During my lifetime, the summer months have been a time to just soak up the sun and try to get only as much work done as is necessary. But these days there are more things going on in the political world that I find myself struggling to keep up with, and two of them are worth exploring. One is climate change, and the other is Hunter Biden.
A dear friend of mine volunteered his thinking about the horrendous weather the world has been experiencing, stating, “There’s no such thing as climate change. It’s all cyclical.”
There are a lot of things that are cyclical. The major one is the economy. I’ve lived long enough to have seen major ups and downs in the stock market, and experienced both inflation and recession.
But at no time in my life have I seen virtually the entire world experiencing oppressive heat waves and violent storms. If you travel to Europe in the summer, there’s always the chance that you’ll run into brutal heat waves. But recently the temperature of the ocean off south Florida exceeded 100 degrees. That is not a cyclical experience.
I feel a touch of sadness when I see photos of polar bears in the Arctic, stuck on land because ice floes have melted. Many of the western states now have deserts where there were once overflowing streams and lakes. The lack of available drinking water has stirred fights among some of those states, and there is no way to create any new water sources. This past winter, many communities were buried in as much as eight feet of snow with no past history of such accumulations.
Almost every day, there’s a report about flash floods killing people. Last month, Westchester, Orange and Rockland counties were hit with torrential rains that caused at least two deaths. Elected officials in those areas likened the rainstorms to waterfalls, and they caused millions of dollars in damage. Government officials attested to the fact that the flooding they caused had no historical precedents.
My second issue is the Republican fixation with President Biden’s son, Hunter. Because the economy is good and the president is championing so many positive things that have happened during his time in office, the opposition party is spending night and day talking about his son. Which, to be fair, raises the legitimate issue of relatives of presidents capitalizing on their name or contacts.
When Jimmy Carter was president, his brother, Billy, spent all his waking hours promoting the Carter name. He started out with Billy Beer and created many other promotions using the family name. President George H.W. Bush’s brothers snagged lucrative business deals. It didn’t hurt to have the name Bush.
Then there’s Jared Kushner, former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law. I have met Jared on a number of occasions, and find him to be a very likable person. But Jared is no Warren Buffett. The Saudi government gave Jared $2 billion for his investment fund, against the wishes of the government’s own finance minister. According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings as of March 31, Kushner’s fund had $2.5 billion on hand, almost all of it having come from overseas investors.
It’s fair to assume that Jared didn’t get his Saudi windfall based on his looks or charm, so being a son-in-law of a president hasn’t hurt his brief career as an investor. Has Hunter Biden made thousands, or millions, based on the fact that his last name is Biden? I think that’s a fair assumption. Did he break any laws? That’s up to prosecutors to determine — not Fox News or Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
I could fill volumes of Herald columns with stories about presidential family members benefiting from their last names. I wasn’t around during the days of President William Howard Taft, but there are a few stories of lucky relatives dating back even to those times. From now at least until November 2024, many Republican politicians will be spending many of their waking hours pursuing the dirt, real or imagined, on Hunter Biden. I think there are more issues of importance to America than one man’s son.
Jerry Kremer was an Assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? firstname.lastname@example.org.