in 1926. He donated $1500 for uniforms for the new TTC band, matched by $1500 donated by Amon Carter.

The Will Rogers statue is one of four identical ones sculpted by Electra Waggoner Biggs. She was the granddaughter of another one of Will’s friends, W.T. Waggoner, owner of the famous Waggoner Ranch at Vernon, Texas (another town I need to visit). Will wrote, “I am on 600,000 acres, belonging to W. T. Waggoner, with 25,000 cattle and some of the best horses in any State. He is one cowman that was smart enough to solve the low prices of cattle and make ranches pay. Every cow has got her own oil well.” (DT #1847, July 6, 1932)

In every “Will Rogers” presentation, I use that W. T. Waggoner story. The last line always gets a big laugh.

Next time I get to Texas, I had better plan on staying more than a week. There’s so much to see. As Will wrote, “I been flying, train riding, automobiling, horseback riding and buggy riding over Texas for thirty-three years and I’ve never seen a tenth of it.” (DT #1926, Oct. 6, 1932)

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

LUBBOCK, Tex.: “They say it’s wrong to buy votes, but you notice from the election returns that the fellows in Pennsylvania and Illinois that bought the most, got elected. A bought vote is better than no votes at all. The counters can’t tell whether they are bought or just bargained for.” DT #73, Nov. 4, 1926

Las Vegas is Back; Texas Never Left (except Democrat Legislators)

Do you think it’s hot where you live? For the past week I was in Las Vegas (115 F) for the National Speakers Association (NSA) convention, then to West Texas (95 F) to check out crops, cattle, canyons, and a stretch of Will Rogers Highway.

You know, I’ve reported before on the annual NSA convention. I’ve attended most since 1995. Last year it had to be virtual. Last week we had about a third of our usual attendance. For most it was our first in-person conference since March 2020. Being a convention of professional speakers, naturally we have great speakers on the main stage. All had great tips for us to improve our speaking business. One tip always makes me chuckle. Here I am, impersonating the great Will Rogers, and I’m told to “Be yourself, be authentic.”

Since the Pandemic hit, Caesar’s Palace had hosted only one convention before ours. A waiter told me he was working there 16 months ago. The staff had served lunch to 5000 people and were setting up for their evening banquet. The manager said, “Stop. We’re shut down.” Can you imagine being one of those employees? Or one of the 5000 attendees from around the world? How will everyone get rescheduled flights out of Vegas? Do you remember, we were told to stay home for just two weeks to flatten the curve?  Sure.

Sixty-five weeks later, Las Vegas is just now opening up. But they opened with a flourish. Airplanes arriving are full. Every seat at the gambling tables at Harrah’s was occupied. Restaurants had a 45-minute wait for a table.

On Tuesday I flew to Lubbock, Texas, to visit a cousin, who is a retired Faculty member at Texas Tech University. I spent some time on the campus visiting “my” statue (see photo). Of course, I stopped at the Buddy Holly Museum. You wouldn’t believe how many country singers and music writers are from West Texas.

But mostly we drove around West Texas. Visited Post, Shallowater, Tulia, Happy, Hart, Hereford, Idalou, Floydada, Plainview, Dimmitt, the Palo Duro Canyon and Amarillo. Did you know historic U.S. Route 66 goes through Amarillo? Route 66 runs from Chicago through St. Louis, Claremore, OK, Flagstaff, AZ, and ends at the Pacific Coast near Santa Monica. Partly because it ran through Claremore (Will Rogers’ home area) and ended near his California 180-acre ranch, Rt. 66 was also known as the Will Rogers Highway. Also known as the Mother Road, it opened in 1926 and was decommissioned in 1985 because Interstates and other modern highways are safer and faster. About 85 percent of the historic route is still drivable.

Hereford, Texas, proclaims itself the “Beef Capital of the World.” When it comes to beef cows, calves, feedlots and anything related to cattle, Texas is the #1 state. West Texas produces about a fourth of all the cotton in the country. (Other major crops include corn, milo, alfalfa and wheat.) You may be surprised to know that the waste product from ginning cotton and cotton seed are great feed for cattle. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, but the person who figured out that “gin trash” and cotton seed are nutritious for cattle ranks right up there with the woman in Buffalo who discovered how to get people to pay for (almost) worthless chicken wings.

In this flat country, I saw more wind turbines than ever in my life. And in the same fields, dozens of oilwell pumpjacks operating. Imagine that. Old dependable fossil fuel and new energy from the same acres. But it was odd; even with a strong breeze, most of those modern windmills were barely turning. With everybody running air-conditioners they should have been going full speed.

A lot of people are moving to Texas, especially from California. About the only ones who have left the state are the Democrat Legislators. Now I would never pretend to advise a legislator. But flying to Washington on a party plane might not be the best choice. Suppose instead, they had driven to the Mexican border. They could have spread out from Brownsville to El Paso (of course only where there are gaps in the 30-foot wall), and crossed the Rio Grande to be safely in Mexico. They could have partnered with the cartels to get introduced to the hordes of immigrants before they crossed the river, and given each one a photo ID and a voter registration card. With 50,000 immigrants a week, that should get ‘em more voters than extending early voting by a few days. And getting more voters is why they left Texas in the first place.

Remember what Speaker Pelosi said about Obamacare, in 2010, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer topped her this weekend. He announced (paraphrased), “On Wednesday we’ll vote on Infrastructure. We have to pass the bill, then we’ll write it.”

The Biden Administration invited the United Nations to investigate racial policies in America. In their usual wisdom, the UN will send investigators from China, Venezuela and Russia. We already know what their report will say: It’s a terrible place to work and live for anyone who is not white. President Biden will skim over the report and ask his staff, “Haven’t we had over a million people come across our southern border in six months? We need to double that rate. And if they find out how racist we are, they’ll stop coming. We must keep that report secret!”

Now don’t be surprised if those UN investigators ask for asylum and to be sent to Texas.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“If they just get more folks to working, there is no way to stop this country. Just quit listening to the politicians… Roosevelt ain’t going to ruin the country. The Constitution will remain as is.” WA #655, July 14, 1935

“Every gag I tell must be based on truth. No matter how much I may exaggerate it, it must have a certain amount of truth.” WA #65, March 9, 1924

“(Headed to) Las Vegas and the Boulder Dam. Water costs more than gold in this West.” DT #1899, Sept. 5, 1932

(I’m) on board the train at Amarillo, Texas, where the biggest oil fields in the World are.” DT #77, Nov. 8, 1926

Independence Day vs. Communist China Celebrations

America is celebrating our 245th year since the Declaration of Independence. Parades, concerts, flags, fireworks, and family picnics have us back close to a normal celebration.

The Biden Administration got in a pickle when they bragged that a picnic for 10 people would be 16 cents cheaper this year than in 2020. Maybe we should ignore the fact that last year Covid-19 kept us from even having a picnic. Saving 1.6 cents per person is a drop in the bucket compared to the higher cost of driving to the picnic.

By the way, our 2021 Fourth of July picnic for 10 is about $5 higher than in 2019. What Americans ought to be celebrating it that the entire meal costs less than $6 a person. Every year the American Farm Bureau calculates the cost. This picnic includes real meat (cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts). And potato salad, beans, strawberries, and fresh-squeezed lemonade. For dessert, ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. (I’m getting hungry just writing about it.)

This might be a good time to suggest that all current 2021 economic comparisons be made to two years ago. Life was “normal” in 2019. High employment, good wages, no shortages of food or toilet paper, and plenty to celebrate on the Fourth of July.

Back to our Independence Day. We celebrate. But no one forces us to celebrate. A mediocre athlete can steal the spotlight from the best two in her sport by dishonoring our flag and national anthem. A hundred people can come together to complain about unfair police actions, while being protected from those who disagree… by police.

While celebrating, we also argue and debate. The President is a Democrat and Congress is led by Democrats. Does that mean Republicans have to remain quiet for two years? Shucks, not even for two minutes.

China, meanwhile, is “celebrating” 100 years of Communism.

You won’t see anyone in China turning their back on their flag or wearing a shirt that says, ‘Impeach Xi Jinping.’ In China, like Russia, your criticism is your epitaph.

The Communist Dictator Xi Jinping announced in his “celebratory” speech that China will become #1 in the World and anyone who disagrees will suffer “broken heads and bloodshed.” If you believe this is just bluster and political jabbering, ask the Uighurs. And ask people in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Those two are “free” and produce 3 or 4 times as much per capita as does Communist China. But Xi is determined to bring them under his Communist rule, along with most of Africa.

If you don’t believe the part about busted heads and blood, you may not believe this either. In 100 years, the Communist Party in China has killed 40,000,000 to 80,000,000 of their own citizens. Mass starvation, being gunned down, poison, and diseases, including Covid. While we have lost 600,000 with Covid-19, China claims to have 4,636 deaths. In the country that created Covid and let it spread around the world. Sure.

So, if 95% of Chinese people are NOT Communists, why don’t they take back their country from the 5%? Well, unlike our colonists in 1776, those Chinese do not have muskets. No Colt 45s or AR-15s either.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“There is a big communistic hold in certain parts of China. The influence is growing rapidly.” WA #520, Dec. 11, 1932

“The Chinese have the reputation, even among their friends, for being the most cruel nation in the world, even to their own people. If one is only going to get his head chopped off, he is tickled to death. That he (would be) unmercifully tortured before death is his fear.” WA #488, May 1, 1932

“And the speeches (on the Fourth)? Did you read them? Never was as much politics indulged in under the guise ‘freedom and liberty.’ There was 5 percent what George Washington did, and 95 percent what the speaker intended to do.” DT #2782, July 5, 1935

Two Nations. Same Outcome? Critical Decision Time.

I am combining a historic event with our current situation. Stay with me and I promise it will make sense in the end.

Once upon a time, a nation prospered in peace and affluence for many years. But trouble lay just across the border. The neighboring lands were over populated and the people eyed the vast inviting lands with envy. For a few years small numbers of intruders would sneak across the border, and the government would catch them and force them out. But many avoided detection and many more intruders followed.

Before long the intruders were pouring into the nation. Some were legitimately hired, but others sneaked in. Quite a few committed crimes.

Finally, citizens got so annoyed they contacted elected officials of the nation. One wrote, “Are we powerless to enforce our own laws? Are we to submit to these people who are not citizens? Our laws are not enforced. How in the world can we hold up as a nation when our leaders don’t respect the law and the oath they took to uphold the law?”

Ok, this is where “history” gets scary.

 The U. S. Congress jumped into the fray. After much debate Congress made a decision: they came down firmly on the side of the… intruders.  How could this be? Prosperity in the nation was not good enough to satisfy the U.S. Congress and keep this nation protected from intruders.

Five years after the U.S. government got involved, Congress passed a bill abolishing the laws of this “nation” and mandating that all land be divided up equally among its citizens.

WHAT?! Can the President and Congress abolish or ignore our laws? Could this actually happen to American citizens in just 5 years, by 2026??

The end of that “nation” as we knew it occurred in 1898. That “nation” was the Cherokee Nation. It was part of Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. The “intruders” were mainly from Kansas and Arkansas.

(The “citizen” quoted above was Clem Rogers, Will’s dad. The U.S. government divided the 7000 square miles of land among every Cherokee man, woman and child listed on the “Dawes Rolls.” A primary source for these facts is Ben Yagoda’s biography of Will Rogers, published in 1993.)

Thanks for staying with me.

Why is President Biden determined to welcome millions of “intruders” regardless of the effects on over 300 million citizens? Why did Vice-President Harris go to El Paso, Texas, 600 miles from where the bulk of intruders are wading across the Rio Grande? Yes, El Paso is on the border. But she never got within 8 miles of the actual border. She may as well have been in Amarillo. (Or Paris, TX, which could have counted as being in Europe.)

El Paso is protected by 131 miles of wall along the Mexican border. VP Harris did not want to be photographed standing in front of a 30-ft tall border wall. That wall was built by our previous president. Somehow, she blames him for the current crisis.

She pretends to search for “root causes” while ignoring global polls that show over 100 million people would move here tomorrow if they had a chance. The “root cause” is that Americans live better than 95% of the world’s population.

Biden does not want to control the border. Democrat leaders want to add twenty million immigrants before they lose an election. Not a crisis, an opportunity. Having a President whisper, “We aim to ruin the country,” is no different than shouting it. (He didn’t say that, but actions imply it.)

Is the Biden Administration (supported by Congressional leaders) dismantling the United States as the Cherokee Nation was dismantled in 1898?

We can only hope and pray, as Will Rogers said in 1928, “None of them from any party are going to purposely ruin the country.”

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“America is a land of opportunity and don’t ever forget it.” DT #1541, July 1, 1931

“I generally give the party in power, whether Republican or Democrat, the more digs because they are generally doing the country more damage.” WA #100, Nov. 9, 1924

Who’s No. 17? And can Victoria’s Secret Thrive without Angels? Plus Juneteenth

President Biden got serious with Russia’s Putin on cyber-attacks. A pipeline company and meat processor recently paid millions in ransom. Biden gave Putin a list of our Top16 critical entities and ordered him to call off the Russian hackers. Putin glanced over the list, pondered a moment, and thought, “Which is Number 1?”

Americans are pondering, “What is Number 17?” And how would President Biden retaliate?

In case you are wondering, the Top 16 includes energy, food, dams, banks, trains, manufacturers, hospitals and nine more.

But it’s personally scary to realize that comedians and professional speakers are not on the protected list. But we may be safe from attack anyhow. It would take a whole passel of us to come up with, say, a $20 million ransom payment. Considering how many motivational messages, worn out starfish stories, and old jokes they would have to endure to collect, Putin would decide it just ain’t worth it.

Victoria’s Secret is famous for their provocative lingerie. They have stores in almost every Mall in the country (but oddly, not in Strip Malls). They’re very popular. It’s a $7 Billion industry. Maybe you’ve noticed, when husbands get tired of following their wife from store to store, they’ll often find a bench opposite one of those shops. Just sit there, stare and smile, waiting for her to return from Lane Bryant or Sears.

Unfortunately, low sales have ended the runway shows with beautiful models. Instead of showcasing lingerie-clad Angels on network television, they are replacing the models with female activists. Apparently, Victoria’s Secret will interview these women and broadcast only in audio. Based on the list of women I’ve seen, there aren’t many men, even old husbands, who would be captivated by seeing them in lingerie. (I made up my own list but my Editor made me take ‘em out, to keep me from being canceled.)

Are you annoyed by the WOKE notion that seems to permeate life today? The 99 percent of us need to ignore the self-proclaimed WOKE police and stop giving them a platform. A few people are scouring through huge, fifty-year old unabridged dictionaries searching for words to be offended by. In the old days, these overly zealous, pretentious people would be ignored or sent to an institution. Now, with Twitter, they claim “Mother” must be replaced by “birthing person.” I guess that relegates “Father” to “birth contributor” or “sperm donor.”

One of the things Americans can do well is come together in a crisis. Of course, it depends on the crisis. Sometimes when an essential, critical, positively “must act now” emergency comes along the House, Senate and President can git ‘er done. Take this week, for example. It was not the virus from a China Lab, nor higher payments to NATO, nor retaliation for Putin’s hackers. No, it was a different issue that required (and received) rocket-fast action: On Tuesday, the House passed the bill; Wednesday, the Senate passed the House bill; Thursday, President Biden signed it; and Friday, yes Friday, all federal employees got a new day off because Saturday became a National Holiday! Juneteenth.

Although most schools are out before mid-June every year, the #1 question students will be asking is, what day is Juneteenth? And #2, then why isn’t it called Junenineteenth?

A better question is: Why isn’t the day Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves, named as the official holiday. That was January 1, 1863. But because they didn’t have long-distance telephones or internet, it took two and a half years, until June 19, 1865, for the news to reach Galveston, Texas. Now, I can poke fun at the “slow speed” in the 1860s and the “super-fast speed” in 2021. But establishment of this national holiday has been in process for over 150 years.

And today is Father’s Day. It’s always on Sunday, so no paid time off. I recently learned the first Father’s Day in America was held in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was in memory of more than 350 men who died in a coal mine disaster in 1907 at nearby Monongah, leaving a thousand without fathers. Father’s Day slowly caught on across the country, mainly promoted by commercial interests selling items such as fishing gear, tools, and ties. It became an official national day in 1972. Those “commercial interests” collected about a billion dollars today.

Happy Father’s Day!

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

(A day after FDR’s inauguration) “Say, this Roosevelt is a fast worker… this President closed all the banks and called Congress into extra session.” DT #2055, March 6, 1933

(Ending Prohibition, unofficially) “Roosevelt says, ‘Let ‘em drink.’ That’s all. And he collected $10 million in revenue in the first two weeks. And if he’d had good beer, he’d have paid the national debt by now.” Radio, Apr. 30, 1933

(In a tribute on Mother’s Day) “Father had a day, but you can’t find anybody who remembers when it was. It’s been so confused with April the first.” Radio, May 12, 1935

The Domino Effect on the 2020 Election

 

If you got all your news from the so-called mainstream media for the last couple of years, you may want to stop reading. The information and opinions that follow may be too much to digest. I don’t want your head to explode.

Have you played dominoes? Regardless, I bet you have seen dominoes set on end in a line so if the first one is tipped it knocks over the next one. And the next one, and so on. Some elaborate patterns might have 5 or 6 starting points with the domino lines all ending up at the same point.

Suppose we use a domino pattern to explain the 2020 Trump-Biden Presidential campaign. One starting point, the main one, was Covid-19. President Trump said it might have started in a virology lab in Wuhan, China. The mainstream media scolded Trump for saying it started in China and insisted it was probably from a bat. China officials could identify the source, but refused then and now to let unbiased scientists investigate.

President Trump suggested hydroxychloroquine was a possible treatment for Covid. The media said it was dangerous quackery even though it has been used to treat malaria and arthritis for 80 years.

Trump sometimes questioned the views of Dr. Fauci. At various times Dr. Fauci said, “Do not wear a mask,” “Shut down all non-essentials so we don’t overwhelm the hospitals,” “Wear a mask outside,” “Get vaccinated so life can return to normal,” “Even if vaccinated, wear a mask,” “Wear 2 masks,” and “We did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Lab.” The media worshiped Dr. Fauci (and they still do).

Trump was criticized for not wearing a mask in public, while Biden has worn a mask constantly, even outside alone or on Zoom calls. In reflection, the sanity of the country would have benefitted if they had “met in the middle” on mask-wearing.

Trump pushed a vaccine development program called Warp Speed, supported by Congress, with the goal of having millions of doses available by October. Media insisted it would take at least 3 to 5 years, not a few months. One company, miraculously, had a vaccine ready for FDA approval in October. But the “good news” announcement was delayed until 3 days after the election. Back to the domino analogy, this line failed Trump because of timing.

On June 1, 2020, Trump walked to Lafayette Square and held up a Bible in front of St John’s Episcopal Church. Earlier, federal officials had forced protesters to move back a block or two so construction of a more secure fence could be started. Media shamed Trump for tear-gassing peaceful protesters (who had set fire to the church the previous day) simply for a photo-op. This was the start of another “domino line” which resulted in reluctance of federal officials to bring in National Guard reinforcements to protect the Capitol on January 6, the day Congress verified the election results.

In October, a computer belonging to Hunter Biden was left (abandoned) at a computer shop. The hard drive had incriminating evidence against Hunter, and tied his dad to Hunter’s business dealings in China and Ukraine. Media blocked this evidence that would have swayed votes in November. An intricate “domino line” where the first domino was never tipped.

While President Trump was out and about almost every day in 2020, answering reporters’ questions, Joe Biden claimed he had to stay home because of Covid. Why didn’t the media insist he answer serious questions the same as Trump? (He had a phone and Zoom.)

All of these examples are “lines of dominoes” that help show how Joe Biden beat Donald Trump on November 8. The June 1 incident directly affected both the election and the lack of Capitol security for January 6.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“People ask me: ‘Will, where do you get your jokes?’ I just tell ‘em, ‘Well, I just watch the government and report the facts, that’s all I do, and I don’t even have to exaggerate.’” June 11, 1933 (Notes?)

Ground Zero for Covid-19. Biden’s Bigger Budget

Do you remember the first time you heard that Covid-19 apparently came from a virology lab in Wuhan, China? For you, it was probably early last spring. For most Americans, it was only last week when their favorite news media acknowledged the Wuhan Lab was likely Ground Zero.

Up until recently, most news media agreed with the World Health Organization (WHO) that the source was a bat sold at a fresh food market in Wuhan. Most networks made fun of anyone who said it might have originated in the Wuhan Lab, even though it was doing “change of function” research on a coronavirus. Facebook banned all posts that suggested it came from the Lab.

The whole world knows the coronavirus came from China, even though we’re not allowed to say so. While the world has suffered 170 million Covid-19 cases and 3.5 million deaths, you might expect that China, with almost 20% of the world’s population, has suffered about a million of those deaths. After all, it infected people in China for about 3 months before being identified elsewhere.

Well, China has not reported a million deaths. Would you believe 4,600? And only 91,000 cases. The Communist Chinese leaders only count ones who were not cremated. We should know by now, we cannot trust the Communists.

You might remember I commented earlier that the federal government would give each child a $3000 tax credit, which I called a salary. Now, you might agree with this generosity. President Biden announced he would start sending out checks this summer, $250 a month for each child.

Suppose you have three teenagers who get wind of this payment. They might say, “Why should we get jobs at McDonald’s or the farm down the road. We’re getting $750 a month and it’s deposited into YOUR bank account. And don’t expect us to do any chores for a tiny allowance. What’s the use of working?”

On Friday President Biden submitted his first budget. He is asking Congress to appropriate $6 Trillion, which is 26% more than what President Trump asked for two years ago. A friend on Facebook applauded Biden’s budget request because it has essentially no increase for the Defense Department, “We have 13 aircraft carriers, China has only 2.”

A foreigner on Facebook asked why the U.S. has a Memorial Day, and honors Veterans on November 11, and has Armed Forces Day for those currently serving. He said we glorify and waste money on Armed Forces that would be better spent on helping humanity.

I think if Will Rogers were still around, he would ask, “Do our allies and friends in Europe, Asia and elsewhere in the World want us to bring home all our troops? And if we’re supposed to balance China on Defense, do you want us to lay low until they build 11 more Aircraft Carriers?”

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT #2047, Feb. 24, 1933

“If you want to know when a war is coming just watch the United States and see when they start cutting down on their defense. It’s the surest barometer in the world.” DT #2116, May 16, 1933

Alienating Customers. Joke-telling and Golf Require Skill

Back in the old days, entertainers and businesses usually tried to attract as many friends and customers as possible. That didn’t mean everyone liked you. And a business might ignore or reject a small percentage of the population.

But now it’s common to turn off half or more of potential clients and audiences. Coke, American Airlines, Nike, Major League Baseball, and late-night hosts on TV, for example, are living with the results.

You may remember that the U.S. passed the 18th Amendment prohibiting liquor production and sale in 1920. That did not mean people stopped drinking; bootleggers filled the vacuum. Liquor flowed freely despite the attempts by federal “revenuers” to destroy moonshine stills and stop the rumrunners. After 13 years, the U.S. did something never done before or since: the 21st Amendment was passed to cancel the 18th.

Will Rogers was in his prime as an entertainer and columnist during Prohibition. So, did he “pick a side?” No, he kidded both “wets” and “drys,” as they were called. And both sides laughed. He often joked that people “vote dry but drink wet.”

Here are two of hundreds of his comments:

“The South is dry and will vote dry. That is, everybody that is sober enough to stagger to the polls will.” (DT #66, Oct. 28, 1926)

“Just let the bootleggers alone; they are getting so prosperous they are drinking each other’s wares now, so they will gradually kill each other off.” (WA #42, Sept. 30, 1923)

Will Rogers was a skilled humorist; President Biden is not. You may have seen where he messed up a punchline in his speech at graduation ceremonies for the Coast Guard. I won’t pile on the President because very few people are consistently good at humor. There is one advantage of his jokes falling flat; some of us won’t be irritated as often by the “unusual” laugh of our Vice-President.

I will hit him on his choice of pipelines to approve. Why cancel one that supports the U.S. and Canada because of global warming, but approve one that benefits Russia?

Today, on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, 50-year-old lefty, Phil Michelson, won the PGA golf tournament. You might say he won one for all the old golfers. His win inspires talented young folks too. If you stay in shape or get in shape, physically and mentally, you too can be a winner. Even if you’re left-handed.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“From what I can gather from everyone I talk with, things are definitely picking up. If they just get more folks to working, there is no way to stop this country. Just quit listening to the politicians…. The Constitution will remain as is. The Russians are not going to take us. Everywhere I have been there is a fine feeling. Let folks quit arguing over who did it, or didn’t do it; just join in it.” WA #655, July 14, 1935

“I had heard (golf) called an old man’s game. Every one of (the players) looked big and strong enough to work at something. Now I am not going to make the mistake of the usual fool, just because I don’t play the game, and tell you that there is nothing to it. There is skill in anything. Spitting at a crack don’t get much recognition among the Arts, but you just try to hit one sometime and you will never laugh at another spitter again.” WA #163, Jan. 24, 1926

Mask Tossers, Russian Hackers, and Gasoline Hoarders

We got big news out of Washington. Huge. No, it was not a decision to finish the 30-foot wall on our Mexican border. It was not an announcement to finish the Keystone XL pipeline. And it was not a streamlined Trillion-dollar Infrastructure bill.

It was still huge, even though President Biden did not announce it the way I suggested two weeks ago, “remove mask, hold it high, strike a match, light it on fire, and let it burn.”

But the President finally admitted what most of the country figured out months ago: Get vaccinated, toss the mask. (Unless you choose to wear one.)

And outside, in wide open spaces, they finally admitted it is almost impossible to “catch Covid.” Originally our CDC said, “less than 10%” of patients got Covid from an infected person outside. Last week they admitted it is quite a bit less than 10%. Yes, 0.1%.

And inside, if you have been vaccinated (or recovered from Covid), toss the mask. Maybe Speaker Pelosi will allow our Representatives in Congress to remove their masks. But the way a few have been acting lately, they might want to keep their faces hidden.

Do you remember the warning about touching anything because a person with Covid might have touched it earlier? Wear gloves when pumping gas. Don’t touch the hand rails on stairs. Don’t touch your mask then rub your eyes. It was hard to find hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and bleach because “essential” businesses and schools spent hours cleaning surfaces. Some schools that were open skipped Wednesdays so the janitors could thoroughly disinfect. Disinfecting overnight or on weekends was not enough.

The head of the big teachers’ union finally admitted she might let teachers in her union return to their schools in September. Of course, the majority of other teachers have been in the classroom since LAST September (at least most days).

The Russian hackers shut down a pipeline that supplies half of the gasoline to Southeast states and up to New Jersey. The company paid a ransom of $5 million so the gasoline is flowing again. But the shortage has wreaked havoc. Long lines of vehicles waiting for hours to fill up. And not just “fill up” their tank. Hoarders filled up livestock watering troughs, plastic laundry baskets, and garbage bags. The danger is unbelievable. But if one of those hoarders has a garbage bag burst on the garage floor, they probably have plenty of toilet paper to soak it up.

I saw a “cartoon” of two young guys talking to the clerk at a gas station, “We’d like to return some gas, please. We have it in our pickup. 110 gallons. We paid $419.79 for it. You can have it back for $400.”

Clerk, “So, you have 110 gallons in two 55-gallon barrels?”

“No ma’am, it’s in 11 garbage bags.”

You might wonder, what is the penalty for a Russian hacking and collecting a ransom? So far, none. They just move on to another victim and demand more millions. I heard a good suggestion from a former Congressman: Congress should pass a law making this a federal terrorism crime, punishable by death. Then we can have secret agents sneak into Russia, or anywhere else, and kill ‘em.

Kinda like we did with that Iranian General last year. And we had better do it before they shut down our electric grid. Now, we don’t want to kill anyone. We just want to scare ‘em so they’ll stop hacking our computer systems.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“The difference between good times and bad times is gasoline, and what goes with it.” WA #636, March 3, 1935