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A Bridge in Pittsburgh has Fallen

January 28, 2022

I grew up in Pittsburgh, went to Pitt, but returned only once–in 1996–to assist the first Republican who gained control of Allegheny County Government in sixty years.

The city of Pittsburgh has been controlled by Democrats longer than Finland was subservient to the Soviet Union. One Party rule by Democrats drove the City to bankruptcy but that has not diminished their love for Big Government. Academics at Pitt didn’t complain. That University was Left-wing long before 1932.

Yet despite the “Progressive” Dem’s control, Pittsburgh remains attractive for reasons that led Jeff Bezos to consider making the Burg Amazon’s second HQ.

Now that a major bridge in Pittsburgh has collapsed, however, citizens of Pittsburgh may have second thoughts about Democrat Party control.

Three years ago on February 5 I shared my concerns with voters in an OpEd in Pittsburgh’s Tribune Review, a daily newspaper founded by Richard Mellon Scaife.

Richard J. Bishirjian | Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 9:00 p.m.

After 1949, when Mao Zedong forced the “nationalist” government to retreat to Taiwan, all hopes of Chinese for returning “home” were dashed. The phenomenon of “overseas Chinese” reflected that reality. In the United States there is a similar phenomenon. I call us “overseas Pittsburghers.”

This is a new era, however, and manufacturing is not the lifeblood of the ‘Burgh. New forms of employment are changing the economy and other corporate entities have replaced Big Steel, Big Aluminum and the 19th-century giants — Carnegie, Frick and Mellon. In their place are two universities, Carnegie Mellon and Pitt, and UPMC, which employs 80,000 residents.

Pittsburgh has qualified for consideration for a new Amazon headquarters, proudly pointing to several Amazon executives who are overseas Pittsburghers and the attractiveness of Pittsburgh’s location, universities and skilled workforce.

There are problems, however.

Not all of the Pittsburgh area’s local governments are well run. Some are “distressed communities.”

In terms of politics, during the Great Depression, Democrats took control of Pittsburgh city government and have held power ever since, with government offices and employment enjoyed by Democratic Party loyalists. How or why political power has not changed over those many years spells trouble.

Aspinwall and Forest Hills were Republican forever, but they became tired and old. Both borough GOP committees couldn’t recruit anyone to run for elective office, and the Democrats took over by default. In Aspinwall, new Democrats are running a tight ship, but after a while, Democratic “regulars” will seek office and spending will increase.

Is that a region where Jeff Bezos would like to build his new headquarters?

As a left-winger, Bezos will like the domination of Democrats. But local officials have never shown leadership that could reform the public schools or foster entrepreneurship.

There is a need for rental housing, but that takes time. Where will the first 10,000 Amazon employees live? And where can they find a good public school for their children?

Twenty-two years ago, Republican leader Larry Dunn gained control of Allegheny County government. He ran on a pledge to privatize some services and the county’s general aviation airport. Dunn was instrumental in passage of legislation that permitted cities to sell five airports and keep the proceeds.

With legislation clearing the way, the tenants at the airport reversed their view of county management of the airport. They now wanted nothing to do with its sale. However, many corporations that had served county government were open to privatization.

Old dogs can learn new tricks. But the dogs in the governments of Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh are not innovative.

So, if Bezos is looking for a high-tax location dominated by Democrats for generations, with poor public schools, local taxes on employee income and housing inadequate to his needs, Pittsburgh is for him. But not for us overseas Pittsburghers who want to return home. It’s not time

Please Sign

January 26, 2022

Dear President Putin:

We the undersigned respect the Russian nation, its long history, Orthodox religious faith and the long suffering of the Russian people during totalitarian rule under the government of the former Soviet Union.

But the world has changed and there is no place for Empires on the continent of Europe. The former satellite nations of the USSR desire independence that threatens no other country and despise the belligerence of totalitarian leaders that hijack commercial airplanes, imprison and inflict bodily harm on citizens who demand that the bad practices of the past cease and desist.

In honor of their desires, the United States will commence policies that are right and just and which none but aspiring Emperors find unacceptable. We protest the attacks that thwarted reforms in Georgia and the inattention by former President Obama to the invasion of Crimea. We will do much to assure that Europe is not dependent on Russian oil and if provoked we will transfer American forces stationed in Europe since the end of World War II in response to formal requests from former “Captive Nations.”

Though the loss of the former Soviet Russia may be seen to be a great personal tragedy, the Russian people have no desire to return to a past era of repression, hunger and pain.

Please be advised that for now you are relatively unconstrained by the weakness and incompetence of the current Administration of the United States. But as early as January 2023 the outlines of a new government will come into view and signal that closure of authoritarian rule in Russia is at hand.

As God is our witness we aspire to allow the pure light of freedom to penetrate every aspect of Russian life.

Richard Bishirjian _______________  _______________  __________  ____________

Changing Times

January 25, 2022

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a Changin” spoke to the era of the mid-60s. Sixty years later we sense again that we are on the cusp of a new era. The Progressive era’s romantic vision has been replaced by a grim realization that the problem is “Us.”

Three aspects of politics in America today–political turmoil, radical divisions and our “Two Party” system—indicate that times are “a changin.”

Collectively these three ingredients are leading to a weakening of our ability to protect the American nation from foreign enemies.

Reflecting a new nationalistic spirit, in 2016 Donald Trump showed elected officials that the way to gain power was to focus on the home front. The democratic project of making the world democratic was firmly rejected in 2016 and only former President Donald Trump’s ignorance lost the 2020 election to a cognitively impaired Joe Biden.

A Democrat Party, now totally dominated by “Progressive” idealists, has thrown all caution to the wind, ignored its slim majorities in Congress and has chosen to advance ideologically driven policies for which there is no discernible support by the majority  of American voters.

To top off that cauldron of Progressive ideology, the former President, Donald Trump, signaled his rejection of Constitutional limits on executive power, marshaled supporters in Washington on January 6 and attempted to thwart action of the Electoral College affirming election of Joe Biden.

And if that were not enough, Trump predicted that he would be installed in his former Office within months.

Bananas that usually suppress elected governments in Latin America were swept off the shelves of American supermarkets and readied for a call to act by a vengeful former President of the United States.

All this is good fun for observers of our national crackup except for signs that our enemies in Russia, Communist China and Iran smell weakness and are preparing to act.

Vladimir Putin seeks to take back Ukraine and sees Joe Biden as “weak.”

Xi Jinping wants Taiwan, but invasion of that territory is but a prelude to domination of Japan.

And the new government in Iran plans to squeeze Europe’s oil supply by challenging shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

The chances of war in Ukraine are now visible, and the Constitution permits replacement of President Biden before 2024 only by resignation.

Even Republicans do not want Kamalla Harris to succeed Joe Biden.

But, replacing her with Donald Trump will lead to civil war just as war in Ukraine and Taiwan are real possibilities.

The Times They are a Changin, indeed.

Pillow Wars

January 23, 2022

We’ve seen advertisements for pillows at MyPillow.com, so many  in fact, that we immediately press “Mute” when they appear. The founder, owner and marketer of these pillows has a story as well as pillows to sell, and that story is religious and political to such an extent that “the pillow Man” complains that he is a victim of “Cancel Culture.”

Well, things are beginning to get very interesting!

A new pillow has entered the market!

Nuzzle” uses “zero gravity” material developed by NASA, costs more, but is based on “science.”

The Pillow Wars have begun.