Previous Articles

  • Thinking About Things: The Beginning of the End Days for Mr. Biden within His Own Party July 11, 2022 by John DeQ. Briggs - John DeQ. Briggs A few days ago, Boris Johnson declared that under no circumstances would he resign as Prime Minister of Great Britain.  Within 48 hours, he was gone.  Nearly a dozen cabinet ministers resigned.  In effect, BoJo, as he is sometimes called, was abandoned by his own ministers and his own party. Most of the press stories that I read talked about his “clown fall” and made the point, one way or another, that the conservative party in Britain had finally woken up to the fact that they could no longer tolerate a dishonest, crude, clownish entertainer as head of their party.  Nearly all of the media ink spilled on the subject (both here and in the UK) dwelt at length on this aspect of Mr. Johnson’s collapse, while at the same time hectoring American Republicans to take heed and abandon all vestiges of Donald Trump who is perceived by our mainstream media, and by the UK media too, as largely analogous to Boris Johnson, especially in his crude  and dishonest clownishness. Thus, we have these sorts of snark: The New York Times: The delightful implosion of Boris Johnson.  His career is ending the way Donald Trump's should have.  However, the schadenfreude brought by Johnson's collapse is mixed with envy.  The…
  • Worth Reading August 9, 2022 August 8, 2022 by webadminpcw - The China Diary by Matt Daley The China Diary returns with two articles that capture commentary on Speaker Pelosi's trip to Taiwan. The first, published before her trip, is by a commentator in the Global Times, a tabloid subsidiarity of the Peoples Daily controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. The author makes a wide range of threats, and presumably is acting as a surrogate for the CCP. The second article, written after Pelosi's trip by an experienced and thoughtful former Singapore diplomat, provides an important regional perspective "how Pelosi's Taiwan visit made things worse." Still on the subject of Chinese responses, JDQB was enlightened by a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, reproduced in its entirety below. The writer objects to discussing the "reunification" of China and Taiwan, on the factual grounds that Taiwan was ceded by China to Japan in 1895 after losing the first Sino-Japanese War. "Your erudite editorial "Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan Straits" (Aug. 2) cites three times the "reunification" of Taiwan and China. In truth, Taiwan never was part of the People's Republic of China formed by Mao, nor was it part of the predecessor Republic of China. In 1895 the Qing dynasty, which…
  • Hard Times for the Secret Service August 8, 2022 by webadminpcw - By Matt Daley and John Magaw The United States Secret Service has had its share of notoriety over the past decade.  A once stellar reputation has been tarnished. Individuals and institutions that in the past would have given the Service the benefit of the doubt or readily accepted its position on an issue now display marked skepticism.  The sources of the bad ink are threefold, and each requires different corrective action.  The most often seen problem has arisen out of misconduct by off duty employees, both in the United States and abroad.   These peccadillos have not caused serious public concern, but they damaged the reputation of the Service and that reputation is related to the cooperation the Service receives whether performing criminal investigations or protective assignments.  This issue can be addressed by clear guidance and consistent discipline, to include dismissal from the Service in the most serious cases.   A more invidious phenomenon took the shape of active or former USSS Special Agents leaking tantalizing vignettes or writing a book concerning individuals whom they protect.  Generally, the “protectees” are important government officials or, in some cases, family members of those officials.   In a stereotypical twenty-four/seven environment, Agents often witness the mundane as well the momentous in the…
  • Worth Reading July 12, 2022 July 11, 2022 by webadminpcw - Thanks to “regulatory diktats” imposed by the Department of Education in 2011, Judge Cabranes of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, campus procedures were so devoid of basic due-process protections that they “compared unfavorably to those of the infamous English Star Chamber.” The Biden administration is bringing back these sham hearings. Last Thursday the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights proposed new regulations governing how colleges and universities that receive federal funds—which is nearly all of them—must respond to allegations of sexual misconduct under Title IX. See WSJ article here (apologies for paywall). There is a trilogy of very interesting Matt Taibbi listens and articles worth a listen or a read: First, there is his podcast review of the fascinating book What is A Woman, a 12 minute listen. Second there is his article of two years ago entitled The American Press is Destroying Itself, detailing the transformation of the press by way of various newsroom revolts, an old article worth a new  look. Third, he published an interesting piece on the blowback he received for his What is A Woman review.  Andrew Sullivan, like Matt Taibbi, has a highly unpredictable set of views, although he self-defines as conservative. His views are always interesting, and he…
  • From the Editors July 11, 2022 by John DeQ. Briggs - We write in this Special Issue to endorse our colleague David Montgomery with respect to his candidacy for a seat on the Talbot County Council.  While he is an editor of this publication, he has recused himself altogether from this endorsement. We have known David for many years and during all that time we have appreciated his love of Talbot County, its unique rural character, its history, its people, and its institutions.  He has been steadfast and consistent in his political views and he has not trimmed them or altered them to suit any particular constituency. He has always been collegial, and a good and respectful listener with respect to the views of others.  He also brings to his candidacy the insights of a very experienced and accomplished economist, a toolkit of skills that would be unusually valuable on the Talbot County Council during the next term.  His background in economics makes him unusually sensitive to the below the surface cost of rapid overdevelopment in Talbot County and the enormous tax burdens that such overdevelopment could inflict on long-term residents of our County, including tax increases to support new schools, new roads, and new infrastructure, among other things.   David has long supported our local…
  • Thinking About Things: Politics, Abortion, Guns, the Economy, Foreign Policy and more June 27, 2022 by John DeQ. Briggs - John DeQ. Briggs  I have been on work-enforced absence from writing for The Chesapeake Observer ever since last March.  And along the way, my brain has been overwhelmed by events such that I have been unable to muster many sustained clear thoughts.  Also, too many things are heading in the wrong direction at “warp speed” for me to process them properly.  So here, seeking to emerge from the fog, I present a collection of a short takes on a variety of interconnected topics, without going too deeply into any of them. There is doubtless something here for everybody to disagree with, and perhaps also to agree with. I should add that this was written largely before the Supreme Court’s decisions on abortion and guns, which are very notable and addressed here to a degree. The reversal the constitutional right to abortion is without doubt the most important supreme court decision since Bush v. Gore in 2000 and has already spawned thousands of articles.  Politics.  The primaries and the polls provide fascinating food for thought, although none of them take into account the recent Supreme Court decisions on guns and abortion and so might change.  On the Republican side, it seems clear that former President Trump still has influence, although…
  • Worth Reading June 27 2022 June 27, 2022 by webadminpcw - Russia Diary by Matt Daley While Putin and his clique have spent the last three decades trying to restore the kind of police state intelligence concept that had once been their professional milieu, intelligence in the democratic West had been undergoing a succession of so-called ‘revolutions’. As a result, Russia’s leadership entered the conflict almost entirely unprepared for the capabilities and uses of the 21st century intelligence that would be deployed against them. From a friend of MPD who follows intelligence and security matters closely: Subject: Comrade General Tugboat The Russians are not scraping the barrel! They are sending it to the Ukraine. Since this clown eats five meals and drinks one litre of vodka a day, his first priority will no doubt be to improve the supply of Russian-made MREs. It won't be hard for the Ukrainians to hit such a plus size target. It is not as if he can readily run away. JDQB adds two more articles. The first is an excellent article on Russia being on the edge of running out of war making ability. Then there is this weird bit from the Peoples Party of Oregon. It is worth a look just because it is…
  • School Safety, What We CAN Do June 13, 2022 by Guest Author - Barry Subelski Editor’s note: we continue our discussion of school safety with this commentary by a retired law enforcement officer who in a long career has led FBI SWAT teams and a unit of the FBI’s Domestic Counter Terrorism Office.   A more complete bio is provided at the end of his article. Monsters will always walk among us.  No one, no testing, no product can delve into the human heart.  In a free society it is too easy and frankly too tempting to always go with an “easy fix.”   To ban a certain firearm might make people feel good, but what is next when another type of firearm is used?  The banning of a particular firearm or magazine capacity is meaningless.  The two recent horrific shootings in New York and Texas could have been accomplished just as easily with a 22 rifle, a pistol or a container of gasoline and a match. The children are unarmed and helpless.  The first step is to attempt to identify the seriously mentally ill before an incident occurs.  The second step is to harden the site to deny or delay entry.  After the 9/11 attack, our Nation took steps to secure our aircraft, our airports and other government facilities against…
  • Worth Reading June 14, 2022 June 13, 2022 by W. David Montgomery - Climate and Energy Policy WDM is convinced that world oil prices would still be down around $75 per barrel if Biden had not stifled US production and transportation of oil and gas in an excess of zeal about climate change. Rather than repeating that analysis, he recommends some good reading about climate policy that has appeared recently. A senior banking executive has put his career on the line by revealing that the only "climate risks" that investors need worry about are badly designed government policies and regulations. He is reported as stating "To put it bluntly, absent making guesses about some unexpectedly dramatic new move by government regulators or their proxies, there is, within the typical investment horizon, little or nothing to price in." For this observation, he was suspended by his employer HSBC. WDM thinks that Ted Nordhaus is only about 80% correct in his assessment of how Russia's war against Ukraine will affect climate policy, but his is nonetheless a very sane perspective. Biden's invocation of the Defense Production Act strikes terror into WDM, it is the basic fascist way of running an economy. First causing a shortage of infant formula then using government powers to order fixes…
  • Worth Reading May 30, 2022 May 30, 2022 by webadminpcw - MPD recommends an article by Eliot Cohen in Foreign Affairs, “The Return of Statecraft.” Cohen advises that the US should be less focused on grand strategy, the topic of many "learned" articles, and pay more attention to statecraft, i.e., to effectiveness and agility in pursuing our interests.  Cohen is not a committed “realist” in that he recognizes both national and moral interests: his lament is how bad a job the foreign policy establishment is doing at pursuing either. In the May 11 edition of Foreign Affairs, MPD recommends Bilahari Kausikan's article entitled "Threading the Needle in Southeast Asia" which is a fine guide for the  Biden Administration. Two quotes: "Aggressive Chinese behavior in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific has underscored the reality that the United States is an irreplaceable element of any strategic balance in the wider region.  The United States' indispensablity renders concerns about its reliability moot." "Early actions (by the US) in the face of...Chinese maritime claims and attempts at intimidation, provided reassurance that the Biden Administration would not repeat Obama's fundamental mistake of believing that eloquent speeches could substitute for the exercise of military muscle."   He also finds that Mike Ickel’s analysis…