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Saturday, April 30, 2016

The White House Correspondents' Dinner

Tonight is the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.  It's the night that the Washington press corps puts on formal clothes and gathers for dinner at a swanky hotel in DC so that they can listen to political and media bigwigs insult each other in comedy routines.  Given the fact that the DC reporters tend to ignore so many things during the year, the dinner is the one time that they can laugh about all sorts of things that no one spoke about all year long.

Here are a list of some of the best jokes expected tonight:

1.  Did you hear the one about the two pregnant women who got Zika virus and gave birth to children with birth defects?  No?  Apparently Congress didn't either.

2.  Did you hear about the time Hillary started a sentence with the word "Honestly"?  Bill fainted on the spot.

3.  And last year while getting ready for the election, Hillary and Bill decided to pay their employees less.  They wanted to have some experience with the poor.

4.  Then there's news that Donald Trump is renaming Mar-a-lago in Florida.  When he bought the place, the seller told him that the name was Latin for "I'm the best" and he just found out that's not what it means.

5.  Maybe they will tell some Russian jokes too.  There's one going around the Kremlin right now; here it is:  Did you hear about the time Barack Obama threatened president Putin?  (That's the whole joke.  In Moscow, they think it is hysterical.)

6.  In high school, Ted Cruz was voted "most likely to secede".

7  I was going to tell a joke about John Kasich, but why bother.

8.  And then there's the biggest joke of all:  Barack Obama.

Resisting Trump's Racism Is Like Accepting Hillary's Honesty

I came across another of those opinion pieces calling upon America to resist the racism of Donald Trump.  There's a big problem with those articles, namely that Trump is not a racist.  No really, Trump is not a racist.  He doesn't want to separate races in America.  He doesn't believe that one race or ethnic group is better than the others.  He doesn't hold any beliefs that would normally be called racist.  No, the charges that Trump is a racist all come from two positions that Trump has taken.  The first was Trump's call for an end to illegal immigration and construction of a wall for that purpose along the Mexican border.  In his first speech about the subject, Trump pointed out that Mexico sends many dangerous criminals to the USA among the millions of illegals who have come here from that country.  But that's not racist; it's the truth.  Those who want to call Trump a racist change what he said so that they can charge that he called all Mexicans criminals and rapists, but he didn't.  If the people who are now so upset about Trump's supposed racism call Bill Cosby a rapist, does that make them anti-black racists?  I don't think so.  If these same people call some all Mexican gang in California violent criminals, does that make them racists?  I don't think so.  Racism is using race as a basis for making determinations, not pointing out true facts about some people.

The second charge of racism stems from Trump's call for a temporary ban on admission of Moslems into the USA until we can determine who is and who isn't a terrorist.  This too is not racism.  I have to say that I don't agree with this policy; it goes too far.  Those who should be barred from normal entry are people from the places where ISIS and al Qaeda are active.  They ought to get special scrutiny and not be admitted absent adequate proof that they have no terrorist activities in mind.  But it's still not racism.  The USA is at war with Islamic terrorism.  We did not start that war and we really don't want to fight it, but we have no choice in the matter.  It is only common sense that those who might be members of the enemy group get special scrutiny if they try to enter the USA.

It's a sad thing that so much of the media is busy talking about something that actually does not exist.  In many ways calls to resist Trump's supposed racism is like pundits who ask America to accept Hillary Clinton's honesty.  Neither exists.  Trump is not racist, and Hillary is clearly dishonest.

Friday, April 29, 2016

How Many Protesters Are Employed By Democrats?

Suddenly, in the last few days there has been a remarkable upsurge in protesters at Trump rallies.  Nothing happened to cause the upsurge.  Trump did not say something that caused upset.  Trump did not take any new positions that might engender a response.  Indeed, the only thing that happened is that Trump swept all the primaries in the North East and became the almost certain Republican nominee.  That got me to thinking.  Are these protests what Nancy Pelosi calls "astroturf", another word for fake grass roots activism?  And if these protests are astroturf, who is it who is paying the protesters to make a scene?

The most likely answer here is that these are astroturf protests.  It seems that now that Trump has won, he is getting the full protest response from the professional Democrat victims' groups.  We heard earlier in the year that some of the organizations funded by left wing billionaire George Soros were planning these sorts of protests.  Now they have popped up out of nowhere and with no cause.

It's actually pretty funny.  The last presidential candidate who used this tactic was Richard Nixon.  His campaign actually hired people to disrupt Democrat campaign rallies in 1968.  We all know what eventually happened to Nixon; he went down when his dishonesty was disclosed.  So is Hillary Clinton now the beneficiary of similar tactics?  Is her campaign a participant in planning these protests.  To use one of Hillary's favorite phrases, is Trump the target of a vast left wing conspiracy?

It really looks like that's the case.  And if it turns out that these are paid protesters, it will be a blow against the Clinton campaign from which Hillary will be hard pressed to recover.

So Who Bombed the Hospital In Aleppo?

In the last few days, a hospital run by the group Doctors Without Borders was bombed in Aleppo, Syria and a great many doctors and patients were killed.  This was not a terrorist bomb; it was an attack by aircraft that specifically targeted the hospital.  There's been little coverage of the attack; for the media it is just another atrocity in Syria.  Indeed, it took me a while to find an article about the air attack that named the perpetrator.  Not surprisingly, I found the attack was by jets of the Syrian air force.

Why is it that when the Assad forces in Syria bomb a hospital no one mentions it?  This is not an empty hospital being used as a launch site for missiles like the one in Gaza that was hit in 2014.  When that strike by Israeli planes took place, the "outrage" was spread across all the media.  How dare the Israelis hit an empty hospital!  Nor was this an accidental targeting of a hospital like the one hit in Afghanistan by US forces last year.  When that attack occurred, there was again an outpouring of outrage.  No, this latest attack was undertaken by a force that deliberately selected a hospital with no military value as a target for an air attack.  And what does the media or the "world community" have to say about it?  NOTHING!

The hypocrisy on display is incredible.  The reality is that the folks in the media don't seem to care at all about the dead patients and doctors.  They only seem to care if the deaths can be used to attack a different target.


The Anti Trumpers Don't Get It

There was a bit of chaos in suburban Los Angeles yesterday outside a Trump rally.  A crowd of "protesters" held a mini-riot.  The trashed some police cars, blocked traffic and threatened people coming to the Trump rally.  Meanwhile, in New York, there was a scare when an envelope with white powder was sent to the Trump headquarters office in the Trump Tower.  It turned out to be harmless, but both the disruption and the local scare were major.  These are just the latest stupid moves by those who oppose Trump.  It's almost as if the Trump campaign scripted them to show the Donald standing up to the turmoil.

Think about what message these events convey.  In California, the rioters were mostly Mexican according to the LA Times.  These people did not just oppose Trump, they got violent.  They tried to use force to keep their claim on America.  Such a move, however, is something that does not play well across most of the country.  And it is in the rest of the country where these mini-riots change votes.  California is going to vote for Hillary in November unless she gets indicted.  If that happens, then California will vote for whomever the Democrats nominate as a replacement for Hillary.  But what will the people in Michigan think about the mini-riots?  Will they see the Mexicans who came out just to make trouble as poor put-upon workers fighting against Trump, or will they be trouble makers who could not stand to have their illegal presence in the USA challenged?  We don't know that the rioters were illegals, but from 2000 miles away, it will sure look like that.  Will the workers in Ohio get angry that these illegals who take away their jobs are now rioting to preserve their positions?  Are these rioters so alien to America that they cannot accept our basic social contract to debate and discuss and then to decide the future at the ballot box rather than by rioting?  Will the women in Iowa see these rioters as victims or victimizers?  I doubt that the answers to these questions are ones that the rioters (or Hillary) would like to hear.  Indeed, if Trump can respond to all of this with a pleasant smile and an optimistic message, these rioters could spell doom for the Democrats in a great many places.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Jeb Bush Shows Why He Lost

Jeb Bush said today that the president of the USA shouldn't be "unpredictable".  It was a low key way for Bush to take a swipe at Donald Trump and his speech on foreign policy yesterday in which Trump said that the USA ought to be less predictable in its foreign policy reactions.  It was also a brilliant demonstration of why Jeb lost.  In short, Bush is just too wedded to the past.

Bush's main point was that the president needs to make his views clear and his likely reactions clear as well.  It's a throw back to the Cold War days when America's main foreign policy moves pertained to the Soviet Union and how we would respond to provocations.  The theory of the "experts" at the time was that by providing certainty, we lessened the chances of a mistake leading to nuclear war.  it sounds good, but it's actually totally wrong when the subject is something other than a nuclear exchange.  The truth is that if the president leaves our adversaries guessing about what the USA will do, they are likely to proceed much more cautiously.  There will be fewer big moves against our interests if our opponents worry that we might strike back.  Indeed, today, our adversaries (and even our friends) know that we are unlikely to do anything no matter what another country does.

Think about the Obama red line in Syria.  Obama said that the use of chemical weapons would cause a strong response from the USA.  Assad used chemicals and nothing happened.  Indeed, sixteen times the Assad forces killed civilians and military with poison gas and Obama refused even to admit that chemicals had been used.  Only when the victims of the gas managed to smuggle out video of victims writhing on the ground in the aftermath of a deadly chemical attack did Obama admit that Assad had crossed the red line by using chemicals.  Then he spent a few days dithering and ultimately did nothing.  Instead, he entered into an agreement under which Assad supposedly destroyed all his chemical weapons.  Of course, Assad has been repeatedly using chlorine gas on his adversaries over the last six months and Obama is once again denying that anything of the sort has happened.  No doubt, those dead civilians in Syria just committed mass suicide by breathing in chlorine gas.

Now consider this.  Trump is president and he has said that the USA won't tolerate the use of chemical weapons.  Assad may thing that the USA won't react; after all, Obama did not.  So Assad again uses chemical weapons.  Suddenly, American planes start bombing every plant and depot in Syria where the chemical weapons are located.  The attacks are over in two days.  Golly, that was unpredictable.  Wouldn't the next foreign leader worry about what might happen?

Or consider what would happen if the next time a Russian plane buzzes a US destroyer in the Baltic, some US planes nearby lock their missiles onto the Russian jets.  None get fired, but the message comes across loud and clear.  There wouldn't be any more Russian mock attacks.

Unpredictable responses, however, don't have to involve using weapons.  Suppose after the next Russian buzzing of an American ship, the Pentagon announces that it is sending anti-missile defenses to be stationed in Poland or Estonia as a defense against rogue Iranian missiles.  Our ambassador in Moscow could then visit the Kremlin and tell Putin that each time Russian forces take aggressive action against American interests, the USA will respond by increasing the defenses of Eastern Europe against possible Russian aggression.  There would be nothing in public, but the unexpected show of strength would push the Russians back.

There are any number of unpredictable responses that can be taken against aggressive actions by other nations.  It's what works best to keep our opponents from making moves to our detriment.

It's worth noting that Henry Kissinger, who most people would call the greatest Secretary of State of the last 50 years has often credited much of the success of American foreign policy in those days to our unpredictable moves.  When Nixon went to China, it took the Soviets totally by surprise.  It also marked the end of the worldwide Communist block and was a major step towards the ultimate victory in the Cold War.

But hey, Jeb says that being unpredictable is a bad thing.  Of course, he couldn't get past being governor of Florida.  That's no surprise.

Time For Clinton To Worry, Really Worry

A few days ago, there was a poll that showed that in a head to head match up, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump by three points.  That was a marked difference from recent polls in which her lead was ten percent or more over Trump.  The poll seemed like an outlier, given all the other recent info.  Now we got a second poll to show the race very close.  Rasmussen released a poll today that showed the race tied at 38% each.  This poll gave voters more choices than Clinton and Trump.  They were also given the choice of saying that they would vote for a 3d party or stay home.  Huge numbers of voters made those extra choices.

This new Rasmussen poll actually tells us more than the usual head to head matches.  By letting voters basically opt out of the Clinton/Trump choice, it gives us a more accurate portrait of the race at this moment.  There are literally millions of voters who will pick one candidate or the other is that is their only choice, but who would just opt out of voting if given that choice too.  If it were November now, these opt out voters actually would not be likely to vote.

So why is it that Trump appears to have closed the gap so quickly?  The answer is not that hard to determine.  In the last two weeks, Trump has moved from being just one Republican candidate to being the almost certain Republican candidate.  A whole bunch of Republicans and independents who would have preferred someone else are now stuck with the Clinton/Trump choice.  They are coming back to the GOP and Trump.

Hillary really has to worry at this point.  She has nothing left to offer.  Everyone knows her and has a rather fixed view of her.  Indeed, were she to take some new positions, few would believe her since she is considered a liar and untrustworthy by nearly all those who are not voting for her (and even by many who are picking her.)  She really cannot change the voters' views of her.  Trump, on the other hand, will be able now to make moves towards GOP party unity.  I doubt that Trump will win the love and respect of Ted Cruz and some of the most strident of the NeverTrump group.  Nevertheless, the bulk of the GOP voters who did not want Trump will not switch to Hillary.  They will drift back to Trump or else stay home.  If Trump can move his campaign towards the center, he may also be able to get additional moderate Democrats to vote for him.  There aren't all that many moderates left among the Democrats, but there are still millions of votes at stake in that group.

Moving forward, Hillary is going to have to campaign against Trump by vilifying him.  But tell me this:  what can Hillary throw at Donald Trump that has not already been said over and over again by Cruz or Bush or Rubio or all the other GOP candidates?  Unless there's some old murder conviction for the Donald that we have not heard about previously, the ammunition has been pretty well exhausted.  The funny thing is that the reverse is not really true.  Bernie Sanders smashed Hillary for taking cash from Wall Street and voting for the Iraq War.  Most of his comments dealt with Hillary's policy positions.  Now we will see what effect six months of "Crooked Hillary" campaigning will do.  Sure, those who have paid attention know that Clinton most likely violated the Espionage Act with her email games.  Most Americans, however, don't understand that.  Those paying attention know that Clinton used the Clinton Foundation to support her campaign staff in positions and to pay for travel expenses.  They also know that both Hillary and Bill got millions from companies and countries that either had business before the State Department or which wanted future consideration from the next president.  Because of sparse coverage of the story, however, millions of Americans really don't understand this story either.  As Trump makes this case (and he surely will), crooked Hillary will have to withstand a barrage unlike any she has ever previously experienced.

So, I say again, Hillary has to really start worrying now.  If these two recent polls are the start of a trend, Clinton may be about to get crushed.

The Crazies Come Out To Party

I've been watching the reaction from the "pundits" and the "experts" to Donald Trump's speech outlining his views on foreign policy.  For the most part, it seems these people did not hear or understand what Trump said or else they are just wrong.  Let's look at some of the main criticisms:

1.  Trump did not give details of his foreign policy plans.  For example, Trump said he would destroy ISIS but did not say exactly how he would do it.  This is perhaps the most common criticism of Trump's speech.  The problem is that the criticism is nonsense.  Before the speech, the Trump campaign made clear that in the speech Trump would set forth the goals for American foreign policy in a Trump administration.  They also made clear that the speech would not include the detailed policy steps to be taken to achieve these goals.  After all, it was just a half hour speech.  So when Trump spoke, he set forth his policy goals, not the means and methods to achieve these goals.  Anyone who paid attention to the speech and why it was given understood that.  Simply put, the torrent of criticism from the "experts" and "pundits" over the lack of details means that these people did not bother to pay attention.

2.  A second prominent criticism is that Trump contradicted himself with his policies.  The usual example offered by the self-proclaimed experts is that Trump said that America would be a dependable ally, but he also said that our allies would have to do more to be part of our alliances and that America ought to be more unpredictable in foreign policy.  Only someone trying to misunderstand what Trump said could think that these points contradict each other.  First of all, Trump made clear that were he president America would no longer act as the guardian of all these other countries.  It would be an alliance in which all members made the required contributions, not one in which America provides the defense and most of the others skate by.  Being reliable does not mean being a patsy.  If you ask your spouse to do more of the work around the house, it doesn't mean you are about to file for divorce.  Second, America can be unpredictable in its tactics while still being a reliable ally.  If Russian jets buzz and American destroyer, we want the Russians to wonder what our response will be.  If Putin fears that we might retaliate, he might not be so quick to provoke us in the first place.  That does not mean that we will not honor our obligations to NATO or other allies.

3.  A third common criticism of Trump's speech is that he used the slogan "America First".  That was the slogan of a movement in the USA in the 1930 that was isolationist in nature.  Supposedly, Trump made a big mistake by choosing those words.  Now I realize that we have just spent seven plus years with a president who thinks than what he says is more important than what he does, but even these "experts" should understand the basic truth that actions not words are what count.  Most likely, there are very few people who would be able to identify the slogan from the 1930's.  There are fewer still who would know what it meant at that time.  But even if there are a few who know that history of these words, it really doesn't matter.  Trump is not trying to bring back isolationism, and his speech makes that clear.  The entire criticism is nonsense.

4.  Then there are the idiots who don't seem to understand what they are talking about.  The best example I could find came from a piece by Noah Rothman writing at Commentary.  Rothman makes the following criticism of Trump's speech (among others).

"Trump noted that only four of America’s NATO allies meet the requisite goal of spending the equivalent of 2 percent of GDP on defense – as of 2015, the number was actually five: the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Poland, and Estonia."

So our pundit/expert Rothman complains that Trump got the number of US allies wrong.  To prove his point, he lists those five US allies that Trump calls only four.  Rothman, however, lists the United States as an American ally.  It's not.  Someone should tell Rothman that the United States is America.  Okay, I'm sure he knows that, but it's bizarre that Rothman makes his snarky comments only to be clearly wrong with his numbers.  Trump was correct.

5.  The German foreign minister today criticized Trump for his America First views.  Our German friend says that nothing can be resolved in the world by the USA alone.  It takes all the great powers cooperating according to herr foreign minister.  Maybe he should read Trump's speech.  Trump talked about honoring alliances but being guided by what is good for the USA.  It must worry the Germans that there could be an America that saw that American interests are what is important for the USA.  If the Germans want to promote German interests (which they do all the time), they can.  No matter what the Germans say, American can do what's good for themselves too.

0.5% GDP Stagnation

The figures from the government for the growth of the US economy in the first quarter of 2016 are out.  The ANNUAL growth rate during that three months was 0.5%.  It's a terrible result; there cannot be an alternate view.

Before all the spin begins to tell us that this is the new normal or something good, remember that the average growth rate for the last 50 years before Obama was about 3.5%.  Those 50 years included some bad recessions, so during the times the economy grew, it was growing much faster than 3.5% annually.  The stagnant Obama economy has been seeing the growth rate slow and slow.  The last quarter of 2015 had a growth rate of 1.4% and we were told that it was an aberration which would reverse itself in the first quarter this year.  Instead of a reversal and a return to growth, we got even slower growth.

America needs to change economic policies.  We've had Obama and the Democrats in place for seven plus years and we have no growth.  Obama and Hillary will surely blame the slow growth on Bush, but after all these years, those excuses are ridiculous.  Obama had done this with his anti-business policies, and Hillary says she wants more of the same.  Their way to improve income equality is to make everyone poor.  If America is to remain strong and vibrant, we have to change course.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


So now we know who Ted Cruz would pick were he ever to be nominated this year by the GOP.  It's Carly Fiorina.  What's next?  Will John Kasich announce that he would choose Megyn Kelly?  Maybe Bernie Sanders can announce that he would pick Angela Davis.  (Sandra Fluke might be too young.) 

Next week, I understand that both Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush will announce who they would have picked had they stayed in the race and been successful.  Rumor has it that Rubio will pick Carly Fiorina and force her to choose between Cruz and him.  Bush is going to pick his sister-in-law Laura Bush because he thinks that the USA needs more Bushes in Washington.

C'mon!  I know things are bad these days for team Cruz, but does the senator really think that he will be helped by naming his VP now?  It's a truly desperate move.  Cruz needs to end his quest for the nomination.  At this point, he's just embarrassing himself.

The Trump Foreign Policy

Donald Trump gave a speech today that outlined his foreign policy plans.  The speech came from a prepared text rather than the usual Trump style.  The style may have been different, but the reaction was totally predictable.  The usual anti-Trump forces like Lindsay Graham criticized the speech as demonstrating no understanding of America's place in the world.  Those who support Trump generally thought the speech was huge and wonderful.  All of those people could have made their comments without even hearing what Trump had to say (in fact, I wonder if senator Graham did read the speech.)  But let's take a moment to look at the basic points that Trump made.

1.  Trump says that we need to restore economic growth here at home so that we can afford to meet our military and foreign obligations.  That's completely correct.  During the slow-growth Obama years, the military has been starved of funding to the point that we currently do not have a sufficient military to meet all of this nation's current needs.

2.  Trump says that the guiding principle of his foreign policy is that he will do what is best for the USA and not let our interests be outweighed by those of other nations.  He acknowledged that there are times when helping other countries also helps the USA, but even then the goal ought to be doing what is best for America.  Here too, Trump got it completely correct.  The president of the USA has to do what is best for this nation.  There can be disagreements over what that may be, but the guiding principle is beyond dispute.  The amazing thing is that when Trump enunciates this principle, the Democrats attack him as if there is another principle that overcomes national interest in foreign policy.  There is not.

3.  Trump says that America's allies can depend on the USA after he becomes president and that the scary days of "unreliable America" under Obama are coming to a close.  Nevertheless, Trump says that our allies will have to contribute more to the alliances in terms of cost, both financial and human.  It's about time for the president to say this.  When the Cold War ended, most of Europe moved towards disarmament.  Some major European powers spend precious little on their own defense; they rely instead on America to defend them.  That's not our job, however.  We can assist each other with mutual defense.  We are not the world's military force.  If terrorists attack in Europe, then it is European forces that ought to take part in finding and destroying those terror groups.  The Europeans cannot sit on the sidelines while our forces protect them.  Trump is right here again.

4.  Trump also says that the USA needs to be more unpredictable in dealing with out adversaries.  Once again, Trump is correct.  Just look at the Obama moves like announcing the dates of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq.  The terrorists knew that all they had to do was wait for American forces to leave.  What was the point of the announcement?  And don't we want countries like Russia to wonder what might happen if it continues to have its planes buzz our naval vessels?  Fear of the unknown might well prevent many of these events.

It's fair to say that Trump did not provide all the details of his foreign policy plans.  So what?  The same is true of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz.  Indeed, the Democrats stay away from foreign policy whenever possible.  When Hillary talks about the subject, she usually gives us diplomatic doubletalk.  We know from her days in the State Department that her goal has always been not "America First" but rather "Hillary First".  After four years as secretary of state, she had no accomplishments to list, but there were many failures.

The truth is that Trump's foreign policy sounds pretty good.

Time For Cruz To Go

Yesterday, Ted Cruz lost five primaries; by now we all know that.  More important, however, Cruz was crushed in these contests.  He came in third in four out of the five states and if one adds the votes together for all five states, Cruz came in behind perennial loser John Kasich.  It's not clear yet who won all the delegates in Pennsylvania, but Cruz won only one delegate in the statewide group in PA and in the other four states combined.  As I said, Cruz was completely crushed.

At this point, there is no way that Cruz will ever be the nominee.  Even if he succeeds in scraping together enough delegates so that Trump is blocked on the first ballot (which seems unlikely), Cruz will not be the second choice of the delegates.  He has just lost too badly in many of the places where the contest will be decided in November.  Look at the swing states.  Cruz got very few votes in Florida and Ohio, the most important swing states, and that was among Republicans.  Cruz did not do well in Virginia, another swing state.  He was crushed last night in Pennsylvania, the big state that is always on the cusp of going to the GOP but which somehow never quite gets there.  There's really no reason to believe that Cruz could energize the party and win the election in November.

It's worth my noting that in yesterday's Connecticut primary, I voted for Ted Cruz, so I am not someone who has been against him.  I just think that a candidate has to recognize reality.  He's not going to win, and he helps no one other than Hillary Clinton by staying in the race.  It's time for Cruz to go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Can't Argue With The Numbers

It sure looks like Trump won the nomination today.  He got, on average, 60% of the vote in five northeastern states.  To be fair, only one of those states is one in which the GOP has much of a chance of victory in November, but Trump's victories were of a different magnitude than those in the past.  Usually, Trump has been getting numbers in the 30s or 40s.  That changed with New York last week and it continued with today's five states.  The only way to read these results is as a rejection of Cruz and Kasich by millions of Republican voters.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton put away Bernie Sanders, although with a much less smashing set of victories than the Trump wins on the GOP side.  Bernie even managed to win in Rhode Island and come very close in Connecticut.

So now we move towards November.  In the real world, things can change, but unless Hillary gets indicted, I just don't see any changes coming.

Despite all those who now say that they know how the November election will turn out, the truth is that no one knows.  Indeed, many of the people who are sure that Hillary will beat Trump are the same people who were equally sure on multiple occasions that Trump's campaign had been destroyed by one thing or another Trump said or did.  But they were wrong; why should we believe them now.  We need to see just how Trump focuses his campaign moving forward.  How well will Hillary hold up against Trump.  Will she be the first to actually survive the onslaught or will she succumb?  We all know she is a poor candidate.  If she starts to stumble, will she collapse?  Time will tell.

The Petition that Targets Target

 There's an online petition that has been up for a day or so in which the signers pledge not to shop at Target so long as it continues its new policy to allow use of store bathrooms based upon how the user self-identifies.  That new policy was adopted by Target as part of the response to the North Carolina law that mandates single biological sex bathrooms in that state.  Target wanted to establish itself as sympathetic to the transgender cause, but it seems that it has managed to annoy many more people with its policy.  I say that because in less than two days, the petition has already gained about 700,000 signatures.  If those people actually do stop shopping at Target, it would be a body blow to the big chain.

With the bathroom brouhaha, it seems that the left has taken on more than they can handle.  This is not surprising.  None of the other LGBT issues directly affected most people.  Gay marriage, for example, really does not affect those who are not involved.  Does it really matter if the two gay guys living in an apartment nearby are married or not?  For most people the answer is clearly no.  On the other hand, would most women or girls care if a man who had all the biological equipment of a man used a bathroom or locker room reserved for women if he "identified" as a woman?  There, the answer is clearly yes.  So what that means is that on one side we have a very few transgender individuals who feel uncomfortable because of their "identity".  On the other side, we have a multitude of people who feel uncomfortable because someone who appears to be of the other gender is right there in the bathroom/locker room.  It's not a battle that the left will win.  That is something that they will soon realize.

Governing By Affirmative Action

When it comes to bad ideas, Hillary Clinton has plenty of them.  Today brought her latest in the string:  Hillary is going to make certain that half of her cabinet consists of women if she is president.

There's nothing wrong with having women in the cabinet.  There's nothing wrong with having only men or having only women.  The point is a simple one:  the president ought to pick the best person for each job.  If that person happens to be a woman, great.   If that person happens to be a man, great.

We are talking about the people who will have a great deal to say about the running of our country.  Doesn't that mean that we should want to have the best person in each of those jobs?  Should a well qualified man be pushed aside by a less qualified woman in order to achieve gender balance?  Should a well qualified woman be pushed aside by a less qualified man in order to achieve gender balance?  Absolutely not.

The problem with Hillary's new commitment is that it shows where her true priorities lie.  She's more interested in satisfying different ethnic/gender/racial/religious etc. groups than in governing the country successfully.

What's next?  Will Hillary commit to having a minimum of two gay cabinet members?  Will she commit to a minimum number of Hispanics, Blacks, transgenders, etc?  America needs to be governed to achieve the success of the country.  That means that governing by affirmative action has to be rejected.  The next president needs to understand that we need him or her to restore some measure of competence in Washington.  Ability rather than gender is what's important.

It's Primary Day in Connecticut

I voted today.  That's what the sticker they gave me at the polls says.  I voted in the Republican presidential primary.  The polling place was the gym in the local elementary school.  In the hall outside the gym, there were three tables at which the school's PTA held a bake sale to raise funds for school events.  Inside the gym, there were six people checking in the voters; three for the GOP primary and three for the Democrats.  There were three additional people handing out the ballot cards and one who supervised voters who put their cards into the card reader so that the votes could be tallied.  There were also two guards in the room.  And there was me.  I was the only voter.  There was not a single person who was there for the Democrat primary and only me for the GOP.  This was at roughly 8:05 AM, which is the time at which I have voted in many previous elections.

Today was the first time I ever was the only voter at the polling place.  Usually, in the general election of a presidential year, there are ten or so people voting or standing in line to check in.  In the congressional years, that number is slightly lower at the general election, maybe seven or eight.  Even during the local elections for First Selectman (the Connecticut equivalent of mayor of a town) there are five or so voters on average.  But today, there was no one there.

To make matters even stranger, there were no people outside campaigning.  Normally, there are campaign workers outside the polls standing 51 feet away or sitting at tables handing out literature.  (Under CT law, no one can campaign on election day within 50 feet of the polls.)  All that was outside the polls were two forlorn signs that said "Bernie" and one that said "Trump".  Not a single Clinton sign was evident.

There are more than 1000 people registered to vote at my polling place, but there was no campaign and no voters.  It was a sad thing to behold.

Certainly, others have voted today.  We will see tonight if I just hit a slow time at the polls or if the turnout is truly low in my area.  In the interim, if you live in Connecticut or any of the states that vote today, there's plenty of time still to get out and vote.  Go do it!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Considering History Is Worthwhile

There are still millions of people who remember the Vietnam War and how it was managed by the president.  The Vietnam War began in earnest when president John Kennedy put 16,000 advisors into South Vietnam to help the regime there deal with an uprising by local Communist rebels who were supported by the North Vietnamese government.  That was the "original sin" when it came to Vietnam, although most liberals chose to ignore that fact and Kennedy's involvement as time went by.  After all, Kennedy was a liberal icon and his reputation couldn't be sullied by connecting him to the war in Vietnam.  The heavy American involvement in fighting in Vietnam, however, began under the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.  Johnson managed to up the number of American soldiers in Vietnam from 16000 in 1963 when he took office to about 550,000 in 1969 when he left office.  Under Johnson, however, the increase in soldiers was done gradually.  Every few months, Johnson would announce another increase in the troop commitment.  There was even a term coined for the practice:  "escalation".  American force numbers increased slowly upwards as if they were on an escalator.

In 1963 and 1964, America had overwhelming military power compared to the Communists in Vietnam and their supporters in North Vietnam.  Johnson, however, chose not to use all that power.  Instead, he kept trying to use just enough power to overcome the enemy but no more than that.  As a result, each time the USA increased its strength in Vietnam, it did not deliver a knockout blow.  Instead, the enemy was given time to react to the new American forces and to take measures to overcome their new power.  Meanwhile, back in the USA, the support for the war began to erode as it passed four years of fighting without any sign of ending.  Indeed, it took the presidency of Richard Nixon before American leadership began to unleash the full weight of US military force on the enemy, but that was coupled with a withdrawal of much of the US force made necessary by the loss of support for the war at home.

How could such a mess transpire with regard to a subject as important as a war?  The answer is that the Vietnam war was run by politicians and "experts" out of the White House rather than allowing the military to control things.  Johnson had advisors who were sure that they could calibrate the number of troops needed to win without going overboard.  They did not understand that in war, the goal is not to have a proportionate response, but rather a disproportionate response that quickly overwhelms the enemy.  Had the Pentagon been allowed to seen major forces into Vietnam at the start of the war, it might have ended quickly with the defeat of the Communist forces.  We'll never know for certain, of course, because the Pentagon was not allowed to run the Vietnam war but had to instead run a political war calculated by the "experts" at the White House.

After Vietnam, much was written about the need for the use of overwhelming force to win battles.  During Desert Storm, America sent half a million men along with huge allied forces to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait.  That ground war took less than five days to complete.  The lesson of Vietnam had been learned.

Now we once again have a president and "experts" in the White House who are running military strategy and messing up royally.  The latest announcement by president Obama that he is sending 250 more troops to Syria is in the sad tradition of the escalation moves during the war in Vietnam.  No sane person could believe that 250 troops will really shift the equation in fighting ISIS.  There's just not enough of them.  All that has happened is that we now have an additional 250 American targets at which ISIS can take aim.  The reports have leaked out that the Pentagon does not support this latest escalation as the proper strategy, but Obama is ignoring that opposition.

When he was elected, Obama was often touted always being the smartest one in the room.  Clearly, that was just a phony image created by the press.  Nevertheless, it is sad to realize that not only is our president a delusional fool, but also that he is likely to cost us massive battlefield losses by putting American troops in harm's way without the full backing of the US military.  How many dead and wounded will it take before Obama decides to increase forces in Syria again?  And when that increase comes, will it be just a few hundred or a few thousand more?

The lesson of history is clear.  If American military forces are going to be engaged in battle, it is incumbent upon the USA to us overwhelming force against the enemy.  Doing anything less than that results in MORE casualties and a lower chance for victory.  Obama needs to consider this lesson.  Sadly, he just won't. 

Obama Does It Again -- More Lies

Just think how many times you heard president Obama announce that no Americans, I mean NO AMERICANS, would be sent to fight in Syria, ever, period!  He didn't mean it.  It seems that when Obama made that promise, he had his fingers crossed behind his back.  The White House announced yesterday that the USA would increase the number of American troops in Syria six fold.  What had been a tiny force of advisors/coordinators is now much bigger.

I am not commenting here on the merits of Americans fighting ISIS in Syria.  That is a different discussion.  Instead, I just think it is worth pointing out that Obama is untruthful and unreliable.  For years he told us that no Americans would go to Syria or Iraq.  Then he sent troops to Iraq but told us that Americans would not engage in combat.  Then he sent thousands more troops to Iraq and mixed them into combat (although he still claimed that we were not "fighting" there.)  Then he sent the first few troops to Syria as advisors.  Now he is vastly increasing the number of advisors.  How long will it be until we have thousands in Syria fighting ISIS in combat?

It would have been easy for Obama to have been honest with the American people.  He could have told us that ISIS is a threat with which we must deal.  He could have told us that while he would prefer not to use US troops, he would if they were needed.  He could have said that he has decided that only involvement by American forces will evict ISIS from its caliphate.  He did not say these things and instead he chose to lie.  Actually, maybe he didn't lie.  Maybe Obama is so delusional that he really thought ISIS was the jayvee team, that the Iraqis could oust ISIS on their own, that the Syrians would throw ISIS out without help, etc.  You choose now.  Is Obama just a blatant liar, or is he totally delusional?  It's not a happy choice.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Using Children As Terrorists

I saw a headline just now that says that the Israelis released a 12 year old girl who had been captured while carrying out a terrorist attack.  Let's ignore all the usual items about the evils of prison for children and about the need to stop terror attacks.  Let's focus instead on the vile people who would use a child to carry out a terror attack.

There is no question that those who sent this girl on her mission are monsters.  I have to wonder if the girl even understood what was about to happen to her if she had stabbed her target with a knife as planned.  I doubt it.  Most 12 year olds don't think ahead to the consequences of their actions.

So why would the Palestinian terrorists use an unsuspecting child to do their dirty work?  The answer is simple.  The hope of the terrorists was that the Israelis would not bother to stop or search a child and that the attack could proceed.  They don't care about the child, only about the attack. 


The Soon To Be Former Chair of the DNC

Debbie Wasserman Schultz never fails to disappoint.  Today, she was on one of the Sunday shows and actually said that at the end of the day, the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton and her email system is a "distraction".  That's it?  That's the view of the DNC chair of something which could destroy the Democrats' likely candidate for president?  A distraction?

It seemed a remarkably idiotic thing to say.  Then I remembered some of Debbie's greatest statements of the past.  Here are a few:

1.  Debbie said that after 9-11, the attempts to capture or kill bin Laden were a distraction.

2.  She also said that after the halftime show at Super Bowl 50, the second half of the game was a distraction.

3.  More recently, Debbie said that she favors abortion on demand because after conception, pregnancy is a distraction.

4.  Let's not forget when Debbie analyzed American history and said that after the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War was a distraction.

5.  Finally remember when Schultz told us all that after president Obama making speeches about ISIS, actually fighting the terror group is a distraction.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

De Blasio May Actually Get Charged

There are more and more articles discussing the investigations underway into New York City mayor Bill De Blasio and his staff.  They are getting swept up in the cash for favors scandal that first broke with regard to the New York City police department.  They are also mixed up with activities to  evade the campaign contribution limits for state legislative races in 2014.  On that second front, the New York Post reports that the state election commissioners have already sent a criminal referral to the district attorney.  All this means that both federal and state law enforcement has the mayor under the microscope looking for criminal activity.

It's hard to tell from the public information whether De Blasio has done anything criminal.  Nevertheless, when the US Attorney of a Democrat administration and a batch of Democrat district attorneys are all investigation their fellow Democrat, one has to wonder is that much smoke indicates not only fire, but a big, big blaze.

How To Make Things Better

Here are a few problems that America has to conquer in the near future:

1.  The unending deficits that cause our huge national debt.
2.  The lack of decent jobs for many people in this country, especially those without college educations.
3.  The crumbling infrastructure that causes problems every day.
4.  The rising dependence of many people on the federal government for subsistence.
5.  The overstretched military that may no longer be able to meet all the missions set for it.
6.  The slow growth of the economy.

So what do all these problems have in common?  The answer may surprise you.  They can all be solved almost entirely by revising the American business tax system.  We need to go from the world's highest tax rate and a structure that discourages investment and economic growth to one that attracts new business to the USA and promotes economic growth and investment. 

Right now, no country has a higher business tax rate than the USA.  Even worse, the USA makes companies pay taxes on activities outside the country if the profits from those activities are returned to the USA.  We also have rules that make investments in the USA more expensive than identical investments elsewhere.  It's not surprising that as a result of these facts, companies place their activities elsewhere.  Why build a factory in Ohio when the identical factory in Ireland, built for exactly the same price, will leave the owner with substantially higher profits?  No rational person or business would choose the USA over Ireland in that example.

Now imagine that the US tax rate were cut from 35% to 20%.  Imagine further that the tax on bringing earnings back to the USA is either abolished or cut to less than 10%.  Imagine also that rules on expensing of investments are loosened so as to provide incentives for new investment in America.  What would that do?  The likely result of those changes would be to cause a tidal wave of new investment in the USA.  American companies would change their plans so that expansion would take place here.  Foreign companies would rush to locate their activities here to take advantage of our lower tax rates.  Most of the more than two trillion dollars that US companies now hold overseas would be brought home.  In short, we would see an economic boom.

All the resulting economic growth would generate more, not less tax revenues despite the cut in the rate.  Millions of jobs would be created.  The federal government would have more income, but it would also have less expenditures.  Many people getting government assistance would no longer need help as new, better paying jobs were created.  The cascade of cash to the federal government would provide funds to rebuild the military.  America would be greatly strengthened.

The strange thing about all this is that in this election year, the Democrats want to raise taxes and put more obstructions in the way of economic growth.  Their solution to business moving overseas is to penalize those who make the move rather than providing incentives to bring back those who have left.  That will slow growth even more than now.  Ultimately, companies that find it more profitable to do business elsewhere will find a way to leave.  They will take their jobs and their assets with them.  The companies left here will find it harder and harder to compete with companies in other countries.  Eventually, the US companies will lose the battle and either downsize or shut altogether.  The Democrat plan would just lead to a slow strangulation of our economy.  Why would anyone support that?  No one should.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Does Anyone Care?

The AP did an analysis of the companies and groups for whom Hillary Clinton gave high priced speeches in 2013 to 2015.  On average, Hillary got a quarter of a million dollars for a twenty minute speech.  What the AP found is that one third of the group were government contractors and nearly all of the group were lobbying the federal government for something.  Simply put, these people were buying influence should Hillary become president.

Let's be fair.  There's nothing wrong with paying someone to come to give a speech.  There is, however, something wrong when someone pays a ridiculously high price for a short speech that acts as a way to funnel money to the recipient.  That's especially true when the cash is being laid out in hopes of getting future consideration from the next president.  It may or may not be illegal; that's for the courts to decide.  Without a doubt, however, it looks terrible, and it represents a complete departure from common sense by the recipient.

Remember, while Hillary was secretary of state, Bill was out making high priced speeches to people with business before the State Department.  The speeches that the AP analyzed were made after Hillary left the State Department.  The problem is that no one in the media seems to care about this.  The AP wrote its story and there's essentially no coverage of it.  Imagine if instead of Hillary it was Ted Cruz or Donald Trump who had done the same thing.  There would be a media firestorm.  The failure to push this story because it is a Clinton is unforgivable. 

Hard To Believe -- Now Obama is Meddling in UK Politics

Let's do this one more time.  Imagine that David Cameron, the prime minister of the UK, were to announce that it is in the best interest of Britain for Donald Trump to be elected the next president.  Just imagine how that would play in the USA.  The media would go berserk.  Politicians would go berserk.  Voters would resent English meddling in an American election.  In other words, it would be an enormous mistake for Cameron to blatantly get involved in our politics.

So why is it that president Obama does not understand that this works both ways.  Obama is in London and he is making a major push in support of Britain staying in the European Union.  In less than two months, the British are voting in a referendum as to whether or not to stay in the EU.  In the latest polls, the two sides are essentially tied.  Obama, however, is actively campaigning for Britain to stay.

Forget for the moment whether or not it is appropriate to meddle in the politics of our British ally.  (It is not, by the way.)  How delusional is Obama that he thinks that the average Brit will be favorably (or favourably) influenced by his statements?  The normal reaction of an English voter will be to resent the interference by Obama and move against his position.  Remember, perhaps the biggest issue in this referendum is whether the British people will still be able to decide things for themselves without interference from the EU and other non-British people.  Having an American president mix into the fight just makes the point of the anti-EU forces that the British people are losing control.

Once again, Obama's own delusion of omnipotence is leading to another problem.  I really cannot wait until he is gone.

The Especially Sinister Police Network

Originally, I thought that I would skip writing about the firing of Curt Schilling by the Especially Sinister Police Network (ESPN), but that demonstration of the controlling political correctness of the Disney company (which owns ESPN) really cannot be ignored.

Let's look at what happened.  Schilling was a sports commentator for ESPN.  For many years prior to that, he was a marvelous pitcher for a number of major league baseball teams.  But Schilling has a problem; he's a man with strong views who is not afraid to express those views.  That is too much for Disney.  Schilling wrote a post on social media, his own social media, not that of ESPN.  He said nothing on the air while broadcasting for the network.  In other words, he made a personal comment.  The essence of the comment is that bathrooms should be kept for biological women and biological men rather than for those who "self-identify" as women or men.  In the politically correct world of Disney and the LGBT thought police, this is a "shocking hate crime".  No, it's not.  Indeed, it's the view of the vast majority of Americans who understand that the issue is not the sensibilities of just the transgender population but the sensibilities of ALL the population. 

There is no reason why ESPN or Disney should be limiting what Schilling could say on the subject off the air.  Think of some of the things that various TV personalities have said in the last decade.  They've said things that a great many Americans find offensive, and that goes for people on all sides of the issues. 

This is not a case of a broadcaster repeatedly telling lies like Brian Williams (for which he was only suspended and not fired by NBC.)  Nor is it a case like Roman Polanski who was convicted of statutory rape and fled the country to avoid prison only to still have his films distributed by Hollywood (and perhaps even Disney).  It's just something that Schilling said in a personal post. 

Maybe it's time to stop watching ESPN.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wasting Time And Money In Washington

The US Treasury is going to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill to replace Andrew Jackson, the slave-owning president who is one of the founders of the Democrat Party.  Yawn.  The back of the $10 and $5 bills are also getting a makeover.  One will have scenes of big events that took place at the Lincoln Memorial like when Marion Anderson sang there at the behest of Eleanor Roosevelt.  The other will have pictures of women who fought for the right to vote.  Yawn again.

Will our government ever get to the point at which it decides that spending time and money on pictures from history is not really the best way for the government to go.  How much will it cost to replace Democrat slave owner Jackson with the more politically correct Tubman?  Remember, there are millions of machines around the country that accept currency and each will need to be modified to take the new bills.  Must all that cost be borne just for a bit more political correctness?

I guess I shouldn't be too bothered by the choices made by president Obama and his people made for the currency.  I guess we're lucky he didn't put Fidel Castro on the $50 bill.

Claiming a Victory

A few days ago, a bus was blown up in Israel.  There were multiple injuries and now there has been a death.  The Israelis had initially said that they considered the explosion a terror attack although the perpetrator of the attack was not clear.  Well now we have clarity.

Hamas announced that the attack had been carried out by one of its operatives and called the explosion a "great victory".  Hamas had waited to announce this claim because the man who just died of his injuries was the bomber and Hamas did not want to clarify that.  So the attack claimed one life; the bomber managed to kill himself.  Hamas also called for celebration of the victory.

Next time some buffoon talks of the need for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, ask that person with whom the Israelis should negotiate.  Hamas rules Gaza and is part of the ruling coalition in the rest of the Palestinian territories.  Does one negotiate with people who send teenagers to blow themselves up on buses?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Some Good News and a Bunch of Nonsense

The Senate just passed it's version of a "comprehensive" energy bill by a margin of 85-12.  Normally, when you see the word comprehensive attached to any bill, it's time to run the other way.  This bill, however, has a few very important provisions mixed in with the comprehensive garbage. 

The single most important part of the bill is that it expedites the export of American natural gas.  Right now, America is the world leader in natural gas production, and we have by far the biggest reserves of that fuel.  Developing a market overseas for our natural gas will result in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new, highly paid jobs across the country.  It will allow countries in Europe and Asia to escape from dependence on Russian or Middle Eastern fuel, a change which will result in the significant weakening of those countries (none of whom are our friends.)  It will significantly clean the environment as there is a switch from higher cost oil to lower cost natural gas as well as from coal to natural gas for power generation.  In short, it's a no brainer.

The rest of the bill is filled with the usual nonsense.  Fortunately, however, none of it rises to the level of being totally awful.  The House has already passed its own energy bill.  Now, the two houses better find time to conference the bills and get them passed.  Moving forward with our gas industry is too important to get shuffled aside at this late date.

Obama Being Pushed By Putin Again

Remember all those instances in the last month when Russian planes or helicopters buzzed American navy ships in international waters or American planes which were not in Russian air space?  President Obama did nothing about those events, so today the Russians took things one step further.  The Russian envoy to NATO today warned the USA against further provocations like the ones which supposedly led to the Russian actions.

Think about that.  An American destroyer is sailing in the Baltic Sea in international waters off the coast of Poland in a joint operation with the Poles.  There is no threat to the Russians or Russian territory.  Two Russian fighter/bombers come straight at the ship on mock bombing runs, and they repeat that flight pattern more than ten times.  And now the Russians blame the USA for what happened and warn us against a repetition.  Are they kidding?

There are undoubtedly those in the USA who will accept the Russian warning as requiring the USA to keep its forces further away from Russia.  Bernie Sanders comes to mind immediately as a likely candidate for such a position, so does Hillary Clinton.  But let's take it out of the international arena.  Imagine that you are driving along a public street in your town.  Suddenly, two men come charging off of a nearby property and they are holding shotguns aimed at your car.  They don't fire.  The next day, however, they blame you for driving down their street.  That's the rough equivalent to what happened with the Russians.

Vladimir Putin knows that nothing will happen as a result of this behavior.  President Obama will just go play golf and talk about gun control or global warming.  There will be no consequences for the improper acts by the Russians.  So Putin will just keep going.

It would be easy to respond to the Russians.  Imagine Obama were to announce that because of recent events in the Baltic, the USA is going to locate a missile defense location in Poland.  That move would be one that Russia does not want to see.  It brings NATO closer together.  It demonstrates US resolve.  It also provides some protection for the Poles and Europe against Russian missiles.  Putin would get the message.  Indeed, if Obama had half a brain, he could even announce the placement of such a missile defense system in Poland and repeat again and again that of course, this move had nothing to do with the aggressive moves by the Russians and that he was shocked, shocked that anyone would ask about such a link.  Of course, if Obama had half a brain, that would be half more than he actually has.

Is It A New Form of Stockholm Syndrome?

What's going on in Stockholm?  Is it something in the water?  Does it only affect government officials?  Let me explain.

In the last few days, the Swedish minister for housing, a guy named Mehmet Kaplan, resigned after protest arose when he compared Israel to Nazi Germany.  Okay, that was amazingly stupid, but it gets worse.  The deputy prime minister of Sweden, Asa Romson, lamented the resignation and praised Kaplan on his work with young Muslims during "tough situations like at the 11 September accidents".

You remember the 11 September ACCIDENTS, don't you?  That was when over 3000 Americans died after al Qaeda terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Accidents?  Is she kidding?

But it gets worse.  Romson refused to change her statement when asked about it, but instead defended what she had said.

I have no intention of repeating the garbage that the deputy prime minister of Sweden came out with at that point.  The key is that the number two person in the Swedish government actually called 9-11 an "accident" as if it just happened by chance.  What a moron.

Here's the real question.  How can Sweden have as the number two person in its government a woman who could say such a thing?  She needs to go.

New York

The New York primary yesterday had decisive results.  Donald Trump not only won big, he won very, very big.  It was huge.  Trump won every country across the state.  That's not easy to do, but he did it.  Without a doubt, New Yorkers stayed with their fellow New Yorker.  Hillary Clinton also won big.  Her victory was not the same sort as Trump's however.  Hillary won New York City and its suburbs.  She tied Bernie Sanders across the rest of the state.  It was enough for a victory, but it will not end the questions about whether or not Hillary actually appeals to most Americans.

Despite the hype, the New York results are no more or less important than the results in the home states of other candidates.  Each of Kasich, Cruz, Sanders, Clinton and Trump have now won their home state.  Now it's on to next week and five more states. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Don't They Realize What They Are Doing?

Suppose you heard that the deputy prime minister of Israel had condemned president Obama and then spoken to praise Ted Cruz or Donald Trump saying that he hoped that the views of Cruz or Trump would become the dominant outlook of the USA.  What do you think would happen in response to such a statement?  Is there any doubt that the White House would go berserk in response?  The media would also go all out to condemn such "interference" in American politics.

Well that never happened.  What did happen, however, is that vice president Biden made a speech yesterday in which he slammed Israel's prime minister Netanyahu and then praised an opposition Israeli politician.  Biden actually said, "May your views begin to once again become the majority opinion in the Knesset."   In other words, Biden did just what would surely be condemned with great outrage were an Israeli official to do the same thing concerning the USA.

I realize that Biden is a buffoon.  That's no excuse.  It is unforgivable for Biden to get involved in the politics of an ally.  Canada had an election, and no US official endorsed one party or another.  The UK had an election and the USA didn't endorse anyone.  Indeed, even in Iraq when we had huge military forces in that country (likewise Afghanistan) the USA did not endorse or speak in support of any political figure.  Where the hell does Biden get off doing something like this with regard to Israel.  It's beyond belief. 

So will Hillary Clinton now disavow what Biden said?  Don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Consistency in US Foreign Policy

About a year and a half ago, I visited the Falkland Islands.  It's a very quiet place with few people.  In fact, there are over one hundred times more sheep there than people.  The islands have been British for the last 200 plus years with a short break in the 1980s when Argentina invaded and took control.  The British, under prime minister Thatcher, launched a major military force which threw out the Argentine invaders in a bloody war.  Argentina claims the islands, which it calls the Malvinas Islands, as an integral part of Argentina.  To be clear, the Falklands are about 200 miles off the coast of Argentina and about 6000 miles from London.

Not long ago, the Argentines again began making noise about retaking the Falklands.  Even though Britain is a close ally and has been in control of the Falklands for centuries, and even though the USA supported the British during their war with Argentina in the 1980s, president Obama said that America was neutral in the dispute over control of the Falklands.  Let's not forget that the residents of the Falklands had voted in a referendum that they wanted to stay part of the UK and the margin in that vote had been 96 to 4%.  Without question, the will of the local people is to stay with the UK, but Obama said the USA is neutral.

I bring up the Falklands because of the American position announced yesterday regarding the Golan Heights.  Israel has been in control of this area for 50 years.  That means that the area has been part of Israel longer than it was part of Syria.  Like the Falklands it is sparsely settled and mostly agricultural.  There are essentially no Syrians in the area.  The residents are either Israeli Jews or Druse.  There is no local push to rejoin Syria.  The Syrians did invade the region, but they were pushed out by the Israelis in a bloody fight.  When the Israeli prime minister repeated the other day that the Golan is and will remain part of Israel, the Obama administration fell all over itself to announce that it did not recognize Israeli control of the region.  Somehow, the principles of non-intervention which led to America being neutral between our closest European ally Britain and Argentina did not get applied in the dispute between our Middle Eastern ally Israel and Syria which is home to ISIS, al Qaeda and the Iranian puppet dictator Assad.  Nope, Obama sided with ISIS, al Qaeda, Assad and Iran.

All of this leads to only one question:  has Obama lost his mind?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Today is Prisoners' Day

I learned that today is "Prisoners' Day", a day set aside by the Palestinian Authority to point out the number of people held in jail by Israel.  Do you know how many Palestinians are in Israeli jails?  The answer is 7000 according to the reports about Prisoners' Day.  I tried to figure out if this included Israeli Arab citizens in jail or just those who live in the territories, but the reports did not specify this.  In fact, I wonder how accurate these reports actually are, given the track record of the Palestinian Authority in the past.  They exaggerate everything.

Let's assume, however, that there are 7000 prisoners.  These are 7000 men and women being held in jail.  Murderers and thieves are included in this number.  Terrorists are included in this number.  It's every Palestinian prisoner in jail.  So is this a large number?  Let's put it in context.  According to the Palestinian Authority, there are 4.5 million Palestinians living under Israeli control.  For a contrast, let's look at the state of Delaware.  It has just under one million people, but guess how many prisoners there are in the Delaware correctional system?  That's right, there are roughly 7000 prisoners being held by the state of Delaware.  That means that the average person in Delaware is almost five times more likely to be in prison than the average Palestinian.  And last time I checked, there were no terrorists attacks being undertaken in Delaware.

The truth is that the number of Palestinian prisoners is actually quite low for the population.  Prisoners' Day ought to be an embarrassment to the Palestinian Authority.

The Climate Change Rico Investigations

The attorneys general of a number of states are conducting "investigations" into whether or not oil companies can be sued for violating the RICO statutes for allegedly defrauding the public by claiming that climate change is not real.  That's a gross oversimplification of the content of the investigation, but it's still pretty close to the substance of the investigations.  The attorneys general involved are all ultra-liberal ones from states like Vermont and New York.  They claim that (1) companies like Exxon knew that burning fossil fuels like oil increased carbon emissions and that this in turn caused global warming; (2) the companies nevertheless told the public that the threat from global warming was minor at most and that the emissions of carbon dioxide are not dangerous; and (3) this was done to maximize their continuing profits from their oil and gas production. 

The claims by these attorneys general is a new way to use the RICO statutes.  It is also a dangerous way for the government to step in to suppress debate about scientific and political issues.  The RICO statutes were designed to fight organized crime, not to prevent speech that the government doesn't like.

We can debate whether or not these investigations are proper.  It would be a one-sided debate, however, since there is little doubt that RICO does not apply in this case.  Nevertheless, the point of the investigations is not to actually recover anything from Exxon and its sister companies.  The goal is to shut them up from voicing their views about global warming and the theory that underlies that issue.

Instead of debating that issue, I would like instead to consider an alternative.  Why shouldn't the attorneys general of other states begin an investigation of their colleagues who are conducting the RICO investigation.  Think about it.  An attorney general like New York AG Eric Schneiderman keeps making public pronouncements about Exxon and its activities with regard to global warming.  These statements by Schneiderman are made to be transmitted by wire and by mail.  If the allegations against Exxon are false (and they are), then the false statements by Schneiderman could be considered wire fraud and mail fraud.  Schneiderman would be using the NY Attorney General's office to carry out multiple acts of wire and mail fraud.  The point of these repeated statements would be to gain for Schneiderman and his allies contributions to "green organizations" and continued government support for alternative energy projects.  In other words, one could argue that Schneiderman's conduct is actually a violation of the RICO statutes.  The same could be said of the activities of the attorney generals from other states.  The attorney general of another state wouldhave standing to bring the charge because the false statements would have been broadcast into their states and misled the people in those states.

This is far from a detailed analysis as to why someone like the Texas Attorney General should begin such an investigation.  Nevertheless, the point is that such turnabout would surely be as valid as the original investigation. 

By the way, there is news today that the various attorneys general investigating Exxon and the others secretly coordinated their activities with each other and environmental organizations.  It's a fact that would go a long way towards proving a RICO violation.

Once Again, The Arguments Mean Nothing

The Supreme Court heard argument today in the case brought by Texas and 25 other states to bar president Obama's executive action on immigration.  Obama announced his plan a almost two years ago, but first a district court and then the Court of Appeals enjoined the government from going ahead with the plan.  Now we have gotten to the Supreme Court.  There are a number of articles describing the argument, but these are mostly equivalent to reading tea leaves.  There is no way to know how a justice will vote just because he or she asked particular questions during the argument.  We will just have to wait and see.

One thing is certain, however.  The main issue in the case as argued is whether or not the states have standing to sue.  The issue as to whether or not Obama has the power to do what he ordered is almost an afterthought.  This may be a sign that the liberals on the Court are trying to find something that they can use to obtain a fifth vote for the Obama position.  Alternatively, it may be because even the liberals accept the conclusion that Obama went beyond his power to act.

The sad thing is that after the death of Justice Scalia, we may end up with another 4-4 tie vote.  I hope not.  The constitutional concept of separate but equal branches of government is threatened by Obama's rampant expansion of the executive powers by extra-constitutional methods.  No matter who is president, we need to have a chief executive who is constrained by the rule of law.  If that falls, we are not far from a dictatorship.

Isn't There A Limit?

This morning, the New York Post has a big article (for that paper) about Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court.  The story is mostly an interview with a woman who says that she had a relationship with Justice Thomas.  Oh, scandal!  But wait, not really.  First of all, the supposed relationship took place in the early 1980's.  While Thomas was nominally still married to his first wife at the time, he was legally separated from her.  Thomas was also not a Supreme Court Justice at the time.  Further, even the woman who claims the relationship says that it ended before Thomas married his second (and current) wife 25 years ago.  Boiling it all down, the story is that a woman claim that before he was on the Court, Justice Thomas had sex with her while he was separated from his wife.  Scandal?  I think not.

Even better, though, is the fact that the article makes clear that Thomas' alleged paramour believes that Anita Hill was telling lies.  That bit of the story gets buried way at the end of the piece.  After all, why undermine the old scandal while trying to come up with a new one?

To be clear, Thomas has not commented on the story as far as I can tell.  Maybe it's true.  If so, who cares?  Is the media so desperate for scandals that they now have to invent them?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Obama Media Strikes Yet Again

I often write about Yahoo News as a prime exemplar of a purveyor of pro-Obama propaganda.  Today, however, even Yahoo News has outdone itself on that score.  The big headline at Yahoo News is this, "Why People Won't Say The Economy Is Booming".

Think about that for a moment.  The headline assumes that the economy is booming.  That's BOOMING!  But the American people won't admit that.

Here's the reason:  it's because the economy is NOT booming.  That's NOT BOOMING!!!!  In the fourth quarter of 2015, the economy grew at an annual rate of just over 1%.  In the first quarter of 2016, the latest estimate is that economy grew at an annual rate of 0.1%.  To put that in context, the average economic growth in the US economy over the last 50 years has been 3.2%.  That rate of growth includes some severe recessions as well as periods of good growth.  So, for the last half year, the economy has been growing at about one-quarter the average rate of the previous 50 years.  Indeed, the economy may even be in a recession right now.  If the last six months is too short a time period for you, then consider that over the last three years, the economy has grown at just over half the average rate of the last fifty years.  Our economy is limping along.  So say the statistics put out by the federal government itself.  So, without a doubt, the economy is NOT BOOMING!

But if one were to read Yahoo News, one would think that the opposite of reality is true.  The author of the article of which I am speaking is the head of Yahoo Finance, the Yahoo News business desk.  This propagandist is busy trying to tell people something completely false because it makes president Obama look good.  But reality is a hard thing to deny.  People understand by now that media propagandists lie all the time.  No wonder Yahoo is going under.

Maybe It's Time To Boycott Drudge

The Drudge Report used to be a place to get stories on the day's top events.  Matt Drudge, the owner of the site, always threw in some bizarre stuff as well, but if the basic news was available quickly.  Then came this election season, and Drudge seems to have lost his connection with reality.  He's gone all in for Donald Trump, and the truth be damned.  Right now, Drudge has as his big headline that the head of the Republican National Committee just came out in support of "voterless elections."  What the RNC chairman actually said was that the rules for each state have been known for at least a year and that those rules have to be observed by the candidates.  That means that the delegates get selected by conventions in certain states and the candidates have to work to organize their forces in those conventions if they hope to win the delegates to the national convention from those states. 

The biggest example of that sort of state is Colorado where Ted Cruz won essentially all the delegates.  Fully 67,000 Colorado Republicans came out to the local conventions that began the selection process.  That's more people than voted in many of the other states.  Instead of voting for a candidate, however, Colorado voters chose a slate of delegates committed to specific candidates.

Drudge calls that process a "voterless" election.  In other words, Drudge is just telling lies because it goes along with the dishonest narrative being pushed by Donald Trump.  All of America realizes that Trump cannot stand to lose, and yet he lost big in Colorado (and Wyoming and North Dakota etc.).  In order to deal with the loss, Trump has come up with his dishonest narrative about the elections.  When Drudge buys into that story, which Drudge must know is false, he switches his site from  news to propaganda.  Maybe it's time to boycott the Drudge Report.

News From the Golan Heights

There's supposedly big news today from the Middle East.  Israel's prime minister Netanyahu said that the Golan Heights would remain in Israeli hands in the future and would not be given to Syria.  But here's the question:  why is that news?  Why does it merit big headlines?

Think about it.  For the first twenty years of Israel's existence, Syrian forces on the Golan Heights used their positions to shoot artillery and small arms fire at Israeli communities in the valleys below.  Many Israelis were killed or wounded in the fire.  Then in 1967, the Syrians attacked Israel in support of the Egyptians.  In the Six Day War, Israel captured the Golan Heights.  That ended the attacks on the Israeli communities that had been commonplace when the Syrians controlled the Golan.  In 1973, the Syrians again attacked Israel and almost recaptured the Golan.  The Israelis, however, prevailed and a cease fire agreement left the Golan in Israeli hands.  A few years later (35 years ago), Israel formally annexed the area.  Remember, only two areas captured by Israel in 1967 were annexed.  The first was the eastern half of Jerusalem and the second was the Golan Heights.  Everything else remained under Israeli control, but it was not formally made part of Israel.  If Israel officially incorporated the Golan into Israel 35 years ago, why is it news that Netanyahu said today that Israel was going to keep that land?  Would it be news if president Obama said that the USA was going to keep California which was won from Mexico 150 years ago?  What if Poland said that it was going to keep the lands that it got from Germany at the end of World War II?  Would that be news?  How about if Vietnam announced that it was going to keep the southern half of the country which it finally took over in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War?  Is that news?  Of course not.  And it's not newsworthy when Israel says the same sort of thing.

But there's more than just the media making something out of nothing.  The story from the AP came paired with a video of Israel shooting down a Syrian jet fighter over the Golan Heights.  That sounds like news.  After all, it's not every day that something like that happens.  So I looked more closely at the video.  It's from something that happened two years ago.  The story doesn't mention that.  The video doesn't mention that.  It was only when I did research to see when this happened that I learned it was from 2014.  So the AP is pushing phony news stories to pair with the non-event of what Netanyahu said.  It's really disgusting just how untruthful the media really is.

Once Again Trump Is A Loser

It shouldn't be news to anyone that there are two distinct races in the GOP presidential nominating contest.  First, we have the primaries/caucuses which have voters named their favorite for the nomination.  Under party rules, the results of these primaries/caucuses MUST be binding on delegates to the convention for at least the first ballot in Cleveland unless the delegates themselves are individually elected (relevant only in PA and WV).  In nearly every year, one candidate wraps up a majority of the delegate votes for the first ballot and that's the end of the matter.  There hasn't been a second ballot at a GOP convention in more than 60 years.  The second race, however, is for the delegate slots themselves.  In many states, delegates are selected by local or statewide party conventions.  Local conventions are much like the caucuses which get so much coverage.  In some states, Iowa for example, the caucuses are actually the local conventions.  These local conventions elected representatives to regional conventions.  Those regional conventions in turn select representatives to the state convention.  The state convention then picks delegates to the national convention.  It's not enough to just win the statewide presidential ballot if a candidate wants to have his people selected as delegates to the national convention.  The candidate also has to have his people attend the local conventions, vote as a bloc, and select the representatives to the regional convention who support the candidate.  That process must continue on if one wants to have friendly delegates to the national convention.

Donald Trump ran in the first race, but he IGNORED the second.  Trump paid no attention to the selection of individual delegates.  That is why all these delegates are being chosen now who support Cruz and not Trump.  These delegates will be bound to support Trump or Cruz or even Rubio or Kasich depending on the results of their states primary or caucus.  They are only bound on the first or first two ballots, however, depending on the state law.  To use Trump's vernacular, he's just too stupid to understand the actual rules which have been in place since long before he announced his candidacy a year ago.  He's a loser.  He just doesn't win anymore.  To put it more succinctly, if Trump fails to get a majority on the first ballot, he has NO chance of winning.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Does Reality Ever Intrude on the Democrats?

There's a report in Politico today that begins this way:

If Bernie Sanders were elected president, his supporters would “shoot every third person on Wall Street,” former President Bill Clinton joked on Friday.
Clinton said he was just joking, but clearly he wasn't.  Indeed, he's said things like this on previous occasions.  Bill can recognize the irrational hatred that many of the Sanders supporters have towards Wall Street.  Think about that.  Wall Street is just an industry that raises capital for businesses so that they can prosper and create jobs, wealth and prosperity.  And that's a bad thing?  In what universe?

Of course, the article the continues by reporting that Bill Clinton "defended his wife’s record of supporting financial reforms like the Dodd-Frank Act, which he said helped reduce the number of people working on Wall Street."
Wait, Clinton thinks it's a GOOD thing to reduce the number of people with jobs on Wall Street?  Fewer high paying jobs in a successful industry is a GOOD thing?

Does reality ever intrude on the Democrats?  I surely never seems to be so.

Tax Games The Clintons Play

Bernie Sanders released his tax returns and there's a lot of buzz about it on twitter.  Okay, there's a little buzz about it on twitter.  Sanders pays about 13% of his income in taxes.  Twitter thinks that's a big deal because Mitt Romney paid about 14%, so Sanders is in the same category.  The twitterites are also pointing out that Sanders gave only 4% of his income to charity.  What a tightwad, or so they claim.

Because of the Sanders news, I decided to go back and look at the tax returns for Hillary Clinton.  I've been meaning to do that for many months now, but I keep forgetting to do it.  Hillary files jointly with Bill.  For 2014, they had income of just less than thirty million dollars.  By comparison, Bernie Sanders and his wife had just over $200,000 in income.  That means Bill and Hillary had income roughly 150 times more than Bernie and his wife.  I looked to see what the Clinton's gave to charity.  On first glance, it looks like they gave ten percent of their income, but after some digging, you find the reality.  The Clintons actually gave 0.07% of their income to charity.  That means that on an income adjusted basis, Sanders gave about sixty times more to charity than the Clintons did.  Essentially all the money that the Clintons claimed went to charity actually went to the Clinton Family Foundation.  That organization spent 82% of its expenditures on "administration", which is a nice way of saying that it paid for huge travel and other expenses for Bill and Hillary and also paid the salaries of many of Hillary's main political cronies.  When you look at the contributions to the Foundation, it seems easy to conclude that none of the money that the Clintons themselves put into that entity actually went for charity.

The truth is that there is nothing special in the Sanders' tax returns.  The man may be delusional, but his returns don't tell us much.  Hillary, on the other hand, is super-rich and gives essentially nothing to charity.  Hillary says she likes to help others, but clearly, that effort can only be made with other people's money.

What Will Obama Tell The Families of the Fallen?

President Obama is pushing ahead with a plan to bring 1500 Syrian "refugees" into the USA each month, or so says a report in The Hill.  It's a crazy plan.  Sure, most of these people are fleeing from the war in their homeland.  Some may even be fleeing from persecution, although that is not the case for most.  They are not the issue.  The problem is the others, the small minority who are ISIS terrorists seeking to gain access to America through the refugee process.  The federal government has already confirmed that it is unable to determine exactly who is a terrorist and who is not.  That means that if 1% of those who enter this country are terrorists, then we are bringing in 15 people each month who want to kill and destroy average Americans.  Is that too high to accept?  Okay, let's make it just a fifth of a percent, or one person out of every 500 who is a terrorist.  That means that in the next six months, Obama will bring in just under 20 terrorists. 

Remember, San Bernardino was the work of two terrorists.  Paris was the work of eight terrorists.  In six months, Obama will have given entry into the USA for people who may carry out two Paris style attacks and two San Bernardino style attacks.  That would leave 300 dead Americans.

What will Obama tell the families of those who die in the attacks?  Knowing Obama, he will announce that there will be an investigation into what happened, an investigation that will never get completed until years after Obama has left office.  Then Obama will head off to play golf.

It simply does not make sense to bring people into this country is we cannot determine for certain that they are not terrorists.  Would you let your children eat candy if you knew that one piece in one thousand was poison?  Would you drive a car if you knew that one in five hundred of that model had breaks that failed catastrophically?  I don't think any rational person would do that.

There is no need to bring the refugees here.  We can easily help provide for them in Syria.  We can support safe zones in that country that can house the refugees so that they escape from ISIS to safety.  There is no justification that Obama or the Obamacrats can offer that explains why America should put its citizens at risk of death. 

Another Simple Question

Is it proper for someone to refuse to do business with an individual or group because the first person disagrees with their beliefs or practices?  Think about that.  What's your response?  Must people be forced to do business with those with whom they disagree on moral and religious grounds?

This is not a simple question.  Let's give it some context.  Is it proper for Cirque Du Soleil to cancel its performances in North Carolina because the people of that state passed a law requiring same sex bathrooms and barring transgenders from using the bathroom with which they identify?  I'll be that's not the example you expected to see.  Normally, the example used is the bakery that does not want to make a wedding cake for the gay couple planning their marriage.  But it's the same thing.  The bakery doesn't want to participate in a ceremony that the owners of the bakery find immoral.  The owners of the Cirque Du Soleil don't want to put on their show in a state that bars bathroom switching by transgenders.

Strangely, no one seems ever to notice that this is the same thing.  The mainstream media castigates the bakery for refusing to do business with the gay couple on moral grounds.  The same media congratulates the Cirque Du Soleil for refusing to do business with the people of North Carolina on moral grounds.  The truth is that the refusal of both is either proper or not.  There is no logical difference.  Otherwise, the only conclusion one can draw from the media conduct is that the ends justify the means, and that really is never the case.