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Friday, March 23, 2018

The Top Headlines Today

The mainstream media is back at it today.  I listened to a radio newscast while in my car this morning.  The top story from CBS News was the appointment of a "super hawk" as National Security Adviser.  The story made it sound as if Bolton thinks military action is the answer to every problem.  The second story was a long piece about the former Playboy bunny who claims she had an affair with Donald Trump many years ago.  Really?  There's a major ongoing terrorist attack in France, but the Playboy bunny is more important?  There's all sorts of other important stories, but the Playboy bunny is more important?  Are they kidding?

Let's put it this way:  After the Access Hollywood tape during the campaign, there shouldn't be anyone in America who is surprised to find out that Donald Trump had affairs in the past.  There's also no one who is saying that this conduct is continuing, so Trump does not sink to the level of Bill Clinton or John Kennedy on that score.  But there is surely no surprise to hear of some former affair.  At least, there ought to be no surprise.  So why is this such big news?

There's a new poll out today about American's attitudes towards the Iraq War.  It's been 15 years since the start of that conflict.  The amazing thing is that fewer than a fifth of those polled knew when or why the Iraq War began.  A large majority didn't know how the war progressed either.  Maybe the reason for this lack of knowledge is that there were too many news reports about unimportant things like the Playboy bunny and too little information disseminated by the media about things that truly matter.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bolton In, McMaster Out

The White House announced tonight that John Bolton will be replacing H R McMaster as National Security Adviser starting at the end of the first week in April.  This switch has been rumored for many months.  It is something that should have some major impact at the Trump White House.  When you also add the departure of Rex Tillerson at the State Department, there should be some truly major impacts on American foreign policy.

It seems clear that President Trump is replacing the people who have not really agreed with his plans carried out over the last year.  It will be interesting to watch the impact that the new team will have on the upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.  My guess is that it will be more likely that President Trump will take a very strong position with Kim.  I think the chances that the USA will go along with some new endless negotiation with the NKs have declined dramatically with these personnel changes.  I also think that the chances of a stronger confrontation of Russia over events like the Russian use of chemical weapons to poison a Russian √©migr√© in the UK have increased greatly.  In the Middle East, we should see a stronger policy against Iran.  We should also see much less willingness to go along with Palestinian intransigence in negotiations with Israel.  All things considered, the changes ought to lead to a more coherent and responsible American foreign policy.  That's a very good thing.

What A Victory In Wisconsin

In the "you won't believe this one" category, Democrats in Wisconsin are celebrating because a judge in Dane Country ordered Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to call a special election to fill two vacant state legislative seats, one in the state senate and one in the house.  Walker had said that he would let the seats be filled in the November elections in order to save money for the state.  The judge decided that there had to be an election because not to hold one would deprive the voters in two districts of representation.  But here's the kicker:  the Wisconsin legislature just adjourned its regular session for the year.  There won't be any more votes until 2019 unless a special session is called.  Think about that.  The judge ruled that there had to be elections to fill a seat in the legislature that is done meeting for the year.  The new state senator and representative will do nothing except draw a salary for the next six months.  The special election will cost a few million dollars to run.  And this is the decision that the Democrats are calling a big victory.  Have they lost their minds?

In any event, there will be an appeal of the court's decision, and maybe a further appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  By the time there's a final decision, it will probably be too late to hold the special election anyway.

Big congrats to the Democrats on this "major" victory.

Tariffs on China

The news of the moment is that President Trump is going to levy a $50 billion tariff on Chinese goods in response to the Chinese theft of American intellectual property.  The Chinese government supports efforts to break into the computer systems of American companies and steal their designs, trade secrets, an other important data so that the Chinese can get it without paying for it.  China has also been pressuring American companies to have their tech products made in China so that the designs, etc. will be known in China and can then be used by the Chinese.

This is a process that has been going on for at least ten years if not more.  During the Obama years, the US government did nothing about it.  As a result, a great deal of tech and other US manufacturing moved to China.  Trump's move is telling the Chinese to knock it off; there will be a steep price if the practice continues.  This is a good thing.  China is a world economic power.  It has to act like a responsible member of the world community, not a pirate, if it wants to stay a part of that community. 

The Chinese are threatening to respond with countermeasures of their own.  Supposedly, these measures will target the groups who voted for Trump.  We will see soon enough how the Chinese react.  The key, however, is that the USA not give in to these Chinese threats.  In the near term, the pain inflicted on China of possibly losing the US market is a lot worse than the pain the US would suffer at the hands of the Chinese.  President Xi of China will not want to have his nation's economy take a serious hit in a trade war with the USA.  China claims that its GDP is growing by more than 6% per year, but many economists think that the real growth rate at the moment is something like 1.5%.  A hit in a trade war could lead to a recession in China, something that the Chinese haven't seen in a long, long time. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Is It A Surprise?

The Austin bombing suspect is dead.  Authorities haven't identified him as of yet; we only know he is a white 24 year old male.  I decided to look on Twitter to see how the news is being received.  There, I read that this guy was an "obvious white supremacist".  I also read that the police caught up with him only after he attacked in a white neighborhood; before that, I was told, no real effort was made to catch him.  These may be random idiots writing anonymously on Twitter, but still, it is sad that we have people who believe this garbage.

The truth is that we need to wait to learn who this terrorist really is.  Why did he do this?  Is he just mentally ill?  Does he have a cause he is supporting?  Is there a group involved or did he act alone?

We should save the judgments for later.


Life in the Bubble

The average American doesn't really care that much about supposed collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016; he or she cares about being able to care for the family, earn a good living, having adequate security both national and personal and also enjoying life.  Nevertheless, since the election in 2016, the mainstream media and most of the Democrats have been talking about almost nothing else than Russia, Russia, Russia.  After all this time, however, there is no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

The Trump-Russia bubble replaced the old Obama racism bubble at the time of the election, although there have been many attempts to bring back the old bubble.  During Obama's term, everything that happened where someone opposed Obama was labeled "racist".  It started almost from day one of the first Obama term.  It continued on for eight years.  Of course, it soon got to the point where since everything was "racist", nothing was really "racist".  Once President Trump took office, most things he did were labeled racist as well.  After all, the inhabitants of this bubble think Trump is an unrepentant white supremacist who wants to get rid of all non-whites in America.  There may be no facts to back up this view, but it doesn't stop these people from spouting that view anyway.  Just think of an idiot like Joy Ann Reid on MSNBC for whom every event is proof of racism in the USA and with President Trump in particular.  Her views are silly, but she has a loyal following nevertheless. 

But back to the current bubble.  Can it really be that absent any proof, millions of people still think there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia?  Just think of the reaction to the firing of Rex Tillerson.  When Tillerson was named Secretary of State, the bubblers told us that President Trump picked Tillerson as a favor to Vladimir Putin.  Trump was paying back Putin for his help in the election.  That was silly enough, but these same people told us that when Trump fired Tillerson, it was as a favor to Vladimir Putin.  Trump was paying back Putin for his help in the election.  The observer with any common sense would understand that it cannot be both ways; either Tillerson was a favorite of Putin's or Putin wanted him gone, not both.  Of course, there were some who when faced with this logic came up with yet another solution:  Putin had Trump fire Tillerson in order to make it look like Putin had no control over Trump.

This last argument is getting to the point where even people living in the bubble ought to understand how ridiculous it is.  In many ways, it's like the Washington DC city councilman who told the world last week that the recent spate of snowstorms to hit DC were caused by the Rothschild family and other Jews.  There's no indication that the councilman was drunk or high when he wrote that, but he backed off quickly enough as the response to his idiocy rolled in.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Maryland School Shooting

A guy shot two people in a Maryland high school today.  The shooter was then shot and killed by the armed school security officer.  The boy and the girl who were shot are at the hospital.  There is no final word on their condition,

Think about that for a moment.  After the Florida shooting when President Trump said he wanted to arm teachers or security officers in schools, the media and the Democrats derided his idea as "deranged and dangerous."  Now, a situation that could have been so much worse has been stopped by an armed security officer.  Will the left now tell us that they were wrong?  Of course not!   But they were wrong.

It would be better if armed guards were not needed in schools.  Still, it's worth remembering that neutralizing the shooter by means of an armed teacher/guard is something that's surely worth including in any plan to deal with school shootings.