“BIDENFATION” AND OTHER PROBLEMS

Former President Harry S. Truman, in my opinion and that of many historians, one of our most underrated presidents, was fond of saying “the buck stops here.” He said it; he meant it; and he lived it. The meaning is clear. When you are the head guy, the one in charge, “El Jefe,” the President, you are responsible for everything that occurs during your tenure, either good or bad, intentional or not, whether you knew about it or not. In business, for example, the standard is whether you knew or should have known. You are the ultimate authority, and human resources 101 holds that with the authority comes the responsibility. Excuses such as “I didn’t know;” “no one told me” or “how could I have anticipated it” are not only unacceptable, they insult the intelligence of those to whom you say it.

Quiz question: What does the “S” in Truman’s name stand for? See answer below.

That brings us to President Biden. Currently, the country is suffering through the worst inflation in 40 years. This is on top of all the other crises, which I have detailed in previous blogs and do not wish to regurgitate here.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in April 2022 the year-over-year inflation rate was 8.3%, and most economists expect the rate to be higher over the next few months. Our economy is in dire straits. You don’t need me to tell you that. Anyone who has bought food, clothing, cars, tires and filled their gas tank knows this all too well. Many families have been forced to choose among, eating, paying the rent, or gassing up their car. Some examples of the foregoing, according to BLS statistics are fuel oil up 81%, gasoline up 44%, milk up 15%, and plane tickets up 33%. Inflation has impacted everyone, but the hardest hit, as always, have been the poor, the working class and seniors on a fixed income.

Gas in my neighborhood has jumped some 80 cents in the past week. Just the other day, one gas station raised its price 20 cents in an hour! Talk about “sticker shock!” Furthermore, we are heading into the summer months when energy usage and prices normally increase. Don’t be surprised to see gas lines and “brown-outs” this summer.

Economists know that inflation, once unleashed, is very tenacious. It is very difficult to weed out. I expect this will get worse before it gets better, a lot worse. BLS has reported that price inflation has continued in May. Anyone who has bought anything recently is fully cognizant of this.

In the past few days we have been hit with the final indignity, maybe the worst of all – a shortage of baby formula. Yes, baby formula. Due to a combination of a massive recall and supply chain issues most stores are devoid of it. Parents are panicking. I can’t think of anything worse than being unable to feed your baby. Moreover, this affects more than just infants. Doctors and pharmacists such as Roger Paganelli have denoted that many “special needs” children suffer from various medical issues that require them to get their nourishment from baby formula via feeding tubes in their stomach. This is truly a matter of life or death.

Can this get any worse? Apparently, “yes.” I have seen news reports on Fox News and in the NY Post that despite the aforementioned shortage the feds have been hoarding pallets and pallets of baby formula. This has been reported by Representative Kat Cammack who claims to have seen these pallets and taken photos of them. Where are these pallets? Take a guess. If you said the southern border go to the head of the class. Evidently, they have been set aside for illegal migrant babies. I think we can all agree that migrant babies should have access to formula, but tell that to a US mother who cannot find any for her own baby. (America first, or America last?)

CONCLUSION

President Biden has not only failed to reassure Americans that he has a plan to deal with these issues, but he will not even take responsibility for them. Furthermore, he has been slow to admit that these problems even exist. Instead, in his recent public appearances he has chosen to blame others, for example, Putin, the GOP, the meat processors, former President Trump, COVID, and circumstances beyond his control for this crisis and his Administration’s failure to deal with it. Americans are not interested on who is to blame; this is no time to play politics; we just want it fixed. People are suffering. People are dying. Regardless of who or what has caused this, it is Biden’s duty and responsibility to fix it.

Apparently, rather than “the buck stops here,” Biden believes in “pass the buck.”

Quiz answer: The middle initial “S” does not stand for anything, just “S.”

MOTHER’S DAY

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 8, most Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day. Notice the singular possessive form of spelling. This is the standard and generally accepted usage. It was the format favored by Anna Jarvis, the acknowledged driving force behind the creation of the holiday, as you will see below, rather than the plural possessive. Her point was each family should honor “the best mother, yours” rather than all mothers.

MD is celebrated all over the world in some form.  Different countries have their own way of celebrating the day and even celebrate it on different dates.  Some countries have replicated the US traditions – hallmark [or email (tacky)] card, flowers, chocolates, and family gatherings; others have incorporated it into other holidays honoring women or mothers; and in still others, a combination of the two has evolved.

According to The National Restaurant Association based on decades of research MD is the busiest day of the year for restaurants.  The traditional custom is to give mom a break from kitchen duties and take her out to a nice restaurant to celebrate. And why not? Doesn’t she deserve it? (On the other hand, on Father’s Day the restaurants are relatively empty as many fathers are put to work barbecuing.) Can you name the second-busiest day of the year for restaurants according to the same survey? See answer below.

Moreover, MD is the third busiest day for attendance at church. Can you guess numbers one and two? See below.

According to “RetailMeNot” the average MD gift this year will cost $134, compared to $120 last year. Greeting cards are the most popular MD gift followed by flowers, chocolate and gift cards. According to the National Retail Federation in 2022 we will spend some $32 billion on MD gifts, which will exceed last year’s amount by some $3.6 billion.

This year there is a flower shortage in many parts of the US due to inclement weather and shipping inefficiencies, so I hope you did not wait for the last minute to order them. Apparently, a goodly portion of flowers originate in South America, which has complicated matters.

As always, traffic on the roads will likely be heavy during the holiday weekend. So, plan to leave early, and use your trusty GPS. Additionally, one can expect the usual delays at the airports due to weather complications, security concerns and heavy usage.

In the US MD was first celebrated in 1908 when the aforementioned Anna Jarvis held a special memorial for her mother.  Ms. Jarvis had been campaigning for the country to recognize a day to honor mothers since 1905 when her mother had passed away.  In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed an official proclamation establishing the second Sunday in May as MD.  It was to be a day to honor mothers and the concept of motherhood and their contributions to society.

Eventually, Ms. Jarvis became disillusioned with the commercialization of the holiday.  By the 1920’s the greeting card, retail, candy and flower industries were all marketing their products aggressively to take advantage of the holiday.  Jarvis strongly advocated that people should demonstrate their love and respect for their mothers through personalized, handwritten letters instead.  Being a person of action she organized protests and threatened boycotts of these industries.  At one point, she was arrested for disturbing the peace at a candy manufacturers’ convention.

Despite her efforts, commercialization of the day has continued to grow.  Americans, in particular, tend to demonstrate their love in tangible, material ways through the giving of gifts. 

As I stated, MD is celebrated in many countries in different ways and at different dates. For example:

1. The most common date is the second Sunday in May, which is May 8 this year. Besides the US, some of the countries that celebrate it on this date are Canada, Italy the Peoples Republic of China and Turkey.

2. Some countries, such as the UK, Ireland and Nigeria, celebrate it on the fourth Sunday of Lent. The UK incorporated it into a previously existing holiday called “Mothering Sunday.”  ”Mothering Sunday” dates from the 16th Century.

3. Many Arab countries, such as Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia celebrate it on the vernal equinox (March 20 in 2022).

4. Russia used to celebrate MD on March 8 in conjunction with International Women’s Day, but in 1998 the date was changed, by law, to the last Sunday in November.

5. Bolivia celebrates it on May 27, which is the date of an historically significant battle in which women played a key role.

6. Since 1950 France has celebrated MD on the fourth Sunday in May, except when the date conflicts with Pentecost in which case it is delayed to the next Sunday.

7. Hindus celebrate MD on the new moon day in the month of Baisakh (April/May).

CONCLUSION

As I said, MD is one of the few truly internationally-recognized holidays.  One of the charming features of the day is the variety of ways and dates on which it is celebrated.  This is derived from the differences in customs and cultures around the world.

One thing is certain now and will remain so prospectively: on this day the mother/wife is truly in charge.  Men, remember the adage “happy wife, happy life.”

Finally, men, all together now, let’s repeat the two-word mantra for a successful marriage:

“YES, DEAR!”

Quiz answers: (1) Valentine’s Day. (2) Christmas Eve and Easter.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT, FREEDOM OF SPEECH

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech…..” So says part of the first amendment, of the US Constitution, that pesky little document that far-lefties and “wokers” often choose to ignore or re-interpret when it suits their purpose. These rights, part of the Bill of Rights, are unique to the USA. It’s one of the things that sets us apart from all other countries. It’s one of the things that has drawn immigrants to our shores for over 250 years.

I don’t want to get bogged down in an in-depth discussion of constitutional law. That is not the purpose of this blog, and bedsides, it would likely bore you, the reader (and me). Instead, I would like to discuss the subject in layman’s terms.

Over the years, there has been a great deal of case law regarding freedom of speech, what it means and its limitations. Currently, to most people, it means one is entitled to express his or her own opinion(s), free of censorship by the government or anyone else. This right is not absolute; the classic exception is one cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, but, otherwise, one is free to say whatever he or she wants regardless of how unpopular it may be. In a famous and extreme example, in 1978 the ACLU defended the right of a neo-Nazi group to march through an area of Skokie, IL, which was inhabited by a goodly number of Holocaust survivors. On the other hand, in recent years social media platforms, such as Facebook and twitter, have banned certain people and opinions based on their interpretation of what is “acceptable” and what is “offensive” or “racist.”

And, now we come to the crux of the matter. According to Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and multiple other media sources, the Biden Administration is planning to unveil a “Disinformation Governance Board” under the purview of The Department of Homeland Security. The DGB will be charged with “countering misinformation.” What is “misinformation?” Obviously, it will be in the eye of the beholder, and that is the most obvious problem. Who gets to decide? Should anyone have that power and authority? Of course, the answer is NO ONE.

Under the Administration’s plan the DGB will be able to label any speech with which it disagrees as “misinformation” and shut it down. To me and many others, this conjures up life in Soviet Russia during the Stalin era, present-day communist China and the dystopian society portrayed in George Orwell’s novel, 1984. This has no place in the US, none.

No person or entity should be permitted to wield that kind of power, not you, not me, not the government, and certainly not the far left group that the Biden Administration has in mind. Alejandro Mayorkas, the Head of Homeland Security, has been the king of misinformation with respect to the crisis on the border, even denying that there IS a crisis. Nina Jankowicz, who has been tabbed to run the DGB, was a strong proponent of the Russian disinformation lies. Can the Administration be more obvious?

According to The Hill far-lefty AOC, always good for an inane quote or two, opined that “we’re going to have to figure out how to rein in our media environment so you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation.” She uttered similar comments on “60 Minutes” a few years ago. Was she referring to herself as one of the “spewers?” In her mind, “no,” but in my mind, “yes.”

The Administration has claimed it is merely trying to identify those who are spreading misinformation. It has been suggested that the best way to do so would be to purchase a very large mirror.

CONCLUSION

We all know what this is about. It’s not about preserving free speech. It’s not about preventing violence. No, no, no. It’s all about POWER AND CONTROL, getting it, retaining it, and expanding it.

For years, in my opinion, the far left and “wokers” have controlled virtually all of the media narrative, including, for example, social media, news, tv, and movies. The one notable exception has been Fox News. Conservatives have had to tread very carefully, whereas liberals have had free rein. Stories deemed to be harmful to the right, such as Russian disinformation, have been exaggerated and perpetuated. Stories harmful to the left, such as the Biden family’s nefarious involvement with China and Hunter Biden’s laptop, have been whitewashed, ignored or banned.

Now, in the wake of Elon Musk’s purchase of twitter, conservatives and their opinions figure to get a “fair shake.” Now, we will likely have a level playing field. Now, journalists may actually have to do some real work and ferret out the facts to a story. Now, the public will be presented with all of the facts with respect to the news, and they will be free to evaluate it and make up their own minds. That is how it should be in a free society.

Far-lefties and “wokers” are afraid, as they should be. Just listen to the commentary emanating from CNN and MSNBC, if you can do so without laughing, that is.

In their mindless thirst for power and control the lefties and “wokers” have forgotten two things. (1) This new department, like everything else, will have to be funded by Congress. With an election looming good luck with getting a majority of Congressmen to vote to fund it. (2) Every legal scholar I have heard has opined that it is unconstitutional. I believe there will be legal challenges and the courts will rule as such.

One might ask what is the Biden Administration trying to accomplish with the DGB? What is their objective besides providing a sop to the far left and “wokers” that control it? I don’t know, and chances are neither do they.

CINCO DE MAYO

Thursday, May 5 we will celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It is meant to be a festive occasion. In America, even non-Mexicans join in the fun. After all, who does not enjoy a party? Who does not want to eat and drink at a discount? Every year on May 5, many of us eat tacos and enchiladas and drink tequila and margaritas and dress in Mexican garb to celebrate.  Anyone care for a “dirty taco?”

There are a myriad of ways to celebrate the day, such as mariachi band concerts, river cruises, festivals, and parades. In addition, many restaurants offer special deals and specialized drinks on this date to attract customers. Anyone “up” a “tipsy shark” or a “dal Rita?”

Typically, most Americans have no idea of the significance of the holiday. They may assume that it is some religious festival or has something to do with Mexico’s independence from Spain. That would be wrong and wrong. See below, and be edified.

In 1861 France invaded Mexico. Napoleon III, the ruler of France at the time, correctly perceived that Mexico was “ripe for the picking.”  The Mexican-American War of 1846-48 had virtually bankrupted the country.  The US was distracted by its impending Civil War and thus, unable to oppose France in Mexico.  The other European powers, notably Spain and England, were not in the picture.

At first, the French, with their superior numbers, equipment and training, routed the Mexicans, but on May 5, 1862 the Mexicans surprisingly defeated the French decisively in a major battle near Puebla, halting their advance.  The Civil War ended in 1865, and, thereafter, the US was able to assist Mexico.  Eventually, the French needed their military assets at home to prepare to fight the Prussians [in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)], so they abandoned their plans to conquer Mexico and withdrew.

The battle at Puebla was significant for several reasons:

1. Though largely symbolic, this victory gave the Mexicans a much-needed infusion of patriotism and national pride.

2. Since then, no country in the Americas has been invaded successfully by a European country.

3. Most importantly for the US, many historians believe that France’s ultimate goal was to encourage and enable the South to break away from the North.  Mexico could have been used as a military base from which France could have funneled men and equipment to the Confederacy.  If they had not been defeated at Puebla, who knows how far north their army would have pushed and who knows what military and political pressure they would have brought to bear against the US.  It’s possible France could have ended up dominating the entire West Coast of present-day US.  Consequently, it can be posited that that victory helped preserve the Union.

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated not only in Mexico, but also in many other countries. Cities in the US, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand and Japan hold festivals featuring Mexican music, food and drink and celebrating Mexican culture.

Technically, Cinco de Mayo, though recognized as a day of celebration throughout Mexico, is not a national holiday, although it is a holiday in the State of Puebla. Throughout the country, the public schools are closed and many towns hold parades or re-enactments of the battle of Puebla. It should be noted that Cinco de Mayo is NOT to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16.

Additionally, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in many areas of the US, particularly in locales where there is a sizeable Mexican population, such as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. As I said above, events include parades, festivals, mariachi bands, and parties. In the past two years COVID fears put a damper on celebrations in some areas, but I believe now many Americans are sick of being restricted and are anxious to “bust loose.”

CONCLUSION

Cinco de Mayo is supposed to be a joyous holiday, as it celebrates an heroic occasion. Many non-Mexicans also get into the spirit of the holiday and participate in the above celebrations. They dress in Mexican clothing, such as ponchos and sombreros, participate in parades, and patronize Mexican restaurants.  In recent years, some so-called “pc police” have objected to this, calling it mocking a culture and even racist (their favorite fallback criticism).  For example, various “woke” communities and universities have placed restrictions or outright bans on celebrations. Moreover, some colleges have gone so far as to ban using the name “Cinco de Mayo.”

Personally, I find these restrictive actions offensive and a violation of the First Amendment.  It’s not as if the celebrants are painting offensive sayings or publishing mocking cartoons. Wearing ponchos and sombreros and dancing the “Mexican Hat Dance” do not rise to the level of, say, anti-Semitic scribblings on walls, burning a cross on a lawn, or fire-bombing places of worship.  THOSE are offensive, or worse.  This merely strikes me as getting into the holiday spirit, not being mean-spirited.

Once again, the majority is being subjected to the tyranny of the vocal minority. Remember, approximately 80% of the tweets are posted by only 10% of the people, so don’t be fooled by the vocal minority. As an aside, I have to say that in my youth we would have dealt with the pc crowd differently. Rather than kowtow, we would have made it point to parade down main street wearing sombreros and ponchos, drinking tequila and dancing the Mexican hat dance. Times have sure changed, and not necessarily for the better.

As I delineated above, Cinco de Mayo is a great source of pride for people of Mexican descent, as well it should be.  It commemorates a significant military victory over a better-equipped, numerically superior force.  The victory held considerable historical significance and should be celebrated.