Previous Articles

  • The Nord Stream Pipeline: Media and Importance March 7, 2023 by Matthew Daley - Matthew P. Daley For nearly a full week in February, much of the American population was busy hyperventilating over images of a Chinese surveillance balloon (CB) transiting the lower 48 while collecting intelligence.  A great deal of ink and airtime was devoted to the subject which, at the time, was novel and curious but without great import.   Admittedly, the CB gathered different types of intelligence, some of which may not have lent themselves to satellite collection.  At a minimum, the Chinese learned that our radars were not tuned to detect that type of intrusion, a situation that reportedly has since been corrected.  But it is unlikely that much of significance was gained Beijing and certainly compared to the full panoply of intelligence collection modalities, the CB amounted to precious little.  The main impact was political: the Administration was embarrassed, but after the shootdown, the issue had a very short half-life despite a week of concentrated media attention. By contrast, in early February Sy Hersh, a well known and controversial journalist, published on Substack.com a story that asserts the United States conducted a secret operation that destroyed three of the four Nord Stream gas pipelines.  The denials from various parts of the Administration were swift and unequivocal.  If…
  • Thinking About Things: Forward to the Past with the GOP March 7, 2023 by John DeQ. Briggs - John DeQ. Briggs Since shortly after the mid-term elections of last November, I have been ruminating about the Republican party, what it stands for, and whether it has or deserves to have a future in anything resembling its current form. But last month I stumbled across two very different reviews (one from the Wall Street Journal, the other from The New York Times) of a new book: The Ghost at the Feast, by Robert  Kagan. These prompted me to peruse the book itself, although I have by no means ploughed through it all yet. But these modest readings did focus me on the eerie parallels between the GOP now and the GOP a century ago. Those parallels do not auger well for the future of the GOP.  At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States kept largely to itself notwithstanding that it had become, over the prior century, the preeminent economic power in the world.  It possessed the economic strength of several of its rivals combined.  And while its rivals had huge standing armies numbering in the millions of soldiers, and very large navies, the United States had a standing army measuring in the tens of thousands and hardly any Navy at all.  It stood apart as…
  • Worth Reading March 7, 2023 March 7, 2023 by The Editors - JDQB writes: Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal Interview was really a highly favorable summary and review of Philip Howard’s new book Public Unions vs. The People.     I had not appreciated that all presidents, even the sainted FDR, opposed public unions until JFK legislated them into existence supposedly “as a payback for union support.”. The book’s author, a lawyer, has concluded that the public union problem has become so entrenched that it cannot be solved politically, but must be attacked through the courts as an unconstitutional limitation on the executive power to terminate employees, a proposition that has strong constitutional precedent. A link is here (paywall). I was persuaded to buy the book.  I am new to Mark Halperin, who puts out a daily email called Wide World of News. On Saturday he did a short piece on Trump’s nearly two hour stemwinder at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee CPAC conference. Then on Sunday  he did an equally short piece critiquing DeSantis’ performance in his first “major” speech, which was at the Reagan Center. The former is The Trump Machine Hums at CPAC. and the latter is Is That All There Is?. Spoiler alert: he thinks Trump did way better than expected and that DeSantis did worse…
  • The Supply Side of Inflation February 21, 2023 by W. David Montgomery - By David Montgomery As my self-imposed deadline for this article loomed, I started asking myself what I could write about the economy that would add value to that which anyone can read daily in the Wall Street Journal. Finally a topic my colleagues and I studied several years ago came to mind: the impact of regulation on the prices and the economy. The Trump administration launched a major effort to cut down on new regulations and to revisit existing regulations to weed out those that did more harm than good. The Biden Administration has obliterated these gains with surge of new regulations and more to come.  Those regulations are making it impossible for US industry to respond to the surge of demand coming from increased deficit spending and stimulus payments since 2021.  When demand increases and supply is constrained, prices must rise. There will be no solution to inflation until the chains of regulation are loosened so as to permit supply to increase and meet demand. The Trump administration made a successful and largely unheralded effort to restrain the issuance of new regulations and to redo or rescind existing regulations that had costs larger than their benefits. Unlike other initiatives that were…
  • Worth Reading February 23, 2023 February 21, 2023 by The Editors - Since we have missed a few issues, the editors have collected more worth reading suggestions than usual. We are also trying the experiment of embedding the article, with illustration, when that is permitted. Let us know your opinion of this change. Social Issues Matt Daley has written several columns about inaccuracies in reporting on "mass shootings" and resulting mistakes in policies proposed to deal with them. This article in National Review takes the discussion further. https://www.nationalreview.com/2023/02/mass-shooting-inflation-a-real-problem-is-being-clouded-by-completely-inaccurate-figures/ Another example of misleading reporting arises when there is an unjustified police shooting or beating. Some things have to be said about the events in Memphis, but few are willing to say them and take the risk of being called “racist.” This commentator takes the risk. https://www.nationalreview.com/2023/01/if-the-memphis-cops-were-white/ Glenn Loury is a distinguished African-American economist about the age of the editors. We have been remiss in not including his writings before. This podcast by Loury, which will require a modest payment for a subscription to access, features an outspoken black Christian whose views need to be more widely heard. Ukraine and China Matt Daley recommends this assessment from the Institute for the Study of War on the situation in Ukraine. It is quite long, but…
  • Worth Reading January 10, 2023 January 10, 2023 by The Editors - JDQB: The Woke World For those of you who follow the daily madness of the woke world, which does not seem to be going away, several recent short articles are of interest.  The first is by Jonathan Turley titled “Diversity Through Obscurity: Applicants’ told To Delete The Names Of Schools On Their Resumes.”  This is not a university or Government directive, but a New York real estate consulting firm.  To achieve diversity goals, the company wants applicants to list only the degree they got and not where it came from. The second such piece is from the Wall Street Journal, and hence behind a pay wall. The piece is titled: Inside the Woke Indoctrination Machine by two authors who write regularly on education.  The article is based on nearly 100 hours of leaks from the 108 workshops held virtually last year for the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference.  According to the authors the leaked videos “… act as a Rosetta Stone for deciphering the DEI playbook.”  No short summary does the article justice and I’m not sure how many independent private schools in this country buy into the program described, although I am aware that my own alma mater certainly does, which has caused…
  • Biden’s Immigration Policy: Pivot or Pirouette? January 10, 2023 by Matthew Daley - Matthey P. Daley On Sunday President Biden did something he spent two years evading: going to our border with Mexico in the most visual symbol of what may or may not be a real shift in policy.  The motives for the timing of his visit are reasonably apparent:   The 2022 elections are safely in the review mirror and the prospect of House hearings into the border situation looms large, perhaps with an effort to impeach Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The fiction – one of truly Orwellian proportions – that the border was “secure” and “closed” could not be maintained in the face of coverage, not just by Fox News, but by the mainstream media as well. The trends in illegal immigration are moving sharply in the wrong direction.  There have been more unauthorized border crossings in the past year than in any year in the last five decades.  A change of some type was necessary to avoid even greater damage in the 2024 elections. By way of review, there is no doubt that President Biden came into office determined to undo many of the initiatives of President Trump.  The Biden Administration proclaimed that their immigration policy would be welcoming, and humane and…
  • Thinking About Things:  A Year of Dark Clouds, Silver Linings, and Mysteries January 10, 2023 by John DeQ. Briggs - John DeQ Briggs As Dave Barry said in introducing his 2022 Year in Review: “The best thing we can say about 2022 is: It could have been worse.”    For example, we could have had nuclear Armageddon. This briefly appeared to be a possibility, at least according to the president, who broke the news in October at (Why not?) a Democratic Party fundraiser at the home of a wealthy donor in New York City. That must have been an exciting event! One moment everybody’s standing around chewing hors d’oeuvres, and the next moment WHOA WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? The next day, after the news media ran a bunch of scary headlines, the White House Office of Explaining What the President Actually Meant explained that the president wasn’t suggesting that we were facing Armageddon per se, but was merely, as is his wont, emitting words, one of which happened to be “Armageddon,” No year, and this has been especially true of recent years, should end without lifting a glass to Dave Barry and his ability to find humor in all things. The entire column is here. 2022 may have been mostly bad in many ways, but there were some significant silver linings in some…
  • Editors Note: December 21, 2022 by The Editors - Happy Holidays from the Chesapeake Observer The editors wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  We are taking this time with family and friends, and will return with the first issue of 2023 on January 10. The Adoration of the Shepherds, by Pinturrichio, Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello, Italy I cannot help but add a few thoughts about the passing year.  I can see little happening in our nation and world to make me merry (for examples, see our Worth Reading selections for this issue).  Lasting happiness cannot come from the external sources of politics and world affairs.  In this season, by taking time off from the world, I can make merry with family, friends and even the cat whose permanent attachment to my lap is making typing an exercise in contortion to reach my keyboard. We can all get solace and hope by following the venerable Christmas traditions.  Most important, with the birth of our Saviour who is also the King of Kings, we can remember that we are exiles here, as the carol goes.  It is our task to do all we can to improve this City of Man, but we need to remember that we are just visitors who will…
  • Worth Reading December 22, 2022 December 21, 2022 by The Editors - Domestic outlook A good assessment of Kamala Harris (MPD) This article seems to cut through a lot of stuff and get to the heart of one key aspect of the Republican Party, if there really is such a thing today. It has the side benefit of being a very short read. (JDQB) Ukraine outlook A well written if perhaps wishful analysis of damage to Russia from sanctions and Putin’s own errors (MPD) An introduction to the doctrine of Forward Resilience to counter Russia’s intended destruction of Ukraine (MPD) A dreadfully pessimistic assessment of the prospects for Ukraine.  Passed to editors by a serious source, but containing some politically-charged phrasing relevant to its credibility (MPD) For those who can stand it, this interview with the vocal “realist” John Mearsheimer reveals the fantasies on which he and others are now basing their views on Putin and Ukraine, as well as a great deal about Mearsheimer’s character. (WDM) Afghanistan In the last issue, we wrote about the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and Father Peter Gray's charitable work there. He provides first-hand reports from those he helps about the latest ban on education for women by the Taliban. Something uplifting As a devoted reader of Tolkein, WDM is delighted by this essay on living in a time when…