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Friday, September 30, 2016

And Now A Reminder of Reality

With all the nonsense that is cramming the media in the past few days, it is worth the time to remember just a few facts that are the reality of the American economy.

1.  Over the last year and a half, only one out of six quarters had growth in the American gross domestic product at a rate above 2%.  The last three quarters have each shown a rate of growth that was barely positive.  In other words, the economy is stagnant and sitting right on the edge of recession.

2.  Over the last two years, corporate profits in America have been declining.  Of all the numbers that are leading indicators of future economic growth, the trend in corporate profits is the most important.  The decline in these profits indicate that economic growth may completely cease and the country go into a recession.

These are not disputed facts.  The GDP figures are official government statistics; so too are the figures for corporate profits.  No sane economist would argue that declining profits help the economy.  The drag on economic growth from declining corporate profits is a basic truth of economics.

Now think about these facts in the context of the election.  Again, there are two points that stand out above all else.

1.  Hillary Clinton wants to continue and, indeed, intensify the policies that have resulted in the terrible performance of the economy.  Continuing these policies are not suddenly going to produce a different result.  If we are lucky, Hillary's plans would keep the economy stagnant.  If we are not lucky, Hillary's plans would force the country into a major recession.

2.  Hillary's tax plans include major increases in corporate taxes.  Trump's plans are just the opposite and call for major decreases in corporate taxation.  Hillary's plans would mean a substantial cut in after tax corporate profits.  That means that economic growth takes a substantial hit.  Trump's plans again are the opposite, and they have the opposite effect.  Trump's corporate tax plans would mean a substantial increase in economic growth.  That means more jobs, greater wealth for the American people and even growing revenues for the government.

If you would like to take a break from the endless bickering about who called whom fat, think about the economy and how the candidates' plans affect it.

There Was Even MORE Ransom Paid to Iran

We learned today that last January, on the same day that the USA delivered a plane-load of cash to Iran in exchange for some American hostages, president Obama also lifted the sanctions against the two very large Iranian banks that were sanctioned for procuring funds for Iran's ballistic missile program.  Under the Iran nuclear deal, those sanctions were supposed to have been lifted only eight years from now provided Iran followed the terms of the deal until then.  Obama lifted the sanctions in secret; there was no public knowledge of this action until now when senator Marco Rubio of Florida learned the details and told the public

Why did Obama secretly lift sanctions on Iran eight years ahead of schedule?  This is not an issue as to whether or not the Iran nuclear deal made sense.  This is much worse.  Obama violated the Iran deal right up front and gave Iran relief from the sanctions without getting anything in return EXCEPT THE RELEASE OF THE HOSTAGES.  It was part of the ransom.  Not only did Obama give Iran billions in cash; he also made policy concessions to the mullahs in exchange for hostages.

This is the worst conduct by a US president that I can remember. 

Remember, since Obama gave this display of weakness to Iran, we have seen Iranian ships interfering with our navy, multiple Iranian missile tests in violation of UN resolutions, Iranian support for terror groups around the globe, and the usual harsh Iranian calls for "death to America".  In other words, Obama gave up everything to get NOTHING.

Just 300 Miles

In the Middle East today, there were two events that tell us much about American foreign policy.  First, in Israel, there was the funeral of former prime minister and president of Israel Shimon Peres.  There were many dignitaries there to pay their respects, but I want to focus on president Obama.  Obama spoke about Peres and his contributions both to Israel and to peace which were many.  Peres' main contributions all came before Obama was president, but it was appropriate for the American president to honor this leader of our close ally.  Second, three hundred miles away in Syria, the Assad forces are massing outside the city of Aleppo in an attempt to strike at the rebels and to drive them out of Syria's largest city.  The Russian and Syrian planes have been bombing the city relentlessly for the last week and have killed hundreds of civilians in the process.  The response from Obama is to have John Kerry threaten to stop negotiating with the Russians for a cease fire in Syria.

There you have it.  American foreign policy in the age of Obama/Clinton and Obama/Kerry can be boiled down to one thing:  WORDS.  Donald Trump frequently says that the USA doesn't win anymore.  I think that may be slightly off.  The truth is that the USA doesn't "do" anymore.  Sure, that's a bit of an overstatement, but not much of one.  The Middle East is in chaos and the USA talks.  If we have vital national interests in the region, then we need to be willing to do something to back up our words.  If we have no vital national interests there, then we ought to shut up and not try to push into the middle of the mess.  In Syria, half a million people have died in the fighting and many millions have fled as refugees.  Nearly all the deaths have been at the hands of the Assad forces.  The Assad/Russian/Iranian attack on Aleppo is something that anyone paying the slightest attention knew was coming months ago.  If Obama wanted to stop the attack from happening, it was obvious that he needed to adopt a strategy to take action to prevent it.  Talking is not enough.  The strategy did not require putting American troops on the ground in Syria; we could have sent arms to the Kurds, we could have made clear to Moscow that armed support for Assad would be met by out sending weapons to Ukraine, or we could have bombed the Assad chemical facilities or air force bases once Assad started to drop chemical weapons bombs again, to name a few choices.  Obama chose instead to just talk.  The Russians were fine with that, because they know what it means.  They know that for Obama talking is a panacea even if in reality talking is just talking.

Over the last eight years, America's position in the world has crumbled.  It's not just that our military has been weakened.  It is, rather, that our friends are unsure of us and our enemies are emboldened by inaction from the USA combined with a torrent of words.  We are living in dangerous times as a result.

The saddest thing of all for the USA is that Hillary Clinton also uses words instead of actions as a sign of progress.  She did it as secretary of state.  She does it on many more areas.  She is out campaigning and telling us how she has fought for women's rights and children for her whole life.  She talked about it often; she accomplished next to nothing.  She talked, she did not "do".  We cannot take another four years of leadership from someone who does not understand that while words matter, they are dwarfed in importance by deeds.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trump and NATO

I got a kick this afternoon reading a serious column expressing the concern of yet another "expert" that Donald Trump has "already damaged" NATO.  The expert in question is Richard Haass, a long time American diplomat.  According to Haass, Trump has done damage because he has said things that have previously been left unsaid, and that worries our allies.  Trump, after all, has said that the other members of NATO besides the USA have to honor their treaty obligations, both financial and military.  Oh, the horror.  Even worse than calling on the other members of NATO to honor their commitments, Trump has said that if the other nations won't meet their obligations, that maybe the USA should pull out of the organization.

Think about that.  Here we have an "expert" who thinks that it is wrong to call upon our allies to do what they promised to do.  No rational person could ever think that Trump's statements damaged NATO.  After all, what does the USA get from NATO if the other nations do not meet their obligations?  We made commitments which we have honored.  If other nations want to be freeloaders, it is not our destiny to protect them.  These other countries have to protect themselves.

Hopefully, the idea that the USA might pull out of NATO under Trump will frighten other NATO members.  That concern should push these other countries into doing all the things that they promised. 

At the debate the other night, Hillary Clinton said that NATO forces had made a major contribution to the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9-11.  Here's a list of the contributions of troops of a some of the NATO members according to NATO itself:

Country                                  Number of soldiers
Luxembourg                                  1
Spain                                             7
Slovenia                                        7
Estonia                                          5
Belgium                                        40
Netherlands                                  82
Norway                                         36
Finland                                          36
Iceland                                           2
Greece                                           4

There are more countries.  Suffice to say, however, that aside from the UK, not a single NATO member contributed a significant number of troops.  The help to the over 100,000 US troops involved was just symbolic. 

NATO is supposed to be an alliance that benefits ALL members including even the United States of America.  The dinosaurs of diplomacy may be horrified to think that obligations of other countries matter.  Still, the president of the United States is supposed to look out for the interests of America, and that means having our allies do what they promise to do.

Right, Who Would Say Something Nasty About Her?

At the debate the other night, Hillary Clinton castigated Donald Trump because he had called Alicia Machado fat.  Machado is a former Miss Universe, and that pageant was owned at the time by the Trump Organization.  After winning, Machado started gaining weight and Trump is said to have called her Miss Piggy.  Hillary not only denounced Trump for that but said that she had brought Machado to the debate to be in the audience.  She gave Machado the full Hillary Clinton embrace.

To say the least, that was strange.  Machado is not the sort of person one would think Hillary would use as a victim.  Machado went on a South American TV show modeled after Big Brother a decade ago.  She was engaged to a major league baseball player at the time.  Despite that, she engaged in sex on live TV with another contestant on the show.  (Her baseball player fiancĂ© broke the engagement.)  After that show, Machado hooked up with a mobster and was questioned for being the getaway driver from a murder that her boyfriend allegedly committed. 

One would think that Hillary Clinton would not have so tightly put her arms around such a shady character.  Maybe it says more about Hillary's judgment than Trump's temperament.  After all, Miss Universe has to stay beautiful.  Much in the same way that other media personalities and movie stars have to keep their looks, a beauty pageant winner makes a living from how she looks.  Trump could have been nicer; there's no doubt about that.  Still, what he said is hardly equal to what Hillary just did.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Lamest Threat Ever, And I Do Mean EVER!

Today, secretary of state John Kerry issued a threat to the Russians.  Kerry announced that unless Russia and the forces of Bashir Assad (Russia's allies) stop their assault on Aleppo, the USA would stop negotiating with them to try to arrange a cease fire in Syria.

We ought to take a five minute break here so those of you who are laughing hysterically can regain their composure.  John Kerry threatened to stop talking!  I can just imagine the terror in Damascus and Moscow that Kerry might be serious.  In fact, I have managed to get a copy of the secret cable sent by Russian foreign minister Lavrov in response to Kerry's threat.  Hopefully, by publishing the test of this diplomatic cable, I will not be causing any damage to the US position, but the public has the right to know.  Here's Lavrov's response on behalf of the Russian Federation to Kerry's threat to stop negotiations:

"Okay, let's not talk."

Of course, that's not a real message from Russia, but I guarantee that it's very similar to what the Russian response will be.  The only one who was desperate to talk in the last months has been Kerry.  He so wanted to reach some agreement that he entered into a deal that had no chance of success, no benefit for the USA, no help for the battered population of Syria, major gains for Assad and his allies and bad consequences for the American strategic position in the Middle East.  The truth is that with a moron like Kerry doing the negotiating, it is probably much to the advantage of the USA if he really does stop negotiating with the Russians.

Lie Lady Lie

President Obama announced today that the USA is sending another 600 ground troops to Iraq to support the fight against ISIS.  According to the White House spokesman, these troops will include some special forces units who will "engage directly with the ISIL forces."  (For some reason, Obama likes not to use ISIS but to use ISIL instead.)  Oh, and the White House also says that none of these troops will engage in combat.

Let's just stop there.  Our troops will engage directly with the enemy troops, but they won't be in combat.  That's a nonsensical remark that only could come from Obama or Hillary Clinton.  We now have just under 6000 troops in Iraq, but somehow we don't have boots on the ground according to Clinton and the White House.  In the campaign, Hillary says over and over that she won't have American ground forces involved in Iraq, but she still supports Obama in his sending of 6000 troops to fight there.  The lies are coming fast and furiously.

Let's take it one step further though.  At the debate the other night, Hillary Clinton told America that the reason why the USA couldn't leave any troops on the ground in Iraq when she and Obama engineered a total pull out (which led to the birth of ISIS) was that there was no "status of forces" agreement with Iraq that would protect our soldiers.  Here's the truth:  we have nearly 6000 troops in Iraq right now, but there is still no "status of forces" agreement between the USA and Iraq.  In other words, current conditions in Iraq show that Hillary was just telling yet another lie when she said this at the debate.

It has gotten to the point where it is almost a waste of time to point out Hillary's latest lie.  Maybe moving forward, I should point out when Hillary tells the truth.  It will require many fewer posts.

The Veto Override - 2

The House just joined the senate in overriding the Obama veto of JASTA.  Obama could only get about 25% of the members of his own party to support him.  If you even needed proof of lame duck status, this is it.

PS -- JASTA is now law.  That's good.

Another Day, Another Lie Disclosed

At the debate on Monday night, Hillary Clinton announced that the crime rate is much lower than it used to be.  That was in response to Donald Trump talking about a wave of crime sweeping the country.

As if on cue, the FBI released the crime statistics for 2015.  Murders were up 11% in 2015 over the year before.  That's terrible.  It's almost unprecedented too.  According to research reports, the murder rate has risen by 10% or more only twice in the last 55 years (the period for which the statistics are available.)   That means that the rise in the murder rate was extremely high last year.  Even worse, there have been more murders across the USA so far this year than last year for the same period.

There you have it.  Trump was right.  Crime is getting much, much worse.  And what was Hillary's response?  Just the usual phony argument.  How predictable.

The Veto Override

The senate voted almost unanimously to override president Obama's veto of JASTA.  That's the bill that allows people injured by terrorism to sue states involved in that terrorism.  There was only one vote in support of Obama, and that was from Harry Reid, the Democrat leader of the senate.  There was, of course, also a senator who missed the vote, and that was Tim Kaine, the Democrat candidate for vice president who stopped doing his job as a senator as soon as he was asked to run for VP.

There was no question that this vote would come out this way.  The House should override Obama quickly as well. 

It's hard to believe that even someone as dense as Obama could have vetoed the bill in the first place.

The First Real Indicator Of Debate Results

After the presidential debate on Monday, there were a whole host of online "polls" in which people could vote for the winner.  In nearly every one of those polls, Trump won big.  Putting all of them together, more than five million people voted and Trump won by double digits.  There were also two instant polls that were supposedly "scientific".  One was taken by CNN and it showed a massive Hillary win.  The second also showed Hillary winning, but by a small margin.  These polls, however, were supposedly taken Monday night after the debate which leads one to wonder how many people who got called at one in the morning by a pollster actually answered the questions.  The CNN poll, for example, had a very flawed sample.  The respondents as a group already had Hillary 29% ahead BEFORE the debate.  No wonder that Hillary supporters thought she won.  It was like polling delegates to the Democrat National Convention as to whether they preferred Hillary or Trump.

Today, we got the first actual poll results.  The source is the LA Times poll which has an unusual methodology to be sure.  It polls the same group of nearly 3000 people in groups of 400 once per week. In many ways, it is like the country's biggest focus group.  Nevertheless, it does provide us with information about the trends in the race.  Today's figures showed that Trump increased his lead by 1%.  That may not sound like much, but since this is a tracking poll in which only 14% of the responses change on a particular day, it is major.  We've been told by the media ever since the debate that Hillary won.  That's wrong, at least as far as the American voters are concerned.

There will be many more polls, of that you can be sure.  Still, it's time for the media to stop its claims that Hillary won.  The reality is that the same pundits who told us that Clinton would crush Bernie Sanders easily, the same pundits who proclaimed Jeb Bush the front runner and likely winner, the same pundits who said Trump had self-destructed about fifteen times, the same pundits who proclaimed Rubio or Cruz or Ben Carson the likely winner are now telling us that Hillary won the debate.  At least they are consistent -- consistently wrong.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

There's No Way To Reason with the Climatistas

A few days ago, I listened to one of the endless debates on cable news.  This time the subject was global warming.  One participant talked about how an American city was almost destroyed by a "climate change event" when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  Then he spoke about how the Northeast was swamped by another "climate change event", tropical storm Sandy.  No one even stopped the discussion to call this guy out for spewing such an amazing lie.  They all just continued on with the talking points.

There's no denying that hurricane Katrina was a very serious storm that caused major devastation.  There is, however, nothing that ties that storm to climate change.  The same is true of Sandy.  These are two storms that hit nearly ten years apart.  Thirty years ago (and earlier) when there was no fear of global warming, hurricanes and storms hit the USA all the time.  Some were worse than Katrina.  For example, in 1972, hurricane Agnes came up the Chesapeake Bay and then went along the course of the Susquehanna river in Pennsylvania.  Cities and towns were swamped.  Damage was enormous.  In one town every one of the nearly 6000 houses were flooded except for two.  Hurricane Andrmingew hit Florida 25 years ago and caused massive damage.  There's no point in listing them all.  The reality, however, is that hurricane activity has been greatly reduced in the last decade.  We are now in the midst of the longest stretch of time in recorded history without a major hurricane hitting the mainland USA.  In short, there is no uptick in storms due to global warming; there is a major decline in storm activity for whatever reason.

Then there's the issue of the atmospheric temperatures measured by a satellite system put in place to document global warming.  The problem is that the satellites are documenting that there is no warming over the last twelve years.

These facts don't stop the constant claims of global warming enthusiasts.  The true believers in global warming, however, obviously don't believe in science.  When the observational data conflicts on a consistent basis with a theory, it means the theory is WRONG.  Sadly, one cannot reason with people who won't listen to reason.

The Morning After -- As Expected

It's the morning after the first debate, and everything is pretty much as expected.  So far, I have read columns explaining why Trump won big, why Hillary won big, why Trump is a monster, why Holt was unfair (although there are no columns praising Holt), and why Hillary is a monster.  For the most part, if you told me only the name of the pundit, I could tell you what's in the column.  So is it always.  The quick polls on line have all gone to support Trump.  Those include polls like the one for Time magazine in which over 1.5 million have voted and some others where the participation approaches one million.  These are unscientific, however, to say the least.

Through all of this, one thing keeps bothering me.  Why did Hillary Clinton choose to lie about something that is so clearly known to the country.  She denied ever calling the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty the "gold standard" of trade deals.  There's video of her saying just that, and it has been played millions of times on TV.  All she had to say is that she changed her mind when she saw the final product, but she couldn't just say that.  She had to lie.  It's a character flaw that is a killer for me.  I don't care if Hillary had more specific policies memorized to repeat on the debate stage.  If this had been a collegiate debating tournament, she would have won because of those policies, but it was a presidential debate and all she brought was list after list of policies.  Most people listening understand that even were she to win, most of those policies would never get passed and the few that did would be changed in a major way.  We were watching to see just who Hillary really is.  And she told us the answer:  she's a pathological liar.  Even when the truth is harmless, she just has to lie.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tonight's Presidential Debate -- Wow

The first presidential debate of 2016 just finished.  While the partisans will offer opinions about why their candidate won, if we put aside the spin, the result was pretty clear:  Ultimately, Trump won.  he did not win on debating points if we rate issue by issue.  We got to see Hillary Clinton speak about specific policy points on many topics, but when it came down to it, she decided to lie.  Hillary actually denied calling the Trans Pacific Partnership the "gold standard" of all trade deals.  It just brought into question everything else that she said.  On top of that lie (and many others), Clinton came across as smug.  She seemed to be going for "jovial" but we got forced smiles and some condescension.  We saw Donald Trump come on strong on many issues, but with less specifics than Hillary.  Trump, however, got to his big themes.  He kept pointing out that despite all her nice talking points, Hillary had held power and not achieved anything much.  He said that she had experience, but not good experience.  He hung the Iran nuclear deal around her neck and she accepted it.  Since the public views that deal as something quite negative, that will not help her.  On the other hand, Trump had to deal with his tax returns and the birther issue which were raised by Holt, but the moderator stayed away from Clinton's email scandals, her near indictment, and the Clinton Foundation slush fund and all of its problems.  On these questions, Hillary had (like on most issues) what seemed like preplanned answers.  Through it all, however, Trump kept painting Hillary Clinton as the insider, the continuation of the Obama policies, the politician.

Hillary Clinton's goal, however, had to be to get people to view Trump as not up to being president.  There were questions that Trump did not answer as well as some would like.  A fair observer, however, would not think that Trump was un-presidential.  He handled a stressful situation and some tough questions with a steady hand.  We never saw anything, despite major goading by Hillary, that seemed like a flash of temper or loss of control.  He kept his cool.  That, more than anything that was said, was the biggest victory for Trump.

We will soon see who the polls anoint as the winner of the confrontation.   

Obama's Legacy

Here's a small item of news today:  Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee pulled out of the Obamacare exchanges for the three largest markets in that state.  That's pretty bad, but here's the kicker.  BC/BS of Tennessee had first filed for a premium increase for 2017 of 62% and it was granted by the state.  Federal review was still pending, but the company pulled out of the markets to avoid expected losses.

Think about that.  A sixty two percent increase was not enough to keep Blue Cross/Blue Shield selling policies.  Remember, BC/BS is a non-profit organization.  When you hear about the evil insurers who put profits before patients, that does not include BC/BS.  That company does not make profits for shareholders; it has no shareholders. 

The losses that Obamacare is generating for insurers are just too great for that law to survive.  Obama has not proposed any changes to Obamacare that might rescue the law.  Hillary Clinton only wants to expand it, something that will just bring the total collapse of health insurance around the country more quickly. 

Want to bet that the moderator in tonight's debate doesn't ask about the impending Obamacare disaster? 

Cascade Mall Update

There's a bit more news today about the man who shot and killed five people at the Cascade Mall in Washington.  Although the media originally reported that the shooter was Hispanic, we had learned when he was arrested that he was actually an immigrant from Turkey and a Moslem.  Even with that information, the media still said that he had no ties to terrorism.  Now, the shooters internet sites have been uncovered and they contain pictures of the leader of ISIS and the Ayatollah who rules in Iran.  We've now reached the point where even the idiots in the media have to admit that this was likely a terrorist attack.  I guess all that is missing is for the police to find a framed diploma on his bedroom wall certifying his graduation with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in Destruction (a BAD) from the as Baghdadi School of Terrorism Science. 

It's also worth noting for those people who are using the shooting to call for "common sense gun safety legislation" that the shooter was under a restraining order from a court that prohibited him from owning a gun.  So there you have it.  There was the equivalent of a law preventing the shooter from buying a gun.  It doesn't seem to have worked all that well.

Moments To Watch For Tonight

Here is a list of some key things that could swing tonight's presidential debate one way or the other.

1.  Health:  If Hillary has a coughing fit, she could suffer great damage to her campaign.  Of course, if she faints or has to ask for a break for health reasons, it will be all over for her.  On the other hand, if Hillary just looks tired or weak it will hurt her results.

2.  Insults:  If Trump goes after Hillary in a nasty way like he did with his Republican opponents during the primary debates, it will hurt him greatly.  It was one thing to call Rubil "little Marco" or Cruz "lyin Ted".  It will be something completely different to call Hillary "crooked Hillary" to her face on national TV.  I doubt it will play well. 

3.  Lies:  If there are demonstrable lies told by either candidate, it will not help that candidate.  Hillary needs to stay away from trying to explain her email mess.  She seems incapable of doing so without going right into lies.  Trump needs to keep things on the straight and narrow.  Interestingly, the Clinton forces have been trying to portray Trump as the liar rather than Hillary.  That's like trying to convince American that Chris Christie is actually thin or that Bill Cosby is just misunderstood. 

4.  Demeanor:  While Hillary has to look healthy, Trump has to look calm and controlled.  He needs to look like someone who could actually be president and not just someone who plays the president on TV.

Another Shooter -- This Time In Texas

There is another random shooter this morning.  This time the shooter was in Texas and targeted passing cars.  The good news is that the guy was shot himself by police and arrested.  Seven people were injured, although the first word is that none of the wounds appear to be life threatening.

There is no word yet on the identity of the shooter.  No doubt the speculation will start soon on his motive which will be anything other than terrorism.  After all, the shooter in the Cascade Mall who killed five people was Hispanic until he turned out to be a Moslem.  Now the media is puzzling about his motive for opening fire inside Macy's.  Today's articles keep telling us that he "likes the military".  Of course, the reason for saying he likes the military is that he posted a shout out on social media to the "ROTC peeps".  That sounds like something that Lester Holt should fact check.

UPDATE:  the shooter is dead; the police bullets killed him.  There are more injured as well including one in critical condition.

UPDATE 2:  The shooter has now been identified as a "disgruntled lawyer" named Nathan DeSai.  One of the few things that some would think worse than a terrorist is a lawyer.  No doubt, the media will now start to refer to DeSai as a terrorist so as not to upset lawyers.


Will Holt Hold Back?

Ever since she performed poorly at the Commander In Chief Forum shown on NBC, Hillary Clinton's team has been "preparing the ground" for tonight's first presidential debate.  First we had a massive onslaught against Matt Lauer because he actually asked Hillary some tough questions and let an audience member do the same thing. "Outrageous!" screamed team Hillary and her media supporters.  Even though Lauer asked tough questions to Trump as well, he was said to have gone soft on Trump and hard on Hillary.  Of course, anyone who actually watched that forum know that the charge was not true, but when did the truth ever limit Hillary Clinton?  After lambasting Lauer, her team next went after Jimmy Fallon.  The host of the Tonight Show had Trump as a guest and treated him like any other guest.  "Outrageous!" screamed team Hillary yet again.  Fallon was supposed to criticize Trump and stop his "lies" or so the Hillaryites would have it.  After that ran its course, Hillary and her people took to criticizing Lester Holt in advance.  He needs to "fact check" Trump, or so we were told.  If Hillary tells one of her usual lies, Holt can let her go, but if Trump tells a lie, Holt has to pounce.  Team Hillary made it clear to Holt that his future in broadcasting depends on that.  Some on her team in the media even put out lists of potential lies that Holt should not accept. 

Well now we have gotten to the debate.  We will see if Holt accepts his role as a member of the Hillary defense squad or if he will do his best to be impartial.  The point of a presidential debate is not to see one candidate or the other debate the moderator.  Rather, it is to see the two candidates debate each other.  Hopefully, Holt understands that and will hold back.  There is a time when one can fact check, but it deals only with facts.  For example, we remember the time president Obama talked about visiting all 57 states.  That was a factual mistake and it would be fine for the moderator to ask, "did you mean 50 states?"  On the other hand, if Hillary were to say that she has always told the truth, it is not up to Holt to correct the record and say, "no, you are a known liar."  That is more a conclusion than just a fact.  If we look at the statement from the Lauer forum that drew the most criticism, Trump saying that he was against the war in Iraq before it began, that too is not a fact that should require the moderator to jump in.  If Hillary wants to question that statement, she should and may do so.  It is not Holt's job to jump in.  Trump may have voiced luke warm support for that war a few months before it began, but it doesn't make his statement untrue.  It becomes an issue of opinion.

The bottom line here is that the moderator ought to let the candidates debate and argue about each other's statements. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Danger of the University Fantasyland

Have you witnessed any "micro aggressions"?   For those who don't know, these are best described as "insults" frequently with racial, religious or ethnic components.  Have you witnessed any "cultural appropriations"?  These occur when someone usurps the culture of another group.  A European wearing a Japanese kimono would be a good example, but so would a white or black person in Minneapolis eating a taco.  After all, that's Mexican.  There are also "trigger warnings" which are alarms meant to tell someone that there soon may be something said that may offend the listeners sensibilities.  There are also "safe spaces" which are place that are meant to be free of the micro aggressions, cultural appropriations and all the other stuff just described.

If all this sound bizarre to you, then you are not a student on a university campus these days.  The language sounds like it is meant to protect delicate college students from hearing anything with which they might disagree.  It also sounds like it is meant to protect potential victims from abuse.  The funny thing is that the real purpose is exactly the opposite.  These are actually methods used by the left to enforce thought control and conformity on today's students.  It's a micro aggression to criticize supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.  It's "fighting racism" to criticize the opponents of the Black Lives matter movement.  The very idea of trigger warnings is antithetical to the purpose of a university.  Students in our institutions are supposed to learn to think for themselves.  There is no way to learn that skill if one never actually hears anything that conflicts with one's pre-existing ideas.  The point of diversity (which the left loves to extol) is for others to learn and benefit from the culture and ideas of others.  There is no way to do that if learning another culture is castigated as cultural expropriation.  There cannot be freedom on a campus if only one political thought process is allowed.

This may all sound unimportant.  It's not.  We cannot survive if an entire generation of Americans is controlled by the campus thought police.  It does not take that long for totalitarians to destroy freedom.  We should not stand by, we cannot stand by as the effort to do so proceeds apace on our campuses.

As Debate Looms, Race is Extremely Close According to Polls

With the first presidential debate tomorrow, it's worth taking a look at the trajectory of the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  After the Democrat convention, Hillary got a big bounce in the polls.  Real Clear Politics keeps a running record of most major polls both nationally and by state.  States are rated as being for one candidate or another in gradations of "leaning", "likely" and safe.  Those states where the margin is close are rated as "toss up".  As of a month ago, the state polls were showing Hillary with 272 electoral votes (only 270 are needed to win) and Trump with 154.  The rest were toss ups.  In the last month, however, the race has move strongly towards Trump.  The following states moved from leaning to Hillary to being toss ups:  Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hampshire, Michigan, Colorado and Maine.  Missouri moved from toss up to leaning to Trump.  There were other moves as well, but they were within the gradations for one candidate or another.  There were seven such moves toward Trump and only one towards Clinton (which was later reversed.)  As of this morning, the state polling averages show the race at Clinton 198 and Trump 165.  If you assign the toss up states to the candidate who is ahead in the polling averages, the race goes to Clinton ahead of Trump by 272 to 266.  Some of these states, though, are so close that there really no way to know right now who is ahead.

Putting all this together, one finds that the race is very close and even the slightest difference could mean the margin for victory (or defeat.)  But there's more to this than just tight polls.  Remember that during the last month, Hillary Clinton and her allies ran roughly $200 million of negative ads slamming Trump.  On his side, Trump and his allies ran a little less than $40 million of ads and not all were negative.  Clearly, the negative barrage by Hillary has not kept Trump down.  If Trump unleashes a major advertising campaign, it may move the needle in a big way (or prove as ineffective as Hillary's).  No one knows how the riots in Charlotte or the terrorist attacks in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota and Washington will affect the race.  And then, of course, there's the debate.

One thing is certain:  no one knows what will work or how things will come out.  I keep laughing as I see the various pundits tell us on TV what Trump or Hillary must do in order to win the debate.  These are the same people who did not see Bernie Sanders as a candidate who nearly beat Hillary.  They are also the same people who told us that Jeb Bush would be the likely candidate because he had so much money locked up.  They told us five or six times that Trump was through and his candidacy over.  There's more, but the point is that these pundits would have done better by just flipping a coin to pick the ultimate winner.  They really don't have a clue this year as to what will work or why.


The Charlotte Videos

Well all America has now seen (or could see) the videos of the encounter with police that led to the death of an African American man in Charlotte, NC and the rioting that followed.  The videos don't show clearly if the man was holding a gun (as police say) or a book (as his family members say).  They do show some details, however, which support bits of the narrative from the police.

First, one can clearly see that the victim was wearing an ankle holster for a gun.  It is visible in the police video as they approach the man on the ground.  Since a gun with the victim's finger prints was found at the scene, the holster is further proof that he had a gun, although it is not proof that he was holding that gun.

Second, one can clearly hear the police yelling repeatedly for the victim to drop his gun.  Then as the officers move towards the victim after he was shot, one is yelling "It's clutched in his hand."  Most likely, that is being said about a gun or what police took to be a gun.  That's important because it pretty much proves that the police believed he had a gun.  It's hard to accept that multiple police yelled "put down the gun" before the shots just so that they could fire on a random black man.  It's essentially impossible to believe that the police were so adept at planning a murder of a random black man that they yelled about him clutching the gun after he went down.

Third, it's clear that after the shooting, the police rushed in, handcuffed the victim and immediately called in the shooting and made clear the need for medical assistance.  No one celebrated the shooting.

Fourth, on the video that the victim's wife released, her comments make clear that her husband was doing something he shouldn't be doing.  She yells at police that her husband doesn't have a gun.  Then the police are yelling for him to put down the gun.  Then the wife yells to her husband, in essence, not to "do that".  She repeats yelling that at her husband and then the shots are fired.  What was she telling her husband not to do?  Was it that he was moving away from the car?  Was it that he was holding a gun?  We don't know and can't tell from the video.  We do know, however, that it was something that the wife thought he ought not be doing.

The reality is that we do not have video evidence that will prove anything decisively.  Instead, we have the word of five or six police as to what happened.  We have the word of the wife who said he did not have a gun (but she may not have known if he did.)  This ought not satisfy anyone completely.  Unless there is something else, however, there is clearly not enough evidence to take any legal action against the policeman who fired. 

It's Infuriating -- The Media Tries to Hide Facts About Cascade Mall

Last night, we heard that authorities had captured the suspect for the mass shooting in the Cascade mall in Washington near Seattle.  There were few details.  The suspects name was not released.  Then this morning, we learned his name and some details about him.  He is a 20 year old immigrant from Turkey named Arcan Cetin; he came here as a child with his family.  He is not a US citizen.  The news stories still say that Cetin's motive is "unknown".

Think about that.  When the shooting first occurred, the media blasted non-stop that the suspect was Hispanic.  The photos did not make him look particularly Hispanic.  My reaction was that he looked more Middle Eastern, but the photos are blurry and it is hard to tell.  There were no witnesses who said he sounded particularly Hispanic.  Remember, this is a guy who has lived in the USA for 13 years since he was 7; he almost certainly has no defining accent, and certainly doesn't have the accent of a Spanish speaker.  So why was America fed the lie that the shooter was Hispanic?  The media also told us repeatedly that no one thought that the attack was "terrorism".  Five people shot at random, but no one suspected terrorism.  That is what is known as willful blindness.

Even today, not one article that I have read mentions that the shooter's family is Moslem.  I don't know for a fact that they are Moslems; I do know that over 99% of all Turks are Moslem, however, so it is a pretty good bet that Cetin was raised as a Moslem.  Why is there no coverage of that fact?  Of course, we all know the answer.  Indeed, when I saw the headlines that read "Shooter Identified" instead of telling us who the shooter was, I knew that there would be a white washing of the story in the media.

It's truly infuriating.  But it's more than that; it is also extremely dangerous.  A Moslem youth goes into a mall and shoot five people at random, and the media does all it can to make it a non-terrorist attack by some Hispanic guy.  That's crazy.  What if it is an attack by a terror cell?  Shouldn't the police and FBI be looking for the rest of the cell?  Shouldn't the public be warned?  Instead, we get politically correct lies.

Look, I understand that the last thing most of the mainstream media wants to report the day before the first presidential debate is a terror attack by a Moslem immigrant to this country.  After all, that might help Donald Trump, and they can't have that.  Nevertheless, the political correctness has just got to stop.  America needs to know the truth so that we can deal with reality.  We just cannot live in a politically correct fantasyland.  Reality will still be there.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why Can't We Have At Least Some Honesty?

I just read the latest coverage update from the local CBS station in Seattle about the mass shooting in Macy's in the Cascade mall.  A young guy goes into the department store.  He walks over to the cosmetics area and opens fire with a rifle.  He shoots and kills five people who appear to be unrelated.  The coverage from CBS concludes with this:

At this time, authorities do not believe there is evidence to support that this is an act of terrorism.

Really?  What would you call it?  A guy kills five people at random, but it's NOT terrorism?  Are they kidding?  It may not be radical Islamic terrorism (if CBS could even bring itself to use those words), but there is surely evidence to say that it is terrorism.

It's a ridiculous thing that our society has become so politically correct that the media cannot bring itself to suggest that random killings could be an act of terrorism.  Actually, it's not just ridiculous.  It's also totally insane.

Why Is This Different

There was a shooting in the Cascade Mall in Washington last night.  Five people are dead.  Police have released a picture of the man believed to be the perpetrator:

Demography is Destiny -- Russian Version

One of the things that has motivated a great amount of debate during the current presidential campaign is American relations with Russia and its strongman president Putin.  Four years ago, president Obama belittled Mitt Romney for calling Russia a geopolitical adversary of the USA.  Since then, it has become clear to even the casual observer that Russia is a geopolitical adversary of the USA.  Indeed, this years Democrat stance regarding Russia is that Donald Trump has too nice an attitude towards Putin.  Hillary Clinton, who authored the so called "Russian reset" under which the USA dropped all sanctions against Russia for its invasion of neighboring Georgia, now pretends to be a hawk in confronting the Russians.

The reality, however, is that over the long run, none of this matters much.  Containing Russia and the damage it does will be enough.  Russia is withering away.  The Russians have such a low birth rate that the nation is slowly committing demographic suicide.

Here is the best evidence of the grim future for Russia.  In 1950, the Russian Federation (which was then part of the USSR) had a population of 103 million people.  The UN population estimate for Russia for 2050 (under the medium rate ave erages) is 104 million people.  Currently, there are about 133 million people in Russia.  Now let's compare that to the US using the same UN statistics.  In 1950, the US had 158 million people.  Today America has about 324 million people.  The estimate for 2050 is that there will be 397 million Americans.  India went from 357 million in 1950 to 1.57 billion in 2050.  China is expected to go from 555 million in 1950 to 1.46 billion in 2050.  In 2050, if these projections prove true, Russia will be the 17th largest nation by population.  That is hardly a statistic that supports a continued role for the Russians as a world power.

When it comes to economic matters, Russia is already a minor country.  The Russian economy ranks 14th in size in the world, right between Mexico and Australia.  Even worse for the Russians, the prices at which they sell their natural resources have stayed low for a while now, so that is squeezing the Russian economy.  There is no expectation of any great growth for the Russian GDP.

Put all this together and you find that the demographic trends coupled with a weak economy mean that Russia will be a declining power for decades to come.  Sure, the Russians have a massive nuclear force left from the Soviet Union.  That always will make Russia a country with a seat at the table.  The nukes, however, will not prevent the Russians from continuing to weaken.

America needs to have a policy towards the Russians that prevents disputes where possible.  It is not necessary to follow the Obama example and to give in whenever challenged.  Putin and his government realize that ultimately Russia is not able to keep up with world powers in a real confrontation.  He will not let things get that far. 

Percoco -- or -- How the US Attorney Finally Gets Andrew Cuomo

The indictment of a senior aide to NY governor Andrew Cuomo is just the latest step in the fight against corruption in the Empire State by the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY.  The last two years have seen the indictment and conviction of the Speaker of the Assembly, a Democrat, and the Majority Leader of the State Senate, a Republican.  Both went down on corruption charges.  They are two of the three people who ran NY for years.  The third is the governor who has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the feds.  With the indictment of Percoco, a senior Cuomo aide, the feds have gotten leverage over someone who could flip and bring down the governor.

For many people who understand New York politics, the question is not if Cuomo is corrupt, but rather whether or not he will get caught.  We could be watching the latest step in that process. 

The Ultimate Proof Of Hillary's Lies

By now, every American who has paid minimal attention realizes that Hillary Clinton lied about her use of a private unsecured email system.  The single biggest lie, of course, comes when Hillary tells us over and over that she neither sent nor received (a) classified information which changed into (b) information that was marked classified which changed into (c) information that was clearly marked classified which ultimately changed to (d) information that she recognized as classified.  Today we learned of a piece of proof that makes clear that all that Hillary said was an intentional lie.  In a document release that just happened to come at 5:30 on Friday afternoon, the FBI gave out its notes of witness interviews conducted as part of its investigation into Hillary Clinton.  In those notes, we learn something astounding:  Hillary and president Obama exchanged emails using her private unsecured email system.  These interview notes make clear that Obama used a phony name to hide his identity when he corresponded with Hillary.  Needless to say, the communications between the president of the United States and the secretary of state are classified.

Here's the reaction of Hillary's highest aide, Huma Abedin, when asked about the email.  This is from the report in Politico.

In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.
"Once informed that the sender's name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: 'How is this not classified?'" the report says. "Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president's use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email."

So Huma Abedin knew that this ought to be classified.  She was so shocked that she wanted a copy of the email, no doubt to ask others like Clinton about it.  Hillary Clinton knew that communications with Obama were classified.  She knew that she was corresponding with Obama on her system.  That means that Hillary knew for the moment she first denied sending or receiving classified information that she was just telling a lie.  It is a lie that she has continued to tell even up to today.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Syrian Cease Fire Update

The mainstream media continues to report on efforts to maintain the cease fire in Syria.  It makes me wonder if anyone reads these stories before they get printed.  This morning, the Assad/Russian/Iranian forces began a major push against the rebel forces in Aleppo.  To be clear, these rebels are not ISIS and they are not al Qaeda.  They are the non-terrorist Sunni rebels.  According to initial reports from Aleppo, about 100 rebels were killed in a few hours of shelling and bombing by the Assad alliance.  Just two days ago, this same Assad alliance bombed and destroyed a Red Cross humanitarian convoy bringing food and medical supplies to civilians trapped by the fighting. 

Why in the world is John Kerry still maintaining the fiction that there is a cease fire in Syria?  How many thousand bodies will have to be produced before Kerry and Obama will admit the truth?  There is no cease fire, and there never was one.

We are watching people in Syria who are the worst of the worst.  Sure, we have ISIS which has killed people because of their ethnic or religious background.  That's tens of thousands of dead.  Much worse, however, we have the Assad/Iran/Russia/Hezbollah forces that have killed people indiscriminately.  Assad and his fellow thugs have killed over 400,000 people in the war.  These people are the worst of the worst.

There Really Is Something Wrong With the FBI -- The Fix Was IN

I keep reading articles by people who say that the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's email mess was fixed by the politicians.  For the longest time, I've rejected that conclusion.  Today, however, we got news that makes me reconsider.

Here's the news:  The FBI gave Clinton's chief of staff at the State Department, Cheryl Mills, immunity from prosecution during the investigation.  Given that next to Hillary herself the most likely person to be indicted was Mills, that seems like an odd move.  Nevertheless, the FBI took that action.

Now add in the fact that when the FBI interviewed Clinton, Mills was allowed to be present as Hillary's "attorney."  Actually, she was one of Hillary's attorneys.  Given the Mills was a likely witness in any case against Hillary, it was strange and a breach of normal protocol for the FBI to let her stay for the questioning.  One can debate the propriety of allowing Mills to be present.  The most reasonable conclusion is that Mills should not have been allowed in the room.  Once we get to the point where Mills is not just a witness, but a potential defendant, the reasoning changes.  Mills cannot be present for the interrogation of Hillary.  It is a violation of basic law enforcement procedures.  And there's no way that the FBI missed the fact that Mills is a potential defendant; the bureau gave her immunity because of it.

This is not an investigation of a DUI by the police in a small town in the middle of nowhere.  This was the most high profile case that the FBI was pursuing at the time.  There is no way that Mills status as a potential co-defendant was overlooked.  It was an intentional decision made by the highest ranking people at the FBI to allow this to happen.  It is inexcusable.  It is also strong proof that the entire investigation was fixed from the start.

Hillary's 65% Tax

In a move that reveals more than most what her true feelings are, Hillary Clinton has come out in favor of raising the estate tax to 65%.  That actually amounts to near total confiscation of wealth.  About a third of the states (which hold about 40% of the nation's people) also have estate or inheritance taxes.  These run, on average, about 10%.  That would make the tax burden for estates in that part of the country 75%.  Think about that.  Suppose a couple start a business and are quite successful.  They grow the business after years and years of work to the point where it employs 250 people and is worth $100 million.  The couple's children work in the business and take over the management when their parents decide to retire.  When the parents die, the estate has to pay $75 million just for the business.  Simply put, that means that this family will have to sell the business.  Because of its size, the only potential buyers will fit into one of two categories:  a) a large competitor with the resources to buy, or b) some private equity group from Wall Street that will be looking to sell the company in pieces or flip it later to some larger purchaser.  In either case, there will most likely be job losses for the company's employee, further concentration of the economy into the hands of large corporations or a profit opportunity for Wall Street speculators.  But for Hillary, the key is that it will punish rich people.

The problem with Hillary's view is that she's just wrong.  If the state and federal government get 75 million dollars and leave the heirs with $25 million, it will reduce the wealth left to those heirs, but they will get by nicely with their $25 million.  The losers will be the employees of the business some of whom will surely lose their jobs, the community where the business has its headquarters and the economy which will just become that much more concentrated into the hands of a few big businesses.  The winners will be the speculators and the big businesses.  For the government, the difference in tax revenues will be slight; it won't even raise federal tax revenues by 1%.  Indeed, it won't raise federal tax revenues by one half of one percent.  It's more like a rounding error, but it's a rounding error that will inflict damage on a great many people and communities.

The current estate tax law was passed after years of debate as the result of a compromise between president Obama and the Republicans in Congress.  It taxes large estates at 35%.  This reduces the problem of wealth concentration that arises from inherited wealth, but it is low enough that for the most part businesses need not be sold just to pay the tax.  In our example used above, the tax would be roughly 35 million dollars instead of 75 million. 

Hillary has let her left wing antipathy for "the rich" overcome the common sense that doing what is best for the economy is actually more important than punishing the wealthy.  She just has poor judgment.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How Can Hillary Justify Her Support for the Iran Nuclear Deal?

It has been over a year since the US and other nations signed a deal with Iran regarding the Iranian nuclear program.  We've been told that Iran has stopped its quest for nuclear weapons in accordance with the agreement.  Of course, no one actually knows if that is true or not.  Remember, in the 1990s, Bill Clinton signed a deal with North Korea under which the USA gave aid to the NKs and they abandoned their nuclear program.  Except they didn't.  North Korea continued its development of nuclear weapons in secret and also got billions from the American tax payer.  In short, the Clinton deal gave the North Koreans the funding they needed to go forward with their nuclear weapons program.  The same thing may be happening now with the Iranians.  We have no way of knowing.

In the last month, however, certain things have become public which are no longer open to question.

1.  We now know that the USA made enormous secret cash payments to the Iranians in exchange for the release of American hostages held by the mullahs.  This violated long standing American policy of not paying ransom for the release of hostages.

2.  We know that Iran has continued the development of long range ballistic missiles.  Iran has tested missile that could reach much of the world.  Interestingly enough, the principal foreign help that the Iranians have gotten with their missiles has come from North Korea.  This missile program is a direct violation of not only the Iranian nuclear deal but also the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

3.  The Obama administration now admits that after the signing of the nuclear deal, Iran became much more aggressive in confronting the USA and American interests.  Obama had argued that the agreement would make Iran more reasonable, but the opposite has proven true.

4.  The Iranians have continued their effort to take over Iraq and to control the outcome of the Syrian Civil War.  The Iranians are more strident than before the nuclear deal (if such a thing is possible.)

5.  Iranian naval vessels have harassed American ships (as well as those of other countries) in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.  This is a direct threat to the world petroleum trade.

A shorter way to summarize what has happened in the last few months is to say that the results of the Iranian nuclear deal have proven to be a disaster for the USA>

In view of all this, how can Hillary Clinton continue to support the Iran deal?  Hillary has backed away from many parts of the Obama foreign policy that she used to support.  The Trans Pacific trade deal went from being the "gold standard" for trade deals to being unacceptable as written.  There have been so many flip flops from Hillary that some have wondered if she got advice on how to handle tough problems from John (I was for the bill before I was against it) Kerry.  Hillary, however, has never backed away from the Iran deal.  She supported it as Secretary of State.  She supported it as a candidate.  It's too late to change that view now.  But how can she continue to support the deal after all we have learned about it?


These Are People Not Props

I've been watching the reaction to the riots in Charlotte of the last two nights.  From some of what has been said in the mainstream media, you would think that these were get out the vote rallies rather than riots that led to death, injury and destruction of property.  It's offensive.  Angry people confront the police.  The coverage should focus on 1. what happened next and 2. what the rioters were upset about.  Instead, half the coverage has been about what effect this will all have on the November election and how this can be used to push voter turnout higher.  I know that some media people think everything is about politics, but they are wrong.  They are especially wrong with relation to the riots.  Even the MSM has to realize that it is just wrong to watch people get killed or maimed and to watch the owners of small stores have their life's work destroyed and to consider not the human impact, but rather the political impact.  These people should be ashamed.  You know who you are MSNBC.

Here's the Answer

In the last 24 hours, Hillary Clinton held a video conference with some union leaders.  Most of it was the usual Hillary Clinton message.  Fortunately, since it was done by computer, there was no way to tell how many of the people in the audience fell asleep.  At one point, however, Hillary asked a pointed question of the union leaders:  "Why aren't I 50 points ahead at this point?"

Hillary's answer was that she and the union leaders have to do more to get the word out about Trump.  I wonder how many of those listening broke in laughter at that one.  In the last four months, Hillary has spent more than ten times what Trump has spent on TV ads.  She has outspent Trump by far on radio ads.  She has about ten times as many paid campaign workers who spend seven days a week getting her message out.  In fact, in just about every way to measure what is happening, Hillary has been getting her message out about Trump on a massive and non-stop basis.  Clearly, her answer to the question is a joke.

Here's the real answer:  Hillary has no message.  If you ask 100 Hillary voters what Clinton plans to do as president, at least 90 will say that they don't know.  Trump has a message.  He wants to build a wall.  He wants to end illegal immigration.  He wants to deport ASAP those illegals who commit crimes.  He wants to restore the military.  He wants to make the VA work for veterans again.  He wants vets who cannot get quick doctors' visits to be able to use private doctors at government expense.  He wants to get the economy growing by cutting taxes, reducing regulations, and luring back to the USA trillions of dollars now held overseas.  He wants to get better trade deals for the USA.  He wants to defeat ISIS.  He wants to repeal and replace Obamacare.  There's more, and there are many items that some people don't like, but Trump has plans.  Hillary just wants more of the same that we already have.  Indeed, she could junk her latest slogan "Stronger Together" and just stand under a banner that reads "No Change, No Hope".

On top of the lack of a message, you have the problem of Hillary, the person.  In some recent polls, only 28% of Americans consider her honest or trustworthy.  That is not just lower than anyone who ever won the presidency.  It is lower that nearly anyone ever tested by that question in a poll.  My guess is that even Osama bin Laden scored higher.


Showing The Riots

Last night, all three of the cable news networks were showing non-stop coverage of the riots in Charlotte.  At one point, there were 800 or so rioters in the crowd who were battling police.  After a while, it got to the point where there fewer than 100.  It didn't matter.  The non-stop coverage continued.  My question is why that was.  Is there some need to have non-stop coverage of an angry crowd?  How many times does America need to hear that police are using tear gas and other non-lethal means to push back the crowd?  How many times is too many times for a reporter to describe getting caught in a swirl of tear gas?

Clearly, this was a story that deserved to be covered.  Nevertheless, isn't there a point at which the networks can stop?  Shouldn't there be?  This morning I half expected to see coverage of empty streets in Charlotte with some intrepid reporter standing there saying that the crowd is gone for now, but maybe it will re-form.

It serves no one's interests to have too much coverage of the riots.  They were terrible; one rioter shot another in the head.  There was looting.  There was violence.  There was vandalism.  Nevertheless, I wonder if showing it for hours on end makes it seem to some worse than it actually was.  I also wonder if the endless coverage got others to want to join in.  It just seems like too much to me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Will Obama React To Chemical Weapons Being Used Against US Troops?

There are reports tonight that US troops in Iraq just south of Mosul were attacked with chemical weapons.  This time, the agent used was mustard gas, the biggest chemical killer in World War I.  The use of the mustard gas has been confirmed by tests done on the residue left after the attack was over.  Fortunately, no US personnel were killed or injured.  The belief is that the attack was launched by ISIS forces.

This is an extremely important development.  If ISIS regularly uses chemical agents in its fight against Iraqi and American forces, there will be serious casualties; it is inevitable.  Using mustard gas was outlawed by the world after the first world war.  Even during the terrible fighting in World War II, no nation resorted to chemical weapons. 

When the Assad forces threatened to use chemical weapons in Syria, president Obama said that such use would be a red line for the USA.  That was followed by 17 cases in which the Assad forces used these weapons.  Obama did nothing until the 17th such occasion when video of the dead and dying made its way to the world's TV screens.  Obama couldn't ignore the use of chemical weapons any further, so he did what he does best:  he dithered.  First he was going to launch a strike, then he was going to ask Congress for permission, then he was waiting for more information, and finally he jumped at the deal that the Russians offered.  Assad would give up his chemical weapons and the USA would do nothing.  It was a terrible deal and it had the inevitable outcome.  A year or so went by and Assad went back to using chemical weapons.  His forces now use chlorine gas on a regular basis.  Obama, however, does nothing about it.

Can Obama just ignore the use of chemical weapons against US forces?  I hope not.  The president of the United States cannot just sit by idly while ISIS commits war crimes against American men and women.  Can he?  Will Hillary Clinton allow Obama to ignore his basic duty to protect American lives because it might be politically unappealing to take action?  She has to speak out now.

This is not a political issue.  We are talking about the lives of American special forces and other soldiers in Iraq.  They have to be protected.  All Americans have to speak out to demand action by Obama to stop ISIS from any further use of mustard gas or any other chemical weapons.  It's a duty, not an option.

CNN Reports CIA Director Was a Communist

When I read this, I thought it must be a hoax.  Actually, however, CNN is reporting that the current director of the CIA voted for the Communist Party at some point before 1981.  At the time, of course, the USA was in the midst of the Cold War against the USSR and the world Communist movement.  Nevertheless, John Brennan who had voted for the Communists was hired by the CIA and passed their stringent vetting process.  It's roughly the equivalent of the TSA hiring someone who said that he is a member of ISIS. Things like this are not supposed to happen.

Perhaps the most important point to make about all this is that the next time you hear president Obama or Hillary Clinton tell you that we can check out all those Syrian refugees coming into the country, remember that the super secret CIA couldn't even weed out an admitted Communist from joining its ranks.

There seems to be no limit to the incompetence of the US Government.

Remember All That Cricism of Rubio in the Media?

During the primary campaign season, the mainstream media kept criticizing senator Marco Rubio for missing votes in the senate.  Rubio pointed out that he had missed far fewer than then senator Obama in 2008 as well as then senator Clinton in that same year.  The media told us that it did not matter what had happened in the past.

Now we have senator Tim Kaine who is Hillary Clinton's running mate.  I just checked, and Kaine has not bothered to vote on a single measure in the senate since July 14th.  That means that ten weeks have passed without Kaine bothering to show up and do his job.  That's a lot worse than any stretch that Rubio ever missed.  Where are the mainstream media reporters talking about how Kaine missed all these votes?

It's just hypocrisy.

Is This True?

There is an organization called Amaliah that operates, at least in part, along the border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights.  The organization brings sick children and their families from Syria for treatment in Israeli hospitals and then returns them along with relief supplies to their homes in Syria.  To date some 2500 Syrian children have been helped in this way.  This is something which we know to be true.

Here's the latest story making its way on the web, however.  In Syria, some of the families who have taken their sick children for medical treatment by Israelis have been executed by local terrorist forces.  I've read both that the killers were ISIS and also al Nusra (the Syrian version of al Qaeda).  Because this all happens in Syria, it is hard to get verification that the story is true.  Nevertheless, if this is accurate, it is a particularly horrible crime by the terrorists.  Imagine executing a family because the parents tried to get help for a very sick child.

I hope the story is not true, but I fear that it is.

Of course, if this report came from the White House, we would be told, no doubt, that the terrorists who killed these families was a "lone wolf".

Here We Go Again

Why is it that the mainstream media cannot bring itself to be impartial?  Everything has a political slant.  I saw this again in this morning's coverage of last night's events in Charlotte NC.  There was a riot in the city following the police shooting of an armed man.  Both the man who was shot and the police officer were black.  Nevertheless, the news of the event started rioting.  Stores were looted.  Rocks and bricks were thrown at cars on I-85 from overpasses.  Trucks were stopped and looted.  Twelve police were injured in the melee.  The media called it a protest.  It wasn't a protest; it was a riot.

Let's be clear.  What were these rioters protesting?  It wasn't racism; both the cop and the man who was shot were black.  It wasn't police misconduct.  The guy who was shot had a gun.  The police tell us that he would not put it down and threatened the cop who shot him.  I cannot verify that story, but it is hardly something that should lead to rioting.  We need to hear the facts first.  In other places (like Ferguson), there were conflicting stories.  The victim was unarmed.  The victim had his hands up.  Those stories turned out to be mostly untrue, but at least there was a narrative among the crowds that could support anger.  Last night, we only had an armed man who refused multiple commands from police to put his weapon down.  That's not cause for protest.

So if this was a riot, why must the media call it a "protest".  The answer is clear.  Protesters get special treatment.  They are expressing a view, not just looting, starting fires and injuring people.  We are supposed to forgive them.  But these people were rioters.  They should be called rioters.  We cannot condone conduct of this sort; there's no two ways about it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why Won't Hillary's Campaign Tell Us?

Hillary Clinton was scheduled to hold a fund raiser today in North Carolina.  That state's voters come up almost evenly split in poll after poll.  Donald Trump held a rally there today as well in the rural western part of the state.  This morning, Hillary cancelled her appearance, even though her campaign could have raised many millions of dollars by having her show up.  No excuse was offered.  The campaign just said that Hillary was preparing for the debates next week.

Why did Clinton cancel her lunch with big money supporters.  Certainly, it is not that she already has all the cash she wants; Hillary always wants more money.  It can't be that the event was too strenuous; it just required her to have lunch at some rich couple's home and to say a few words to the assembled fat cats.  The only likely explanation is that Hillary's health is deteriorating again.  Think about it.  If there were any explanation for the cancellation, the Clinton machine would have told us all about it over and over and over.  Instead we got silence.  That silence is an admission that Hillary's health is becoming a problem again.

We really are at a point where voters should rightly question whether or not Hillary would be able to handle the job of president in view of her continuing poor health.


Does Anyone Really Care? The Problem of Crying Wolf

We all know the story about the "Boy Who Cried Wolf."  It's a tale of a young shepherd who persistently shouted that he had seen a wolf near his flocks.  Time and again, the others in his village came to drive the wolf away, but each time, the boy had been wrong.  Then, a wolf finally appeared.  The boy shouted about seeing the wolf, but no one came to help.  They had learned that the young shepherd could not be trusted.

We also know the story of the "racist" opposition to president Obama.  When Obama ran for office in 2008, he used charges of racism against his opponents.  In South Carolina, he had his spokesmen denounce the Clintons as racist, something that infuriated Bill Clinton.  The charge worked, however.  In the fall, any time Obama was criticized by McCain or the GOP, Obama's supporter in the media (okay, the entire media) started yelling "racism".  Then Obama got elected.  Those who thought that the massive spending of the Stimulus Bill would do more harm than good were labeled "racist".  Those who opposed the huge bureaucracy created by Obamacare were also called "racist".  Those who criticized Obama for jumping to conclusions about the conduct of the Cambridge police force in its dealing with Obama's friend Henry Gates were, you guessed it, "racist".  In fact, for year after year through Obama's term, anyone who opposed or criticized Obama was instantly called a "racist".  Today, there are still people who view opposition to Obama as "racist", but the average American now sees through those charges.

Much the same has happened with terrorism and how the government deals with that problem.  We have had a series of terrorist attacks in the USA over the last 8 years.  For a while, the Obamacrats just denied that acts were even terrorist.  We had "work place violence".  We had "disturbed individuals".  Lately, the big description has been "lone wolf".  Somehow, if the terrorist is a "lone wolf", it is supposed to minimize the death and destruction that he or she causes.  It has gotten so ridiculous that perhaps we should call Obama "The President Who Cried Lone Wolf".  Why would anyone believe him?

But there's more to this phenomenon, particularly with the media.  Some things get reported or criticized that make no sense.  The remark by Trump's son about skittles is a good example.  He was talking about the likelihood that terrorists are sneaking into the USA hidden in the flow of refugees.  He used an analogy and asked if you knew that there were a few poisoned skittles in a bowl, would you take a handful?  The media went crazy.  Social networks went crazy.  How dare he compare the refugees to skittles.  Racism!  Islamophobia!  Really?  Are they kidding?  There's nothing racist or anti-Muslim about the skittles analogy.  Everyone knows that.

Another example also involves Trump's son and something he said.  Last week, he said that if his father said some of the stuff that Hillary and her supporters were saying, the media would "fire up the gas chamber."  Again, the media went crazy.  The Anti Defamation League issued a statement calling for an apology because Trump's son was belittling the holocaust and saying something anti-Semitic.  Really?  Are they kidding?  How many times have you seen a prominent Democrat call Trump Hitler or Hitlerian?  Just now, there is a piece on Real Clear Politics by Richard Cohen of the New York Daily News talking about Trump's "Hitlerian" disregard for something.  At the Emmy Awards the other night, reports say that speaker after speaker bashed Trump.  I saw some woman receiving an award call Trump a Hitler.  That is not vague in any way.  The Anti Defamation League, of course, has nothing to say.  The remark about the gas chamber, however, could have been a reference to the method of execution previously used in many states; there seems to be no reason to tie it to the holocaust.  It doesn't matter.  The direct and clear references are ignored because they were made by people opposing Trump; the possible, albeit unlikely reference, gives rise to a firestorm because it was made by someone supporting Trump.

Anyone paying attention to coverage of the election must, by now, have read multiple pieces about how the media is at a loss to understand why they have not yet destroyed Trump.  The answer is not all that hard to understand.  Most people in America now understand that the media is just a cheering section for Hillary.  There is no fairness in the media.  People are used to the standard methods used by the media hacks to try to destroy those who they don't like.  Everyone just tunes it out.


A Recent List

In the last year in the USA, there have been at least 70 people murdered as a result of Islamic terrorism.  In France, the number is higher.  If you go back to the Charlie Hebdo attack and the attack on the kosher market of the same day, the dead from Islamic terror come in at about 250.  In the UK, there have also been many people killed.  All in all, we are talking about 400 people dead and many more wounded, some very seriously.  Nevertheless, the mayors of London, Paris and New York co-wrote a piece in the New York Times in which they call for admission of more Islamic refugees and claim that "militant violence is vanishingly rare.”

Notice that these three mayors cannot even bring themselves to call the violence that claimed so many lives Islamic terrorism, which is what it actually is.  That wouldn't be politically correct.

What does Bill De Blasio have to say to the families of people killed in San Bernardino by a poorly vetter Pakistani "immigrant" who was actually a terrorist operative?  The widow and children of a man who was killed are unlikely to be comforted by being told that "it was just a fluke."  I doubt that the parents of a young woman killed in the Orlando club massacre at the hands of a radicalized terrorist consider her death part of something that is "vanishingly rare."

Bill De Blasio clearly thinks that he can change reality by calling it something else.  It's a standard disease of liberals.  Sometimes, it's just renaming something.  Illegal aliens became undocumented immigrants according to the left.  It doesn't change anything; they are still here illegally and they are still aliens.  Sometimes, they just make stuff up.  Think about everything that Hillary Clinton has ever said about her email system.  It changes nothing, however.  De Blasio clearly believes in the concept, though.  He was born Warren Wilhelm.  He changed his name to Bill De Blasio because he thought it would help his political career.  Better to appear to be an Italian Catholic if you want to win in New York, right?

It is a disgrace that these fools think that they can change reality by describing it differently.  Islamic terror is not rare.  Tens of thousands are dead around the world due to those terrorists.  Ignoring that reality just means more dead and more wounded.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight

There's an old movie named "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight".  I was reminded of that title when I heard more of the details about the roughly 1000 people who were ordered deported but who the Department of Homeland Security made American citizens instead.  The basic story is that DHS failed to match the deportation orders to the individuals because they were behind in putting finger prints into their systems.  As a result, these people ordered deported were able to apply for citizenship under a false name and get approved. 

So what was the new information? 

1.  For some of these people, the basis for the order for deportation was suspected ties to terrorist organizations.

2.  After becoming citizens, many of the people passed background checks under their new identities.

3.  A few of these people became law enforcement officers.

4.  At least five are employed by the TSA or other airport security.  They have access to planes and other secure areas of the airports.

5.  At least two of these people are employed by port security organizations.  They have access to ships including cruise ships with thousands of passengers, oil tankers filled with flammable liquids and ships with other sensitive cargoes.

Think about it.  It's not just that the Obama administration messed up by giving 1000 people citizenship instead of deporting them.  That would be bad enough.  No, the Obamacrats let people suspected of ties to terrorist organizations get inside our law enforcement, airport security and port security as well.

I guess we should be happy that the Obamacrats didn't give these suspected terrorists the launch codes for our nuclear missiles.  At least I hope they didn't give them the codes. Oh my, could they possibly have done that?

Lone Wolves, Affiliates, Cells and Other Items

I listened today to a series of people discussing whether or not the guy who set the bombs in New Jersey and New York was a "lone wolf" or part of a "cell", and, if part of a cell, was it one that is just affiliated or inspired by ISIS or an actual part of ISIS.  There is really only one fair response to all these people, and it's something that Hillary Clinton famously said:

"What difference, at this point, does it make?"

Here's perhaps the question of the day that all these people must answer.  If someone at the Marine race in New Jersey had been killed, would he or she be any less dead if the bomber were only a lone wolf rather than a member of a cell?  And would those who suffered wounds in the blast on 23d street in Manhattan be in any worse condition if the cell to which the bomber belongs is just inspired rather than directly tied to ISIS?

The reality is that we need to catch those involved in carrying out the attacks, ALL those involved in the attacks.  The arguments about the nature of the perps is just plain silly.

One thing that is not silly, however, is the recognition of terrorism as terrorism.  Yesterday, NY mayor De Blasio told us that terrorism was not involved with the bomb blasts.  It was an idiotic thing to say.  Of course, the worst of all was the attack by Hillary, the Democrats and the media against Trump for calling the bomb in New York a "bomb" rather than an explosion.  There's a terrorist attack and these fools worry that it's somehow wrong to call a bomb a bomb.  Given that these are the same people who worry about calling an Islamic terrorist an Islamic terrorist, I guess this position makes sense to them.  Nevertheless, it is still complete idiocy.


Syria Update

I wrote earlier today about how no aid got to Aleppo before the cease fire ended in Syria.  That was not entirely complete.  An aid convoy finally made its way to Aleppo this afternoon.  As it was rolling into the city, the Assad forces announced the end of the cease fire and the convoy was attacked and totally destroyed.  Many of the drivers of the UN vehicles were killed.

It's just another day in Syria.

Can You Say "Complete BS"?

As required by the commission running the presidential debates, the moderator for the first debate announced the topics he will cover in that match up.  There will be six 15 minute segments and two each will fit within each of these so called "topics": 

 "America's Direction,"
"Achieve Prosperity" and
"Securing America."

Holt actually said that the topics could change if events required it.

These are not topics.  They are just another way of Lester saying, "I'll ask whatever I want to ask and I have no intention of telling you anything in advance.  In other words, these topics are Complete BS.

If you doubt that, consider the following:

1.  Global warming could fit within securing America.
2.  ISIS could fit within securing America.
3.  Fighting bullying in schools could fit within securing America.
4.  Renegotiating trade pacts likewise could fit within securing America.
5.  Dealing with the zika virus -- ditto.
6.  Stopping the use of fracking -- ditto.
7.  Funding the military -- ditto.
8.  The VA scandal -- ditto.
9.  Hillary's email problems -- ditto (although you can be sure that Lester won't think that.)

In other words, with vague topics that don't limit the discussion, Holt is announcing nothing here.


That Really Did Not Take Long -- Democrats Are Pushing Gun Control in Response to Bombings

As if on cue, senate Democrat leader Harry Reid came out with a statement in response to the terrorist bombings in New York and New Jersey and the knife attack by ISIS in St. Cloud Minnesota.  According to Reid, it is up to Congress to make sure that suspected terrorists cannot buy guns.  I would quote the entire text, but I don't want anyone to get sick.

It's something that ought to enrage us all.  In the space of a few days, we had multiple stabbings by an ISIS terrorist in St. Cloud Minnesota, bombs in NJ aimed at Marines, bombs in New York City aimed at random people on the street, and bombs in Linden NJ with unknown targets.  No guns were involved except for the gun used by the bombing suspect arrested today.  Of course, the suspect was not on any list of suspected terrorists, so the law that Reid proposes would not have kept him from getting that gun.  Americans have been put at risk, and the Democrat answer is to talk about gun control.  Gun control is totally useless for stopping bombs.

Why can't the Democrats address the actual situation?  The senator from my own state of Connecticut is a non-stop advocate for useless gun control measures.  Now that we have seen all these pressure cooker bombs, senator Murphy may start calling for common sense pressure cooker safety legislation. 

I wonder what's next.  Will Hillary Clinton announce that her plan to stop terrorism involves ending global warming?  After all, she doesn't seem to have a clue on most things.  She puts a quarter of the American people into her basket of deplorables as "irredeemable" racists, sexists, homophobes and other terrible things.  Somehow, though, Hillary cannot manage to say anything nasty about the Islamic terrorists who are trying to kill Americans at random on the streets of our cities.