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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Let's Focus On the REAL Story of the Moment -- Hillary Clinton's Brush with the FBI

The stories are getting more and more numerous; the day of judgment for Hillary Clinton is coming.  Hillary and her aides will soon be interviewed by FBI agents.  The FBI director is meeting frequently with the Attorney General to keep her briefed on the progress of the investigation.  There are over 100 FBI agents working on the matter.  These are just the most recent stories.  Put it all together, and it seems pretty clear that there will be a decision on whether or not Hillary gets indicted and that decision should come by the end of May (or sooner.)

The anxiety level among Democrats is rising as decision day approaches.  There are more and more attempts on the left to explain that Hillary has done nothing wrong and shouldn't be indicted.  These reports by self-proclaimed experts are hilarious.  Only the FBI knows what the witnesses have said about (1) who ordered the private unsecured email system, (2) whether there was any discussion about the danger to classified information put on that system, (3) how classified and even top secret information was lifted from the secure system used for secret material and placed onto the Clinton home-brew system, and (4) whether Hillary ever directed that secret information be sent to her on her system.  Absent that knowledge, no one could possibly know that Hillary ought not be indicted.  Similarly, none of these "experts" have seen the 22 emails that have such sensitive secret information on them that nothing, not even the date on the email, has been released to the public.  If these emails have such secret information, is it possible that Hillary Clinton would not have recognized the content as classified?  None of these self-proclaimed experts know if any of the emails on Hillary's system that were deleted as "personal" had any classified information in them.  Again, only the FBI knows that.  The truth is that anyone outside the FBI and the DOJ who declares that Hillary ought not be indicted is just engaging in wishful thinking or political posturing.

The media may be focused on the flap of the moment on the campaign trail.  The real story is the ticking time bomb at the FBI.  If an indictment of Hillary is recommended, her candidacy is over.

The Ice of March

The New York Times has a major article today reporting that climate change will cause the polar ice sheets to melt and that this will endanger coastal cities by the year 2100.  This is a major change for the global warming crowd.  Fifteen years ago, they told us that much of the coast would be under water by now. The ice in Antarctica and Greenland was melting, or so they said, and sea levels would rise dramatically.  Of course, it didn't happen.  In fact, recent measurements show that the quantity of ice at the southern polar region has increased in a major way over the last 15 years, just the opposite of the global warming prediction.  The location of the ice has shifted; there is much more inland and less in the ice shelf that goes out over the sea, but the total ice is much higher.  Sea level is basically unchanged.  It's been a major embarrassment that the media has just wanted to ignore.

There's an old adage that says that if you predict something, it is best not to say when it will happen.  That way, you can never be proven wrong.  So that is the new position of the global warming supporters.  Predicting that there will be higher sea levels in 84 years is the same as giving no date at all.  After all, no one making that prediction will be alive in 84 years.  Indeed, essentially no one hearing the prediction will be alive then either. 

So what we have today in the Times is actually a surrender by the global warming crowd to the reality that they have been extremely wrong.  Oh, they are still trying to tell us that their computer models that predicted soaring temperatures and melting ice were not wrong.  Statistical analysis of the predictions against actual results shows the contrary; the computer models on which global warming theory rests have all been shown to be erroneous.  Even so, these "settled science" people still want America to reorder its activities at a tremendous cost because of the threat "shown" by these invalid computer models. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What Would Happen?

New York governor Andrew Cuomo did some grandstanding this week when he ordered that no state employee could travel to North Carolina on state business except for a few exceptions.  This move was in response to the passage in North Carolina of a law that bars localities from adopting rules allowing those who identify as another sex from using the bathrooms called for by the identification.  The legislature made clear that biological men have to use the men's room rather than the ladies'.  One has to wonder just how many people in North Carolina have been affected by this new law; nevertheless, the left has gone to war.  Cuomo's edict is just another skirmish in this battle.

It got me to thinking.  What would happen if the North Carolina governor were to issue a similar edict that barred North Carolinian state employees from going on business to New York?  Most likely there are far more people coming from NC to NY than vice versa.  New York City is frequently a destination for out of state business.  Not too many NY employees are running off to Raleigh or Charlotte on business.  What would happen?

I think it is safe to say that the media would go ballistic.  North Carolina would be accused of promoting discrimination.  The move would get ten times more coverage than terrorist attacks.  In other words, all hell would break loose.

It would be nice to have the NC governor take this step.  The issue here is not who uses which bathroom in NC.  The issue is whether or not some fool like governor Cuomo ought to be mixing into the local decisions made in NC.  It's really none of his business.

The New Intolerance

It's getting worse.  All over America, people want to shut down civil discourse about the issues we face.  It seems that today's motto is "agree with me or just shut up".

I just heard Rush Limbaugh say that he would no longer comment on Donald Trump and his campaign manager because no matter what he says he is attacked by both sides as either endorsing Trump or unfairly targeting Trump.

Earlier, I read an article about a professor at Marquette who is being forced out because he had the temerity to stand up for a student when that student was chastised for speaking out against gay marriage.  It's the new rage in academia that any view with which the leftist majority does not agree is now hate speech and racist.  Think of the chalk markings of "Trump 2016" that were soooo upsetting to the poor darlings at Emory University the other day.

Hillary Clinton won't debate Bernie Sanders because Sanders is running a "negative campaign".  That negative campaign consists of pointing out what Hillary has said and done and explaining how he would handle it differently.  In other words, it's not a negative campaign at all, but Hillary is trying to shut Bernie down.  In essence, Hillary is saying to Sanders that she will debate him, but only if he agrees in advance not to disagree with her.

Then we have the thugs who have tried to shut down the Trump rallies.  Many of these "protesters" show up as Bernie Sanders supporters, although there is some who think that they are actually paid by the Clinton campaign to disrupt the Trump events in the name of Sanders.  It's an old trick last used by Richard Nixon in pre-Watergate days.

Turn on the TV and watch some of the people on panels on cable news scream at each other.  Even if they don't scream, they talk right past each other.  It's rare that these talking heads ever acknowledge the validity of anything their opponent says.

These are terrible developments for our country.

It Just Gets Worse

What's the big news in the presidential campaign today?

For the Democrats, the big story is that a former mistress of Bill Clinton says that Hillary had multiple abortions and only kept Chelsea because it would be good for the Clinton's political career.  Oh, and Bill snorted cocaine with the mistress repeatedly.  Bernie Sanders is out of the news for the moment because there's nothing salacious about him.

For the Republicans there are two big stories.  First, Trump's campaign manager was charged with battery, a misdemeanor in Florida because he allegedly moved a reporter away from Trump by taking hold of her arm.  Second, Trump dropped his pledge to support the nominee of the GOP for a change.  Kasich and Cruz also made noises about not supporting the nominee without saying that explicitly.

So there you have it.  No policy issues are being discussed.  It's all garbage all the time.  And it's not even interesting garbage.  Do you really care if Hillary had an abortion?  I don't.  Millions of women have had abortions, but that doesn't tell us anything about their ability to hold a responsible job.  Does it matter if the campaign manager grabbed the arm of the reporter?  Of course not.  In the real world, we all know that nothing happened.  We've seen the video.  The reporter was moved away from Trump, but she wasn't hurt.  At most her arm was grabbed.  Is it really surprising that when a reporter charges into a crowd around a candidate she gets pushed or jostled or even grabbed?  There clearly was no intent to hurt her.  All we have is a local district attorney who wants to use the criminal law to try to affect the presidential election.  Does it matter?  Of course not.  And then there's that on-again-off-again pledge to support the nominee.  Does it change anything?  No. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Do We Consider Reality or Reality TV?

It's a strange world sometimes in the media.  Indeed, sometimes the "strange" leaks out of the media and into real life.  Still, what matters is what's actually real, not what someone says or claims.  There may be this modern mantra that "words matter", but the truth of the old adage remains constant, "Actions speak louder than words."

I think of this often as I watch the media cover the national news.  For years, we were constantly told what president Obama had to say, and there was very little focus on what the president actually did.  Even less attention was paid to the results of the actions (or inactions) by Obama.  To a great extent, Obama has come to believe that his words are all that matter.  Is the economy growing?  It doesn't matter as long as Obama speaks in support of growth.  Are we destroying ISIS?  It doesn't matter once the president SAYS our goal is to destroy ISIS.

This crazy distortion of reality is now making its way into the coverage of the presidential campaign.  Everything is looked at by the media as some sort of symbol.  Every event is reinterpreted through what the media can squeeze out of it.  Just look at the way the coming Trump rally in Janesville, Wisconsin is being reported.  For those who don't know, Janesville is a Republican city in a Republican area of Wisconsin.  No sane Republican candidate would campaign in Wisconsin without visiting the city.  Not surprisingly, Trump is holding a rally there.   But here's the big news according to the media.  Janesville is also the home of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.  That means that the media is twisting the Trump rally in Janesville as a slap in the face to Ryan.  One might wonder why it is an insult to Ryan for Trump to campaign in his home town.  Questions like that cannot be asked, however.  We are just supposed to take the media narrative at face value.  Similarly, we are supposed to accept the media narrative that Ryan is trying his best to prevent a Trump candidacy even though there is absolutely no proof of this.  If the media says it, then it must be true.  But the media goes further.  They tell us that Ryan is the candidate of the establishment Republicans who want to prevent both Trump and Cruz from getting the nomination.  Ryan says he will not run, but the media tells us to ignore those statements.

At some point, the American people will have to learn that the mainstream media says anything it wants.  Truth is not the issue with them

Harry Reid--Islamophobe

Every time terrorism is discussed, the Democrats accuse the Republicans of being Islamophobic because the GOP wants to call the attackers "radical Islamic terrorists."  Supposedly, describing the terrorists who kill in the name of Islam as Islamic is wrong, and that makes all Republicans bigoted against Moslems.

Today, however, the Washington Post reported on an actual example of anti-Moslem bias.  The source is the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada.  According to the Post, Reid met with a potential candidate for Congress from Nevada, Jesse Sbaih, and told him not to run because he is a Moslem.  This is not calling self described Moslems "Islamic".  This is discriminating against a Moslem American simply because of his religion.  What could be more bigoted?  So the Democrat leadership discriminates against Moslems in a serious manner.  Will we see major coverage of this story?  I doubt it.

Nevertheless, it is important to keep this in mind the next time you hear someone charge that the GOP is Islamophobic.  Remind the speaker that it is the Democrats who fall prey to this bigotry.

Is Wisconsin One On One?

There's a little discussed news story today that says that says that the Kasich campaign is pulling much of its media budget out of Wisconsin.  The largest buy that was cancelled was on local radio shows.  So what does that mean?  Well, first of all, it means that the Kasich campaign recognizes that it won't win in Wisconsin.  Polling has shown a tight race between Trump and Cruz with the Ohio governor in a distant third place.  Especially for someone like Kasich who does not have copious amounts of campaign cash, spending in places where he is unlikely to win or get delegates makes no sense.

The more important meaning of Kasich's action, however, is this:  we may finally have a state in which there is a true one on one battle between Trump and Cruz.  Ted Cruz's big selling point has been his claim that once everyone else got out of the way, he could beat Donald Trump.  Let's see if that's true.  If Cruz beats Trump by five percent or more, it will go a long way towards establishing that Cruz can really defeat Trump for the nomination.  Wisconsin is a state that lines up more for Trump than Cruz.  There are a lot of former factory workers who lost their jobs to overseas competition.  The state is heavily white.  There are relatively few evangelicals.  Normally, one would expect Trump to win here.  But Wisconsin is also home to a great many voters with Midwest sensibilities.  They do not usually take kindly to politicians who are rude, and that may doom Trump.  We will get to see if the Trump attack on Heidi Cruz (whose only "crime" is her marriage to Ted) has shifted voters away from Trump and towards Cruz.

Wisconsin is not a small state, but it has been a long time since it occupied such an important place in Republican presidential politics.  If Cruz ultimately wins the nomination, Wisconsin could be the place where the shift from Trump really began.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Proof of Delusion

Jill Abramson is the former managing editor of the New York Times.  That makes her a card-carrying member of the inner circle of the mainstream media.  As such, we can expect her to be biased in favor of liberal Democrats.  Today, however, Jill disclosed that she is completely delusional.  The Guardian published a column by Jill Abramson in which she claims that Hillary Clinton is "fundamentally honest".  Let's say that again:  FUNDAMENTALLY HONEST!

Think about that for a moment.  There's not enough time for me to list all the lies Hillary has told.  Here are just a few:

1.  Hillary related how she landed in Bosnia under sniper fire and had to run to shelter.  The video of the occasion (of which Hillary was unaware) shoes her getting off the helicopter, being greeted by a small child holding flowers, waving and then strolling through the crowd.  No sniper, no fire, no running and no danger.

2.  Hillary told us all how she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first man to climb Mt. Everest.  Of course, Sir Edmund did not climb that mountain until four years after Hillary's birth.  Either Hillary is just telling another lie or her mother was truly psychic.

3.  Hillary told us all in March of 2015 that she never sent or received any classified material on her private unsecured email system.  At last count, there are more than 1500 classified emails that were stored on that system.  More than 20 were so secret that the government even refuses to disclose any details of the emails.

4.  Hillary told the families of those killed in Benghazi that the attacks there were the result of a youtube video that engendered a spontaneous attack.  Two days earlier, Hillary told her daughter in an email that the attack had been a preplanned terror attack.  Hillary lied to the grieving families of the dead when their bodies were being returned to the USA for burial.

5.  Hillary told America that she and Bill were dead broke when they left the White House.  Of course, they left Washington to move to a multimillion dollar mansion outside New York City, Bill was earning over ten million dollars for the advance for his memoirs and they were getting millions of dollars in speaking fees.

6.  Hillary has told us all about how she has fought for women's rights and equal pay for women for decades.  Really?  Even today, Hillary pays the men in her employ more than the women.  As a senator, she paid women only 77 cents for each dollar she paid men.

Each of these are blatant lies on important subjects told by Hillary.  There are countless more.  The point, however, is not that Hillary is a liar.  Calling Hillary a liar is like saying that the sky is blue.  It's a fact.  What is remarkable, however, is that Jill Abramson could actually write a column calling Hillary fundamentally honest and expect that she can get away with this kind of crap.

The Mainstream Media Doing Damage Control For Hillary

The Los Angeles Times is about as biased a member of the mainstream media as there is.  Today, it has an article reporting that the FBI is about to start interviewing Hillary Clinton's top aides as well as Hillary herself in connection with the FBI's ongoing investigation of Hillary's private unsecured email system and the Clinton Foundation.  It's important news because it confirms that the investigation is coming near to a conclusion, but we all knew already that the interviews are imminent.  It's been in the news for a while.  So why is the LAT reporting today again that the FBI is about to speak to Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton?  It's actually to try to defend Hillary.  After spending one paragraph on the "news" of the interviews, the LAT then goes on at length to explain that Hillary is unlikely to be indicted according to "many legal experts".  It then spouts most of the Clinton campaign talking points about dealing with the FBI investigation of her email.  It seems that after a week in which Hillary lost five of six primaries/caucuses to Bernie Sanders (and by a lot), the LAT wants to allay the concerns of California voters.  After all, it's not too long until the California primary, and the polls put that race fairly close.  If Bernie were to win big in California, it just might spook some of the superdelegates into switching sides.

It's funny to think that an article about the FBI investigation of Clinton's shady practices is a defense for her candidacy, but I guess all I can say is "Welcome to the ways of the mainstream media." 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Taking It Too Far, Way Too Far

I have gotten a kick today reading a few columns about Donald Trump saying that he believes in America first and telling a New York Times reporter that he likes that slogan, "America First".  Trump says that what that slogan means is that in our alliances, it will no longer be the USA that does all the heavy lifting.  Our allies will either have to contribute military forces or at least cash for the cost of the alliance.  We won't "get ripped off" anymore according to Trump.  The columnists, however, mostly ignore what Trump has to say and instead talk about the America First movement that predates US involvement in World War II.  America First in the 1930s was isolationist and tried to keep the USA out of the impending and then actual war.  It fell apart once the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.  The columnists take Trump to task for using such an "unsavory" name for his position and brand him a know-nothing for doing so.

It's pretty funny.  I wonder how many American citizens have any idea what the America First movement of the pre-war era stood for.  My guess is that less than 20% of the American people would be able to name which countries fought in World War II.  I don't mean all the countries, just the USA, UK, USSR, France (for part), Australia, Canada, and China against Germany, Italy and Japan.  If even 2% of the American people know what the pre-war America First movement was, I would be surprised.  It's not even something taught in most high school history courses.  In other words, the pundits today are criticizing Trump for something no one cares about in the least.

Let me put it this way:  If Hillary Clinton were to adopt a new slogan for her campaign of "Stand Up For America!"  would you care?  Is there something inherently wrong with that sentiment?  I don't think so.  It was the slogan adopted, however, by the 1968 presidential campaign of George Wallace, the segregationist Democrat who was governor of Alabama.  But does anyone really remember that?  Not likely.

There are a lot of things out there for which Trump deserves criticism.  Using the phrase "America First" is, however, not one of them.

Palmyra Falls To Assad

In Syria, the Assad government forces have retaken the city of Tadmur including the ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS.  ISIS had taken control of the city last year.  Let's take a look at what this means.

1.  Tadmur is built around an oasis in the middle of the Syrian desert.  There is not much in the area once one leaves the city.  The main road in the region also goes directly through Tadmur.  This means that control of Tadmur provides control of a large area surrounding the city and also controls all the supply lines dependent on using the main roads.  That being said, it is important to keep in mind that this is one of the least important parts of Syria.

2.  It took Syrian army forces a very long time to finally drive ISIS from this city.  The victory was only achieved with the strong support of Russian air power and Iranian/Hezbollah ground forces.  Assad's allies are taking over for his failing army.

3.  The ruins at Palmyra were some of the world's greatest examples of Roman architecture and urban structure.  While in control of the city, ISIS leveled nearly all of the ruins and sold many small items on the black market to finance their war effort.  The enormity of this crime makes it hard to understand.  Think of Rome being conquered and the conqueror demolishing the Coliseum and the remnants of the Roman forum.  Reports from Tadmur say that the Palmyra ruins have been filled with mines by ISIS; that may destroy anything else that is left.

4.  This is a clear setback for ISIS.  What it shows is that determined opposition to ISIS can defeat the terrorists.  The real battle to determine the future of ISIS is shaping up to start soon, however.  That is the fight for Mosul in Iraq.  If the Iraqi forces can retake Mosul, it will be a body blow to ISIS from which it would be hard to recover.  Mosul is a great many times larger than Palmyra.  Winning this city back would likely push ISIS back from much of its Iraqi territory.  For that victory to take place, however, the Iraqis will need air support from the USA of the sort the Russians gave to the Syrians in Tadmur.  That is something that America has not done until now.  Let's hope that just for once, president Obama actually does the right thing.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why Only 100,000???

President Obama used his weekly (weakly?) radio address to repeat his pledge to admit 100,000 Syrian refugees to the USA this year. 

Let's do the math that Obama won't do.  If only one in two hundred of the refugees is a terrorist from ISIS hiding among those in need, that would put 500 more Islamic terrorists in the USA by the end of 2016.  If each terrorist manages to kill ten people before he or she is taken down, that would mean 5000 dead American civilians. 

So let's ask the question:  why again is it that Obama wants to do this?  Why does Hillary Clinton support this?  And what will Obama and Clinton say when innocent Americans are being killed in domestic terror attacks?  Oh, I know.  "It was the fault of a youtube video!"  Yeah, that's the ticket.

Is A Recession Coming Soon?

This past week, the revised numbers for the GDP for the 4th quarter of 2015 were released.  The growth rate in GDP was 1.4%.  That was revised upwards from the previous report that estimated a 1.0% growth rate.  To listen to some in the mainstream media, this higher number was a major positive for the economy.  Really?  Have these people lost their mind?

The American economy is limping along right now.  Overall production of goods and services is hardly growing; that 1.4% growth rate is tiny by historical standards.  Perhaps even more important, aggregate corporate profits in the fourth quarter were down by 8.4% compared to the prior quarter.  Profits are at the lowest level of the last five years. 

The low level of corporate profits is a critical indicator of where the economy is heading.  Companies will not invest if they cannot see a way to earn profits on that investment.  Lower aggregate profits means that more and more companies will not see the profit in investments.  That in turn means less investment.  Less investment means fewer new jobs and less growth.  When you start from 1.4%, less growth means a recession.

The amazing thing about this daunting prospect for our economy is how little is said about it in the current election campaign.  Among Democrats, no one addresses the subject in any way but fantasy.  Bernie Sanders wants to hike corporate and individual taxes by major amounts, something that will drastically reduce corporate investment and new jobs.  The result would be a severe recession.  Hillary Clinton wants to continue the Obama economic policies but to push them further.  That too would raise costs and lower profits for the business sector.  The inevitable result would be job losses and recession.  Among Republicans, both Trump and Cruz have detailed plans which would help the private sector to grow.  Shifts in taxation and switching some of the burden to imported goods instead of domestic goods would pump up manufacturing in the USA, would drive down costs for American businesses and would take away much of the unfair advantage that our current system gives to imports over our own production.  But consider this:  how much have you heard about the Trump plan or the Cruz plan?  Did Trump call Cruz a liar?  I bet you heard a lot about that.  Did Cruz call out Trump for attacking his wife?  I bet you heard a lot about that.  Is Trump fighting with Megyn Kelly?  No doubt you've heard of that too.  But there is little mention of the plans by these two men to help grow the economy.

So why is there so little coverage of such an important subject?  There's a number of answers.  First, taxation of corporate profits is just not as exciting to most people as nasty personal charges.  Similarly, if a few protesters show up at a rally and cause problems, it's much more telegenic than a discussion of economic growth.  So the answer is ratings for the media.  Second and equally important, many in the mainstream media understand that Hillary has no good answer to America's slow economic growth and impending recession.  As a result, the media gives no coverage since that might hurt their favored candidate.  Third, the candidates do not emphasize the economy enough.  Even if the media does not cover this subject as much as others, the candidates could still force a breakthrough for the subject if they focused on it more.

America is facing the likelihood of a recession in the next year.  How to deal with that problem is perhaps the most important issue in the election.  We need to force the candidates to deal with this issue.

Time To Speak Out Donald

I was on my Twitter feed just now and it was really awful to see the endless comments on the ridiculous supposed story about Ted Cruz and his five mistresses.  Nasty doesn't describe the content of these tweets.  They were worse.

Now I know that the source is the National Enquirer and there's not a single source cited in the entire article.  I also know that some of the women who are supposed to have had affairs with Cruz have come forward both to deny the truth of the story and to say that no one ever contacted them even to ask if the story was true.  The story is false.

But here's the real question:  why isn't Trump telling his followers to cool it?  Why is he allowing these horrendous attacks to continue without saying "enough already".  It's just not right.

I'm have not been a fan of either Trump or Cruz.  Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I endorsed Rubio and was sad to see him go.  Nevertheless, it looks like the choice is going to be either Trump or Cruz for the GOP nomination.  This latest dive into the depths, however, is pushing me towards supporting Ted Cruz.  Trump has to stop this nonsense now.  Let me be clear.  I am not saying that Trump is behind all this.  He may be, but I don't know.  After all, the Enquirer has always been like this.  Nevertheless, Trump could stop this by coming forward and calling for his followers to stop this barrage.  And even if he couldn't stop it, at least he could act like a decent person.

I don't know what the impact of all this will be, but I hope it gives Cruz a big boost.

Friday, March 25, 2016

More Terrorists In Europe

Yesterday, French police thwarted a terror plot that was about to take place.  Today, Belgian police shot and wounded a terrorist carrying a bag filled with explosives.  There have been more raids in both countries which resulted in the arrests of a number of Islamic terrorists.  The State Department has warned Americans about travel to Europe because of expected terror attacks.  The European police have said that they expect more terror attacks in the coming months.  There are at least 400 people who traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight with ISIS and who then returned to Europe; some of them are surely terrorists.  Those 400, of course, are just the ones of whom the police are aware.

So what is the latest line coming from the mainstream media?  Newsweek is out with a piece describing the plans proposed by Trump and Cruz with regard to dealing with Islamic terrorists as the "new McCarthyism".  Get it?  If America takes any steps to protect itself, it's McCarthyism.  We need to adopt the Hillary approach of "staying true to our values".  Indeed we can all join hands and sing as the terrorists attack.  That ought to work.

If there is one issue on which the vast majority of Americans agree, it is this one.  There may be gradations of opinion about how to proceed, but the overwhelming bulk of the people want America to take steps to protect this country and its people.  If there are terrorists hiding among the supposed "refugees" coming from Syria, most people don't want to let them in.  It's one thing to help refugees; it's entirely another thing to assist in ones own murder.  Put another way, preventing attacks and staying alive is more important than helping people who may be refugees.  There are other ways we can help the refugees besides admitting them to the USA. 

For the left, however, there is not even a question of letting reality into the equation.  So what if there are terrorists who get in to the country and carry out attacks.  It's an annoyance, but it won't kill all that many people.  The left takes the same view as president Obama.  If there's a terror attack, they have to mention it, but it's not even a good enough reason not to go dancing or to a baseball game.

Not Such A Good Friday

Let's take a moment to consider where we are today.  Here's just a few of the things that exist today:

1.  In this past week, ISIS terrorists killed over 30 in bomb attacks in Belgium.  The dead included two Americans and many more were wounded.  Even though the authorities knew that the attack was likely, they were unable to stop it.  There have also been recent attacks in countries scattered around the world.

2.  ISIS remains in control of large portions of Iraq and Syria.  It also has growing areas in Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere.  Again, there seems to be no coordinated counterattack against ISIS.  Indeed, when the Iraqi government announced this week that it had started the battle to retake Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, an American military commander said that this was not true and that Iraq lacked the capability for such a battle.  There is a desultory air campaign against ISIS, but it is more of a public relations effort than an attempt to change the military equation.

3.  Our president responded to the ISIS attacks by making things worse.  He didn't even bother to issue a statement after the bombing in Brussels, but waited until he gave a speech the next day.  Then he devoted less than a minute to the attack, spoke about Cuba and hurried off to a baseball game.  At the game he answered a question for ESPN about the attack, but then busied himself doing the wave with Raul Castro.  Then it was on to Buenos Aires where Obama again ignored ISIS.  It seems that the main point of the trip was so that Obama could dance the tango with a local dancer.  Now he and the family are sightseeing in Patagonia.  Oh, Obama did say that his strategy for dealing with ISIS is working, but one has to wonder what the goal of that strategy is:  to lose?

4.  The candidates to replace Obama are a sorry bunch.  On the one hand we have Hillary Clinton who two thirds of the public does not call honest.  On the other hand we have Donald Trump who two thirds of the public does not call honest.  Hillary campaigns by hiding from indictment for violations of the Espionage Act.  Just today more of Hillary's "lost" emails were "discovered".  It's been more than a year since the whole email controversy was uncovered but now, NOW, more emails are "discovered"?  Really?  Trump campaigns by sending out pictures of Ted Cruz's wife.  Now his supporters are starting a campaign on Twitter accusing Cruz of being unfaithful to his wife.  Nothing like a serious discussion of the issues, right?

5.  The forces of totalitarianism are on the march across America.  Free speech is under assault at universities.  The idea of academic freedom is gone; people are now free only to agree with the latest positions of the leftist mob in control on campus.  No one seems to be standing up to this mob.

All in all, it's not such a good Friday.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The ISIS Nuclear Program

The world today already has to deal with the Iranian nuclear program.  After the Obama agreement with Iran, it is just a matter of time before the ayatollah gets nuclear weapons.  The only question left is when and not if it will happen.  Now, we are learning that not only Iran but also ISIS has a nuclear program.  The ISIS plan is not to develop nuclear bombs.  ISIS instead wants to blow up nuclear power stations in the West and use these plants as the ultimate dirty bomb.

No doubt, half of you are now thinking to yourselves that I must be crazy to report this.  Our power plants and those in Europe are well guarded and hardened against bombs.  There is no danger.

Now consider Fukashima.  That's the power plant in Japan that got hit by an earthquake and a tsunami and which then found its containment breached so that radiation was spewing from the plant and contaminating a wide area of the country around the plant.  It was designed so that such a disaster just could not happen, but it did happen.

We learned today that the same ISIS terrorists who just attacked Brussels were conducting surveillance on the director of the Belgian nuclear facilities.  If that man or his family were kidnapped, his credentials could be used to get the terrorists and their bombs past the guards and INSIDE the plant.  The outside of the plant might be hardened against bombs, but the inside is a different matter.  If ISIS could blow up the cooling system, the entire plant could melt down and burn right through the containment system.  That might lead to there being deadly levels of radiation for hundreds of square miles around the plant.  It could result in the death of thousands or more.

Just imagine the reaction to this sort of nuclear attack on Belgium or any other country in the West.  Sure, president Obama would tell us that Islam is not a religion of nuclear terror and that we must guard against Islamophobia.  That response, however, would be swept away by the anger and fear of many nations including the USA.  The terrorists would finally get what they have wanted all along:  a major confrontation with the West.  The death toll would be huge.

It's sad to think that all this is happening because Obama has refused to take ISIS seriously.  A rational response by Obama when the problem first appeared could have crushed ISIS long ago.  Instead, we got Obama's ideological and political BS.  Now we are paying the price for Obama settling for words when deeds were required.

Last Tango In Argentina

I just watched the video of president Obama dancing the tango at a state dinner in Buenos Aires.  Many people have commented on how tone deaf it was for Obama to be dancing while they are still picking up body parts in the wreckage in Brussels.  I'll leave that discussion to them.  But let's consider a different angle:  Obama is not a very good dancer.  And, indeed, Obama is a very poor tango dancer.  Next January, when he leaves the White House, he won't be appearing on Dancing With The Stars.


The Mean Streets of the Campaign

Jeb Bush liked the expression that "politics is not beanbag."  It's a typically opaque Bush way of saying that running for president is no game.  It's a rough and tumble task that takes tremendous stamina, a thick skin and a fair measure of ruthlessness.  The American people get this and we're fine with that.  Oh, there are some who pine for the civil discourse of yesteryear, something that never really existed.  As long as people have been running for president, there have been nasty personal attacks on the candidates.  If you don't believe me, take a look at what was said about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams when they opposed each other in 1800.  If that's not enough, then look at what was said about Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 election.  This year, however, our campaigns have moved into a new arena.  We now have the candidates themselves engaging directly in the mudslinging and the targets include the families of their opponents.  Candidates used to leave the name calling to others; it was seen as unpresidential to get into the mud.  Not anymore.  Just think of Trump calling Cruz "lyin Ted" or pointing out how much Rubio sweats or calling Carly Fiorina ugly.  That was pretty bad.  Then it got worse when a PAC used a nude photo of Melania Trump from a photo shoot from her modeling days in an ad in very Mormon Utah.  Trump's response was to blame Cruz and threaten his wife Heidi.  It's disgusting.

The families of the candidates ought to be off limits unless the candidate injects his family into the campaign.  Hillary uses Bill all the time, so comments on Bill are appropriate.  Jeb Bush used his brother and his mother to campaign for him, so they were also fair game.  But spouses or children who basically do nothing but stand on the stage next to the candidate should be left out of the mix.  That is especially true when talking about the children of the candidates.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Obama's Media Allies Trot Out the "Experts"

That didn't take long.  President Obama basically ignores the ISIS terror attack in Brussels, and then downplays it yesterday.  Today, he tells the world that his strategy is working and won't be changed.  Brussels must be just another victory for the Obama strategy.  After that muddled and dishonest BS from Obama, the usual happened next.  Obama's media allies trotted out so called "experts" to agree with the president's assessment of the situation.

I just read an article on Yahoo News supporting Obama's views based upon statements by an "expert" who turns out to be the press officer at the Council on Foreign Relations who once wrote an article called "What ISIS really wants".  Nothing like having one media guy be an "expert" for other reporters.

Before we go further, it's worth emulating Obama in one aspect.  We need to point out that Yahoo News has nothing to do with either yahoos or news.  News is usually both true and non-partisan.  Yahoo News has perverted journalism and converted a practice of reporting "just the facts" into making the news into whatever supports their political agenda.  Yahoos are loud and brash people, in other words a yahoo is a boor.  The folks at Yahoo news try to be very refined in their conduct.  They look down their noses at the American people and think that the people can be fooled by the biased nonsense that Yahoo News pumps out into the internet.

But let's get back to this "expert".  According to Yahoo News, its expert "says that the campaign against ISIS is going far better than could have reasonably been expected a year ago."  Right!  When Obama told us more than a year ago that his goal was to destroy ISIS, no one reasonably expected that the strongest military in the world and all its allies would find itself 20 months later with the terrorists still in control of an area in Iraq and Syria about the size of Indiana.  No one thought that ISIS would have grown from a presence in just Iraq and Syria to a point where today ISIS is in nine different countries including very large areas of Libya (thanks Hillary), Egypt, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan.  No one thought that ISIS would be regularly conducting terrorist attacks around the world in places like Paris, Brussels, Ankara and elsewhere.  It's just be a wonderful success for the USA. 

Okay, this so called expert is an idiot.  But when Yahoo News writes about his views, it doesn't tell the readers that the guy is just a shill for Obama and that his views are idiotic.  No, the Obama media team at Yahoo News discusses this nonsense as if it merits some actual attention.

Obama Brings Hot Air to Good Winds

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina.  The name means "good winds".  Today, president Obama spoke from the Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace in the center of the city.  There was so much hot air that it threatened to stop those good winds.

Obama actually said that defeating ISIS is his top priority as president.  It was amazing that none of the reporters started laughing at that point.  If there is anything clear about Obama and his views of ISIS, it is that Obama does not care about ISIS.  He only mentions ISIS when there is one of those pesky terror attacks that kills ten or a hundred people.  Otherwise, Obama wants to focus on golf or trips or virtually anything else.

Obama also said that ISIS is not an existential threat to the USA since ISIS does not produce anything (his words, not mine.)  Of course, Obama is wrong.  ISIS does produce something very important:  dead people.  In the last three years, ISIS has killed tens of thousands of people with estimates running as high as 100,000 dead at the hands of these monsters.  For Obama, however, this is just an annoyance.  It's not a real threat.  After all, what's a few more dead from terrorism?  No big deal, right?

Obama also used his time today to do one of his famous straw man attacks.  This time the target was Ted Cruz.  Cruz said that he would "carpet bomb" ISIS.  That's a poor choice of words.  Carpet bombing is a term last used during the war in Vietnam when the USA sent squadrons of B-52 bombers to drop thousands of bombs from high altitude on an area and literally to destroy everything in that area.  Cruz, however, has explained that what he really means is that America needs to increase the intensity of our air strikes on ISIS.  During the Gulf War, our air force hit the Iraqi forces with about 1500 strikes each day.  Against ISIS, the Obama battle order has been to hit ISIS about 10 to 15 times each day.  That's less than 1% of the level of the Gulf War.  So what does Obama do?  He ignores Cruz's explanation and instead explains why carpet bombing a la Vietnam would be a bad idea for countering ISIS.  Obama has no answer to Cruz's actual point, so instead he answers something that Cruz wasn't actually saying.

Finally, today, Obama again said that our strategy for dealing with ISIS has been working and would not be changed.  Maybe he should tell that to the families of those who dies in San Bernardino, Paris and Brussels.  Maybe he could bring back Hillary and she could tell those families that their loved ones died because of some youtube video.  (Hey, it worked for Obama last time they tried it.)

January 20, 2017 cannot come fast enough for America.

Hillary's Important Speech on Foreign Policy

Today, Hillary Clinton gave what her campaign billed as an important speech on foreign policy.  It was a rather amazing effort.  Hillary spoke slowly and calmly trying to make her words seem deliberate and well reasoned.  She tried very hard to look presidential.  She criticized the comments and plans made by the GOP candidates.  But there was one big problem:  Hillary never told us what she plans for her foreign policy.

What would Hillary do about ISIS?  We don't really know.  In the past, she has said that she would continue the Obama strategy and tactics.  Today, she did not even say that much.

What would Hillary do in dealing with Russia?  We really don't know.  She told us that she does not like Trump's call for increased effort by our NATO allies.  But what would she do as president if Putin had his troops push forward in Ukraine?  She didn't tell us.

What would Hillary do regarding China and it's attempt to take over the South China Sea?  We don't know.  She didn't tell us.

What would Hillary do to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons?  Again, we got no information.  She's previously told us that she supports the Obama deal with Iran in which the USA gave Iran $150 billion and Iran is guaranteed nuclear weapons after ten years.  Today, there was nothing.

How would Hillary handle a host of other foreign policy matters?  We don't know.  She won't tell us.

Now I realize that even if Hillary told us her plans for the future, we couldn't believe her.  It might just be another lie.  But it's even worse that she isn't even trying anymore.  It's a disgrace.

Humor Among Democrats

There's an interesting column written today by Bill Moyers.  He argues that for Hillary Clinton to show that she is not a captive of the establishment, she should call for the resignation of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Democrat National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  I know that Moyers did not intend his column as satire, but it was, nevertheless, one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.

Think about it.  Hillary Clinton is going to disassociate herself from the Democrat establishment.  Really?  With the possible exception of president Obama, there is no one in America who more clearly IS the establishment of the Democrat party than Hillary.  Dumping some loud mouth congressman from her position as head of the DNC is not going to change that.  Nor is forcing out long time Clinton loyalist Rahm Emanuel as mayor of Chicago.  In fact, it would most likely just show how impotent Clinton is.  Rahm wouldn't resign; he would just stick around as an ongoing indicator of how little Hillary ever gets done.

What is even funnier than what Moyers is suggesting is that it is Moyers himself who is making the suggestion.  A big part of the establishment of the Democrat party is the media itself, and Moyers is a pillar of that media/Democrat cabal.  Most likely, Moyers doesn't even understand the concept of the Democrat establishment.  He has spent so long inside the bubble, that he has probably forgotten what life is like outside of it.

The Truth about Europe and ISIS

In the last week, there has been much discussion about NATO, its role in the fight against ISIS, and American contributions to the alliance.  Donald Trump said that NATO needed to re-evaluated since the USA does too much and the Europeans do too little to support the alliance.  That led to all sorts of people from Ted Cruz to Hillary Clinton and the pundits across the country shaking their heads and denouncing the suggestion as preposterous.  At the same time, others (like Fox News talking head Bill O'Reilly) have been pushing for NATO to "declare war" on ISIS so as to take out the Islamic terrorist crazies.  These discussions are particularly poignant at the moment since the Brussels attacks came not that far from NATO European headquarters.

One thing that I learned in discussions with others about NATO this past week is just how little many Americans know about the alliance.  In order to decide what to do with NATO, however, one has to start with a basic understanding of its composition, purpose and structure.

Let's start with the size of the NATO army.  That's an easy question because there is no NATO army.  The various member states of NATO have their own armies which would carry out common defense should any member state of NATO be attacked.  Indeed, the essence of NATO is that it obligates each member state to consider an attack on any member of the alliance as if it were an attack on its own territory.  In other words, should Switzerland (not a member state) attack Italy (a NATO member) all other NATO nations must come to the defense of Italy.  That, of course, is an unlikely example.  NATO was formed to strengthen the countries of Western Europe and to bind them into a common defense alliance with the USA and Canada.  The enemy at the time was, of course, the Soviet Union and its allies in eastern Europe.  In the 1990's, the USSR collapsed, and many of its old allies and even its component republics joined NATO.  Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and more became NATO members.  In Europe, that left only Russia as a likely enemy for NATO.

NATO has a command structure in place to help manage the various national armies in the event of a war.  France is not part of the structure, but all the other member states are.  To repeat, however, NATO has no troops.

So then we need to consider how big the armies of the various European nations are.  Let's do it this way.  ISIS reportedly has between 30,000 and 50,000 fighters in its army.  Try ranking ISIS's forces against the army of each of Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the UK, Poland, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania which are member states of NATO.  The answer may surprise you.  The army of the UK and that of Poland are larger than the ISIS forces.  The German army is roughly equivalent to the ISIS forces and all the others are substantially smaller than ISIS.  The only NATO members with large armed forces are the USA and Turkey. 

It is the tiny size of the NATO armies that provides the answer to each of our questions.  First, is Trump correct that the Europeans do not do enough to defend themselves?  The answer to that is clearly YES.  Why should Germany have a tiny army while America has major armed forces installations in that country?  Why should Americans pay to defend Germans when they don't pay to defend themselves?  When the Cold War ended, the Germans shrank their army until not much was left.  The same happened all over Europe.  Why must the USA now be the one country to provide a defense?  Why must the USA be the country that pays for defeating ISIS with the lives of our soldiers and the cash from our treasury?  ISIS is a threat to all of Europe, much more so than it is a threat to the USA.  Shouldn't the Europeans step up to defend themselves?

And were NATO to declare war on ISIS (or more properly were each of the NATO nations to declare war on ISIS) who would carry out the fight?  It would be the USA and, to a lesser extent Turkey.  Shouldn't all the NATO nations participate?

The truth is that NATO does need to be reconfigured for today's world.  If the Europeans expect the USA to join in their defense, then they need to defend themselves and be ready to participate in any necessary military actions around the globe. 

The Trump Nomination Comes Closer

Yesterday, Donald Trump won Arizona and Ted Cruz won Utah.  Trump got 58 delegates from Arizona and Cruz got 40 from Utah.  That means that Trump stayed on course to get the nomination, but Cruz fell further behind.  There were also 9 delegates selected in American Samoa, but they were uncommitted.

In the next four weeks, there will be many fewer primaries.  Wisconsin and New York are the next key targets.  Trump is way ahead in the sparse polling in New York.  Wisconsin is less certain.  Neither state, however, is prime territory for Cruz.  In other words, for all the media hype about efforts to stop Trump and have a contested convention, Trump remains on the path to winning on the first ballot in Cleveland.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine anything else happening.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Symbolism Is Just .......Symbolism

I just saw pictures of the Eiffel Tower lit in the colors of the Belgian flag.  Then I saw pictures of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with similar lighting.  That was followed by a "makeshift memorial" made of candles, flowers, signs and the like in Brussels near the site of one of today's bombs.  Early today, I saw a tweet from the Speaker of the House announcing that the House held a moment of silence today in memory of those who died in Brussels.  These symbols of standing with the Belgian victims of terror are everywhere.  Indeed, the lighting of monuments in the Belgian colors came so quickly, that it seems as if the monuments were prepared in advance for all possible terror targets.  But here's the truth:  this is nothing but empty symbolism.  It solves nothing.  It helps no one.  It just lets people think that they are doing something when the reality is that nothing is being done.

Consider this:  how many ISIS terrorists are stopped by colored lights on the Eiffel Tower?  By how long is the next terror attack delayed when the US House of Representatives holds a moment of silence?  What message does ISIS get when it sees that the president of the United States spends less than a minute commenting on the attacks and then goes to a baseball game.  Is there anyone anywhere that thinks that Obama's later comments to ESPN (that's right ESPN) while sitting at the game had any effect on stopping the next attack?

We simply cannot continue these phony "efforts" which are nothing but symbolism.  They don't accomplish anything.  Everyone knows that. 

Let's look at a typical act of symbolism.  Think about Black History Month.  It was started to show the importance of African Americans in American history.  Each year we hear a few public service announcements on TV about the same few figures, usually followed by some tag line like "CBS cares" or "the more you know".  But ask yourself this:  how much more do you know today about black history than you knew ten years ago?  Has Black History Month changed anything?  Wouldn't it be better to make certain that the American history curriculum in schools included blacks, whites, Hispanics, Native Americans and everyone else who has lived in the USA?  Do we gain anything at all from having a month specially designated for black history?  We need to do real things and not just engage in symbolism.

The sad truth is that many Americans have been taught that symbolism is more important than actions.  For the last seven years, we have had a president who actually believes that what he says and its symbolic value is more important than what he does.  For example, he talks about honoring those who served our country, but when these veterans are treated like dogs by the VA, he does nothing to change it.  Oh, he talks about it (because that's what's important), but NOTHING CHANGES, NOTHING IS DONE. 

America no longer has the luxury of doing nothing.  There are millions of jihadists who want to destroy us.  They don't care about symbols.  They don't care what color the Eiffel Tower is.  They really don't care what Obama says.  They want to kill us and they are doing things to make that a reality.  We have a choice:  we can stick with symbolism and be destroyed or we can start taking action and save ourselves.  That really is the choice.  Just look at the response today to the Brussels' attack.  Hillary Clinton said that America needs to exemplify our values.  Translation:  Hillary has no idea what to DO, so she is pushing symbolic language instead.  Donald Trump, on the other hand, wants to close our borders to Moslems until we can guarantee that we are only letting in people who wish us no harm.  I don't think that is the best course of action, but it really is action; it really is deeds; it really is doing something and not just making a symbolic speech.  It's not hard to choose between those two.

The IRS Scandal is Back

It's not often that the federal courts denounce the conduct of the Executive branch of government.  Oh, sometimes the courts will say that something that was done was not in accordance with the law or the Constitution, but a denunciation of conduct by the president and his people is rare.  Today, however, we got such a denunciation by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in connection with the IRS targeting of conservative and Christian groups.  The judges made clear that the government has been just trying to delay resolution of the IRS suit until no one cares about it anymore.  The Department of Justice has been doing everything possible to delay justice for those who were targeted.  There's an old saying that justice delayed is justice denied.  The Court of Appeals denounces the Executive branch for using just such a strategy.

Will it matter?  I doubt it.  With the news from Brussels today, it's unlikely that this court decision will get much, if any, attention.  The Obama strategy of running out the clock will just continue.

One thing is certain, however.  If the government fails again to comply with court orders in this case, we may soon see government lawyers (or maybe their bosses) getting cited for contempt and put in jail.  It's about time.

Obama's Response to Brussels -- The Reality

This morning, just after news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels was broadcast, I wrote a post predicting the response by president Obama and his people to those attacks.  Sadly, I got my predictions entirely correct.

First, I predicted that Obama and his people would be upset that the terror attacks would step on the coverage of Obama's visit to Cuba.  Now Obama did not admit this, but made it clear nevertheless.  When the terror attacks happened, Obama had nothing to say, but his spokesman said that the president would address the subject in his speech to the Cuban people.  That was an effort to refocus attention on the Cuba trip.  More important, in Obama's speech today, he spent less than one minute discussing the Brussels attacks.  The heart of the European Union and NATO got hit with multiple, massive terror attacks and Obama spent 52 seconds discussing it.  Then he moved on to inanities with regard to Cuba.  Obama did all he could to prevent the attacks from stepping on coverage of his Cuba trip.  (So I'm one for one.)

Second, I predicted that Obama would tell us that Islam is not to blame for the attacks and warn against Islamophobia.  Just that sort of warning came from the White House earlier today.  (So I'm two for two.)

Third, I predicted that we would be told by the White House that America's strategy for dealing with ISIS is working.  I just heard a Pentagon spokesman make that statement.  (That means I hit the trifecta; I'm three for three.)

It's disgusting that we have such a nonsensical and political response to these disgusting terror attacks.  If ISIS were ever to capture Obama, I'm sure his last words before they executed him would be "But our strategy is working....."

The Likely Obama Response to the Brussels Attacks

ISIS terrorists just exploded two bombs in Brussels and killed over 30 people (at latest count).  That is terrible.  So what is the response from America.  What will president Obama have to say?  What will he do, if anything?

Here's the prediction:

1.  Obama and his staff will be very upset at the bombing, since it comes while he is in Cuba.  The bombings will take up most of the news coverage and deny that coverage to Obama.  In Obama's world, that is a true disaster.

2.  At some point soon, Obama will tell us that Islam is a religion of peace and that we should not fall into blaming Moslems for these attacks.  He will refrain from any explanation how it is that the self styled Islamic State is not Moslem.

3.  American policy towards ISIS will be talked about, but nothing will change.  Obama will tell us that we are on the right track and that our policy is working.  In other words, Obama will just lie in the hopes that he can wait until he is out of office before any real steps have to be taken against ISIS.

So what else is new?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Answer this Question Honestly

Here's a question that we each need to answer honestly.

Assume you were throwing a big party at your house.  People were coming from all over town and you were providing food, drink and entertainment.  Then assume that the police came to your door two days before the party and told you that one of the fifty people you invited was actually planning to come to the party in order to try to kill as many people as possible.  The problem, however, was that there was no way to tell which of those guests was planning the attack.  What would you do?  Would you still hold the party?  Would you invite these people into your home knowing that one was planning to kill people?

I think it's safe to say that there essentially no one who would knowingly invite a person planning murder into his or her home.  Doing that would be crazy.

So why is it racist or bigoted then to advocate for limiting or blocking the entrance of Syrian refugees into the USA.  We know that ISIS has infiltrated terrorists into the streams of supposed refugees.  We saw the results in Paris.  We know that our own government has told us that there is no way to come anywhere near certainty when it comes to finding the terrorists hiding as refugees.  So why would we want to let them in?  Doesn't it make more sense to protect Americans from terrorists?

I realize this is an old discussion, but I thought about it again today when I read an article on the HuffPo about Donald Trump's new foreign policy team.  It ended with what HuffPo called an "editor's note" that said that Trump was a racist, xenophobic person who wants to block entrance of Moslems into the USA.  One could certainly disagree about the extent to which Moslem entry is prevented.  After all, if we can be certain who the people are, then we can make a rational decision about whether or not to admit them.  But for the refugees about whom we know nothing, it is an easy choice to keep them out.  That's smart, not racist.

Havana Negila

Today's news is focused on two big events:  (1) all the candidates for president are speaking at AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group; and (2) president Obama is in Cuba on a visit that has no ostensible purpose other than to show that he reopened relations with the Castro regime.  Neither or these events contain much news.

Hillary Clinton is the only one who has spoken as of yet at AIPAC.  She thundered that the security of Israel is non-negotiable.  The audience applauded.  Most likely the people in the audience wondered to themselves "who does she think she is fooling?"  Hillary was probably thinking, "Are these people actually falling for this stuff?"  Nevertheless, the charade went on.  Tonight, Trump and Cruz and Kasich will speak.  Some idiotic fools will stage a walk out when Trump speaks.  No doubt, they think that the way to gain friends for Israel is to walk out on someone who could be the next president.  If AIPAC is a lobbying group, its members surely don't understand how to lobby.

Before I move on to Havana, I must add that Bernie Sanders is not speaking at AIPAC.  He does not want to annoy his supporters who are the most anti-Israel group in the country.  That's right; the only Jewish candidate has the supporters who are most anti-Semitic.  Go figure.

Meanwhile in Havana, Obama is busy meeting with Raul Castro multiple times.  One would think that they actually had something to discuss, but in reality, they don't.  My guess is that the two of them are playing cards.  Let's hope that Obama doesn't lose Florida to Castro in a poker game.  Since America doesn't win anymore according to Trump, that would be a fitting end to Obama's trip.  I can see the speech in which Obama calls the loss of Florida a temporary setback.  Then he would tell us that there are already so many Cubans in Florida that it won't be a big change for the residents of that state.

The Apartheid Tactics of The BDS Movement

The BDS Movement seeks the boycott of products made in Jewish areas of the West Bank.  The rhetoric of the movement accuses Israel of being an "apartheid state", but this is ridiculous since it is the BDS Movement that uses apartheid tactics.

Apartheid was the policy followed in South Africa that kept people separated by race.  In essence, it was the South African variant of segregation.  There is no policy of this sort in Israel.  Indeed, there is nothing that even resembles it slightly.  The so called "settlements" consist for the most part of Jews who have moved into the eastern areas of Jerusalem and its nearby suburbs.  Many of the people in those areas are Arabs, either Moslem or Christian.  This is mixing, not separation.

The BDS Movement, however, wants to keep eastern Jerusalem and all of the West Bank free of Jews.  Simply put, the Palestinians and the BDS Movement want a separate area in which only Palestinian Arabs will be allowed to live or work; it's apartheid in every way.  So the racist BDS Movement calls for what amounts to "racial purity" in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and denounces its opponents as purveyors of apartheid. 

Let's put it this way:  the BDS Movement is the rough equivalent of the American Atheist league denouncing the Vatican for not believing in God.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

They Really Can't Twist This No Matter How Hard They Try

Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones.  If you're like most people you've never heard of either Mr. Drum or the magazine for which he writes.  Mother Jones is the left wing magazine for the more leftist side of the left wing of the Democrats.  During the Cold War, I would have just called it the American outlet for Pravda.  Normally, I don't waste my time reading the nonsense that Mr. Drum puts out there on the internet, but today, I saw that he had a piece "explaining" that the support for Donald Trump had nothing to do with the economy.  That intrigued me, so I took the time to read what he had to say.

According to Drum, voters aren't all that concerned about the economy.  After all, says Drum, the economy is doing pretty good.  I should have stopped there since the article was obviously total propaganda rather than anything accurate.  The real median income for an American family is lower today than when president Obama took office.  Costs are up, but income is down.  Since Obama came into office in the middle of a big recession, it's pretty awful that American families are doing worse than they were on his first day in office.  Add into this mix the fact that the economy has been growing (according to government figures) at a rate under 2% per year and getting lower, and it's impossible for anyone other than a propagandist to tell us that the economy is "doing pretty good".

Drum goes on to say that according to exit polls Trump voters cite immigration as a reason for voting for him in greater numbers than voters as a group.  Further, Trump voters cite the economy slightly less as a reason for voting for Trump than voters as a group.  See!  Trump voters don't really care about the economy.  They're just racists and bigots who want to keep minorities out of the country.  But this is just more propaganda.  Drum ignores that the reason why many people worry about illegal immigration (not all immigration) is that it provides waves of cheap labor that drives wages down across America.  Many of those people whose incomes have declined understand that the reason is the competition from illegals for jobs.  For example, laborers on construction jobs used to make a decent living.  Now, many contractors just pick up day laborers from the local gathering place illegals seeking work.  That is not an isolated example; similar things have happened in many places.  Why is the unemployment rate for African American teens so high (roughly 50%)?  The answer is that employers are using illegals instead for low paying entry level jobs.  The reality is that illegal immigration is to a great extent about the failed economy.

It's also important to add that when Drum calls those who want to enforce the law "bigots" and "racists" he is just using the typical tactics of the far left.  There is no rational way to argue that the government should ignore the law (as Obama has been doing), so Drum just falls back on name calling.

It's important to keep all this in mind when listening to the slanted nonsense that many in the media put out there as "reporting" on the political race.

The Choice is Hard To Believe

As the primary season moves towards its conclusion, it's hard to believe that we ended up with a choice like the one facing us in November.  We can pick a woman who thinks that the laws don't apply to her, that the American people will believe anything she says no matter how obvious a lie, that anger is a campaign style, that she can use her position to squeeze cash out of those who want to buy her influence and that she can satisfy Americans by saying the "right thing" no matter what she does.  Alternatively, we can pick a man who thinks that the American people will believe anything he says no matter how obvious a lie, that it's possible to throw verbal bombs and insults at people without leaving permanent scars on both the target and the public, that anger is a campaign style, and that denial still works as a defense in the age of videotape.  These are two extremely unappealing people.  Let me put it this way:  how many men in America did not think to themselves during the Lewinsky days "Given who Hillary is, I can understand why Bill did what he did."  Pollsters used to ask voters with whom they "would rather have a beer".  No one would want to have a beer with Hillary unless the other choice was having an arm or leg amputated.

Trump, on the other hand, would be interesting to spend time with.  It would be like having a floor show right there in the bar while drinking that beer.  Still, there's only a small group of people who would have met Donald Trump two years ago and thought to themselves that Trump would make a great president.  I mean can you picture Trump meeting German chancellor Angela Merkel and telling her that she should consider having some work done.  Can you picture him telling Queen Elizabeth II that her dress really makes her butt look big?  It's not hard to do that.

Since we don't have the luxury of picking someone who looks or acts the part of president, we will all have to focus on who will do the best things for the future of the country.  With Hillary, we know that we will get more of the same combined with never-ending scandals and some schemes to make the Clintons more money.  With Trump, it's less than clear what we would get except regarding the economy (where his plans are extremely good) and immigration (where he is likely to actually build the wall.) 

How did we get here?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Another Fascist Attack on Free Speech

There was another of those attacks on free speech today by a small group of fascists.  An anti-Trump group of about two dozen protesters used their cars to block the main road leading to a rally held by Trump today near Phoenix, Arizona.  The road block caused massive traffic jams for people in the area including thousands heading to the Trump rally. 

Ultimately, somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people attended the rally.  Nevertheless, it took police two hours to clear the road block.  One does wonder why clearing these fascists from the road took that long.  Clearly, blocking a highway is illegal no matter what the reason.  Had police brought in a few tow trucks to the scene and then arrested the fascist demonstrators trying to deny people a chance to hear a candidate for president, the matter could have been cleared up in twenty minutes at most.  Instead, it went on for two hours.

People have the right to express themselves through protests.  These two dozen people could have gone to the rally and held up anti-Trump signs or chanted slogans outside the gathering.  There is no right, however, for anyone to try to shut down the free speech of others.  It doesn't matter if the speaker is Trump, Clinton, Cruz or anyone else.

The funny thing is that by taking these sorts of actions, the protesters prove to most Americans that their positions lack merit and that they cannot be trusted.  In other words, the protests help Trump rather than hurt him.  So we have these liberal fascists who think that they can shut down the free speech rights of American voters.  They are, however, digging a grave for the positions that they espouse.

One Reason We Need A Change

There's a new report out about the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.  That's the hospital where the phony lists of waiting times by vets for care were first uncovered.  At that hospital (and some others), vets were put on a waiting list to get on a second waiting list for appointments.  Then the hospital only made the second list public, so it looked like the waiting times were less than two weeks when the reality was more like six months.  Veterans died while waiting for their appointments.  Three years later, not much has changed.  The new report focuses on just one segment of the VA hospital:  the suicide prevention unit.  According to the report, on a great many occasions, vets came to the hospital to seek help because they were thinking of suicide and these vets were turned away without treatment or help and just put on a waiting list.  There were a number of suicides by vets after they were denied treatment.

Think about what this report means.  Imagine a soldier who is wounded on the battlefield and is bleeding profusely.  Someone yells for a medic.  The medic comes over and hands the soldier a number and says, "I get back to you some time in the next three weeks."

There are certain times when the VA just cannot turn people away.  Sure, if fifteen men walked into the hospital and each said that he was suicidal, there might be a temporary shortage of caregivers who could intervene in the situation, but then there ought to be more on call.  And to be clear, that is not the problem uncovered at the Phoenix VA hospital.  Failure to treat potentially suicidal vets was not due to temporary surges; it was a regular ongoing occurrence.

If we had a federal government that had even minimal competence, there is no way that this latest problem would be happening.  Washington, and to be more precise the Obama administration has had more than three years to get the problems at the VA hospitals under control.  Clearly, what has happened is that no one in the White House truly cared about the plight of the vets.  The issue was treated as a political problem.  Obama and his people worried about how the public would perceive the problem BUT NOT ABOUT FIXING THE PROBLEM!!!!

We need a completely new administration that will bring new leadership that will focus on fixing problems rather than on the political fallout of the problem.  We truly need to get the Democrats out of there.

Friday, March 18, 2016

ISIS and Genocide

I haven't yet commented on the decision this week for the USA to label the conduct of ISIS in Syria and Iraq as genocide.  The only possible response is this:  Hey what took you so long?

ISIS has been killing or enslaving people for being Christian, Yazidi or Shiite for the last two years.  Tens of thousands have died.  Many more have been forced out of their homes and their countries.  It is ethnic cleansing on a scale not seen in recent years.  Nevertheless, the State Department "considered" whether or not to label this genocide as "genocide" for more than a year. 

Calling the conduct of ISIS genocide does not require the USA to do anything in particular.  There was no reason for the intolerable delay in action by the State Department.  Nevertheless, the people at the department took all that time to come to the obvious (and only rational) conclusion.

It's hard to believe that we taxpayers actually have to pay these idiots to do things like this.

Not For The Birds

Think about all the environmentalists who you have heard speak about humans destroying species, and then consider what is the single biggest location for killing birds in the world other than plants where chickens or turkeys are killed for food.  The answer may surprise you.  The single biggest killer of birds in the world is the Ivanpah power plant in California.  That plant doesn't merely kill the birds; it burns them alive like some massive production line engineered by the crazies at ISIS.  Ivanpah uses large numbers of mirrors to focus sunlight onto a few boilers in the center of the complex.  The sun heats the boilers and the steam produced then powers the generators housed in the plant to produce some electricity.  Any animal that ventures near the boilers is incinerated by the focus heat from the sun.  Thousands upon thousands of birds have been destroyed in this way.

This massive bird torture device was built with one and a half billion dollars of federal funds and a much smaller amount of private money.  None of the geniuses who designed the plant realized that the plant would be a death machine for local wildlife.  They also did not realize that the plant would not work as expected in producing electricity.  The plant just got an extension from the California PUC which will permit it to continue to operate despite its failure to produce even 2/3 of the power it was supposed to create.  This action by California lets the plants private owners continue to fry birds in hopes of getting power while increasing the cost of power for consumers all across the state.

And while we are talking about killing birds, maybe we should also mention the second worst destroyer of birds on the planet.  That is, of course, the windmills that harness wind energy across the land.  The big rotors of the windmills  hit unsuspecting birds flying by on a regular basis.  Rarely a day goes by when one or more birds are not killed by each of these installations.

If there were a coal, gas or oil facility that was killing birds in these numbers, the environmentalists would be marching to save the birds.  Once the killer is some group with friends in the government who are trying but failing to produce solar power in order to make a fortune from taxpayers' money, the environmentalists stay quiet.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Just a Little Bit of Economic News

Here's a number:  four hundred eighty-four billion dollars.  Does anyone know what this number is?  Could it be the amount of cash Hillary Clinton raised from Wall Street bankers this year?  Nope.  It's too large even for that.  Is it the cost of vacations for president Obama and his family since he first took office?  Nope.  Is it some estimate of waste, fraud and abuse in federal government spending?  Nope.  Here's the answer:  it's the trade deficit of the USA in 2015 (which was just released).  That's right, Americans spent nearly half a trillion dollars more on imports that other countries spent on our exports. 

This is a sad number.  Just think how many more people would have jobs it America sold as much abroad as it buys from other countries.  Or how about if that half trillion dollars was directed instead to American made goods; just think how many millions of people would get jobs from that.

The current push in politics is that the USA made bad trade deals and that accounts for the trade imbalance and the jobs migrating overseas.  That's a rather simplistic analysis, however.  The truth is that much more important than the trade deals are the policies of the federal government that punish American companies for manufacturing things here in the USA.  If Ford manufactures a car in the USA, it has to pay 35% of the profits in taxes to Washington.  If that car is made in Korea or Japan, the tax rate is much lower.  When the car gets sold in the USA, only a very small portion of the profits are taxed.  If Ford manufactures a car here in the USA, it has to pay high costs for electricity because of all the restrictions put in place to limit the burning of coal.  The same car made in China pays comparatively low electricity rates for the power generated from hundreds of coal fired plants.  If Ford manufactures a car in the USA, it has to pay for all manner of employee benefits required by the government.  If the same car is made in Mexico, the workers get very few benefits and the costs are lower.  So think about it.  Does it surprise you that companies make there products elsewhere?  Would you pay more for a car that was made in the USA instead of the identical car made elsewhere if the difference were $4000?

Some of the trade deals may not be good.  I still don't understand what is in the Trans-Pacific Partnership which is currently up for approval.  It's way too long and too complicated for anyone to really grasp all that is in the bill (and that means that there may be all sorts of items slipped in by special interests.)  In general, though, free trade is a good thing.  Free trade, however, has to be accompanied by two additional items:  first, the government has to make sure that our trading partners do not take steps to give foreign companies and unfair advantage, and second, the government has to end policies that make it impossible for US companies to compete with foreign competitors.

The Silly Scenarios That Trump Won't Win

The coverage of the GOP race is focused almost entirely at the moment on who "has a path" to the nomination.  The bulk of today's coverage says that Trump is not doing well enough to get to a majority and that Cruz has no chance at all.  There's going to be a decision at the convention after the first ballot.  At least that's what all these analysts say.

The coverage is nonsense.  Trump has a near lock on the nomination.  Here's the numbers.

1.  Trump has 673 delegates at the moment.  He needs another 500 to get to the majority.

2.  There are 72 uncommitted delegates chosen so far, and there are about another 70 delegates not yet chosen from the states that have already voted.  Trump should get many of those 142 delegate votes.

3.  There are roughly 180 delegates who were chosen for candidates who have suspended their campaigns (mostly Rubio).  Most of these people are supposed still to vote for the candidates who dropped out, but there is no reason why they cannot change their votes to one of the remaining candidates.  Most likely, Trump will get a bunch of these delegates as well.

4.  If Trump only gets one third of these 342 votes (from 2 and 3 above) he will have 787 votes. 

5.  There are 948 delegates left to be chosen from states that have yet to hold their primaries or caucuses.  Trump needs roughly 450 of these votes or less than half.  The remaining states, however, include the following:

       a.  Arizona -- 58 delegates -- winner take all -- illegal immigration ground zero -- Trump ahead by double digits in polling.
       b.  New York -- 95 delegates -- proportional -- Trump's home state -- Even if Trump were not to win, he would still get at least 40 delegates.
       c.  New Jersey -- 51 delegates -- winner take all -- polling shows this to be one of the strongest Trump states in the country.
       d.  Pennsylvania -- 71 delegates -- modified winner take all since some are elected by congressional district -- Many districts are a lock for Trump and he leads statewide in sparse polling

From just these four states, Trump is likely to get another 200 delegates at a minimum.  That leaves him only 250 votes short with 670 more to be chosen.  Trump need only continue at his current pace in these other states to clinch the nomination.

The key here is that nearly all the "expert" analyses in the media fail to consider three things:  first, the uncommitted delegates already chosen; second, the remaining delegates still to be chosen from the states that have already voted; and third, the fact that delegates chosen for candidates who dropped out can easily switch and their votes will be counted.  And remember, I did not even mention that Trump leads the polling in California which will select 172 dekegates on a modified winner take all basis.

Big News In Brazil

We may be about to see a major upheaval in Brazil.  It looks like the president is going to be impeached.  If not, there will likely be chaos (or as Donald Trump might say, riots in the streets.)

The previous president of Brazil has been under criminal investigation in connection with a scandal concerning the state oil company Petrobras.  According to the allegations, construction firms overbilled Petrobras by roughly two billion dollars and smoothed the way to payment of these huge sums by making payoffs to various government officials including the then president.  Within the last few days, President Rousseff appointed the prior president as her "chief of staff" supposedly to help her deal with a major recession in the country and all sorts of corruption inquiries that were threatening her hold on power.  Now, a court has ordered release of a telephone call between Rousseff and her predecessor (his phone was wiretapped as part of the investigation) in which Rousseff tells him that she is appointing him to his position so that he can avoid prosecution.  Under Brazilian law, a cabinet minister (like the chief of staff) is immune from criminal prosecution.  The result of the release of the call has been huge demonstrations in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and renewed calls for the impeachment of Rousseff.

Chaos in Brazil is not good for South America or the world.  Brazil is the dominant economy on that continent and it is an important player in world markets as well.  Mineral, grain and other agricultural exports from Brazil supply many world markets.  Indeed, it was the profit from these exports that the socialist government was using to fund the state, but those profits have fallen to nearly nothing as lack of world demand has dropped prices.  When the corruption of the leaders is placed on top of the economic chaos, Brazil is left teetering on the edge of the abyss.

If Rousseff falls, it will likely be another big move back towards free market economics in South America.  Argentina recently installed a new president who is busy restoring Argentina's economy.  Venezuela is likely to see the Maduro government collapse as the low price of oil has removed the last support for that government.  If Brazil ousts Rousseff, none of the large countries on the continent will have left wing governments.


The Overdone Attack on Donald Trump

It will be interesting to see what happens to the support for Donald Trump in the next month.  Right now, Trump is the target of an all out attack.  It's a crazy and over-the-top attack.  Trump, we are told, is in essence a fascist, a racist, a promoter of violence, indeed the embodiment of evil in America.  There are many who believe that.  Of course, there are many who believe that about every candidate.  Hillary gets credited for great evil as well (although in her case, there's actually a real basis for the charge.)  The crazy attacks on Trump are much more widespread, however.

The real question is how will the American people react to all these attacks.  Trump isn't a fascist or a racist or a promoter of violence.  He has said some things that are impolitic.  He has said some things that he shouldn't have said.  He's not a practiced politician; it's part of his appeal, but it also means that he misspeaks more than someone like Hillary who is always weighing her next word against the results of the latest polls and focus groups.  Trump is real while Hillary is a creation of her pollsters.  So will the American people see through the attacks?  We will have to wait and see.

There's No Way To Avoid It

The state of Connecticut yesterday cut its budget by about a quarter of a billion dollars.  The reaction to this has been predictable.  Some have denounced the reduction which took funds from the "weakest members of society".  Some politicians have pointed fingers in order to shift the blame for these moves onto other people.  No one, however, wants to discuss the reason for the cuts.  After all, Connecticut raised taxes in a major way but it just did not get the revenue it projected.  The deficit that the cuts address is completely the result of lower revenues and not higher expenditures. 

So why is it that nobody talks about the reasons for the lower revenues?  Why is it that no one mentions that not only is economic growth non-existent in Connecticut but also that our population is declining.  Young people are leaving to find jobs elsewhere.  Older people are leaving to find lower taxes.  The wealthiest among us are moving to places that have no estate taxes.  (Someone who dies in Florida with twenty million dollars pays no state taxes; the estate of the same person in Connecticut would pay roughly two million in taxes.  That's a good reason to move.)

Connecticut has the unenviable combination of slow growth and high taxes.  The strange thing in this state is that there is never much discussion here about the facts that cannot be avoided:  the main reason for slow growth is high taxes, and raising taxes won't help raise revenue but will make the situation worse.  After all, why start or locate a business here when putting the same business some place else could be so much less costly?

The projections for next year's state budget show a shortfall of just under a billion dollars.  The inevitable response of the legislature and the governor will be higher taxes.  After all, next year is not and election year; that makes it prime time to once again raise taxes. 

Unless and until Connecticut wakes up and demands that taxes be cut and economic growth pushed, this sad trend is going to continue.