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To common sense 

Editor's note: Al Fonzi recently relocated to Tennessee, and New Times is looking for a new SLO County-based Rhetoric and Reason contributor who sees things from a moderate to conservative political perspective. Interested? Reach out to the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.

This may be my last column, or not, so I will summarize my comments over the years, after, of course, hoping that all of you had a Merry Christmas and that the coming year will find you blessed.

Over the years, I've tried to provide reasoned counterpoints to what passes as "common knowledge" and not-so-gently encourage you to look at issues from another perspective. Hopefully I managed to do that without engaging in personal attacks, however vehemently we might disagree.

Highlighted in national news lately has been how important it is to pass the Biden "Build Back Better" plan, which would massively alter the political landscape while spending the nation into bankruptcy. So far the lone holdout has been U.S. Sen. Manchin (D-West Virginia), who single-handedly torpedoed the first round of legislation in the Senate.

Actually, if Biden's spending plan does eventually pass, America will be a few steps closer to peering into the abyss of national insolvency. Massive spending by Democrats has already fed the fires of inflation, the highest levels in more than 30 years and climbing. As Biden's administration executed the demands of the left-fringe of his party, waging war on America's energy structure, especially fossil fuels, we've lost the energy independence we briefly attained under former President Trump.

Gas prices—indeed, all forms of energy costs—have skyrocketed with no end to price increases in sight. Biden shut down American pipelines, refineries, and drilling leases, undermined the ability of energy companies (those not in favor) to obtain credit, all the while asking the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to expand their production of fossil fuels in order to feed America's insatiable appetite for oil. Russia and OPEC refused, and even cut production briefly to artificially keep pump prices high. Enjoy those $5-plus gas prices, even as they continue to soar to $6 or $8 a gallon, or even more. I'm not sure how this policy is supposed to help the poor, the working poor, and the middle-class, but I'm sure the White House will find some way to spin this issue during press conferences.

I realize that Biden and woke Western European countries have fully embraced the climate change crisis narrative, imposing draconian rules against fossil fuels to save the planet, especially desiring to shut down the coal industry, but things aren't working out so well. China and India have increased their use of coal by 9 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in 2021, negating America's CO2 emissions reductions. Both continue to build new coal-fired power plants and Germany, a previous pioneer in alternative energy use, has turned back to coal as an energy source due to the failure of solar and wind to provide the power needed to keep their economy humming and homes warm in a cold winter.

America, by contrast, is doubling down on its effort to enforce harsh environmental regulations, especially against the auto industry via the EPA, mandating unachievable gas mileage standards by 2024. That's a guaranteed method to move auto production offshore, again making the Rust Belt rustier still. For true believers, what I'm implying is heresy, but take a look at the writings of Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg, who has dissected and refuted most climate crisis dogma, suggesting that adaptation and common sense be used to address hazards that will not manifest until the next century (and in far lesser forms). Neither crisis nor panic is required.

We are also told that Republican policies threaten democracy or the survival of the nation. Actually, the greatest threat to democracy, other than Democrats, is the apathy and ignorance of American voters, who routinely fail to demand accountability from elected officials in either party and routinely return them to office. Being informed is not a prerequisite for holding national office—just look at the U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia), who said during a public meeting that he was concerned stationing more Marines on the island of Guam might cause the island to tip over. No joke!

What threatens the survival of the nation today is a rogue tech industry that worships censorship in the best traditions of former U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy (of the 1950s era), censoring anyone who expresses views not meeting its definition of "mainstream."

We face external threats from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, as the first three modernize and expand their nuclear arsenals and Iran strives to develop nuclear weapons—its expressed purpose being obliterating the state of Israel.

As Russia threatens its neighbors, it's introduced hypersonic missiles that travel at speeds of one mile per second, are maneuverable, defeat anti-missile defenses, and are described as first-strike weapons. Biden's budget guts our defense modernization, while his appeasement of Russia and China makes war and strategic defeat of our own military increasingly more likely within this decade or sooner.

With all of that said, while there are many issues to argue about, today, I wish all of you well and hope minds remain open and dialogue remains civil. Have a Happy New Year! Δ

Al Fonzi had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Respond with a letter to the editor emailed to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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