Previous Articles

  • CHRISTMAS: The Trinity’s Musings December 31, 2019 by Guest Author - Once, not and upon, but in the fullness of time, the Trinity turned its internal conversation to the subject of humanity. "What more can we do for them?" asked the Father. "They never seem to get the message about how deeply we (or is it I? - I can never get this being/person thing grammatically correct) love them. They keep on missing the point, trying to buy our love rather than simply enjoying it." "I know," said the Son, "there is only one thing left we can do. I will become one of them. I know that that will further confuse this being/person language, but it is the only way they will truly begin to understand that we only want to be one with them. I'm the best candidate for the job, for I am the Word through which not only everything was created, but by which humanity defines itself."
  • The Opportunity Cost of Impeachment: H.R. 838 December 10, 2019 by Matthew Daley - Efforts to impeach Donald Trump have clearly been the highest priority of the Democratic Party in 2019, to the exclusion, hopefully temporary, of other important public policy goals. Surprisingly, one bill that has languished would address widespread public concern about mass casualty events. Known as the TAPS Act (the Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety Act), H.R. 838 would draw upon the techniques developed by the U.S. Secret Service over the past three plus decades to identify, investigate, assess and mitigate threats.
  • How Nancy Pelosi Puts Impeachment Above Her Own Party’s Interests December 10, 2019 by W. David Montgomery - One of the ironies of the impeachment process is that Nancy Pelosi seems willing to sacrifice the very Democrat congressmen whose election gave her a majority by putting good legislation on hold while impeachment proceeds. The case in point is legislation that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico with a new agreement far more favorable to the US and particularly workers in traditionally Democrat districts who voted for Trump. This new agreement, called the US-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA), was described by the Seattle Times (!) as “enormously important to Washington’s economic growth and job creation. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) also substantially improves environmental and labor protections over NAFTA, the 1994 agreement it will replace.”
  • Editor’s Note December 10, 2019 by Guest Author - With the impeachment proceedings producing nothing more notable than Adam Schiff’s intimidation of witnesses and revelation that he was spying on the telephone calls of journalists and private citizens, this issue will address some of the opportunity costs of impeachment: lack of action on legislation with strong bipartisan support in the House that would ensure passage in both chambers. Matt Daley, a former Secret Service agent and co-editor, writes about the need to pass HR 838, and act that would allow law enforcement to utilize techniques developed by the Secret Service to identify and mitigate threats. David Montgomery writes about another action stalled by impeachment, approval of a new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada also supported by both parties and sure to pass the House if brought up for a vote.
  • Impeachment of Donald Trump November 26, 2019 by Matthew Daley - While we are only partially through the House of Representatives impeachment process, a number of judgments present themselves clearly. As a starting point, we take the principled position announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi eight months ago, i.e., “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country, And he’s just not worth it.” One need not take a position on whether President Trump is “worth it” to acknowledge and validate the assertion that the issue giving rise to impeachment of a President should be compelling and overwhelming. It arguably needs bipartisan support to warrant the risks it may pose to an already frayed national political and social psyche. Those whose hair is sufficiently gray to recall the Congressional hearings that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation have a strong point of reference with which to make judgments using Speaker Pelosi’s criteria. Sadly, today the House is split, overwhelmingly on partisan lines. Thus far the hearings have not moved the public opinion needle any great distance and can hardly be termed bipartisan. Those who favor impeachment have had to…
  • The Green New Deal and the Poor November 12, 2019 by Guest Author - No area of policy is more prone to panaceas than energy policy. President Jimmy Carter thought if Congress passed his energy program, it would not only solve America’s energy problems, but its economic and moral ones as well. Yet even Carter never thought of a panacea like the Green New Deal (GND). Its main promoter Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), known popularly by her initials (just like her program) as AOC, has said the multi-trillion-dollar GND would: forestall looming climate catastrophe; forcibly transition the entire $20 trillion U.S. economy from one largely based on the utilization of morally suspect fossil fuels to one using only (100 percent) immaculate carbon-dioxide-free renewables; lead to full employment (which the US has anyway); and “promote justice and equity… repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.” And it would be largely accomplished in ten years—completely finished in 30.
  • Thinking About Things: Questions for Presidential Candidates October 28, 2019 by John DeQ. Briggs - As an interested voter, it has been depressing to see the debate moderators continue to skim the surface of policy questions without coming close to addressing the implications of the answers to those questions. The moderators have also failed to challenge candidates on matters on which, in more normal times, one hopes the candidates would want to be challenged. Not in any divinely inspired order, here are questions that I would like to see each of the Democratic (and Republican where applicable) candidates answer. Few candidates will answer these questions but their manner of avoiding answering would itself be informative. 1. On unifying the country. The country is now seemingly more divided than at any time over the last 100 years. Some 63 million voters voted for President Trump, a great many of whom still apparently support him. Can you address them now and tell them why they should vote for you in the general election, and how it is that you will try to address their concerns and also seek to unify the country? 2. On Foreign Policy. Virtually all of you have decried the way President Trump has carried out foreign policy in this country, whether it be…
  • Hunting is Central to Wildlife Conservation October 15, 2019 by W. David Montgomery - Reports that an American hunter paid $400,000 for a permit to hunt a black rhino in Namibia sent social media and anti-hunting activists screeching with outrage. Yet he was doing exactly the right thing for preservation of endangered species. Revenue from trophy-hunting is indispensable to wildlife conservation in Southern Africa. Sentimental and ill-informed efforts to ban imports of legally-obtained lion, rhino and elephant trophies undercut successful programs in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana that provide incentives for local communities to protect wildlife resources. Namibia’s market-based wildlife conservation program is recognized as Africa’s greatest conservation success. During a recent trip, my wife and I visited these community-based wildlife conservancies and talked to leaders of anti-poaching efforts. The Namibian program was started shortly after the country became independent from South Africa in 1994. The initial impetus for Namibia’s program came even before independence, when Garth Owen-Smith started working with tribal to find ways to make wildlife conservation in the practical interest of their communities. The solution worked out in Namibia started with devolution of property rights in wildlife and other resources to the communities in which they were located. Then a governance structure for the conservancies that would be vested with those rights…
  • One State Should Not Dictate Nationwide Fuel Economy Standards October 1, 2019 by W. David Montgomery - A few weeks ago, the Administration announced its intention to revoke a waiver that allows California to set its own fuel economy standards for motor vehicles. This action is the final step needed to correct a series of decisions made in the Bush and Obama administrations that would have put undue burdens on auto manufacturers and drastically increased costs and limited choices for motorists. About one year ago, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced revised fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks to be applied in model years 2021 – 2026. The revised standards would replace standards set by the same two agencies in 2012, well before the revolution in oil drilling technology that moved the U.S. to the top of the list of oil producing countries and caused gasoline prices to fall dramatically. I wrote about these standards in the Talbot Spy at the time, and summarize those opinions here.
  • Thinking About Things: Money, Demographics, and Politics September 17, 2019 by John DeQ. Briggs - This is my inaugural column for The Chesapeake Observer. My topic will always be “Thinking About Things”. I do not know what I will be thinking about any given day, week, or month. In general these days I intend think about the ongoing breakdown and accelerating dysfunction of our political parties and, more broadly, our entire political system. I intend to think and write about these things (among others) in small bites, and in a reasonably orderly way. I expect to stay grounded in facts to support views. --Money: Where It Goes-- The expenditures of our country are hiding in plain sight in this mesmerizing website. The captivating first page will tell you at a glance that federal spending is approximately $4.5 trillion; federal tax revenues are approximately $3.5 trillion; the US national debt is more than $22.5 trillion; the ratio of federal debt to GDP has increased from 34.7% in 1980 to 105.6% today; and much more. And you can see that total student loan debt is more than $1.6 trillion while total credit card debt is just a smidgen over one trillion dollars. Such numbers are at the center of most policy issues.