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The New Moderate’s 2020 Vigilance List

August 31, 2020

Statue of Liberty

I used to update this list yearly, but I’ve been letting it slide since 2017. (A pox upon me for my negligence during such turbulent times!) I hope this updated version helps us moderates recognize the dangers and challenges in our midst – especially those to the left and right of us. I know the year is already two-thirds over, but I couldn’t wait until 2021. So fasten your seat belts and let’s go!

1. The pandemic that won’t quit. You’d think there could be nothing political about a vicious new virus that has killed 180,000 Americans in its first six months. And yet much of the country – especially on the right — has dismissed it as nothing more than an overhyped flu bug. Voices on the far right are actually citing the shutdowns and compulsory masks as a Democratic plot to strip us of our God-given liberty. As evidence that stupidity is a bipartisan phenomenon, leftists seem fine with unmasked protesters massing in the streets of our cities to commit mayhem. Remedy: An effective vaccine, of course. (But I’ve already heard right-wingers warn us about Bill Gates and George Soros conspiring to use the vaccine to decimate our population.)

2. The 2020 racial uprising. We can’t simply call it “racial tension” or even “racial animosity” anymore. With the killing of George Floyd by a criminally negligent police officer (the latest in a series of killings by criminally negligent police officers), all hell broke loose across the republic: in addition to the usual looting and burning, Black Lives Matter activists and their allies (many if not most of them white leftists) laid siege to numerous cities with the apparent blessing of the local governments. Statues of long-dead white men toppled like dominoes, police were instructed to stand down, and gun crimes spiraled out of control amid calls to defund the police. Do black lives matter? Of course they do. Does the Black Lives Matter movement incite race hatred, selective outrage and intolerance of dissenting opinions? You bet it does. Remedy: Start by challenging the distorted BLM narrative about a genocidal campaign by police against black bodies. (Government statistics show that police kill more than twice as many whites as blacks, and that blacks are more likely than other groups to resist arrest.) Another remedy: instead of defunding police, train them more effectively and dump the bad eggs. Cops need to view themselves more as protectors than enforcers. And a third: Make an effort to see members of other races as individuals instead of symbols. Better yet, make friends with them.

3. Polarization and the hollowing of the center. Extremists at both ends of the spectrum have been battling it out for America’s soul. Worst of all, the middle is losing. (When was the last time one of your Facebook friends posted a moderate political meme?) In an age of sound bites and Twitter tweets, polarization sells. It reinforces our prejudices and bonds us with like-minded folks. But the cost has been prohibitive: we’ve essentially split into two warring nations. Moderates are the last vestige of objectivity — the last group capable of seeing both sides of an issue. In short, America needs us now more than ever. Remedy: If we moderates have to shout to win attention, so be it: let’s shout. Once we’re noticed, we need to start building bridges between the warring factions. Advice to non-moderates: Try to understand the other guy’s perspective instead of automatically condemning it. Please don’t borrow your attitude from glib internet memes and biased “amen corners.” Above all, don’t insult your political adversaries; it only makes them hate you (and your ideas) more passionately.

4. Identity politics, “wokeness” and “cancel culture.” Wonder why “racial uprising” is #2 on our list? Look no further. We’ve become obsessed with our tribal identities and grievances, which have eclipsed national identity in the minds of the aggrieved. Political correctness has crossed the line from a reasonable concern over offending minorities to a sinister Orwellian groupthink that delights in reporting heretics (i.e., independent thinkers) to the authorities, sabotaging their careers and exposing them to personal threats. Progressive companies and schools have expressed their solidarity with BLM by instituting mandatory “antiracism” training – too often a polite euphemism for “anti-white brainwashing.” (No doubt I’d be accused of “white fragility” or worse for that last statement.) White-bashing has become normalized, along with the almost compulsory trashing of historical white heroes — yet it’s still taboo (at least within polite society) for whites to criticize blacks for any reason. Online message boards often teem with vile racial vitriol from both sides. Remedy: We all need to take a deep breath, look outside our own demographic boutique, and find common ground with our fellow Americans again. (We’re the United States, remember?) Do we like pizza, movies and sex? Great. That’s a start.

5. Economic shutdown. We can thank the pandemic for the demise (and imminent demise) of countless restaurants and other businesses, as well as an unemployment rate not seen since the Great Depression. Many of those lost jobs will never return. Do we blame Trump for mismanaging the pandemic, downplaying it and causing it to linger until all those businesses folded for want of revenue? We can, but wiser heads would note that the virus is rebounding even in countries that appeared to be headed for a relatively quick recovery. Leave it to an invisible bug to ravage the world’s greatest economy. Oddly enough, the stock market has roared back from its initial meltdown, thanks mainly to the surging value of online companies. As a result, the already widening gap between prosperous Americans and everyone else has widened even more. Remedy: No quick fix until the country is immunized and ready to roll. Various institutions have eased the pain a bit by forgiving overdue debts, but bankrupt business owners will need more assistance than they’ve been getting. FDR would have launched a federal jobs program; we can’t expect as much from our current president. Speaking of whom…

6. The Trump Effect. Back in 2016, Donald Trump snatched his unlikely victory by exploiting the fears and resentments of mostly white, mostly suburban and rural Americans. As our first social media president, he’s blunt, breezy and irreverent; he wins huzzahs from his base for mocking the sacred cows of the nation’s progressive elites. (And the elites have retaliated with the most relentlessly vicious press coverage of a president since the Watergate era.) But Trump is also divisive, crude, erratic, arrogant, ignorant, and shamelessly mendacious. This pseudo-populist has surrounded himself with a pack of plutocrats who must be cackling at the poor working stiffs who support him. Trump is an authoritarian accustomed to running his businesses by fiat, and it shows. He favors our business class above everyone else, even if it means ravaging the environment, rolling back social safety nets and eroding democratic ideals. (Let’s see if he willingly vacates the White House if he loses in November – and whether his base goes on the warpath. Of course, the left will go on the warpath if he wins.) Trump isn’t the second coming of Hitler, and he’s not even an ideologue; he simply inspires madness at both ends of the political spectrum. Remedy: Protest the president’s offenses, but don’t lose your mind. Watch the circus if you must, take restorative walks in nature and stay away from all the one-sided news coverage – both pro- and anti-Trump. If you don’t like him, vote him out.

7. Online amen corners and fake news. Too many of us gather our news from biased sources that cherry-pick their stories to promote an agenda, distort them with misleading headlines or simply make them up. (Trump isn’t entirely off base about fake news.) The comments sections are even worse: echo chambers for opinions that grow ever louder and more extreme as the choir cheers them on. Remedy: Try to fact-check the juicier items before you post them, and don’t restrict your reading to your political home turf. Make an effort to discover moderate and unbiased news sources, too. (Hey, you’ve already found one!)

8. Right-wing militancy. Yes, this is now a thing, spawned by bloviating radio and TV pundits as well as the in-your-face identity politics of the left. (Guess what: now right-wing white extremists have formed their own identity group.) The movement that started among Obamaphobes in 2008 gathered steam with the election of Trump and flourishes now more than ever. A small but growing coalition of gun zealots, neo-Confederates, white supremacists, xenophobes and defiantly un-Christlike Christians has been itching for trouble. Now they’re starting to fill the law enforcement vacuum created by left-leaning city governments since George Floyd’s death; gun-toting vigilantes are prowling the streets along with the left-wing protesters and rioters. In short, it ain’t Sarah Palin’s Tea Party anymore. Remedy: Avoid taunting right-wing militants and mocking their ignorance. I know this will be painful for some, but the “nice doggie” approach might be the only way to keep them from biting.

9. The rule of moneyed interests. Call it plutocracy or oligarchy or capitalism on steroids — the bottom line is that a self-entitled, deep-pocketed elite is now firmly in charge of our government, our finances and ultimately our lives. The plutocracy is more entrenched than ever despite Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” and return power to ordinary Americans. Most of our elected representatives are marionettes operated by the powerful interests that fill their campaign coffers. This state of affairs is unacceptable within a representative democracy. Unless we correct it, we’re headed toward a neo-feudal society of latter-day lords and serfs. Jousting, anyone? Remedy: Ban thinly veiled bribes by lobbyists (via Constitutional amendment if necessary), regulate the financial industry, get rid of corporate subsidies and tax loopholes, impose penalties on companies that move jobs away from the U.S. And yes, raise taxes on the rich — especially on income from passive capital gains.

10. The politicization of EVERYTHING. Art, literature, music, gender, race, religion, sexuality, immigration, historical monuments, flags, vaccinations, the environment, women’s bodies – you name it, the zealots out there have politicized it. When we politicize everything, we split into factions. Factions consist of chronically angry people, and chronic anger isn’t good for the nation’s soul (or your own). Remedy: We should all take Voltaire’s advice and cultivate our gardens. It might put us back in touch with the natural world. Politics is an artificial ingredient, and it slowly poisons everything.

11. Worldwide environmental devastation. This shouldn’t be a political issue, but somehow it is. Trump and his henchpeople would like nothing more than to abolish environmental regulations, so they willfully deny science. Climate change denialists, take note: the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 2005. The only question is how much of the change is caused by human activity. Whatever the extent, we need to take prompt action unless we’d like to see massive crop failures, extensive lowland flooding and seaports that look like Venice. On top of that, the world has lost half of its nonhuman animal population since 1970. Developing nations account for much of the destruction as they convert forest to farmland. As they aspire to middle-class status, they’ll be fighting for use of the Earth’s limited resources. Eventually we’ll realize that we’ve ransacked a wondrous planet. (And we’re not equipped to start colonizing distant planets just yet.) Remedy: Work with other governments toward establishing and enforcing sensible universal environmental regulations, because the Earth belongs to all of us.

12. Disruptive technologies. You’ve heard the expression, “You can be replaced by a machine.” Well, it’s happening. Within the next twenty years, most of today’s jobs (even doctors and lawyers) could be replaced by automation, the internet and artificial intelligence. How will all those idle citizens survive, and how will the nation survive without a substantial tax base? Remedy: We need a new income-generating model desperately. Universal welfare doesn’t suit the American psyche. Maybe we could all sell Girl Scout cookies to rich technocrats.  

13. American gun culture. Let’s face it: America is a trigger-happy culture. The NRA, police, white militias, inner-city criminals, Second Amendment diehards, lone-wolf lunatics – all seem to revel in the power conferred by lethal weaponry. And their zeal naturally translates to horrific gun fatality statistics. Despite the bloodshed, the NRA crowd still screams whenever anyone mentions tightening access to guns. Remedy: Guns don’t kill people, but bullets do. With over 300 million guns already in circulation here, it makes more sense to restrict access to ammunition – specifically the semi-automatic magazines whose only purpose is to dispatch mass quantities of victims as quickly as possible. As for our police, it’s time they found and used effective non-lethal methods for stopping unarmed criminal suspects.

14. Reckless deficit spending. Our government is spending far more than it’s taking in (to the tune of $1.1 trillion), and most Republicans would rather cut benefits for the 99% than (God forbid) raise taxes. The credit crisis is a global issue that, if unresolved, could bring the whole system crashing down on top of us. Remedy: Here’s a start: cut back (way back) on corporate welfare in the form of bailouts and subsidies. Collect a fair share of taxes from huge corporations and the super-rich. No loopholes. No compromises. (The money could be diverted to small business owners who lost their livelihoods.) Trim those plush federal pensions, beginning with members of the House and Senate. And reduce the size of our military, which doesn’t need to be bigger than the militaries of the next ten nations combined.

15. The “Great Demographic Shift.” People of color now account for more than 50 percent of U.S. births. School dropout rates and other endemic social problems will doom too many of these new babies to poverty. At the other end of the age spectrum, Americans are living longer and will require decades of subsidies to get by. How will a shrinking middle class support all these needy Americans and still provide enough funds to maintain our infrastructure? Remedy: I’d encourage middle-class and wealthy Americans to procreate more freely (Hey, it’s fun!) to build up the taxpayer base. But we also need to raise revenue to fund social support programs. How? See #14 above.

16. The immigrant/refugee conundrum. Yes, it’s honorable and humane to admit desperate people into our country; after all, the Statue of Liberty has been welcoming the huddled masses for well over a century. But we can’t continue to let illegal immigrants pour across our border. (Europe has its own illegal immigrant crisis.) What if half the population of the Third World decided to migrate to the U.S. and Europe? There has to be a sane limit. This crisis has abated somewhat during the pandemic, but it won’t go away on its own. Remedy: For now, offer temporary asylum for refugees, with a pathway to citizenship… impose reasonable limits on permanent immigration… and withhold federal aid to sanctuary cities, which insist on protecting criminal illegal immigrants. And yes, the U.S. should probably make English our official language to encourage assimilation.

17. Cultural degeneracy. When did Western culture become an exercise in pushing the proverbial envelope — and how much farther can they push it? Movies, TV, pop music, video games, high art and everyday behavior have combined to forge a cheap and often loathsome culture that too often celebrates the worst in human nature – the badder the better. Do I believe in having fun? Absolutely. (This isn’t The New Puritan, after all.) But we also need to restore respect for the nobler virtues, or we’ll crumble, as the Romans did, from internal and external assaults that we’re too weak to withstand. Remedy: Beats me. Sometimes I think Western civilization at its apex was simply too demanding for our species to maintain for any length of time. Still, if you have standards, don’t surrender them!

18. Islamic jihad. With the killing of ISIS kingpin al-Baghdadi and the drone execution of Iranian terrorist general Soleimani, this former world-class threat has dropped to the bottom of the list — at least for now. Of course we can’t coexist peacefully with people who believe that God has called upon them to destroy us, but we can enjoy the respite from violence while it lasts. Remedy: A massive reformation within Islam to bring it into the 21st century, or at least the 17th or 18th.

That’s my list for 2020, and it should be more than enough to rouse our fellow moderates from their slumber. Share this list so your friends of all political persuasions can see it. And feel free to propose your own additions to the list. I’d like to hear from you.

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of darkly humorous essays are available as e-books on Amazon for just $2.99 each.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2020 12:09 am

    Sorry if this posts twice. First one has hung up, so trying again. Word press at its finest.

    Rick, you are becoming more left wing each year you write this. It sounds like the talking points from the Biden Harris campaign. I see less that is moderate in this compared to previous years when one could find much more moderate issues when it comes to government policies, which I will address..

    5.” FDR would have launched a federal jobs program; we can’t expect as much from our current president….”That is the last thing this country needs is another “shovel ready” jobs program. How did the last one work out? AND where is congress if that is what you want? All Nancy Pelosi can harp on is bailing out financially mismanaged states to the tune of almost $1B, which the president has a line in the sand, and rightfully so. Why should a pandemic be used as an excuse to bail out states that need to address their own spending issues.

    6. “He favors our business class above everyone else, even if it means ravaging the environment, rolling back social safety nets and eroding democratic ideals.” Please provide some specifics so those that support the Trump agenda (without supporting the man) can address each one. This is too broad to debate. Where you see all negatives with Trump, others see positives. So in your next blog, which I hope is on a more regular basis, how about writing just this up in specifics.

    9. “the bottom line is that a self-entitled, deep-pocketed elite is now firmly in charge of our government, our finances and ultimately our lives.” Now this I can agree with 100%, except that it is no different than it has been for years. Lobbyist have been around for decades. It is just that communication by cable alphabet news agencies, social media and other forms of communication has just brought it to a head.Congress is sponsored by lobbyist, From top to bottom!

    11. “Climate change denialists, take note: the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 2005. The only question is how much of the change is caused by human activity.” Here I can only make a recommendation. Pay for the premium service at Weatherbell.com or at least listen to Joe Bastardi’s Saturday Update ( check it out on a Sunday since some days he is late). He provides scientific and meteorological data as to why things are happening as they are. He is not denying that the climate is changing, he is just providing data that shows how it is happening that is not the result of man made reasons for much of the change.

    13 “With over 300 million guns already in circulation here, it makes more sense to restrict access to ammunition – specifically the semi-automatic magazines whose only purpose is to dispatch mass quantities of victims as quickly as possible.”. Maybe you need to research this issue some more. Just in the last 55 hours, Chicago has had 10 dead and 55 people shot. Two of the wounded were police.This were not by semi automatic weapons. Last weekend(7 days ago) 66 wounded and 5 dead. You can put all the controls in place you want and these people are going to get the weapons and they are going to get the ammo. You restrict it and you have just created another billion dollar industry for the cartels to take the place of the marijuana money they have lost due to legalization in many states. You can live in your dream world where prohibition of anything works, but it has not, never has and won’t work. The only people impacted will be the ones following the laws and they are not shooting people!

    14. Deficit spending “Collect a fair share of taxes from huge corporations and the super-rich. No loopholes. No compromises.” How about a moderate position. Everyone from 125% of poverty pays a something. No more Amazons that have not paid income taxes or very little since they started, and look at the value of that company. How can they not pay taxes? And this is a company run by one of the most liberal individuals in this country, so I guess hes one of those “taxes for the other guy is good, but leave me alone” hypocrites. Everyone should pay something, not just 45% of Americans and business that pay for everything now. The whole IRS tax code need rewriting, but if they did that, think of the hundreds, if not thousands working at accounting offices that would not be needed to match taxes with loopholes.

    But how about blaming congress. Did you really need the $1200.00 per person check? Do you need another one? How many did not need it, but got it? And how many that are unemployed need more help, but are not getting it? congress thinks up a program, and then spends days on how to screw it up totally before passing it. The only reason they want on now is to buy peoples votes.

    16, Immigration “For now, offer temporary asylum for refugees, with a pathway to citizenship… impose reasonable limits on permanent immigration…” I agree with some of this, but can’t support it. If they start a program like this and then find people that do not qualify for asylum, then whoever is president ordering those out of the country will be attacked by the opposing party in congress. I support letting people brought to this country previously as children to stay here And then offer a path to citizenship, either through military service or non-profit service to the country. And at the same time congress needs to get off its dead butt and rewrite immigration laws to reflect the current times and not what was in effect 50-100 years ago.

    .

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      September 2, 2020 1:41 pm

      Ron: I don’t have time to offer counterpoints to your arguments on individual issues, but on the whole I’d say I’m holding the center as staunchly as ever. Remember that Roby jumped ship because he thought I was leaning too far to the right! If anything, I thought this list would incur the wrath of the PC left with my comments on BLM, “woke” culture, and the “Great Demographic Shift.”

      I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I’m not an ideological centrist so much as a “boat balancer.” When I see the left trashing everything that is white and male, I feel inclined to tilt the boat to the right to balance it; when I observe the ever-widening gap between the rich and everyone else, aided by an overindulgent government, I want to tilt that boat a little to the left for balance. Not toward socialism, but toward the more equitable social economy of the postwar era. That’s all. Whether I tilt right or left on individual issues, net result I’m striving for is moderation.

      • September 2, 2020 4:39 pm

        Rick, I will accept that explanation.

        But when I see the billions this country wastes and the first thing out of anyone left of center is the rich need to pay more, it pisses me off.

        The cries from the left should not be ” Dont worry about those billions of wasted dollars, just take more billions from the rich, they can afford it”, it should be “Why are you wasting all those billions on “X” when “Y” needs it.

        And you are falling right into their political trap. No one, rich, poor, middle class should accept billions wasted by our government. NEVER! Just because Bezos and Musk are worth billions does not mean f’ it, tax them more, dont worry about waste.

        And that is why I said you are now anything but moderate. A moderate, those in the intelligent middle understand limited resources. The right accepts few social programs and the left thinks the 10% of Americans who are rich are the honey pot for social programs. Both left and right are mentally challenged in those beliefs.

      • September 2, 2020 4:47 pm

        Ron, my objection to the current out-of-control deficit spending should make me a fiscal conservative, right? I’m not calling for wasteful programs. All I’m saying is that we should try to rebalance the budget by ending the needless tax cuts that benefit rich individuals and corporations. Why should a plutocrat who makes most of his income from capital gains pay a lower percentage than a secretary? Why should some major corporations pay less than I do?

      • September 2, 2020 6:14 pm

        O.K. First, eliminate as much waste, which done prooerly, would not be hard.

        Then when the actual known “productive deficit” is identified, the amount of revenues can be determined.

        But just taxing the rich more is just liberal lunacy.

      • September 2, 2020 7:50 pm

        So Rick, how much more should the top 25% pay? Or top 50%? How about taxing capital gains as they occur, not when paid out? Then Musk would pay more with gains like Tesla has had. But then, how do we handle losses? Especially in recession times. That just aggravates already decreasing revenues.

        Even adding FICA percent, the effective rate for the bottom 50% is still less than the top 50%. And this seems to be before SALT was eliminated.

        https://www.thebalance.com/breakdown-of-who-pays-most-taxes-4178924

  2. Panos permalink
    September 1, 2020 6:37 am

    Many wise remarks as ever. Thank you.

  3. September 1, 2020 11:17 am

    3). Please see my response to 2). I am increasingly of the view that the “hollowing out of the center” may also be a false narative.

    As noted the riots and protests are overall small.
    This is NOT igniting the passions of half the country,
    Nor 1/4.
    Nor 5%.

    The center is not only holding it appears to be larger and stronger than I would have previously guessed.

    While I have my own serious problems with the compromise mentality of much of the “center” – that is a slow road to leftist hell, the fact still is that the far left does NOT reflect the wishes of any significant part of the country.

    We are already seeing Biden condemning the violence which he has been reluctant to do up to this point. I expect we will see more of Biden tacking to the right.

    This is important – not just because of the election, but because of what it means about the country as a whole.

    • September 1, 2020 12:25 pm

      Dave, it could be the middle is getting larger, but also losing influence, given the candidates we are provided by the parties, from the state leaders to federal candidates. The middle no longer has choices like Bush 41 v Clinton where there were differences, but not ones where the two sides actually feared the outcome. Today, the choices are bad v worse. Each side fears the outcome! I will hood my nose and pray my choice is the best one ( knowing it is not a good one).

      I think Ricks comment should have included how moderates could become important enough that the parties would pick candidates attractive to moderates and not ones that they believe are the ones that moderates find less stinky, like we have today where we pick the lessor of two evils.

  4. Ronda Kratsch permalink
    September 1, 2020 3:24 pm

    One thing though needs to be pointed out: I believe you have the wrong idea concerning ‘defunding police’. It is truly the wrong name for what is intended.
    It is not a defunding, but a restructuring.

    No matter what ’emergency’ occurs, police are called and usually arrive first – from fire, to cats in a tree, to a medical issue, to an unruly pre teen… Whatever. This is why so many police are needed, and this is why so much of the time they are standing about or even trying to be a therapist when they are not really properly trained.

    Restructuring the 911 calls so that they truly go to the RIGHT people needed to handle situations would not only free our police time, but also allow us to be more selective in who we choose for this important job. Fact: departments have a lot of slots to fill because police are spread about now. Definitely not all, but some police that should never have that job slip by. This would help… We wouldn’t need as many.

    Currently, we have issues – and the Minnesota Governor (not Trump – he lied) called in the National Guard. They are there to help in these instances.

    • September 1, 2020 4:49 pm

      Ronda, maybe in your city they are restructuring. In way too many, even mine, one with a population of 250,000, they are cutting $1M and 15 of the 75 open police positions and transferring that money to anti-poverty efforts . This when the crime rate has increased so there is a 64% greater risk of violent crime in the city compared to the state.

      I suggest any civic leader, politician or anyone advocating for reducing funding be required to “walk in the shoes of police” for 14 days, different shifts and respond to 100% of the calls with police.

      I dont object to restructuring police, but removing funding, which the majority of the vocal left advocates only results in the riots we see today.

      And please check point #38 on this document read into the congressional record during the Kennedy administration.
      https://hankeringforhistory.com/communist-goals-congressional-record-1963/

      • Anonymous permalink
        September 1, 2020 6:32 pm

        Police are in my family, and privately have complained about the few – which (by the way) also cost more than their pay. This is not new – it has gone on uncorrected for years.
        How can you blame the riots on the poorly named ‘defunding’? Not that much has occurred yet – not in Oregon, and definitely not in Wisconsin – my state.
        I already said, and the governor of Wisconsin already proved that police can be assisted in extreme cases by the National Guard.

        Changes are needed – above all, knowledge is needed. I advocate going slowly (and yes, I lean right but not radically so)… But when a situation – several situations like we now face occur, change is necessary.

      • September 1, 2020 7:50 pm

        I have no problem with change. But I do have issues where people who have never known a police officer think they know how officers should react in every situation. Different training might be needed. Better screening to identify people who might over react might be available.

        There are bad apples in every profession. And those should not be protected by police unions like in Minneapolis. But also, they should not be prejudged as in Ferguson. I blame that on the political press, jumping to conclusions, based on incomplete or inadequate information.

        Maybe if the press reported known facts and not anticipated facts, riots like we are seeing might not occur. Once facts are known, emotions have calmed and demonstrations without violence might result.

        But just calling for across the board dollar or % cuts without what to cut will do more harm than good.

        And I dont have any thoughts on Biden cutting police budgets. The feds dont fund police budgets. In most states, the states dont fund them. Cities and counties fund them, so whatever the presidential candidates say is political B.S. to get votes and nothing else. It makes good debate, but little impact. Cities and counties will do what they want, regardless of political messages from D.C.

  5. September 1, 2020 10:46 pm

    As for Ricks “Moneyed Interests”, would this fall into that category?

    All I can say is once a hypocrite, always a hypocrite.

    https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/house-speaker-nancy-pelosi-gets-hair-done-at-covid-closed-salon/

  6. Savannah Jordan permalink
    September 4, 2020 7:43 pm

    Rick, I don’t know that I agree with you 100%, but it is pretty close to that. Thanks for presenting the middle ground.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      September 5, 2020 2:51 pm

      Thanks, Savannah — I try. But we’re so polarized that it’s hard to say anything now, even at The New Moderate, without offending somebody. We’ve lost our left-leaning moderates and even some moderate moderates — and I think our right-leaning moderates stick around just so they can disagree with me. 😉

      • September 5, 2020 3:23 pm

        Something else Rick. You have reduced the amount of time posting comments, so why should others interested in conversation stick around. There are many other places to frequent that have comments by the blogger almost daily.

        And when you do comment, you dont stick around to discuss your positions. For instance, your position on tax the rich should be a topic of discussion or debate which does not occur. So again, why should a reader spend time commenting when it fails to open up a conversation with you.

        One should be willing to discuss and defend their positions when making public comments. I would live to have a detailed debate with you on all the issues, but that is not available.

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        September 7, 2020 1:18 am

        Ron: I think Dave’s domination of the comments section (at least until now) made it almost impossible for me to keep up without spending half my day at The New Moderate. (Some of my posts would garner over 1000 comments!) I don’t get paid for my labors, and I already spend too much of my day online.

        Moreover, I’m simply not a political animal — I don’t live and breathe the stuff on a daily basis. My mission was to show the world that moderates could be impassioned and even fierce in holding the center… that we could build a movement… and that we could even influence non-radical liberals and conservatives to join us.

        Well, except for the first point, my mission has been a bust. (Nevertheless, I persist.) At this point I’m here mainly to spark the conversations with my monthly columns and let the regulars argue it out among themselves after the first couple of days. But most of the regulars are gone now. I can almost hear the echoes.

        I know Roby and Jay left because they thought we were too conservative; some regulars from the early days left (or continued to oppose me) because they thought I was too liberal. Moderates are by nature independent thinkers; I guess it’s next to impossible for someone like me to gather a congregation of rabid followers who greet every utterance of mine with a rousing “Amen!” I wouldn’t have wanted that kind of unanimity, but I guess I had hoped for a little more unity.

      • September 7, 2020 12:36 pm

        Rick, yes, being moderate opens one for being too liberal or too conservative. That is brought about by the moderates not being vocal in anything. Only the right or left visit sites and comment.

        And I was able to avoid Daves dominance by just deleting messages in e-mail since Yahoo posts the first few words of a message and they always showed “X commented on…” So anything Dave got deleted after the first couple.

        Please continue with your “monthly” posts. But you have to agree they have become more like quarterly or semi-annual. Not conducive to attracting new viewership.

  7. Savannah Jordan permalink
    September 4, 2020 7:46 pm

    I hope that this doe not post twice. I agree with the vast majority of what you have said. Thanks for presenting the middle ground.

  8. Rick Bayan permalink
    September 5, 2020 3:05 pm

    Folks, what do you think about the article in The Atlantic alleging that Trump referred to dead veterans as “losers” and “suckers”? If true, this has to be an all-time low in the annals of the US presidency. It sounds like something Trump would blurt out in an unguarded moment…

    BUT The Atlantic has turned into an organ of the elite left (i.e., Trump’s nemesis) in recent years, and they refuse to reveal their sources. (Why?) Obviously the quotes made national news and could turn undecided voters against Trump (as they should if true).

    The question remains, though — did Trump really say it, or is it “fake news”? I don’t trust 90% of new sources these days, but if he did say what he is supposed to have said, he deserves to be tossed out on his padded rump in November. What say you?

    • September 5, 2020 3:39 pm

      Rick, I am in agreement 100% with this comment.
      1. If I remember correctly, the helos were grounded.
      2. Did he attend another ceremony or visit another cemetary?
      3. Why won’t someone get the balks to come out and say “I am X, I was there, Trump said…..”
      4. It is now to the point that even the best sources are hiding Anonymous is their reporting. Fox News national security reporter is even reporting ” my source says Trump said this”

      Yes, there will be these reports weekly trickle out. “Anonymous sources say…..” to create negative stories.

      And yes, it sounds like Trump after his comments about McCain.

      And this is why I refuse to vote For either major party candidate. Tye damage Trump does in division is harming the country and Bidens policies will do as much harm, but just in a different manner. We cat afford ither of them.

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        September 7, 2020 12:48 am

        Ron: I was waiting to see if there were any additional clues. John Bolton, no friend of Trump’s these days, claims he never heard him say anything like the quotes in The Atlantic… but of course he simply might not have been with Trump when he uttered those now-infamous quotes. Carl Bernstein stressed the importance of anonymous sources (especially when planning to overthrow a president, I guess).

        The quotes do sound like vintage Trump, but that doesn’t make them genuine. He’s expressed sympathy for dead veterans before, in conversations with bereaved family members. Bottom line: I’m withholding final judgment, but I acknowledge that his deplorable statements could be genuine. Like you, I’m fed up with both parties at this point.

      • September 7, 2020 12:31 pm

        Rick, I think Carl Bernstein and Woodward leading to Watergate conducted themselves in a far different manner from what is happening today. there was a break in, the police caught them in the act of the burglary and they were identified as being tied to the president.

        C & B then began investigating and were told by deep throat information concerning the case and they did not release any information until the proof was there and it made no difference what the anonymous source told them.

        In this case is” anonymous A told me and anonymous B, C and D verify that”. In my world that used to be a rumor. Not until someone with a name said it was true and that person could be questioned by others dd it become fact.

    • Savannah Jordan permalink
      September 11, 2020 8:05 am

      I feel pretty certain that trump made those horrible remarks about our soldiers. He made similar remarks about John McCain. I don’t think the man has any conception of doing something for the greater good. I don’t disagree with all his other policies but he is a horrible person who is incapable of giving an intellectual argument and relies upon insults to get his way. I didn’t vote for him and I won’t be voting for him this time. Biden is an extremely decent man but the democrats are catering to minority claims of oppression by the privileged whites. I will probably do what I did last time, write in john Kasich’s name.

      • September 11, 2020 1:18 pm

        Or, vote 3rd party, not because they can win, but big ng a vote could get them to the table in the next election. That being federal campaign funding and a podium stand in the future debates. Another voice in equal conditions that might break the duopoly that the parties have today.

      • September 14, 2020 9:11 pm

        Savannah, I can understand your not liking Trump, and wanting to vote for his opponent. That is your right, and it must be disappointing to have no viable opponent for whom to vote.

        But how is it that you’re willing to believe an anonymously “sourced” hit piece in a far left online magazine, despite many on-the-record denials made by people who were actually there when Trump supposedly said this horrible thing. Including John Bolton, who despises Trump, and John Kelly, whose son was killed in Iraq. Do you believe that Kelly would have stood there and allowed Trump to call his son a “loser?” I can’t believe that.

  9. September 13, 2020 11:00 am

    For the life of me, I do not understand how anyone can vote for any Democrat, when the Party has tacitly supported riots, looting, and violence against police. Even on traditional kitchen table issues, the Democrats have shown themselves to be opposed to policies that would help the middle class, and have supprted socialist policies, such as Medicare for All and the GND. No way does the country emerge better if Biden, who is a sadly diminished shell of his former self, wins. So why vote for him?

    We’ll just get more of this:

    “Crowds of protesters blocked the entrance to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where the wounded officers were in a critical condition, police said. Some protesters chanted ‘we hope they die’”
    https://www.newsweek.com/los-angeles-officers-critical-condition-shooting-1531552

    If Joe Biden came out today, and condemned BLM and Antifa by name, rather than vaguely condemning violence in general, without specifying who is responsible for what is happening right now, he would win convincingly, despite his obvious physical and mental challenges.

    But he won’t.

    • September 14, 2020 7:29 pm

      There are three types of voters.
      Blindly vote for any Democrat.
      Blindly vote for any Republican
      Votes For candidate after researching person and positions

      When we did not have the internet, and instant brainwashing on cable T.V., people got news from papers, radio news and other reliable sources. They made educated choices.

      Today that happens to infreguently.

      • September 14, 2020 9:07 pm

        The brainwashing has become unbelievable. I suppose it’s easy when the public education system has turned the last couple of generations into ignorant activists, as opposed to educated citizens. Not all of them, of course, but far too many.

        Today, standing in a field, speakiing to 4-5 camera and teleprompter operators, Joe Biden blamed Donald Trump for hurricanes and said that, if Trump is reelected, people’s homes will be blown away by the wind. That has to be the most idiotic fear mongering in the history of American politics. I can hardly believe that Biden voters listen to that rubbish and think to themselves “yeah, that’s the guy I want for my president and commander in chief!”

    • Savannah Jordan permalink
      September 16, 2020 12:45 pm

      Priscilla, yes I think what the democrats are doing is horrible, but I dislike Trump equally. He may not have made horrible comments about our fallen soldiers, but he made fun of a man Michael J. Fox’s parkinson disease, called women pigs. He talks about sexually assaulting women. He is destroying the environment. I can’t bring myself to vote for either candidate. I will write-in Kasich’s name just like I did last time.

      • September 16, 2020 12:58 pm

        I totally get it. You are in good company, as many feel the same.

        I could never bring myself to vote for Kasich, because he doesn’t strike me as genuine or honest. For example, he stayed in the 2016 primary long after it was mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination, and by doing so, insured Trump’s nomination. I was opposed to Trump back then, and could not fathom why he would do that, unless he was angling for veep, which he said he was not.

        I don’t recall seeing where or when Trump called women “pigs,” and I’m pretty sure that it was Rush Limbaugh who was accused of mocking Fox. Nevertheless, Trump has said some things that were not very nice. I understand why there are people who are put off by him. I don’t understand the irrational hatred of him and his supporters by many, but I see why he is not personally popular with others.

        You appear to be a thoughtful and rational person. I wish us both luck going forward in this very overheated political world!

      • September 16, 2020 2:21 pm

        Priscilla, “I wish us both luck going forward in this very overheated political world!”

        I believe that is an understatement. Overheated is something that is out of the norm. I think this country is ready to blow.

      • September 16, 2020 2:18 pm

        Savannah. Good for you. This country was never founded on voting for the least worst, it was founded on what the voter felt was the best. If Kasich is what you believe best, go for it.

        That is why I will vote libertarian. One more vote just might get them enough to qualify for debates and funding next time and I really think we need a third person at the table showing how bad the two candidate might be. Trump the person and Biden the politician.

  10. September 15, 2020 1:48 pm

    Concerning, #3, polarization and the hollowing of the center. This is so obvious to a moderate. Oddly, it comes out when we leave comments. I’ve left posts on “liberal” sites and been painted with all manner of invective ranging from Nazi to a homophobic, misogynist pig. Conversely, if leaving a post on a “conservative” site, I’ve been painted as a Socialist, tree hugging, gay with mommy issues. Of course, the comments are much more passionate and full of hate. Moreover, I see no good in either of these so-called, presidential candidates, observing the whole thing as nothing but some kind of carnival style side or freak show. The media too, has definitely left the moderate ilk behind, pandering to least common denominators on a daily basis and raking in the dollars. One thing moderates must notice and be ever vigilant of, is the sensitive nature of extremists. Being so far to the left or right leaves the center appearing to one side as if it’s the other. Left, sees center as Right, Right, sees center as left. This is the paradox the moderate faces. How to speak to and be heard “correctly” by an extremist. Nothing seems to work. I have family that does not speak to one another because of these issues, and these are not your marching in the streets folks. Unfortunately, when a viral ideology takes hold of individuals, those individuals then become mobs loosing all sense and judgement. And try speaking reason to a mob. All you’ll get is an early grave. Really, I think the only thing that will work is to put an end to this so-called, Democratic internet. For the most part, it’s become a digital hell. And until we’ve restored some kind of common decency and civil nature, the West will continue to spiral out of control. Victims of our own success? I’ll say…

    • September 15, 2020 3:45 pm

      K..You comment much better than I ever have on how it appears to be a moderate. While I find many of the legislative things Trump has supported acceptable, I have said many times Trump v Clinton or Trump v Biden are the worst choices we could have.

      Not until the middle get vocal, active and e nd support for alternative candidates will anything change. The extreme of each party will only grow stronger.

    • September 15, 2020 6:52 pm

      K. I would only take issue with one thing that you say, and that is your apparent; assumption that anyone who is not a centrist is an extremist.

      I am on the right, although I don’t identify as a traditional conservative, and in fact spent most of my adult life left of center. I support limited abortion rights, legalization of marijuana, supported gay marriage before SCOTUS legalized it. I am certainly not a socialist, but I do believe that a large, economically diverse nation like ours needs to have a robust safety net. I do not mock and malign people who have views that differ from my own, although I am routinely mocked and maligned by people on social media, who seemingly believe that anyone who does not agree with their take on things is evil, stupid or both. I actually consider myself a moderate, in that I believe in taking a stand, but also believe in a willingness to compromise in order for both sides to accomplish their priorities. Sometimes compromise is not possible, but it usually is, if both sides keep an open mind and debate in good faith

      I don’t believe that liberals are extremists (although Trump derangement has made some of them sound as if they are). And, I have friends on the right who are overly defensive and combative in their attitude toward liberals. They’re not extremists, but they often act like jerks.

      It may be that you didn’t mean to suggest that anyone who is not in the center is an extremist. If so, my apologies.

      • September 16, 2020 11:04 am

        Yes, you are right. Anyone not a centrist is not necessarily an extremist. It is a continuum of sorts, ranging from maniacal fanaticism, to simple disagreement and compromise. My concern today is not the extremist, for they are and always will be, well, extreme, but for the political pandering to those extremes. That often, as we’re seeing, leads to violence. Why?–I believe for but the simple fact that politics itself is taken entirely to seriously, and although necessary for the maintenance of a large scale society, leads in fact to extremism. It’s difficult to say why people become so enamored with the idea of politics and the state, some grand vision, some great utopian flag in the sky, which is all, I’d say–a callow political romanticism. And maybe that’s our extremist, the callow political romantic? The person who falls in love with the idea of some grandiose vision, losing all sense of rational judgment and clear thinking, instead making for what should simply a game of compromise. For, after all, does not any relationship live or die by compromise?

      • September 16, 2020 11:35 am

        Ah, now you’re talking!

        Politics is taken waaay too seriously, and we currently seem to be at the mercy of callow political romantics, who have been led to believe that there is a utopia to be had by tearing apart, and ultimately tearing down, a system that was built on compromise.

    • Savannah Jordan permalink
      September 18, 2020 8:08 am

      Extremely well stated. Yes, we are victims of our own success. Seems that we following the course which many other civilizations have followed – reaching an apex of achievement and then slipping into degeneracy.

  11. September 16, 2020 2:55 pm

    Concerning, #4, Identity politics, “wokeness” and “cancel culture.” Identity politics is fine, as long as all “identities” are to participate. Unfortunately, if a “white” person asserts their identity, that suggests “racism.” Hence, we have a contradiction, and therefore no identity politics since there are people with whom we cannot identify, being as they have no identity.
    To put it bluntly, we either must have full up identity politics, by which each “ethnic” group puts their cards on the table and lets them fall where they may, with all governmental, academic, religious, media, etc. excluded as tools allowing any one group to exercise control over any other. Since this seems, at least on cursory examination, virtually impossible, we need to drop the idea of identity politics in favor of a more inclusive (truly) system. Is this political romanticism, hallucination, and delusion? Of course it is…

    Considering “wokeness.” Being overly aware of “racial” and “unequal” social issues is the hypochondria of our age. Instead OCDing on your pulse, cholesterol level, germs, etc. We focus that attention outward, looking for every and all so–called, social injustices. Look long enough, look hard enough, and you’ll find bacteria lurking in every corner. Look long enough, look hard enough, and the racial straw man will find his way into your mind.

    And as for cancel culture. This is just the cultural equivalent of a mathematical principle known as the pigeon hole principle. When there’s not enough slots for all the pigeons, either one must crowd in with the other or one must find a way, nefarious or otherwise the cook that pigeon’s goose. So, you see. All this is just wonton competition, competition completely and utterly out of control. And for what? Not, water, not food, but simply each voice trying to make sure its identity is heard, even if that means the complete, and ironic, destruction of the others.

    • September 16, 2020 3:46 pm

      K, concerning “wokeness” I have commented that I believe, from a race standpoint, that the blacks do not have the one national voice to rally the black movement into a collective non violent movement, just as MLK did in the 60’s.

      When a movements face is Colin Kaeperneck, kneeling NFL players and athletes in general, it really is not a movement. Blacks need to address one issue at a time, come up with various solutions, put those in play in different parts of the coubtry and the ones working gest, use it nationally, then move to the next issue.

      Using a shot gun aporoach onnracial issues will only get you buck shot in the ideas.

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