Have you noticed that at almost every public appearance by President Biden, VP Kamala Harris is lurking in the background? She’s usually standing off to the side, in a black suit. If I didn’t know she was the VP, I would think she was a Secret Service agent.

Of course, maybe she is there to protect Biden – from gaffes possibly. Is she there to step in if he goes too far off the script he’s been given? Or do Dems just want to get people used to seeing her?

Harris was there again when Biden went to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta last Friday to tout 100 million COVID vaccinations. But where was she earlier that day when the president fell while climbing the stairs to board Air Force One?

A president and VP are usually not together often. It’s a national security risk. If there is an attack, accident or natural disaster in the president’s location, the VP should be safe in another place. Maybe someone needs to remind the administration of this.

Posted by: SWL | March 23, 2021

Biden Immigration Orders Endanger Americans

Americans have a variety of opinions about how to address the issue of families seeking to come into the US to find a better life. But I would hope we are united in wanting to keep our country safe. Unfortunately, President Biden’s executive orders (EOs) concerning those who have or will soon cross our southern border illegally are putting the country in danger, especially border communities.

One part of his EOs stops the deportation of those already in custody. Because of court ordered limits on holding time and space limitations, the functional consequence of Biden’s order is that these people are being released in the US. The problem with that is that 80-90% of those in custody are convicted criminals, the reason they are scheduled for deportation.

Why would Biden and others pushing this agenda want to release criminals into our society?

Another part of Biden’’s “immigration” EO is allowing virtually anyone to cross anywhere along the border, and pulling Border Patrol agents off the border and assigning most to taking care of those who have crossed the border. Whatever requirements (or none) you think should be placed on migrants, you should desire some screening process that endeavors to keep out drug runners and others with bad intentions – or even those with COVID.

The number of illegal crossings has increased so dramatically that in many places the Border Patrol is just issuing notices for future court hearings and releasing the migrants. In a few locations virus tests are given and those with positive results are being placed (at US taxpayer expense) in local hotels. Communities along the border are ordering extra test kits, worried about a surge in cases as migrants interact in their towns. (Why aren’t the Feds providing test kits to border cities?) Borders all around the world (including the official checkpoints along our southern border) are closed or have virus restrictions, but Biden has put out the welcome mat for anyone to cross our border illegally.

After some setbacks for the Mexican drug cartels in the recent past, they are strengthening. There are reports of cartel members torturing and killing ordinary people living along the border. The killers may be leaders trying to intimidate villagers and new/younger cartel recruits, or recruits forced to commit atrocities as initiation. Regardless of reason, they are well-armed, heartless and vicious.

I cannot imagine that Biden and his advisors are so out of touch with international issues that they are not aware of the drug situation, or so stupid they cannot see the logical consequences of this policy. This is far more than not building the border wall or making changes to previous immigration law. Biden’s EOs effectively nullify all previous law, and even more importantly, will allow a uninterrupted flow of drugs into the US and force residents just north of the border to face the same risk of torture and death as those living south of our border.

What possible reason could Biden & Company have for allowing this? There are numerous other ways to allow asylum seekers in, give Dreamers access to citizenship, provide welfare benefits to those here illegally. (Whether any of that is wise is a subject for another day.) There has to be some unstated but purposeful intention for what Biden has ordered. And the thought that the administration would disrupt US society with these dangers is of great concern. We need answers. Ask your Congressional representatives to provide them.

Posted by: SWL | March 16, 2021

Dallas Seavey Wins 5th Iditarod

Early Monday morning, Dallas Seavey won his fifth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Dallas Seavey, in Nome after winning his first Iditarod championship in 2012

Last year the coronavirus lockdowns came while the mushers were on the trail in Interior Alaska. Officials with the city of Nome implored spectators not to come to the finish line.

The race normally begins near Willow and finishes in Nome. (The Interior portion alternates between a northern and southern route.) The race route has been altered a couple of times in the last decade. Twice the race began in Fairbanks because there was not enough snow in the Anchorage area and the Alaska Range.

This year the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) came up with a familiar but still very different route. The race began at Deshka Landing, not too far from the usual starting line. It ran over approximately half the normal southern route to the old mining town of Iditarod. Then mushers turned around and raced back over the same trail they had just traversed.

There would be three major differences to this routing:

  • Mushers would camp out at every checkpoint except McGrath. This was to keep everyone associated with the race out of the villages along the trail to prevent the possible spread of COVID. Normally checkpoint villages welcome mushers with food and a warm place to sleep in their schools or community centers. Instead, this year some teams experienced -55° F in Iditarod, extreme even for Alaska in March.
  • Once the first mushers turned at the halfway point, they would be facing slower teams head-on. In previous races, a team might pass another from behind, like passing a slower car on the highway. This year, at least in some spots, it was more like passing an oncoming car on a single lane country road. No one was sure how the dogs would react. But there were no reports of any problems.
  • Going back over a trail that had already seen 40 teams would probably mean a fast, hard-packed trail and snow worn away in some places. Luckily, the areas which were of the most concern received some snow before most of the dog teams returned.

The ITC came up with an innovative solution to continue a tradition and things went smoothly. As of this posting, 14 mushers are still navigating the trail. The race should conclude on Wednesday.

Traditional Iditarod finish in Nome, Alaska

Posted by: SWL | March 10, 2021

COVID Stimulus Checks for Prisoners

Congressional Democrats should be ashamed of themselves! There were several changes made to the $1.9 trillion COVID pandemic relief legislation when it was in the Senate. Republicans specifically asked that pandemic relief checks slated to go to Americans would not go to prisoners. Democrats rejected that amendment. Why???

Prisoners have not lost jobs because of pandemic closures or having to take care of children doing remote learning. Their food and medical care are provided. They don’t need to buy hand sanitizer and other personal PPE. And in many states, prisoners have been put ahead of older Americans to receive coronavirus vaccines. Prisoners have not suffered the financial problems many taxpayers have dealt with.

There are income limits in the COVID legislation, so that Americans who least need the $1400 per person don’t get a stimulus check. (The upper income limits of $80,000/$160,000 per individual/couples are far higher than necessary, but that’s another discussion.) Prisoners are another group that do not need the funds. Dems are wasting taxpayer dollars for absolutely no reason; there’s not even political gain in this move.

This week’s cold wave across the southern US is a rare and deadly event. The electrical problems in Texas are a preview in miniature of what could happen in the rest of the country if extreme “green” energy policies are implemented too quickly.

Texas is the only state with its own power grid. Like all government entities, they are working toward using greener energy sources, taking advantage of the state’s abundant sunshine and wind. Wind power makes up about 10% of the state’s power capacity, but was supplying about 40% of the energy shortly before the storm hit.

These recent extreme cold temperatures are very rare in Texas, and many of their power sources – both green and fossil fuel – froze up. But while coal and natural gas plants can be insulated against cold (plants in northern states don’t freeze and quit operating every winter), windmills and solar panels will become inoperable when covered with ice in any location.

So solar and wind power have the potential for trouble in locations with cold weather all winter. Without back-up fossil fuel availability, people in northern states will have regularly occurring power outages every winter if they rely solely on green energy.

The Biden administration needs to slow the transition to green energy while provisions for extreme weather, bird and bat kills at windmills, and other problems are tackled by scientists and technology experts.

Posted by: SWL | February 20, 2021

Biden Townhall: Distorting Facts or Making Gaffes

President Biden went to Milwaukee Monday for a townhall broadcast on CNN. During one of his answers, Biden said there was no vaccine available before he took office.

Of course, that is not true. Even small towns here in northern Nevada received the first doses of vaccine for essential workers near Christmas. And Biden himself received his two doses of the vaccine before his inauguration.

Donald Trump supporters are jumping on this remark to charge Biden with trying to rewrite history. I would certainly believe that from others in the Biden camp. (Recently VP Kamala Harris said that because the administration had not been left a vaccine stockpile by the last administration, they had to start from scratch. All available vaccine doses after FDA approval were being sent to the states, so there were no spare doses to stockpile. Harris didn’t mention that nothing has changed – there is no stockpile now either.)

But with Biden’s remark, I think it was just another of his gaffes. If you listen to many of his townhall replies, you’ll notice his sentences are incomplete or skip essential words. It sounded like he had memorized replies for expected questions and struggled to remember the entire reply.

In some ways that is worse than distorting the facts. We need a president who is articulate and can keep up mentally with all the issues. We need a president who isn’t a puppet for his political party or the VP. This was a concern during the election, but COVID was a convenient excuse to keep Biden out of the public eye much of the time. I fear this will not improve as the president’s term goes on.

For almost 3 weeks, Democrats and a few Republicans have been saying Donald Trump is responsible for the January 6 Capitol riot because of things he said to his supporters. Words do have consequences. So I would like to see Democrats acknowledge that Joe Biden’s campaign rhetoric is going to have dire consequences for the US and for many desperate people south of our border.

Biden promised that there would be no deportations of illegal immigrants for the first 100 days of his presidency. That has led to about 8000 people fleeing Guatemala and heading north to the US border. In news reports last week, one man misquoted Biden, saying Biden has given them 100 days to get into the US without fear of being sent home. Now there is another group of a few thousand massing at the Honduran border.

The consequences?

  1. The Guatemalan and Mexican governments have to deal with the effects of these caravans moving through their countries: paying for extra police and/or military action, COVID testing for the ill, food aid. And it wouldn’t have happened without Biden’s campaign promise.
  2. At least 21 people in the first group have been diagnosed with COVID-19. They come from areas where people live close together and sanitation may be lacking. So it’s not surprising that many may be ill. If the US allows them to enter our country, it is likely that there will be surges in virus cases in states along the border.
  3. If these people are not allowed in, they face the long, physically difficult, expensive trip back to homes where they have no financial opportunities. Biden has given them false hope – the same way Trump gave false hope of overturning the election results to his supporters.

At this point, either choice – let them enter the US or send them back – is problematic. Biden should have thought through the consequences of his plan more thoroughly before he spoke.

Note: The state of Texas asked a federal court for an injunction, which was granted yesterday. The judge specifically noted that it is illegal to order federal laws not to be enforced, and that the administration did not provided any evidence that this action was needed at this time.

It’s wonderful that California governor Gavin Newsom lifted the stay-at-home order and ban on restaurant dining. His state’s economy needs it.

But I have to laugh at the hypocrisy: COVID rates (by various measures) are higher now than when the mandates went into effect. Clearly the mandates did not affect transmission of the virus in California. Citizens have been pleading with Newsom to lift his orders since they went into effect. So why change now? Either Newsom finally figured out the economic consequences to shutting down everything OR he was following the national Democrat script to make the pandemic and its economic effects worse during the election cycle to favor Biden.

If it’s the first reason, he’s too inept in economics to run a state the size of California. If the latter, he cannot be trusted and shouldn’t be governing. The initiative to recall Newsom is doing well gathering the required number of signatures to put the measure on the ballot. I wish them well. California is a beautiful state and deserves a better governor.

On Friday, our new president, Joe Biden, signed an executive order to provide more food assistance per month to needy Americans. He has repeatedly said he wants to help those who have lost jobs during the pandemic. He’s also pledged to create thousands of new jobs, especially in the clean energy sector.

The contradiction is that two days earlier he signed another order to stop construction on the Keystone XL pipeline in the upper Midwest, causing around 1000 workers to lose their jobs. I do not think they will feel better because Biden’s Friday order provides them 15% more in food stamps to feed their families while they hunt for new jobs in the tight pandemic job market.

The pipeline workers also cannot wait for the promised green energy jobs to be created. Besides, solar energy jobs pay less than pipeline work. Of course, there’s no guarantee they would get those jobs anyway. This is a big country – getting trained workers and jobs together can be difficult.

Shutting down pipeline construction may have other negative economic consequences:

  • The Keystone pipeline originates in Canada. The pipeline would carry shale oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in the US Midwest and Gulf Coast regions. As soon as Biden signed the executive order stopping construction in the US, the Canadian government sent a protest. Biden has alienated our closest ally and may have jeopardized future economic cooperation between the two countries.
  • Any US manufacturers scheduled to make materials for the pipeline have lost that revenue.

The new administration seems to ignore the larger picture when it comes to US prosperity. Energy, unemployment, foreign relations and other issues are each looked at in isolation. It doesn’t seem to matter if action in one area affects another. (Do they think Americans are too busy trying to survive the pandemic to notice?) It’s a foolish way to govern. I see little besides economic chaos in the next four years.

Posted by: SWL | January 8, 2021

Trump Not Legally Responsible for Capitol Riot

Not being a fan of President Trump, I hate to defend him. But truth and fairness take priority.

So I must say that Trump did not incite the Capitol riot on Wednesday. He has done and said a lot of things that led his supporters to believe he had some major evidence of election fraud (even after not producing said evidence for two months) or other surprise that would change the results of the election. But nothing he said at Wednesday’s Washington rally explicitly – or even implicitly – told the crowd to break into the Capitol, threaten members of Congress and vandalize the buildings. Even when CNN anchors and guests were discussing why they thought Trump should be removed from office, the best evidence from the rally they could provide was a clip of Trump saying people should march to the Capitol and encourage Republican members of Congress to challenge the electors. There were no words that could be associated with violence.

This is not to say Trump is blameless. He’s been ethically reckless and selfish. He has seemed unhinged for months. And he has continued to exaggerate the election fraud that may have occurred in some states. (There are affidavits here in Nevada that document irregularities that appear illegal, but apparently didn’t make a difference in the outcome.) But there has been nothing in Trump’s speeches or tweets that encourage unlawful behavior. His actions and words don’t meet a legal definition of inciting violence or insurrection.

The rioters need to be held individually accountable where possible. One Arizona man has been identified, and spoke Thursday with a FOX News reporter, who said the man claimed Satanic rituals take place in the Capitol building. Someone like that is likely to act out with almost any provocation. The President cannot be held accountable for any unbalanced persons who attended the rally, any more than lawmakers who speak for racial justice can be held accountable for rioting and looting at Black Lives Matter demonstrations around the nation.

Trump did not discourage his supporters’ extreme rhetoric the past two months, but also did not suggest/encourage/incite unlawful behavior. I’m happy to see him go (although extremely concerned about the harm the Democrat controlled government will do to our country). But in fairness, I cannot say he needs to be held legally responsible for the DC riot.

Posted by: SWL | January 8, 2021

Dems Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

The chaos and violence in Washington, DC, Wednesday was illegal, as well as useless. It never would have stopped the democratic process; it only delayed the inevitable certification of electors. After these anti-democratic actions, how will we bring back a cooperative spirit in our country and address issues in a way that brings relief to injustice but is still fair to all?

Unfortunately, just a day later, I saw the future as Democratic politicians tried to tie their signature issues to the riots. Liberals are showing their hypocrisy and their determination to “never let a good crisis go to waste”.

In the aftermath of Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris were complaining about treatment of protesters of color in previous demonstrations, and throughout the rest of the day other Democrats and media people repeated accusations that Black Lives Matters protesters were treated differently than trump supporters. Harris insisted that the mostly white rioters on Wednesday were allowed to do what they wanted, while tear gas was used on BLM demonstrators in DC last summer. She failed to mention that tear gas was also deployed during Wednesday’s violence. But complete truth doesn’t seem to matter to many liberals, who make emotional rather than factual claims to take advantage of a situation.

Biden said of Wednesday’s DC rioters, “don’t you dare call them protesters”, they were “rioters“. This is exactly the opposite of this summer when liberals insisted that BLM and Antifa rioters and looters in various US cities were “peaceful protesters”. (One CNN reporter even made that statement while buildings burned behind him.)

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is trying to take advantage of this crisis too, calling for immediate full statehood for DC. Whether the district is a state or not made no difference to the riot response. Actually, statehood might have made it more difficult to control the chaos. Wednesday, the mayor was able to call for help from Virginia and Delaware; I am not sure the same reciprocal aid agreements would be in place with statehood.

Social media is also acting in a hypocritical, political manner: suspending President Trump’s Facebook and Twitter accounts on Wednesday. Trump’s posts may have been outlandish, but they did not ask anyone to commit acts of violence or treason. Meanwhile, social media has allowed posts from the Chinese government saying the US military invented the corona virus, the Iranian government threatening “death to Israel”, Rep. Maxine Waters telling followers to literally harass Cabinet members they see in restaurants and other public places, Antifa organizing vandalism in various cities.

Today Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account. They said they interpret Trump’s statement that he will not attend Biden’s inauguration as meaning that Trump is telling his supporters they can attack the ceremony because he won’t be there. What??! Twitter is taking any statement from someone with whom they disagree and twisting it to mean what they (Twitter) want it to mean. It is absolutely outrageous. It is also censorship. And this wild speculation is ridiculous from a company founded by supposedly logical, intelligent people.

I hate hypocrisy. I’d rather see someone consistently supporting a view I disagree with than changing their “opinions” depending on the whims of others. Allow Trump to use his accounts, or freeze the offending accounts mentioned above and many others. (But there are so many falsehoods and threats floating in cyberspace that I cannot imagine social media companies having enough employees or time to monitor them all.)

There are plenty of things to look at in the aftermath of this riot: why wasn’t there a larger police presence, making the area more secure for inauguration, finding as many of those who vandalized the Capitol as possible, etc. Bringing up police reform, DC statehood and other important issues that are irrelevant to this event, makes it more difficult to thoroughly deal with the various facets of the current situation to prevent a recurrence.

Posted by: SWL | January 6, 2021

DC Protests Make US Look Like 3rd World Country

The protests today, with supporters of President Trump storming the Capitol Building, will be a blot on the history of the US. Regardless of political leanings, everyone should condemn these actions. They are not in line with our democratic ideals. It looks more like a poorly executed coup attempt in a third world country.

I understand the frustration of the “common folk” over the last election and the self-serving actions of many politicians. With a system as entrenched in red tape as ours, it’s hard to see any way to reform. It certainly is not through adding more justices to the Supreme Court or printing money (and devaluing our currency) to pay citizens for every inconvenience in life. BUT the type of reform most of us want and need is NOT going to come through threats of violence.

Please join me in praying for calm and reason to prevail, tonight and in the weeks to come as we go through a change in governance.

Posted by: SWL | November 15, 2020

NV Governor Tests Positive for COVID

If it wasn’t so serious, I’d have to laugh: after months of chiding Nevadans for not taking more virus precautions, fining a company that held a Trump rally and posturing by wearing a mask during press conferences when no one is even 10 feet away, Governor Steve Sisolak has tested positive for coronavirus.

Early in the pandemic, Sisolak was caught on video breaking his own virus mandates. He may have done so again.

Or maybe he’s a victim who did everything correctly, as are many other Nevadans. I hope this teaches him that preventing the spread of COVID is not as simple as wearing a mask or shutting down businesses.

I’m hearing today that Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to president-elect Joe Biden, wants a 6-week lockdown to control COVID across the US. Another advisor has advocated for an 18-month lockdown!

It is interesting that Biden did not announce any of his COVID advisors before the election (although he very likely knew who he would pick). All we heard about was a post-inauguration mask mandate and how horribly President Trump is managing the pandemic.

Had Biden announced that his planned advisors would call for nationwide lockdown, I am not sure he could have won the election. Americans love their freedom, and we are weary of everything COVID. We are also intelligent enough to know that any lockdown will bring a complete meltdown to the US economy.

Could Democrats be trying to implode the economy, so citizens would be completely dependent on government for their income (with major inflation as the Federal Reserve prints enough money to support us), and obligated to obey government orders to receive those funds? I try to avoid conspiracy theories, but how else does one logically explain how the US would deal with the fallout of a 6-week lockdown?

Many small businesses are already hanging on by a thread. Unemployment is shrinking, but the increases earlier this year overwhelmed several states’ systems (including here in Nevada), and people are still waiting for those funds – and having difficulty paying all their bills.

There were predictions of riots if Biden did not win the election. But there may be a revolt from people of both political parties if Biden listens to the extreme plans of these advisors.

Posted by: SWL | November 3, 2020

2020 Elections According to a 5-Year Old

My daughter telephoned last night and put her daughter on the line to tell me about voting. She had learned about the election in her kindergarten class.

When I asked what she had learned, she said, “voting is like choosing.” She told me the class had made “fake” ballots, so I asked whose names appeared. She said, “President Trump and Joe Biden.”

I inquired who she had chosen, to which she replied, “I don’t think we’re supposed to tell.” I assured her that people do not have to tell anyone who they vote for. Then she told me, “I think I could whisper it to you.”

“You could, if you want” I responded. So she whispered, “President Trump.” I asked why she had chosen him. She said because she had heard him say during the debate that he wanted kids to go back to school. Like so many of us, my granddaughter had found an issue that meant a lot to her. (BTW, who would expect a 5-year old to listen to the debates?)

The class also voted on a snack. Ice pops won by a 2-to-1 margin over cheesy fish crackers.

The kindergarten class made hats with “Vote” on them to remind people how important elections are. So to assist my granddaughter in getting that message out, let me encourage you, if you have not yet voted, get to the polls tonight before they close.

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