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The True Three Branches of Government

Before I launch into this kinda lengthy diatribe, one important and two trivial notes.

Important:  Israel rescued two male hostages yesterday.  Kudos and respect and reason to rejoice.  May Israel have continued success and eliminate Hamas from the face of the earth, and may terrorists everywhere take heed and cower in fear.

Under the not important:  The Super Bowl.  Great game, a slugfest filled with exhausted players and many mistakes, large and small.  But, man, that fourth quarter and overtime were exciting.  If Shanahan had run the ball more in the Red Zone there might have been a different outcome, except… Mahomes is one cool customer.

And his teammate, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, is not.  After that unnecessary and disgraceful battery against his coach viewed by a hundred million people, well… I predict Andy Reid will require the front office to trade this clown even at a loss.  Any other player, any other game, any other universe, Kelce would have been benched.  So cut him.  Everyone loves Andy Reid.  Only Taylor likes Kelce.

Who couldn’t help rooting for Brock Purdy?  Even with a name like a Texas lawman, he looks just like the kid who dated your little sister.  One cringe-worthy moment during the unnecessary “media week.”  Purdy was asked by an alleged “journalist” if he had seen the meme floating about the interweb of his resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald (I don’t see it, at all).  He handled it gracefully, but I hope Purdy has the stones to make a simple request of the general manager:  deny access to that “reporter” and viciously restrict access of whatever entity hired that miscreant.  The 49ers owe that to the man.


Okay, buckle up.  The current political and social climate is fraught with irrelevancies and gaslighting, and you and I are the fools for playing into elitist notions of right and wrong.  The elites are almost always wrong.

If you wrote a movie script about Biden and Trump and their ineptitude and insanity, or the weaponized and politicized FBI, DOJ, and IRS, or the weaponless alleged insurrection as opposed to the mostly “peaceful” rioting and arson and murder of the summer of 2020, or the decay of our great cities, or the bizarre identity stands in the worship of diversity and decline of merit, or the border crisis blamed on those who would close it by following the law, or the national debt that screams bloody murder for restraint, control, and adult supervision, or interest rates, inflation, drilling when the administration says it isn’t, or tax and entitlements, or the complete lack of seriousness, or incoherence… no one would believe it.

There remain two USA proxy wars which are the most compelling issues of the day.  Should we care about Bud Light?  Unh-uh.

The US Constitution mandates three separate but equal branches of government, which should maintain their respective figurehead status, we hope and pray.  Look closely and we see they are almost puppets of their own design.  There exists a specter of three other branches creeping now in 2024 and will for years to come:  The media, which lacks integrity; the administrative state, which lacks accountability; and the elite, which lacks shame.

First, the media, which possesses a complete lack of integrity.  It is one thing to infuse an obvious opinion into the news (“It looks like the wind is picking up, Bruce!”), but it is quite another to pawn off ignorance as fact, a fait accompli.  The esteemed Peggy Noonan wrote an excellent tutorial last week in the Wall Street Journal on how the media can reclaim its exalted status (if it ever had one, but I will always give Noonan the benefit of the doubt), but it is likely here her sage advice will fall on deaf ears.  The media is too much in our face, too raw without the benefit of a discerning filter, and never digs deep for truth, looking just for the party line. It only scratches the itch, not looking for the root cause of what passes for “news” and just satisfies an immediate emotion and gives itself the relief of its own assumptions.

Where to get fair and evenhanded news?  Wait a day.  The BS being reported (remember the Israeli bombing a hospital with 500 dead children?  A planned lie.) will either float or sink on its own and you can make your own judgment.  Never forget that the media foments its own hate, and to paraphrase the inimitable Kevin D. Williamson (The Dispatch), nothing breeds hate like those who lecture compassion and empathy for others, by others, but not themselves.

Our fascination for news, which is essentially clickbait for the echo chamber of online digging, is not meant to notify but to indoctrinate.  Wait a day.  Stay informed and sharpen your critical thinking with a variety of reading from a wide range of genres, including fiction and poetry.  I am not ashamed of that plug, in case you are wondering.

The second true branch is the administrative state, which is clearly the most consequential in our day-to-day lives that we cannot escape or educate ourselves into a state of personal protection.  The US administrative state lacks accountability.  None of its nearly 3 million are elected, and once ensconced it is nearly impossible to dislodge one of them.

Of course, many thousands do crucial and unselfish work, from law enforcement to field inspections to PowerPoint presentations.  Lotta good and not-so-good here, almost 2.95 million people, not including our men and women under arms and subject to the UCMJ.

There’s a lot of bloat, the kind that struggles for relevancy and office chairs and increased budgets.  Yet the worst thing about the administrative state is not the 2.95 million employees, but the abdication of the traditional legislative branch to do its job, that of budget allocation and making actual laws for the benefit of the people.

George Will’s razor cut to the chase in his column in The Washington Post in January of this year. He outlines the absurdity of federal employees representing agencies acting for the benefit of their own continuity, interpreting law on the fly, and hiding behind their own irrelevancy, all because the legislative branch can’t overcome its own rancor and avoids real issues that matter to all.

How confident are you that the biggest driver of US prosperity, our hot-as-a-pistol economy, won’t grind to a halt as soon as the bills come due?  Or that the biggest drivers of our spending (and it follows the national debt) is Medicare and Social Security and the interest on that debt, will collapse under its own bloated and unchecked weight?  Medicare and Social Security are the twins of a new reality show My 600 Pound Life, but the interest on the debt is now the 900-pound gorilla in the room.

Congress waves the perfumed shirt to distract us when they should be doing serious work that requires courage and discipline while the members of the administrative state work largely unseen in cavernous offices or at home in their bunny slippers.

Last, the elite, or elitists, who lack shame.  The most notorious of the current distractors is the case of Claudine Gay, the former president of Harvard and now demoted to millionaire professor, an amateur plagiarist of monumental proportions.

God Bless her, and God Bless America.  I can’t criticize Gay’s ambition or of her making a quasi-honest buck. A girl’s gotta eat.  I only fault her for a lack of moral focus on what antisemitic hate speech and assault by students on students truly is… a crime and a disgrace. But Claudine Gay is not the elite state itself.

Gay is a product of the elite, a person who was elevated for many reasons but not for merit, and that is not her fault.  She didn’t crown herself.  It is an indictment of those who tried (and looks like failed) at assuaging their own misplaced guilt by abusing this woman, not because of her gender or skin color, but because Gay thought like an elite.

The elitists, lacking in shame but proud of their moral preening, always seek a higher plateau than the unwashed masses, from those of us who work, pay taxes, go to church and salute the flag.  The elite is always climbing higher for separation, ever higher in their own ether, until they reach a promontory where they can target us and piss on us from above.

The real three branches:  the media, who lack integrity; the administrative state, who lacks accountability; and the elites, who lack shame.  The problems of the US in micro and the world in macro will continue unrelenting, unabated, and unsettled, not much thanks to the current three branches.

Peace.  Out.

If you haven’t bought my collection of stories,

BED BUG STEW, you can get it here.

Of course, I always appreciate reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Thanks much.

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