Head Thumping Commentary

How to Destroy the Republican Party

Victor C. Bolles

August 9, 2022

 

Former President Donald Trump is the dominant figure in the Republican Party and aspires to be its candidate for President in the 2024 elections. To implement his plans, he is attempting to remake the Republican Party by backing candidates that are loyal to him and his agenda and ousting traditional Republicans whose loyalties lie elsewhere. But his scheme might fail because the candidates he is backing are not faring well against their Democratic opponents in a year when Republicans were expected to do well in the midterm elections. In this commentary, we look at the implications of Mr. Trump’s plans for the future of the Republican Party. 

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Given this scenario, Republicans should be in a position to make major gains in the midterms. All the American people want is a return to some sense of normalcy so that they can get on with their lives, which is hard enough to do even in the best of times. Given the antipathy of voters to the progressive agenda demanded by the Democrats, it would take an idiot or a madman at the head of the Republican Party to foul up the 2022 elections. Enter Donald Trump.”

The Deficit Reduction Dance

Victor C. Bolles

August 3, 2022

 

The Inflation Reduction Act concocted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic maverick Joe Manchin is being rushed through Congress in the hopes of a quick passage before people realize what is actually in the bill and what it means in terms of reducing inflation. In this commentary, we look at the underlying causes of inflation and why the Inflation Reduction Act has little chance to actually reduce inflation.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“After a bit of analysis, it seems likely that the Inflation Reduction Act is going to do very little to reduce inflation (the Penn Wharton Budget Model projects that the bill would have no impact on inflation in the short term and only a 25 basis point reduction by the late 2020s).”

Gasolina Barata

Victor C. Bolles

July 18, 2022

 

First, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador snubbed President Biden’s invitation to the recent Summit of the Americas by refusing to attend unless the dictators from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were also invited. At a White House meeting the following week, he chided President Biden about US inflation saying that Americans were crossing the border to buy gasoline in Mexico. After these insults, President Biden journeyed to the Middle East to beg a potentate, who previously had refused to receive his calls, to please pump more oil.  This lack of respect for the US and its president is a result of a slavish adherence to the progressive left agenda that has left the US weakened and vulnerable. In this commentary, we look at what lies behind this contempt for the US and its president.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“American weakness on the world stage is the result of President Biden’s fervent adoption of the progressive left agenda which includes diversion of funds from defense to entitlements, a regulatory straightjacket for US businesses, and a Green New Deal that decimates domestic energy production while staking the country’s future on unreliable renewable energy sources that require new technology that is yet to be developed to meet the energy requirements of the future as well as dependence on raw materials from foreign countries, many of them adversaries. “

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When Face Value is Two Faced

Victor C. Bolles

July 12, 2022

 

Institutions that are intended to foster professionalism and civic responsibility have been taken over in order to promote progressive ideology. Membership in institutions such as the American Bar Association has declined to only about 14% of practicing attorneys allowing a small minority to realign an esteemed 140 year old institution into a platform for progressivism. And the American Medical Association is using critical race theory to attack systemic racism in medicine. In this commentary we investigate the hollowing out of vital civic and professional organizations and their transformation into something unrecognizable. 

 

Quote from the Commentary:

The Chicago Sun Times reported that in 2021, the AMA published a plan to dismantle "structural racism" that would encourage "explicit conversations about power, racism, gender and class oppression, forms of discrimination and exclusion." They also plan to and utilize critical race theory as part of the dismantling.

Weasel Words

Victor C. Bolles

July 6, 2022

 

The left is always coming up with new words or redefining the meaning of old words to make their progressive ideas more palatable to the American public. Freidrich Hayek called them weasel words. Words designed to deceive, not inform. One example of weasel words that Professor Hayek highlighted in his book, The Fatal Conceit, are the words “social justice,” which are intended to sound morally superior to regular justice. In this commentary we look at the claims of the moral superiority of social justice and also some of the newer weasel words and phrases being pushed by the left.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“And not only does the supposedly morally superior social justice of the socialist system limit the economic freedom of people, these progressive concepts poison all other human interactions as well. Economic activity seeps into all aspects of human life and politics, defining our aspirations, affecting our education and our livelihoods. Without economic freedom, a person loses the ability to manage his own fate and that of his (or her) family.”  

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Chaos in the Culture Wars 

Victor C. Bolles

June 24, 2022

 

Extremists on the left and right are fighting a culture war to transform America into something unrecognizable. And while they are fighting each other, they demand ideological purity or cult-like loyalty among their supporters, leaving regular Americans stranded and lost. We have seen this before, in the 1930s. And it did not turn our well. In this commentary, we call on regular Americans to reject these partisan attempts to hijack our country.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Neither the MAGA Republicans nor the woke progressive left represent the view of the majority of American citizens. They are the revolutionary vanguard of a new order. They are the Bolsheviks of the 21st century. They are the storm troopers of the new order. And they want to lead America back to the politics of the first half of the twentieth century that resulted in two devastating world wars, wars based on ideology and great power politics.”

Capitulation (or not)

Victor C. Bolles

June 20, 2022

 

Financial markets are nearing capitulation, interest rates are rising, inflation is roaring, and recession is looming. The American people, along with investors, are hunkering down for a really rough patch. Everybody is adjusting their lives to cope with these new circumstances. Everybody, that is, but the Biden Administration. They insist that their progressive agenda would be on track except for Putin’s invasion, price gouging energy companies and intransigent Republicans. In this commentary we investigate the implications of the Biden Administration’s response to these events.

 

Quote from the commentary:

With all the markets in decline, where has all the liquidity that has been injected into the economy ever since 2008 gone? If you are lucky, then your losses are paper losses. If you were foolish enough to think that the market could only go up, and you borrowed money to buy even more, then margin calls have probably left you broke. Big hedge funds are feeling the pain (and many have had to liquidate) but your 401 (k) is feeling the pain as well. 

The Pin Factory and Social Justice

Victor C. Bolles

June 10, 2022

 

In the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith used the example of a simple pin factory to explain the benefits of the division of labor. He went on to show how this division of labor created a supply chain of economic actors making decisions in their own self-interest that supply all the economic necessities of the country. In America, progressive leftists are pushing social justice goals on US companies that will disrupt this dynamic free market economic system. In this commentary we analyze why social justice goals, while well intended, are incompatible with America’s free market economic system.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Self-interest has been given a bad rap. Self-interest is the attention one pays to one’s own affairs. You work so that you can eat and feed your family. You own a business so that you can increase your wealth and provide opportunities to your offspring. If you don’t pay attention to these details of daily life, who will? Your benefactor, your sovereign, your government?”

An Open Letter to Sen. John Cornyn

Victor C. Bolles

June 2, 2022

 

An open letter to Senator John Cornyn regarding his efforts to build a bi-partisan consensus on gun reform amid rising concern that current gun laws provide inadequate protection to the American people and their children.

 

Quote from the Letter:

“It is important that some sort of compromise be found because the people need to know that our lawmakers can work in concert when needed for the benefit of the country. Because without that belief, partisan differences can only lead us to despair for the fate of our once great nation.”

Our Politicians Are Driving Us Crazy

Victor C. Bolles

May 25, 2022

 

Our politicians are driving us crazy. I do not mean this figuratively. I mean this literally. They are driving people crazy and making America a hellish place in which to live. In this commentary we look at what politicians are doing that are literally making people go crazy.

 

Quote form the commentary:

“Instead of trying to find common ground so that citizens can interact freely on the basis of trust, our politicians are trying to divide us into competing groups. These groups compete for access to government power and entitlement because in this progressive viewpoint all the benefits provided by society are derived from or allocated by government and do not come from citizens interacting together. This model requires a powerful government, not powerful people.”

More on the High Cost of Free Speech

Victor C. Bolles

May 20, 2022

 

Tragedy follows upon tragedy and the cause is linked to hate speech, disinformation or fake news. It is a natural instinct to want to suppress these sick ideas and hateful concepts. But these evils thrive in the darkness. Their weakness is exposure to light. Free speech carries a high price, but the lack of free speech has an unbearable cost. In this commentary we continue our investigation into the continual high cost of free speech.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Mass murders of black people, nightly protests with no apparent objective and blocking police from dangerous neighborhoods are unlikely to achieve the results these extremists seek. Their purpose does not appear to be specific results or outcomes but chaos and disruption. As if they want all of society to suffer the pain of their disturbed thoughts.”

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The Continual High Cost of Free Speech 

Victor C. Bolles

May 17, 2022

 

I am quite certain that as we get closer to the November off-year elections abortion, inflation and the war in Europe will dominate the campaign rhetoric and the issue of freedom of speech will be pushed to the sidelines (again). But as Elon Musk recently tweeted, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.” We are already being inundated with hackers, trolls, bots, foreign actors, fake news, conspiracy theories and all sorts of nonsense. And now the Biden Administration wants to create a Disinformation Governance Board. In this commentary we look at the assault on free speech being perpetrated by these malevolent characters and now our own government.

 

Quote from the Commentary
“There is a reason why the First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law (which must also include administrative actions or executive orders) abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Government must stay out of speech just as it must stay out of religion. And Elon Musk is right as well. Fact checkers, content moderators and their ilk should keep their hands off free speech.”

Abortion – A 23rd Century Perspective

Victor C. Bolles

May 10, 2022

 

A stolen draft Supreme court opinion that might overturn Roe v. Wade has set off a firestorm of tweets, op-eds and protests across the country. The Republicans and Democrats are facing off for a Battle of the Century. However, the American public has held a very durable consensus for many years that would allow abortion in the first trimester with increasing restrictions, thereafter. The political parties ignore this consensus that would be a viable basis for policy in favor of divisive politics. In this commentary we take a look at why partisan politics is blocking a compromise solution that would allow us to redirect our energies to addressing the consequences of these policies.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

Gallup poll reports that about 60% of Americans support abortion in the first trimester, but that support falls to only 28% in the second trimester and collapses to only 13% in the third trimester. And these ratios are virtually unchanged over more than twenty years of Gallup surveys. And Politico cites poll results that show 50% of American oppose overturning Roe v. Wade while only 28% support such action (the remaining 22% are undecided).

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Joe Biden didn’t Cause Our Inflation

But he did make it worse

Victor C. Bolles

April 25, 2022

 

President Biden’s poll numbers are in the tank and a lot of people are blaming record high inflation for the poor numbers. But inflation pressures began building long before he became president, only awaiting a trigger to set them off. We got multiple triggers with the Covid pandemic, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and supply chain problems. But instead of changing course to address inflationary pressures, the Biden administration is doubling down on its imprudent progressive spending plans. In this commentary, we look at the underlying causes of inflation and why it will not be easy to tame this beast.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“With stock market price/earnings ratios in the stratosphere, Bitcoin at over $40,000 a coin and nonfungible tokens selling for tens of millions of dollars anyone with even a marginal grasp of financial literacy would realize that we were sitting on top of a volcano.”

Slanted Society

Victor C. Bolles

April 18, 2022

 

What if the differences between between central planning, social justice loving progressives and free market, liberty loving conservatives were not ideological but biological? There is mounting evidence that there may be such a link, which means that rational discussion has little chance of changing the minds of those in these two camps. In this commentary we investigate some of the evidence pointing in this direction and discuss some of the implications of this revelation.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“But while the Chinese reversal to a more vertical society places their future in doubt, the Chinese example also shows that liberty loving individuals exist in all societies and that more than two thousand years of vertical Chinese empires could not wipe them out. But all societies also include order loving communitarians, as well. So, a just and prosperous society must adjust to accommodate both the communitarians and libertarians within society.”

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What Happened to the Party of JFK?

Victor C. Bolles

April 5, 2022

 

President Biden has just released his proposed budget for 2023, projecting trillion dollar deficits and mounting public debt far into the future. The rapidly expanding welfare schemes are a far cry from the sentiments President John F. Kennedy expressed in his inaugural address. And to pay for even more entitlements of dubious value, President Biden is proposing a wealth tax on greedy billionaires. In this commentary we look at how far the progressive left has taken the Democratic Party from the values expressed by JFK.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“If all of these trillions of dollars actually helped poor people to escape poverty and to become productive citizens contributing to the general welfare of the country, it might be a worthy endeavor. But the fact is that they don’t. The proof of this is President Biden’s assertion that so much more assistance is needed.”

The New Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Victor C. Bolles

March 18, 2022

 

Eight days after Hitler’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop, signed the infamous pact that bears his name along with his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov, Germany invaded Poland, starting World War Two. Twenty days after Russian President Vladimir Putin issued, along with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, a Joint Statement declaring a new era of international relations, he invaded Ukraine. The new era promised by Putin and Xi does not bode well for free people around the world. In this commentary, we look at the implications and challenges raised by this new version of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. 

 

Quote from the Commentary:

‘The document mentions democracy 12 times and asserts that “Russia and China as world powers with rich cultural and historical heritage have long-standing traditions of democracy, which rely on thousand-years of experience of development.” They are obviously thinking about a different kind of democracy than the one commonly understood by people who are actually free.’

Vertical War

Horizontal Resistance

Victor C. Bolles

March 15, 2022

 

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine isn’t going as planned. The reason may lie in the fact the invasion was planned and implemented vertically, from the mind of a single person, Vladimir Putin. The defense of the nation, although inspired by the leadership of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is being fought by everyone from grandmothers giving sunflower seeds to Russian troops (so flowers will grow where their bodies are buried) to students and office workers heaving Molotov cocktails at tanks. In this commentary we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the different forms of social organization in Russia and Ukraine.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“The great conflict of the twenty-first century will be between autocratic unidimensional societies such as Russia and China and democratic multidimensional societies such as the United States and Europe, just like it was in the twentieth century. And I believe that, like in the twentieth century, the horizontal multidimensional societies will prevail, but it will not be easy or painless.” 

Putin Has Done Us a Favor

Victor C. Bolles

March 7, 2022

 

Just as America was wallowing in woke divisiveness and populist conspiracies, and while the other countries of the West sank into self-indulgent complacency, Vladimir Putin has sent a wake-up call. Europe in their desire to save the planet, had put their future in the hands of Russia. Americans, focused on rancorous partisan politics hardly had the time to concentrate on anything outside its borders. Putin has changed all that. In this commentary, we look at the reinvigorated solidarity of the West and discuss the leadership that will be needed to survive the coming difficult decades. 

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“NATO members are also sending troops and equipment to frontline NATO states to bolster their defenses against further Russian aggression. Germany has agreed to abandon the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for Russian gas and even the environmental Green Party partners in the ruling coalition have agreed to continue the use of coal fired power plants, to build two new LPG terminals and maybe even extend the deadline for shutting down the country’s remaining nuclear power plants.”

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Backfire

Victor C. Bolles

March 1, 2022

 

I never thought Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine. It didn’t make any sense. It was irrational. I was wrong – but right. He did invade. But I was right because he has not achieved any of his strategic goals and he (and Russia) are in a much worse situation than before the invasion. In this commentary, I analyze Putin’s disastrous military misadventure and look at its implications for the future.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Putin has totally failed in achieving his strategic objectives: Ukraine is still independent and fighting fiercely, NATO has been reinvigorated, instead of being feared and respected as a powerful leader he is now a global pariah, and even his own people are rejecting his mad adventure. His grand plan has backfired.”

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My Primary Predicament

Victor C. Bolles

February 21, 2022

 

Primary elections were intended to improve democracy in America. So was the inclusion of administrative positions such as attorney general or railroad commissioner on the ballot. However, as it often is with good intentions, the unintended consequences are often worse than the problem and increasing democracy has resulted in increasing divisiveness. In this commentary, we examine some of the problems presented by upcoming primary elections and make some recommendations on how to reduce the divisiveness that confronts us.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Who the heck are these people and, more importantly, why the heck are we voting for them? We don’t vote for the Attorney General of United States or the Secretary of the Treasury. The president selects them. We don’t vote for Supreme Court justices; the president selects them. This is a case of excessive democracy. There really can be too much of a good thing, and too much democracy is not a good thing.”

In Vlad’s Shoes

Victor C. Bolles

February 14, 2022

 

To our Western eyes, the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin are not just dangerous, they are incomprehensible, which only makes them more dangerous. But he is not a madman. There are reasons behind his recent provocative actions. In this commentary we engage in some thought experiments to try and better understand Mr. Putin’s motives and use those insights to guide future measures to preserve our security. 

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“So, the Ukraine is not just another country that was under the domination of the Soviet Union just as they were under Tsarist Russia for many centuries – what the Russians call the “near abroad.” It is part of the Motherland. By turning toward the West, the Ukrainians are turning their backs on their ancestral relations who share a common culture and history.”

Five Questions for Stephen Kotkin

Excellent interview from the Hoover Institute. Well worth your time.

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The Algorithm of Decline

Victor C. Bolles

February 2, 2022

 

Ray Dalio, billionaire hedge fund manager and author, has written a new book describing his theory of why nations succeed and fail. He has used artificial intelligence and big data to identify the key determinants in the rise and fall of great powers and his theory reveals why the United States is a declining power and China is a rising one. But the real utility of his theory is as a roadmap of how America can avoid, or at least delay, such a fate. In this commentary, we examine Mr. Dalio’s theory and identify the determinants essential to block America’s decline.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“(Mr. Dalio’s) eight determinants of power are mostly trending downward. Especially troubling are lagging excellence in education and a weary military with obsolete equipment. Internal conflict, partisanship and perceived inequality are tilting us toward violence and possibly even revolution or civil war. As the American era begins to decline, the rise of China as the next world order seems almost inevitable.”

The Real RINO

Victor C. Bolles

January 17, 2022

 

In a recent letter, former president Trump implies that Democrats are not real Americans and urges fellow patriots (his words) to elect Trump Republicans. Not Republicans but Trump Republicans whose loyalty is to Donald Trump and not the Republican Party. Not to be out done, President Biden accuses those opposed to his (actually Nancy Pelosi’s) voting rights legislation of being on the side of rebels and slavers like Jefferson Davis. In this commentary we examine the reasons for this hyperbolic divisiveness and suggest some alternative approaches to resolve differences.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

Fascist populism built around personality cults, crony capitalism and militarism must be rejected. Socialist populism built on government power, enforced equality and cultural relativism must be rejected. These systems have been proven failures that have only resulted in misery and death. It is these extremists that have gained control of the Republican and Democratic parties that have shattered the unity of the American people, thrown political discourse into the gutter and incited increasing violence and reduced public safety.

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Plessy v. Progressives

Victor C. Bolles

January 12, 2022

 

On January 5, 2022, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards pardoned Homer Plessy for committing the crime of riding in a whites-only railcar in 1892. The U.S. Supreme Court had rejected Plessy’s appeal of his conviction in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson decision that set the stage for “separate but equal” treatment under Jim Crow laws. But that decision had placed public opinion over the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The progressive left objects to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution by justices that impedes their efforts to make sweeping changes to the form and function of the federal government. In this commentary, we look at the issues being raised by vaccine mandate cases currently under review by the Court.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“But a Supreme Court untethered to the Constitution, or a Senate not bound to developing a consensus will be no different from the popular opinion as expressed in the House and will provide no check on rash policies and no balance to protect minority opinions.”

Urgent Priorities

Victor C. Bolles

December 30, 2021

 

In the year 2022 the United States will be challenged to address urgent priorities of national importance, but our political leaders will be distracted by political priorities as we approach the upcoming off-year elections. As citizens, we need to make sure that our elected representatives focus on issues of national importance and not on ideological agendas or the egos of political leaders. In this commentary, we identify some of these urgent national priorities as well as the distracting political priorities that we need to put behind us.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“There are priorities that affect all Americans, rich and poor, black and white, young and old, whatever. We live in a complex and dangerous world. While our country is rich and powerful, it is not invulnerable. We cannot ignore the events happening around us and we need to be able to influence those events or be prepared to suffer the consequences.”

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