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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

President Trump's Speech To Congress

Tonight, President Trump gave his first State of the Union Address.  Technically, it's not called the "State of the Union" because it's the President's first year in office.  Nevertheless, that's what it was.  And it was an amazingly good speech.

Let's start with a few highlights.  There were some electric moments as Trump spoke.  One of the most amazing was when the President condemned the scourge of RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM.  After eight years when president Obama would not even say those words, it was startling and glorious to hear them come from President Trump.  But it was more than that.  President Trump said that the USA would eradicate ISIS from the world, a much stronger statement than we ever heard from Obama.  Trump was no apologist for the USA; he was the confident leader of a great nation.

Another electric moment came when President Trump called for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.  The cameras did not show the audience when those words were spoken, but it sounded like they all jumped screaming to their feet as if it was finally time that we had a president who understood what a debacle Obamacare has been.

Of course, there was the moment when the recent widow of a navy seal killed in action in Yemen was honored.  It was pure emotion, but that emotion from the President and from the Congress seemed to be a genuine outpouring of love for her and her late husband.

Another great moment was President Trump's treatment of immigration.  All day before the speech we heard from one news report after another that the President would propose a path to legalization for some illegal aliens in the country.  Nothing of the sort was proposed.  Trump did propose a comprehensive immigration reform; he wants immigrants chosen on merit rather than on the basis of family ties.  My guess is that the media was told Trump would propose immigration reform and filled in the blanks that they expected rather than what they were told.

State of the union speeches are usual boring laundry lists of programs interrupted by applause.  By halfway through, I get antsy and turn them off.  Tonight's speech was anything but boring.  Indeed, it was the best speech of this sort I recall seeing.  To be fair, I really don't remember any of the Reagan speeches.  Trump was certainly better though than Obama or Bush or Clinton.  That's surprising since normally I think that Obama and Clinton are better speakers than Trump.  Trump's speech tonight, however, was not great because of the delivery.  No, it was the content.  There was a true viewpoint, a mission to help all Americans, a purpose to finally get the country moving again towards greatness.

I'm sure that as I write this, the Democrat "response" is being televised.  It doesn't matter.  There's really nothing left to say after Trump's speech; it was that good.  Indeed, I wonder if anyone is watching the response.

The Internet Has Major Problems -- Is It The Russians?

There were major problems across the internet today when Amazon cloud services were disrupted.  The exact nature of the disruption has not yet been made public.  For all we know, it is the result of a power outage or a fire somewhere in the Amazon system.  On the other hand, it could be hackers at work upsetting the internet and e-commerce.  It could even be sunspots (unlikely).

No doubt, we will soon hear from the Democrats and the media that the outage was arranged by President Trump and the Russians to distract from something or other.  Sure, it's total BS, but that didn't stop the same people from claiming WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE that Trump worked with the Russians to defeat Hillary in 2016.


Fake Punditry in Action - 5

Today's example of Fake Punditry (an opinion article based on false facts) comes from  To be fair, expecting either truth or fairness from Slate is like expecting honesty and morality from a Clinton.  Nevertheless, today's column by Fred Kaplan about the proposed increase in defense spending put forward by President Trump is an exercise in error.  Kaplan calls the increased spending "staggering".  Actually, it surely is not.  Right now, the USA is spending a smaller portion of its GDP on defense than at any time in many decades.  In the 1960s we spent almost 10% of GDP on defense.  Back when Obama took office, we spent close to 5% of GDP.  Now, it is only in the mid 3% range.  We have been starving the military of new equipment and necessary expenditures for over a decade.  Kaplan says that America doesn't need new planes; wars will never again be fought by such machines (or so he says.)  Apparently, Kaplan missed the fact that it has been American air power that has allowed the Iraqi forces to drive ISIS out of eastern Mosul and other cities.  Those American planes hitting ISIS in Syria must not be involved in fighting according to Kaplan.

Kaplan's facts are so wrong that I wonder if he knows it.  Can he truly be so misinformed as to actually mean the stuff he says?  Or is this just propaganda?  We may never know for sure.

Let's Remember Who Did What To Medicare

Lately, I keep seeing Democrats lamenting how President Trump and the Republicans are going to "gut" Medicare.  It's an old trick, but it won't work.  Trump has said repeatedly that he will protect Medicare and there are no Republican plans to change Medicare.  In other words, the Democrats are (for a change) telling lies.

It is important, however, to remember that in the last decade there was one major change to Medicare.  That change came as part of the passage of Obamacare.  The Obamacare law took roughly $750 billion from the Medicare trust funds and set them aside to pay for part of the Obamacare costs over the next decade.  In other words, Obamacare moved Medicare three quarters of a trillion dollars closer to bankruptcy.  That move alone took years off the life of the Medicare program.

Remember too, if Obamacare is repealed, that will free up the portion of those Medicare funds which have not yet been spent.  That would add something between 300 and 400 billion dollars to the Medicare trust funds.  Just think how many more years the program could last with that additional cash.  You never hear about this money because it undermines the media/Democrat position that Obamacare is wonderful.

So in the last decade, there has been one major blow that hit Medicare.  It came from Obama and the Democrats.  President Obama, of course, told us ahead of time that all the Obamacare cost savings would lengthen the life of the Medicare program.  About those cost savings, keep in mind Obama also told us that if we liked our health insurance we could keep it and if we liked our doctors, we could keep them.  Simply put, it was just another Obama lie.


Voter ID Laws -- The End of Opposition?

Yesterday, the Justice Department announced that it was withdrawing its opposition to the Texas law requiring voters to present ID at the polling place.  Under Obama, the Justice Department had argued that the Texas law was intended to and in truth had the effect of discriminating against minority voters.  The "effect" part has already been decided by the court, but the intent of the legislature in passing the law is still under consideration.  This is the segment from which the DOJ withdrew its support.  The case will continue since there are local voters and organizations that are pursuing it, but Texas will no longer have to deal with the efforts of DOJ.

This certainly is a move that makes sense.  The Supreme Court ruled many years ago that photo ID requirements are constitutional.  Despite constant claims by the Democrats that such rules are aimed at minorities, there is no proof of that.  Indeed, right here in Connecticut, we have had photo ID requirements for a long time, and the system functions just fine.

Hopefully, the controversy over voter ID laws will come to an end.  It is a waste of effort whose only purpose is for the Democrats to try to excite their base and get them to the polls.

Has It Really Reached This Level?

This morning, the media is filled with stories about how Kellyanne Conway was seen in a picture kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office.  The point of the story is that Conway's feet were under her, so they were on the couch. 

Oh, the horror!  All across the internet, the left is just so appalled that Conway would have her feet on the couch in the Oval Office.  They call it disrespectful.  It's being treated as if it were one step from nuclear war.  Remember, the people who are so upset by Conway's position on the couch are the same ones who were fine when rioters trashed a university campus in an effort to deny a speaker the right to be heard.  They are the same folks who thought that riots in Baltimore, including the burning down of stores was appropriate in the midst of the mess after the death of Freddie Gray.  They also don't mind if organized group go to constituent events held by Congress and then intentionally disrupt those meetings so that no one gets heard.

Sorry, but have we really reached the level where conduct is judged solely on the basis of whose conduct it is?  Can it be that no matter what Conway does, the media finds it objectionable?  Can it be that no matter what the left wing protesters do, it is fine?  That's not the rule of law.  It's just the opposite.  It's a dangerous path to follow, and it ought to stop now. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Not Exactly An Even Trade

The European Union has been on shaky ground lately since the vote in the UK for Brexit.  After all, the EU will lose one of the world's largest economies as the Brits say goodbye to the Brussels bureaucrats.  Today, however, the EU signed a new pact with Armenia.  That nation will now have an "association" with the EU.  Armenia won't be part of the free trade area and certainly won't use the euro as its currency.  Indeed, Armenia is part of the Russian led trade region, a pact which it joined after massive pressure from Moscow three years ago. 

Losing the UK and gaining an affiliation with Armenia is not exactly an even trade for the EU.  Not even the spin-meisters in Brussels will be able to put a good face on that.

The Photo Op As A Meaningful Event

I just read an article lauding Hollywood celebrities for wearing blue ribbons to last night's Oscars debacle.  I didn't watch the show, so I can't say who did and who did not wear the ribbons.  I learned, however, from today's story that the blue ribbons indicate support for the ACLU.  Supposedly, having celebrities wear the ribbons is a BIG STORY!

Think about it.  For the last eight years under president Obama, we've had a photo op government.  The key has been what got said to the media or what photo could be taken to emphasize a point.  The substance of the position and the ability to achieve the goal receded into the background.  Obama, the Democrats and the media focused on words and pictures rather than reality.  If you doubt that, consider the nuclear deal with Iran.  Obama did everything conceivable to get an agreement.  The goal was the agreement; it was not the content of the agreement.  The negotiations with Iran began because American policy had been to prevent the Iranians from getting nuclear weapons.  Then, Obama signed his all-important deal with Iran that guarantees the Islamic Republic a clear glide path to nukes over the next decade.  It is as if a medical effort to eradicate the Ebola virus ended with the federal government injecting random people with that virus but then celebrating that at least we now have a program regarding Ebola.

Last night's Oscars and the blue ribbons for the ACLU is just another of these words, not deeds, moments.  People who watched (and I doubt there were too many) could sit by their TV's and notice that Hollywood supports the ACLU.  It doesn't change anything.  It won't change anything in the future.  It's just some liberal "virtue signaling."  It's much the same as Al Gore warning of excessive carbon use before he gets on his private jet to fly home to his extremely oversize mansion that uses twenty times the fuel required for the average home.

The craziness continues.

The Trump Budget -- Let's Speculate

If you read the mainstream media today, you will see a great many articles and opinion pieces about the forthcoming budget to be proposed in a few weeks by President Trump.  The topic sentence is that Trump wants to restore cuts to the defense budget while reducing spending on other items so as to keep total spending the same.  There are no details; that is because there is no budget yet.  Nevertheless, that has not stopped the onslaught of responses and criticism in the media and from the Democrats.  My favorite response so far has been from my own state's junior senator Chris Murphy who laments an increase in spending on military intervention rather than on reconciliation.  I often call Murphy a moron.  It is a well-deserved title for him, but he is proving it in a major way today.  To be clear, the increase in military spending is designed so that there will be no need for military intervention.  It's called peace through strength.  It means that the US military has such an overwhelming edge that no enemy would dare challenge us.  Indeed, it is the concept that has guided American defense strategy for most of the period since the end of World War II.  Further, nothing in the expected budget says anything about military intervention anywhere.  Nor does it say anything about downplaying diplomacy or reconciliation.  Murphy, as is often the case, just makes it all up and then complains.

Beyond the morons like Murphy, there are also many who seem to want to complain without seeing any details.  There are numerous federal programs that are nothing more than waste and corruption all the time.  For example, according to the Congressional Budget Office, there are about 107 programs run by the federal government to train or retrain workers.  That means that there are 107 directors, assistant directors, home offices and general office staff; there is one for each program.  There is no reason, however, to have overhead costs (in the hundreds of millions or even billions) for all of these programs.  They could easily be consolidated in three or four programs with different focuses.  The reorganized programs could train many more workers for a much lower cost just by jettisoning the unneeded bureaucrats now running the 107 existing programs.  No doubt, such a change would be opposed by Democrats like Chris Murphy as an attack on the poor.  (I did say he's a moron.)

The reality of the situation, however, is this:  we don't have the budget yet.  There's no need to analyze it in advance.  Let's see what it is first.  The Democrats can condemn it then, no matter what it says.

And The Winner Is ............Vladimir Putin

After last night's fiasco at the Oscars in which the celebrity presenters of the Best Picture announced the wrong winner, the rumor in Hollywood is that the Russians hacked the awards show.  Today in Moscow, the Russian president Vladimir Putin was asked if the Russians had anything to do with the mess at the awards.  His response was, "Russia had no part in that affair.  The fools in Hollywood screwed it up all by themselves."

Congressman Maxine Waters (in whose district the ceremony took place) commented, "I don't believe Putin.  Ever since his forces invaded North Korea, he been shifty."

The new chair of the DNC, Tom Perez, said that "this is just another instance of how the Trump administration and the Republicans have brought down America."

The chair of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also commented on the disaster at the end of the show, "although we have absolutely no evidence of tampering, we are convinced that this mess was the result of an outside force attempting to embarrass our great institution."


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Muhammed Ali's Som Detained at the Border

Did you see the story from the AP about how the son of boxing legend Muhammed Ali was stopped by immigration agents and detained when entering the USA at Fort Lauderdale airport because he is a Muslim?  It turns out that it is just more Fake News.  Remember, this is a guy who is an American citizen; he wouldn't even go to immigration.  He would just show his passport and make a customs declaration.  His religion would not even be the subject of inquiry.

I'm not going to rehash everything that happened.  There's a really good analysis at Power Line and I recommend that you follow the link to get the full story.

I'm really sick of all the Fake News. 

Fake Punditry in Action - 4 - NY Times Style

Here's the latest in my continuing series of mainstream media punditry based upon false premises.  Today's fake comes from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times.  His column today is entitled,

Trump Voters, Your Savior Is Betraying You

Let's forget for the moment, the rather inappropriate language declaring Trump the "savior" of millions of American voters.  Let's rather focus on exactly how Kristof says that Trump is betraying those who voted for him.

My favorite of Kristof's listed betrayals is this one: It will come as "[Trump] 'reforms' and tears holes in some of the big safety net programs like Medicaid, Social Security or Medicare."  See, according to Kristof, Trump will destroy Social Security and the other programs even though as a candidate, Donald Trump said over and over that he would not touch Social Security or Medicare.  Kristof claims to know something that no one else does.  Indeed, even AARP which has as its principal mission protecting Social Security and Medicare is running TV commercials praising Trump for his promises to keep those programs uncut.  I guess some swami or other prophet has given Kristof a view of the future that includes cuts to Social Security made by Trump.  Okay, let's be honest:  Kristof is just making this stuff up in order to stir up fear among seniors and to attack Trump.

Another big "betrayal" listed by Kristof is that "Trump seems poised to weaken the contraception mandate for insurance coverage and curb funding for women’s health clinics."  Notice that even Kristof couldn't bring himself to say that Trump had done that, only that he seemed poised to do it.  Understand, however, what this means.  The contraception mandate in Obamacare provides that health insurance policies have to cover contraceptives.  This is hardly a big deal.  In most places, the cost of contraceptive pills for women run no more than ten dollars per month.  This is hardly a major issue.  Even so, there has been nothing said by the White House to indicate that these items will (or will not) be included in the health plan which replaces Obamacare.  And let's be clear what "curbing funding for women's health clinics" means.  That is a reference to the cut off of funding for Planned Parenthood which has been exposed as allegedly selling the parts of aborted children.  Sale of body parts is a federal crime.  Further, the bills that cut off funding for Planned Parenthood do not eliminate funding for women's health clinics but rather redirect the funds to other purveyors of those services.  Here too, Kristof's column is Fake Punditry in Action.

The Difference In Perspective

It's an amazing thing to watch Washington people flip sides on the same argument depending on their politics.  For example, we recently saw this happen when the question was about government action that hurt a small group in order to benefit a larger group.  When President Trump rescinded the Obama letter on treatment of transgenders in schools across the country, the left was up in arms.  Trump's order sent the issue back into the hands of the states.  For the left, however, Trump was abandoning the transgenders (who are very small in number).  Of course, that meant that Trump was vindicating the right of the overwhelming majority of students to privacy in locker rooms and showers.  In this case, the left favors the rights of the few over the rights of the many.  Meanwhile, Congress and the President recently stopped a new regulation that would have prevented gun purchases by those who have a conservator or other person appointed because they are unable to take care of their own finances.  Again, the left was outraged.  This let's guns into the hands of the mentally ill was the cry.  The GOP said that the regulation was overly broad, however, because some of the people who would have been barred from gun ownership are not mentally ill but rather are unable to manage their own finances for other reasons.  In this case, the conservatives favor the rights of the few over the "rights" of the many.  The positions just flipped.

After a while, I get dizzy watching the positions flip like this.

Two Tweets Worth Noting

There are two tweets from the last 24 hours that are worth noting.

The first comes from Ann Coulter:

A Muslim passed over for DNC head. Aren't terrorists going to use this insult as a recruitment tool?
The second comes from President Trump
The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally "rigged." Bernie's guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!
The first tweet is funny.  The second is insightful.  Once again, the Clinton establishment forces beat the Bernie insurgent forces to get their candidate selected.  We haven't heard yet what the establishment did to bring Perez over the finish line, but it will be interesting to see what comes out.  No doubt, if anything embarrassing for the establishment comes out, they will blame Russia or China.

And Now A Summary Of Tonight's Important News From the Oscars

Uh.......................I got nothing.  There's nothing worth noting.

The North Korean "Talks"

The New York Times is reporting today that the White House scuttled informal talks with North Korea that were about to happen in New York at the UN.  To be precise, that's the spin of the Times, although the facts reported by the Times are these:

1.  A group of former government officials who had negotiated with the NKs in the past set up a meeting with some high ranking NK officials.  That meeting was to take place at the UN.  The former officials included some who negotiated with the NKs during the Clinton years, some from the Bush administration and a few others.

2.  The State Department initially indicated to the group that visas for the North Korean officials would be issued.  That advice from State was received on Thursday.  By Friday, the decision had been countermanded and the group was told no visas would be issued.

3.  There is nothing to indicate who changed the initial decision.  The negotiating group believes that the reversal came from the White House.

That's it.  There's nothing else.  What amazes me is that someone at State originally approved the idea to give the NKs visas to attend such talks.

First let's start with what the NKs have just done.  North Korean agents used deadly nerve gas to murder the half brother of the North Korean dictator.  That attack took place in an airport in Malaysia.  It was a violation of Malaysian sovereignty, a use of outlawed chemical weapons, and a big finger in the eye of the so-called world community.  The North Koreans have also just fired new missiles towards Japan and are also working on and testing ICBMs capable of hitting the mainland USA.  This missile work violates a bunch of UN resolutions.

Second, let's look at these "informal" talks that were proposed.  Remember, under Bill Clinton, the USA negotiated a deal with the NKs that supposedly stopped them from building nuclear weapons.  It was a terrible deal that let the NKs continue their work on the nukes to completion.  Some of the people for the informal talks actually negotiated that deal.  Some of the people for the informal talks also negotiated with the NKs during the Bush years.  They too made some rather poor agreements that the NKs used to get benefits without ever meeting their obligations under those agreements.  Put that together, and this was to be an informal discussion between Americans who had totally failed in past negotiations with the NKs and the NKs themselves.  Why would we want to replicate such talks?

From the standpoint of the White House, preventing these talks was clearly the right thing to do.  Imagine if these poor negotiators came to some sort of a deal with the NKs and then it got announced to the public, maybe through a "leak" to the NY Times.  President Trump would be under great pressure to accept this peace deal whether or not he thought it in the best interests of the USA.  It's hard to reject a deal without looking like a warmonger, even if the deal is a bad one.  Trump campaigned against all those "stupid" deals made in the past by previous administrations.  Clearly, he would want to have people he chose do the negotiating, not retreads from the past who bring the baggage of not only past failures, but also of the attitudes that led to those failures.

This is not hard to see, so why did the State Department first say that the visas would be issued?  My best guess is that the initial statement was not made with the blessing of Rex Tillerson.  More likely, it was advice from some Obama holdover who is still operating on the old paradigm that any talks are better than no talks.  The reality, however, is that good talks are better than no talks, but America cannot operate anymore on the basis that an agreement is the goal no matter what it says.  That's the sort of thinking that gave us the failed Iranian nuclear deal.  It's the old Obama elevation of form over substance that the country rejected by electing Donald Trump.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Perez Wins

In the first smart thing the Dems have done since November, they chose Perez over Ellison today for the new party chair.  Perez is a former member of the Obama cabinet as well as being Hispanic.  His strongest plus, however, is that he is not Ellison.  The Dems managed to avoid naming someone (Ellison) with a history of supporting racist and anti-Semitic forces as chair.  To be clear, however, the Dems then named Ellison as deputy party chair.  I guess they didn't want to anger the racist, anti-Semitic portions of their base.

It Must Have Been the Russians

At the election for DNC Chair today, there was a major lie told by Keith Ellison, one of the two main candidates.  Earlier in the day, the mayor of Gary Indiana withdrew from the contest and got to make a speech that was well received.  Just before the voting began, the Ellison forces sent out a message that the Gary mayor had endorsed Ellison for the position.  No long thereafter (but after the votes were cast) the mayor denied he had endorsed Ellison.  Then Ellison sent out another message saying that there had been no endorsement by the Gary mayor.

At the moment, there are a lot of angry people at the DNC.  Ellison lied to the people making the selection just in time to possible influence the vote.  It's not clear if that was done by Ellison himself or by his allies.

No doubt, Donna Brazile will soon appear and tell us that it was really the Russians who hacked the system to put out false messages from Ellison.  Then she will probably quote the questions to be asked in the first presidential debate in 2020.

This whole mess is a major embarrassment for Ellison and the Democrats.  Ellison ought to withdraw at this point.

What Dan Malloy Wants

Early yesterday morning, my cell phone sounded an alarm that comes only when there is an amber alert issued.  A six year old child was missing from a home in Bridgeport, CT.  A few hours later, I heard that the child had been found in Pennsylvania after the driver of the car in which she was riding was involved in an accident.  By last night, that story had taken a very dark turn of which all residents of Connecticut should hear. 

It seems that the six-year-old child was with her father.  The father and mother were divorced and the girl lived with her mother.  The father allegedly murdered his ex-wife, stabbed another woman at the home 14 times and abducted his daughter.  When police in Pennsylvania saw the father's car, they gave chase, and the father then became involved in a crash at an intersection not long after the chase began.  Police arrested the father.

Here's the most important point in the story:  the father is a citizen of El Salvador who is in this country illegally.  He was previously convicted of multiple violent felonies and ultimately ordered deported in 2013.  The government deported the father after the court decision, but he snuck back into the USA.  The federal government has placed a detainer on the guy with the police department in Bridgeport where he is being held.  That detainer is a request to hold the guy rather than release him and also to turn him over to the feds at that point.

Governor Malloy has already directed local police NOT to comply with such federal detainers.  Our governor would rather see this alleged murderer and kidnapper free on the streets than to have him deported by the feds.

Is this what the citizens of Connecticut really want to see?  Do we want our state to be so caught up in the political ambitions of our governor that we will accept that dangerous criminals are released on the streets of our state rather than being deported?  How many people must die in the pursuit of the attempts of Dan Malloy and the Democrats to win the Hispanic vote in this state?  And really, are the Democrats that stupid that they think that Hispanic voters will be happy to have an alleged murderer back on the streets rather than being deported?

Voting and Taking Names

According to a news report I just saw, the voters for the new chairman of the Democrat National Committee are voting by paper ballots which have to be signed before they will be counted.  Think about that.  The winning candidate will head the DNC.  He or she will know exactly who were supporters and who were opponents.  Not only that, but all those contributors who want this or that candidate will likewise know who each member of the DNC supported.  This tactic will prevent the voters from choosing one of the lesser known candidates to keep out the two obviously unacceptable frontrunners.  It's a recipe for future party turmoil as one group or another finds out who supported its candidate.

The Democrats seem to have structured this race to inflict the maximum possible harm on their own party.

The Race For DNC Chairman

The Democrats are picking their new party chairman today.  Their meeting began with the DNC rejecting a move to limit lobbying by big corporations.  No matter what words come out of the mouths of the Democrats, they remain the willing servants of those with big bucks, whatever the source.  After making their allegiance to the lobbyists and the big donors clear, the Dems moved on to the selection of the party's new leader.  There are many choices.  There's a far left Moslem.  There's a far left Hispanic.  There's a far left woman of color.  There was a far left gay from Indiana, but he's withdrawn.  There's a few more, but they're all far left.

It's amazing to watch the Dems move further towards the positions that have cost them so much support across America over the last eight years.  For me, that move is rather bizarre.  I have always thought of the Democrats as practical politicians for whom winning was the most important thing.  Now, they are moving instead towards ideological purity and taking steps that will drive millions of voters away from rather than towards the party.  They actually seem to be ceding the middle of the political spectrum to the GOP.

Something similar is happening in the UK.  There, the Labour Party has a leader for whom old style Socialist solidarity is more important than victory.  The result the other day was that Labour lost a seat that it had held for 80 years, a feat that no one thought possible.  Labour may go down the drain as a party, but they will do so with ideological purity as their watchword.

Is that what is happening to the Democrats?  Are they really going to give President Trump such an open field on so many issues?  We already have watched them announce outrage at the idea of deporting illegal aliens who are felons convicted of crimes.  That may play well in Hollywood or on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but millions of Americans look at that position as demented.  Remember, this is not a question about deporting people who came her as children; we are talking about convicted criminals.  The Democrats are doing the same when it comes to education.  It may be true that the teachers' unions are the biggest single contributor to the Democrat party.  Still, it seems strange that the party has chosen to side with the teachers and against the poor children in public schools who are getting substandard educations.  When the GOP comes forward with a plan to offer better educations for all, it is not a wise choice to side with the teachers who may see their job security or pensions affected by that move.  There are millions more parents with children needing educations than there are teachers.

The reality is that today's choice by the Democrats is really a selection of the person who will do the least damage to the party's chances.  No matter which one is picked, it will be a net negative with the American people.  Sure, the most likely winner right now has past filled with associations with harshly racist and anti-Semitic bigots.  Indeed, he has even been endorsed by a Ku Klux Klan leader.  His selection would be an outrage.  But we will soon see if the Democrats have changed from a political party to a suicide pact.

So Which Is It?

It's five weeks into the term of Donald Trump as President, and there's a weird pattern emerging.  Look at the opposition to Trump.  First they tell us about all the supposedly terrible things that Trump has done.  Ten minutes later, they tell us that Trump has done nothing and is unlikely to ever do anything.  Huh?  Which is it?

A good example is the border wall.  How many times in the last month or so have you heard some talking head on TV tell you that the wall will never be built?  If you watch news shows at all, that number has to be over 25.  It's like a mantra for many on the left.  Trump's promise to build the wall is supposedly just another political promise that will never come to fruition.  Then consider the reaction to yesterday's announcement that the process of wall construction will start soon in three locations when contracts are let by the federal government.  The same people who tell us the wall will never be built also tell us that construction of the wall is a terrible and futile idea.  That's just one example; there are many more.

I know that there are a great many people on the left (and that includes most pundits) who hate Trump no matter what he does or says.  That is their right.  Still, don't they realize how silly they look when the say contradictory things?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fake Punditry in Action -- 3

This is the third in as series of posts about opinion pieces by supposed "experts" that are not just wrong, but clearly erroneous. 

This time, the opinion is offered on the same Bloomberg News which was the source of the first two bogus opinion pieces.  Today's subject is immigration and the "expert" is Noah Smith, a professor at Stony Brook University.  Here is the key quote from Smith's article: 

"Illegal immigration to the U.S. ended a decade ago."

I'm not making this up.  This expert actually says that studies show that there has been no illegal immigration into the USA for the last ten years.  What utter nonsense.  I guess professor Smith must have missed those pictures of thousands of children who came across the border in the last two years.  He probably also missed all those pictures of people walking across the border in the Southwest only to be apprehended by ICE and then let go under Obama's catch and release program.  Indeed, maybe Smith can explain why there would be a catch and release program in the first place; if there's no illegal immigration, then there's no one to catch.

Now it may be that Smith is just confused in his writing.  Maybe he means that there is no net illegal immigration, although that is not what he said in his column.  That would be the case if the same number of people were coming into the USA illegally as well as leaving the USA to go to their home countries.  The problem with that view is twofold.  First, there is no accurate way to know how many illegals have left the country in a particular year or years.  The government makes no real effort to count people here illegally who then leave the country.  Second, even if this were the case, it does not mean that there is no need to cut off illegal immigration.  Just imagine that for the last ten years illegal immigration had been cut off.  That would mean that as all those illegals supposedly leave the country, the totals here would drop rapidly.  If the number of illegals were cut in half, it would represent a massive reduction in the problem, a major decrease in the need for government spending and a strong move towards the resolution of the problem.


Imaginary News

First we had news.  Then we had Fake News.  That changed to Very Fake News.  Today, we've gone to Imaginary News.

There's an article highlighted on the Drudge Report about how Mexican migrant shelters are seeing a spike in people coming from the USA.  At least that is what the headlines say.  When you actually read the article, you find that there is one shelter in Reynosa, Mexico that says it is "expecting" an uptick in the number of migrants coming to the shelter after being deported from the USA.  So far, there has been one day when the number spiked higher than average.

The article goes on to explain what a trauma it is for those deported to go to the shelter and how they are separated from their families, except the flow of those migrants hasn't yet materialized, so this is all imaginary.

Reporting facts is fine.  Reporting the expectations of one migrant shelter for the future is a bit much.  Using blaring headlines to report facts which are just details of an imaginary future is just wrong. 

Maybe The Real Problem Is Avoiding Responsibility

There's a suggestion at Power Line that perhaps the source of some of the supposed outrage from various Democrat governors over the withdrawal by President Trump or the Obama guidance to school districts regarding transgender students is that those governors will now have to get involved with making decisions on that issue.  It's one thing to have Washington send out a directive to the entire nation; voters won't hold the governor or the legislature responsible for the resulting policies.  On the other hand, if there is no federal directive, the issue is left to the states.  If Democrats like Dan Malloy in my state of Connecticut have to step in an make a determination about what school districts are to do with regard to transgenders and their use of bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers, it requires the governor and legislature to take responsibility for those determinations.  Just wait until we see transgenders wanting to play on women's sports teams so that the governor has to get involved there too. 

Right now, it seems that a clear majority of American do not favor forcing schools to have transgenders using locker rooms and showers or even bathrooms with those of the opposite biological sex.  That puts the Democrats on the wrong side of that issue.  It won't swing the statewide vote in a place like New York where the Democrat majority is so great.  In states where the margins are close, however, backlash on this issue could actually decide elections.  No wonder the Democrat governors are so upset.

Coping With Copeland

There was a by-election in Britain yesterday, and the results were astonishing.  The Tories won the seat in Copeland while Labour held a second seat.  I say "astonishing" because Copeland is an English seat which has been held by the Labour party continuously since the mid 1930s.  That's over 80 years of Labour victories broken by this Conservative win.  It's also astonishing because it means that the government of prime minister May picked up a seat in a by-election, an accomplishment which no other British government has managed for 50 years.

It's hard to imagine how big a shock this result is for British politics.  All those Brits who are still hoping to reverse Brexit just got told that the people are backing Brexit, perhaps more now than before the vote.  After all, the big argument made against Brexit was that it would lead to a recession and economic decline.  Instead, since the vote the British economy has outperformed the economies of most of the other nations in Europe.  Brexit seems to have given a positive jolt to the British economy, and there have been no real negative consequences yet from Brexit.

The victory strengthens the government of prime minister May in a major way.  It's good to see it happen.

Fake Punditry In Action -- 2

This looks to be a continuing series.  Yesterday, I wrote about a Bloomberg News column by Al Hunt which was charitably best described as utter nonsense.  Today, we have another pundit on Bloomberg News who is writing about the need for President Trump to push down the value of the dollar.  Again, it starts out on a totally fake basis.  Here's the first paragraph of this supposed "news analysis".

At the beginning of February, President Donald Trump reportedly called his national security adviser Michael Flynn at 3:00 a.m. to ask whether a strong dollar was good or bad for the economy.

That is a story that was Fake News.  It appeared in the Huffington Post, and even most of the mainstream media did not pick it up.  They understood that a supposed 3:00 AM call between Trump and Flynn couldn't leak unless one or the other of them was the leaker.  There's no way either of them would have done that.  They also understood that President Trump understands the effects of currency on international and domestic business much better than any of our recent presidents.  He's spent much of his life dealing with international deals and has been forced to manage currency moves in his business.

That use of Fake News to start an opinion piece is just another bit of Fake Punditry.  Bloomberg seems to be specializing in this lately.

Note:  I did not mention the name of the supposed 'pundit" or link to the article since I see no reason to send people to read bogus stuff.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Really? Seriously?

CNN has struck again.  This time it published a column by someone named Ruth ben Ghiat who is supposed to be a professor at NYU.  Her thesis is that although President Trump denounced anti-Semitism, he is actually fomenting it as well as other forms of racism.  It's a deranged screed which seems totally divorced from reality.  Perhaps the clearest indication of this is when the professor denounces advisor Steven Miller because he has actually "campaigned against 'Islamofascism,' on the belief that the US and Western civilization are at war with Islamic jihadists".  In the professor's view, even the claim that America is at war with Islamic jihadists is racist and fascist.  I guess she thinks that 9-11 was an animal rights protest and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fought against social justice warriors.  Maybe she thinks that the massacres in Orlando and San Bernardino were just workplace violence and the many other attacks were just a bunch of kids out for a good time.

All of these attacks/wars/fighting events have had America on one side and Islamic jihadists on the other side.  That's called reality.  There's reality even at the NYU faculty lounge.  CNN knows what reality is as well (although it seems to stay away from it more and more.) 

It is unforgiveable for CNN to publish this garbage.  Truly unforgiveable.

Now We Can Decide

President Trump's withdrawal of the directive on treatment of transgenders by schools and the return of that issue to state control is having the intended effect.  Today, Connecticut governor Dan Malloy issued an order directing the state's schools to consider bathrooms, locker rooms and showers to be public accommodations.  In other words, from now on, the bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in schools must be open to students who identify as a particular sex no matter what their biological sex is.  A teenage boy who identifies as a female can now shower with the girls in the locker room if he wants.  The order doesn't say this, but it seems as if that same boy who identifies as a girl can now also play on the girls' sports teams.  A girl who identifies as a boy will have the same rights in reverse.

This is a very good thing.  Don't get me wrong, I think the order by Malloy is idiotic.  There is no reason why the rights of the transgender student outweigh the rights of all the other students who will be made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by having that transgender student in the showers with them.  It would be fine to have a separate section of a locker room, showers, and bathrooms for transgenders; in that way the rest of the students would not be affected.  Malloy, however, is going all out to force Connecticut students to accept the presence of the transgenders.  Still, this is a decision by the government of the state.  It lets the people of Connecticut make their own decision about how to proceed on this issue.  We are not stuck accepting the views of California or Idaho on the issue.  We decide for our own children.

I strongly suspect that this is going to become an issue in the next election for governor.  I doubt that even in Connecticut, there are too many people who think that it is fine to force kids to share locker rooms and showers with children whose bodies are of the opposite sex.  We will see in 2018 how this plays out.  At least with the return of local control, we will have a chance to make the choice ourselves. 

Fake Punditry In Action

Al Hunt is a columnist for Bloomberg News.  Hunt used to be the Executive Editor of Bloomberg News, so you would think that he knows what he is talking about, right?  Nope.

Today, Hunt wrote a column entitled "It's Been 31 Years Since the Last Tax Overhaul. Here's Why."  Hunt claims that there are no people left in Congress to ignore pressure groups or special interests and to make a deal in the national interest.  Hunt says a tax deal is very unlikely this year.

But let's take a look at the opinions of this supposed expert.

1.  Is it really 31 years since the last tax overhaul?  There was a major change to the tax code in 1986.  Rates were cut and many deductions were eliminated.  Then in 1990, taxes were raised under George H.W. Bush.  You may recall that Bush had famously told America, "Read my lips: no new taxes."  When he went back on the promise and modified the tax structure, he was defeated in 1992.  After Bush came Bill Clinton.  In 1993, Congress overhauled the tax code again.  The top rates on income were pushed up by nearly a third.  Corporate taxes were raised.  Eighty five percent of Social Security income was suddenly taxed.  Medicare taxes were raised.  The phase out of personal exemptions and deductions for high income people was made permanent.  It was a major overhaul.  When George W. Bush became president, the tax code was again changed in a major way.  The Bush tax cuts lowered individual tax rates across the board.  The estate tax was cut and then phased out.  There were many other changes.  It was another tax overhaul.  When Barack Obama became president, there were more tax changes.  Obama got Congress to raise the top rate for individuals.  The capital gains tax was raised by a third.  Additional medicare taxes and Obamacare taxes were thrown into the mix. 

So, in substance, there were tax overhauls not just 31 years ago, but also 27 years ago, 24 years ago, 16 years ago, and four years ago.  Hunt just overlooked the last four tax overhauls in his column.

2.  Is it true that there are no people left in Congress who would negotiate a tax deal that would be in the best interest of the American people?  That's Hunt's claim.  I am not a fan of Congress, but even I don't think that everyone in Congress is a servant of special interests and pressure groups.  Many members will do the right thing.  As long as President Trump leads a strong effort to get the tax changes passed, there will be a very good likelihood that they will pass.

In summary, Hunt has his facts and his views wrong.  That's it.

It's Just Over The Top Nuts

There's a big story today from Dallas about the terrible ordeal faced by an illegal alien who is covered by DACA and who was arrested by Dallas police yesterday for driving with an expired registration.  DACA is president Obama's executive action covering so called "dreamers", i.e., aliens who were brought to the country as children.  They get temporary work permits and are allowed to stay while those permits are in place.  Just yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security affirmed in its latest statement that the Trump administration is leaving DACA in place for now.

So what was the ordeal for this guy?  After he was arrested for driving with an expired registration by local police, it was also found that he had two unpaid traffic violations on his record.  Meanwhile, the Dallas police notified the feds that they had in custody an illegal alien. 

Let's stop here for a moment.  At this point, there was a major outcry on social media that President Trump was about to start deporting dreamers.  All kinds of people started hyperventilating on the subject.

Let's get back to the real story.  When the Dallas police told ICE that they had this guy in custody, the feds responded that no detainer was necessary.  After the guy was processed for his driving with an expired registration, he was released.  In other words, all the hyperventilating was unnecessary.  Indeed, it was ridiculous.

President Trump has made clear that dreamers are not targeted for deportation.  The actual target are those who have committed crimes, defrauded the government in benefit programs, who have already been ordered deported by a court or who are a danger to the public.  That does not mean someone who has unpaid parking tickets.  A dreamers could be deported if she started committing crimes or if he joined a violent gang.  The other dreamers are just not targeted.

I've read the coverage of this story in the media.  The point that the reporters push is not that the guy was released after ICE was notified and said there was no need for a detainer.  That is the actual news.  Nope, the media coverage is that this poor dreamer was arrested and subjected to being deported by the evil authorities.  It's just over the top nuts!

More Games From Pollsters 2

Earlier today, I wrote about the obvious inconsistencies among the latest polls of President Trump's job approval.  In short, there is no way that these polls can be viewed as reliable or correct.  I also pointed out that the media is using only the few that show poor scores for Trump rather than those which give him higher numbers.

I'm updating the post because Project Veritas released some tapes this morning said to be of internal CNN discussions in which CNN staffers seemed to agree that that network was using old polls that bolstered their viewpoint rather than newer polls that contradicted that viewpoint.  The tapes were not recent, so none of the discussion was about job approval ratings for President Trump.  Indeed, the tapes are still from the days when president Obama was in office.  The point, however, is that CNN appears on the tapes to be manipulating the news about polls that it reports in order to strengthen its favored narrative.

I can't say that this is a surprise.


More Games From the Pollsters

There's a whole spate of polls out today on President Trump's job approval ratings.  Like most of these polls, they make no sense.  The best place to look at this phenomenon is at Real Clear Politics.  They have an average of the ten most recent polls on the subject and identify each of the individual ones.  Of the ten polls in question, four show the President with a positive view from the public while six show a negative.  One poll, Quinnipiac, shows Trump 17% underwater.  It is a bizarre outlier.  In fact, of the ten polls, the results of nine lie outside the margin of error of the average.  That tells you that something is very wrong with some of these polls.  There is no other way to say it; the polls are garbage.

So how is the media portraying these polls?  If you guessed that most media outlets focus on the Quinnipiac results, you are correct.  The one poll that is demonstrably wrong is the one the media chooses to use.  For the last two months, the Quinnipiac results have been extremely skewed against Trump.  It's sad.

An Embarrassment in Connecticut

The governor of Connecticut, Democrat Dan Malloy, is out with a directive to all the towns, cities and school boards across the state.  Malloy's message is that none of these governmental units have to comply with the directives of Homeland Security with regard to illegal aliens.  Malloy's reason as he expressed it to the media:  the localities should do their job and the feds should do theirs, and dealing with illegal aliens (he called them immigrants) is a federal job.

Think about that.  The requests from Homeland Security to local police forces is that they do two things:  1. notify DHS when someone who is in the country illegally is arrested for a criminal act and 2. turn over illegal aliens already in custody for criminal actions to DHS if a request to do so is made by DHS.  The feds are not asking the local police to go an search out illegal aliens.  The feds are only asking the local police to help in the process of dealing with criminal illegal aliens.  That means that if police or a prison have in custody an illegal alien who has been convicted of armed robbery, the feds want to get that guy out of the country while Malloy tells the locals that it's ok to put the felon back into their towns.

This is an embarrassment to the state of Connecticut.  How did we get to the point where our governor makes a public statement siding with criminals over the safety of the residents of the state and he does so for political purposes.  I refuse to believe that even someone as dense as Dan Malloy thinks that the state does not have enough convicted felons among its people.  Indeed, no sane person could come to that conclusion.  Malloy is just trying to appeal to a segment of his party that likes his position.

In 2016, in an amazing upset Republicans in Connecticut actually took control of half of the seats in the state senate.  If Malloy keeps this up, we may find in 2018 that there will be a Republican governor in Hartford too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Obama's Bathroom Policy Gets Flushed by Trump

Remember that non-binding directive that president Obama sent to all school districts in the country telling them that they had to allow transgender students to use bathrooms, locker rooms and showers for the sex with which they identified?  Obama didn't have the authority to impose such a rule, so he couched it as an advisory memo but then threatened to cut off federal funds to any district that did not comply.  President Trump just rescinded the directive.

So what does this mean?  The simple answer is that nothing has changed.  The states and localities are still the ones who decide what rules apply with regard to transgenders and these issues.  Absent action by Congress, the feds have no power to impose their views on the country. 

The media and many Democrat politicians are playing up Trump's move as some sort of return to discrimination.  It's not.  It's just another of those phony issues that the media likes to push as part of the anti-Trump narrative.

The Most Bizarre TV Event Ever

I just happened upon a debate among the many people running to be chairman of the Democrat National Committee.  It was being televised on CNN.  To say the least it was bizarre.  I mean who really cares about this stuff.  The TV viewers don't get to vote; only the members of the Democrat National Committee vote.  I will be curious to see the ratings tomorrow.  My guess is that they will be quite low even for CNN (and that will be really low.)

A New Chair

Have you heard about the leading candidate to be the national chair of the party?  The guy has a rather odd past.  He was a long time supporter of a racist who advocated segregation and subjugation of other races.  He's been endorsed by a leader of the Ku Klux Klan (David Duke) and did not even bother to reject that support.  He's a political extremist.

The guy in question is representative Ellison of Minnesota who is leading the race to become chair of the Democrats.  For many years, Ellison supported the Black Muslims (also known as the Nation of Islam) led by Louis Farrakhan. 

It seems as if the Democrats are actually trying to commit suicide.  There is no rational basis for them to select Ellison as their leader.  I guess it is the party's right to make such a poor choice, but it seems truly stupid.

Overblown and Hysterical

I just finished studying the memorandum issued by the Secretary of DHS regarding enforcement of the immigration laws.  In short, it calls for the enforcement of the existing law and prioritizes those on whom enforcement activities will be focused.  Those people who will be targeted are convicted criminals, those charged with crimes but not yet convicted, those who have already been ordered deported by a court in the past, those who have defrauded the USA or a state by getting public benefits through fraudulent means and those who pose a danger to public safety (like gang members.)  The memo expressly says that the DACA group and the parents of US citizens group will still be protected by the Obama era orders currently in force. 

A different way to describe the memo is that no one who was previously protected from deportation is not subject to deportation.  All the illegals who might have been deported in the past may still be deported.  We now have, however, guidelines that tell government agents to focus their activities on criminals, people who endanger public safety, people who defraud the government and those who were already ordered deported by a court.

The media and many of the Democrats have been screaming non-stop since this memo was issued.  Think about that.  If this is their reaction to an order that says the federal government is going to enforce existing law, what will they do if the laws get tightened?  It's crazy, but it's not new.  In the 1980s New York was a very dangerous and violent place.  Crime soared.  The streets were not safe.  when Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor, he ordered the police to start enforcing law regarding minor offenses.  People who jumped the turnstiles to get onto the subway without paying the fare were stopped and ticketed.  People who walked down the street playing loud music were stopped and ticketed.  People who ran up to cars stopped at lights and used squeegees to clean the windshield for payment were stopped and ticketed.  The New York City liberals went crazy.  That said that Giuliani was creating a police state and turning the NYPD into the Gestapo.  What the police found, though, was that a large number of those who were ticketed were actually wanted for other, more serious crimes.  Those people were arrested and removed from the streets.  Almost immediately, the crime rate in NYC started to plummet.  It was the biggest sustained drop in crime in any large city of the time.  The left, however, always viewed it as a neo-Nazi action of serious unfairness.  And yet, all that Giuliani was doing was enforcing the existing law.  Despite the opposition of the left, the people of the city loved what happened.  Rudy was re-elected by a big margin at the end of four years.

The truth is that the liberals have no leg to stand on.  If they don't like having DHS enforce the law, then they need to work on changing that law.  Otherwise, they should just shut up.

Do They Hear Themselves Talking?

I sometimes wonder if people on the left hear themselves as they talk.  It certainly seems as if the answer is no, given some of the outrageous things they say.

Let's start with an old favorite when it comes to idiotic and outrageous statements:  congressman Maxine Waters.  I do not understand how she was ever elected to Congress, but she has been there a long, long time.  She's often wrong and most of the time very, very wrong.  A few weeks ago, she said that Russia under Vladimir Putin had invaded Korea.  Nope.  No one has invaded Korea since the 1950s when the North Koreans attacked South Korea and the Chinese ultimately came in to support the NKs.  Russia was not involved and Putin was not even born yet at the time of the attack.

Waters latest statement, however, came on the little watched Chris Hayes program on MSNBC.  Just because the audience is a small bunch of true believer leftists, doesn't mean that Waters gets a pass for what she said.  She called President Trump and his cabinet "a bunch of scumbags."  Think about that.  She didn't say that she disagreed with these people; instead, she just made a personal attack on them.

Imagine if someone on TV were to say of Maxine Waters that "I would say she looks like a crack whore, but that would be too great an insult to the crack whores around the nation."  The media and the left (I know--same thing) would denounce the speaker as a racist and demand that he/she be fired.  Waters, however, calls the President and the cabinet a bunch of scumbags and no one says anything.

Another person who obviously doesn't think before he speaks is Bill Maher, the host of a show on HBO.  Maher spoke of Ivanka Trump's clothing line, falsely claimed it was suffering from declining sales, and then said that apparently the only who still wants to get into Ivanka's pants is the President.  Was there any outrage that he accused President Trump of wanting an incestuous relationship with his daughter?  Nope.  Just imagine the response if someone suggested that president Obama wanted to sleep with Sasha or Malia.  There would not be silence.

The reality is that these statements are terrible no matter who says them.  The liberals/leftists don't get a free pass because the target is a Republican.  Many millions of Americans take offense at this kind of stuff.  Lefties like Waters and Maher hurt their own cause with this stuff.   I don't think they even realize how bad the things they say are.

Tax Reform Is Still Coming

Each day in the last two weeks, I've seen articles in the media telling me that the chances for any tax changes from Congress are small and growing smaller.  Here's the mantra repeated by these articles:  there's no plan on the table, and Congress hasn't yet voted on a bill, so there's disarray among the GOP and the White House which will prevent passage of any tax bill.  The one word response to this ongoing narrative is "NONSENSE!"

For some reason, the media (and the Democrats) are pushing the idea that a tax bill will spring to life fully formed, land on a desk on Capitol Hill, and then be quickly passed by the Congress.  It never worked that way (with one exception) and it never will.  The exception, of course, was the last modification to the tax laws that came under president Obama.  That bill just made permanent the already existing tax laws for over 99% of all tax payers and upped the rates for the top 0.4% of taxpayers.  Nothing was changed except for the top rates for a tiny portion of the taxpayers.  Obama agreed with the Republican leadership of the Senate on this plan and it was passed by Congress in about a week.  Sounds quick, doesn't it?  The reality, however, was quite different.  That tax bill was actually the end result of about a two year on-again-off-again negotiation between the White House and the Senate GOP.  It only passed quickly because failure to do so would have raised taxes on all Americans as the Bush tax cuts expired.  There is nothing like that at the present time, so a more normal process is being followed.

In the next month, we will surely see a tax plan, perhaps multiple tax plans coming from the Congress and the White House.  After the proposal, there will be the obligatory few weeks for the Democrats to denounce it as harmful to the middle class, a boon for the rich, unhelpful to the economy, and all the other standard complaints that always come when taxes might get reduced.  Ultimately, Congress will vote and some version of the tax law will be passed.  That may not happen until this summer, but it is coming nevertheless.

Right now, the key is to ignore the narrative that the media is pushing and to try to stick to reality.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump Enforces The Law; Liberals' Heads Explode

There was a directive issued by the Department of Homeland Security today.  It dealt with how the immigration laws would be enforced.  It set priorities for enforcement which are exactly what President Trump had called for during his campaign.  Illegal aliens who are convicted of criminal acts or who are arrested for such acts are going to be at the top of the list for deportation.  Those who join gangs or who are otherwise a threat to public safety will also be targeted. 

This is not a change in the law.  It is merely a directive explaining to ICE and other agencies where to focus their enforcement efforts.  It requires the agencies to do what the Obama administration said it was doing but, in reality, never did.  The idea that the federal government will now enforce the existing law is causing liberal heads to explode all across the country.

Think about it.  The law says clearly that certain people here illegally are to be deported.  The Trump administration directs that the government agents focus their efforts on those who present a threat to public safety, namely those accused of criminal behavior.  Oh, the horror of it all!  I've seen people upset because an illegal who merely got caught shoplifting could now be deported.  That's a rather bizarre attitude.  Since when has theft become acceptable?  Why should someone here illegally get a pass because he or she only stole some stuff in a store?  And then there's those people who are complaining that an illegal who gets stopped for speeding and is found to be driving without a license might get deported.  That sounds right to me.  Should there be people here illegally who are illegally driving cars on the roads and who have no insurance also as required by law who get a pass?  Nope, the laws are there for a reason.  If laws aren't going to be enforced, then those laws need to be repealed not ignored. 

For years, many people have pointed out that what has been needed is enforcement of existing law.  The nonsense that is "comprehensive immigration reform" of no importance.  There already are comprehensive immigration laws.  What has been missing has been comprehensive immigration law enforcement.  Hopefully, that is starting with today's action.

It's Amazing Still

So we're one month into the age of Trump, and the views in this country are still polarized.  To be more precise, the views of the pundits who opine each day in the media are still polarized.  For the most part, the usual liberal media people are horrified by Trump.  It's not so much what he is doing, but rather more that it is Trump who is doing it.  And the tone is truly nasty.  Just this morning, I saw a well known columnist describe Trump as a "disease" in the White House.  Of course, this same columnist was appalled when Trump called some of the press enemies of America.  In her mind, she gets to go over the top in her criticism, but the President can respond.

As a whole, the media is still pushing a narrative that things in DC are out of control.  Chaos reigns at least in the minds of the punditry.  Just look; Trump has not yet gotten Congress to pass his entire agenda.  This is a phony narrative.  Congress never moves quickly.  That is something that all Americans should know.  And what has Congress been doing?  Well, in the Senate, most of the time since inauguration has been spent with the Democrats delaying and stretching out approvals of Trump's cabinet nominees.  We've seen three all-nighters pulled as Democrats just talk and talk and talk before the votes get taken and Democrats lose and lose and lose. 

What amazes me most, however, is that the attacks on Trump are so irrational that they have little to do with policy and are now just centered on trying to destroy him.  There seems to be no concern about what this will do to America.

Here's a blatant example that's worth mentioning.  It's not criticism from the media or the congressional Democrats, but instead it is from a protester.  Last night Tucker Carlson had a leader of one of the Presidents' Day protests on his show.  Those were rather small protests in a few cities aimed at Trump.  Carlson asked the protest leader about the substance of the protests.  The guy told Carlson that as a gay man he was concerned about anti-gay legislation that has been mentioned as coming.  Carlson stopped the guy and said that Trump had just signed an order that supported gay rights; Carlson then asked what specifically was the protest leader speaking about.  That was it for this protest leader.  He talked on, but he had nothing to say.  There was no threat to gay rights that he could enunciate.   No threatened legislation, no threatened executive actions, no anti-gay statements by Trump were mentioned.  The best he could come up with was that he knew what Mike Pence really thinks.  It was embarrassing for the poor guy, but even after all that he was still talking about upcoming protests to end the "threat" from Trump.

The sad thing is that the mindless opposition really does hurt the country.  A debate over policy is fine.  An attack on the President just to have an attack is idiotic.  It amazes me still that so many on the left don't see that (or don't care.)

Monday, February 20, 2017

McMaster of the Universe

President Trump just selected general H. R. McMaster as National Security Advisor.  He follows Mike Flynn who resigned a week ago.

McMaster is a great choice.  He has major experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He has been a leader in the Pentagon planning efforts for the army of the future.  He understands both the stakes and the methods used regarding national security.

We wish him well and we applaud his selection.

A Quick Test Of Your Knowledge

Here's a quick quiz that's particularly appropriate given the uproar over recent statements.

Who is it who said the following:  “For years, ... media outlets have just been pumping out all kinds of toxic, crazy stuff.”

When was the statement made?

Here are your choices:

1.  Whoopi Goldberg on The View in 2014.

2.  Donald Trump at a rally in Indiana in July 2016.

3.  Barack Obama at a campaign rally in October 2016.

4.  Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate in April of 2015.

5.  Steve Bannon on in June of 2016.

So who did you choose as the person accusing the media of pushing "toxic, crazy stuff"?

The correct answer is 3.  President Obama made the statement less than two weeks before the November 2016 election when he was out campaigning for Hillary Clinton.  Obama attacked the media and no one paid much attention.

Keep that in mind as you read the wails and screams from the media because President Trump has pointed out that they public dishonest phony stories.  Maybe you can figure out why calling it Fake News is worse than calling it "toxic, crazy" news.  The answer is simple:  Trump has an R after his name rather than a D.

The Coming Change in Europe

Europe is changing. The UK is leaving the European Union after Brexit.  Even prime minister May who supported staying in the EU is now firmly on board with departing that organization.  In Germany, Angela Merkel looks like she is going to be defeated for re-election.  Merkel appears to have been done in by her support for bringing over a million immigrants into Germany from Syria and the Middle East.  In France, Marine LePen is leading the polls for the first round of the upcoming presidential voting.  The polls still show her losing in the runoff, but LePen is moving up quickly and may well get a surprise victory.  In the Netherlands, the leading party for the next election is one that is strongly nationalistic and which wants Muslim immigrants in the country to integrate into Dutch society or leave.  In Sweden, there is a major backlash against the Muslim refugees as a wave of rapes has swept through that country.  Some governments in eastern Europe have barred entry to refugees with great public support.

 If you're an Obama-type liberal, you are worried that a wave of fascism is about to engulf that continent.  At least that is what you say.  The truth is that no one could honestly or accurately lump these developments together as fascist; in Germany, the likely replacement for Merkel is a socialist.  No, what links these political developments is a desire for these countries to retake control of their own futures.  The Brits didn't want to surrender their sovereignty to the EU bureaucrats in Brussels.  The French, Germans and Dutch want to determine for themselves who is to live in their countries.  The liberal, big state bureaucrats in Brussels do not speak for them.  In many ways, these moves are or will be a victory for the nation-state over the globalist bureaucracy that the left has tried to foist on the world.  It's similar to the reasons for the victory by President Trump here last November.

Across the West, there are millions of ordinary people who feel that their lives and their concerns are being ignored.  The UN or the EU both seem sclerotic, frequently forced to inaction on issues that require a response.  Even worse, the issues that both consider often are focused on the victim group of the month, be they Syrian refugees or some other group.  Think of the resonance that Donald Trump's promise to represent Americans who have been ignored has gotten.  Similar promises in Europe are having a great effect.

It is unclear whether these forces in Europe will succeed in taking control of many countries.  Nevertheless, it is certain that Europe will have to change to accommodate these forces. 

Why Should We Listen To Them?

The Washington Post has an article today which "reports" that the chances of a repeal of Obamacare are fading.  Really?  Why should we listen to or believe that "news" report?  The biggest point in the article is that a group of people who used to predict that it was 65% likely that the individual mandate would be gone by April now predict that it is only 35% likely.  Think about that for a moment.  Some group of unidentified prognosticators lower their estimate according to the Post, so that's supposed to indicate reality.

Let's all realize what is key here:  the Individual Mandate requires individuals to have health insurance or to pay a fine together with their taxes.  Last week, the IRS announced that it would accept returns that do not report on whether or not the individual filing the return had health insurance for all of 2016.  Translation:  the IRS is no longer going to enforce the penalty for not meeting the Individual Mandate.  Even without action by Congress, that is the end of the Individual Mandate as an effective tool for forcing people to buy health insurance.  That means that the estimate of the gurus consulted by the Post about the Individual Mandate is truly irrelevant.

Second, remember that the Post told us repeatedly that Donald Trump's campaign was over.  The Post had his campaign crash and burn so often that it got boring.  All through the early primary season one thing or another meant the death of the Trump campaign.  Once Trump got the nomination, the Post told us many times the Hillary Clinton had the election locked up.  Indeed, just a few weeks before the election, the Post told us that Hillary would win, the Democrats would take the Senate and there was even a good change that the Democrats would take control of the House.  Who predicted that?  Was it the same group of geniuses who are now telling us what the chances are for Obamacare repeal?  Most likely that is the case.

There is so much supposed news that is nothing more than wishful thinking from media outlets like the Post that it is ridiculous.  The President said that he would shortly be unveiling the plan for repeal and replacement of Obamacare.  It may pass, it may be modified and then pass or it may fail.  We will all have to wait and see.  One thing is certain, however, until we see the proposal, predictions as to what will happen are just more Fake News from the mainstream media.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

You Can't Tell Us What To Say!

It's really an amazing phenomenon to watch.  The media is still going nuts in response to President Trump's telling the country that much of what gets printed is Fake News.  Trump called the media "enemies" of America.

Today's big response came with White House Chief of Staff Priebus being questioned on a Sunday show.  Priebus was told by the TV host, "you can't tell the media what to say."

The media really doesn't seem to understand either freedom of speech or freedom of the press. 

1.  President Trump isn't telling the media what to say.  Indeed, the media is free to say whatever it wants.

2.  What the media misses, however, is that President Trump is also free to say whatever he wants.  He is free to point out when the media pushes Fake News.  He can call out media people for pushing hatred and dishonesty rather than actually telling the American people the truth.

The reality is that the media are not afraid that Trump is telling them what to say.  No, what motivates the media is that Trump is exposing many of them as liars who slant everything to help the Democrats even when they have to be dishonest to do that.  Remember, people who come to the conclusion that a particular media outlet is not honest will probably stop reading or watching that outlet.  The marketplace will bring down the dishonest media; it doesn't require any action by the President.

Look, the reason why there is so little faith in the honesty of the mainstream media is that we've seen them in action for many years.  Americans are not idiots; they understand that they are being told lies. 

Just think of what happened under Obama.  President Obama tried to bar Fox News from White House briefings; he didn't just talk about them.  Then Obama had the FBI conduct surveillance on Fox reporters and even accuse Washington correspondent James Rosen of criminal behavior because he reported some stories.  Meanwhile, Obama also had the FBI carry out wiretaps on the Washington bureau of the AP.  Those activities were a real threat to the freedom of the press.  There was some reaction to Obama's actions, but not really very much.  Most of the mainstream media just stayed silent about it.  Certainly, the mainstream media did not attack Obama for his assault on freedom of the press. 

Now compare the response to Obama with the current response to Trump.  Trump hasn't done anything to threaten the media; he has only talked and blown the whistle on the media dishonesty.  The media reaction is to claim that the entirety of American democracy will be destroyed by Trump's statements.  So we have Obama police state actions to which there is hardly an objection and Trump's statements which the media likens to the end of the world as we know it.

As I said before, the American people are not stupid.  We understand what is happening here, and it's not something of which the media could even be proud.

An Even Tempered and Calm Response

I wrote yesterday about how the media is trying to use the First Amendment to shield themselves from criticism being leveled against them by President Trump and others.  For many in the media, the idea that the President can call out reporters and media outlets for printing Fake News is un-American.  They sputter that it's a violation of the Constitution.  You know, the Constitution has that famous line where it says "the media is always right, and even when it is not, no one, and that means absolutely no one, can point out their errors."  That's what the First Amendment says, right?

The idea that the media is above criticism is actually what is un-American.  No one in this country is above criticism.  That's what free speech means.  I'm free to point out what the media gets wrong.  So too, is President Trump.  Indeed, presidents have been criticizing the media almost since the day the Constitution was ratified. 

The media counterattack against Trump, however, consists of more than just hiding behind a phony interpretation of the Constitution.  They are now going all out in attacking.  Here's a good example:  in the failing New York Daily News, there is an article by Linda Stasi with the headline that reads, "Trump's Spiteful Crusade Against Media is Traitorous."  Stasi then goes on to call Trump "unhinged", a "pathological liar", "dangerous", "crazy", and more.  When Trump points out that the media is printing false and dishonest stories, Stasi calls that an attack on the First Amendment.  You see, Stasi and her fellow travelers in the media are allowed to say these inflammatory things, but a response from President Trump which is much less strident makes him not only wrong, but also crazy and a traitor.

Speaking for myself and, I suspect, a huge swath of the America people, I just want to tell Linda Stasi
and her media buddies that their days in control of the news are over.  Not only does the truth get out to millions of people each day despite the best efforts of Stasi and her friend, but she and the others have managed with their conduct to destroy their own credibility.  If she told the truth, it would still be hard to take her at face value.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chaos and Disarray?

I'm watching the speech in Florida by President Trump and one thing is totally obvious:  the narrative of the mainstream media and the Democrats that Trump and his administration are mired in chaos and disarray is complete nonsense.  Trump began his speech by listing things that he did in the first four weeks in office.  It's an amazing list.  Important item after important item is being discussed.  These are accomplishment, not statements.  Trump is actually getting things done while Obama used to just talk about doing things.  For example, Trump pointed out that he brought back the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines with tens of thousands of jobs created.  He put on a federal hiring freeze.  He stopped new federal regulations and got rid of many job killing ones that were previously put in place by Obama.  If you want a complete list, I suggest you watch the speech on youtube.  The point, however, is that things are really happening.

It's interesting to me just how surprising I find the whole list of things that Trump has done.  Of all people, I am very aware of the phony nature of much of the mainstream media coverage of current events.  Even so, the non-stop garbage being pumped out about how Trump and his administration are being stymied and left in chaos, has managed to make me surprised when I hear all that has been done.

It's been a great four weeks.  It really seems that we may yet see Trump make America great again.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Today's latest story is that the top pick to become National Security Advisor is now Ambassador John Bolton.  Bolton is an excellent choice.  He is much more well spoken than Mike Flynn who resigned the post.  In general, however, the views of the two men are similar except that Bolton is probably more inclined towards the use of military force than Flynn ever was.

I wonder if those who orchestrated the departure of Flynn are regretting their actions today.  My guess is that they are.

With Bolton, we will certainly have the position occupied with someone who is not inclined to apologize for the USA.  It will still be someone who rejects the weakness of the Obama years.

This May Be A Major Success

In a little noticed story, China has cut off importing coal from North Korea effective immediately until the end of 2017.  It doesn't sound like much, but to use the Trump word, it is actually "YUGE!"

North Korea has a tiny economy.  Almost a quarter of what gets produce in the country is coal, and almost every lump of coal produced is exported to China.  That means when China cuts off coal imports from the NKs, it is a major blow to the entire country of North Korea.

So how did this come to happen?  At the end of the week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with his Chinese counterpart at the G20 meeting in Europe.  The word after the meeting was that Tillerson emphasized to the Chinese that America saw it as very important that the Chinese use their influence to moderate the warlike behavior of the North Koreans.  In just the last month, the North Koreans have tested multiple missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.  The day after the Tillerson meeting in Europe, the Chinese announced that they were cutting off imports of coal from North Korea.

There's no way to know for sure if the Chinese were responding to the American pressure for them to get control of the NKs, but it certainly appears as if that is what happened.  If so, it is a major victory for President Trump and his administration and for both the USA and the world.  China has been the country that has propped up the North Korean regime for decades.  China is also the country (and the only one) that can pull the NKs back from their aggressive course without war or at least the threat of war.

It is interesting to note that while media outlets like the NY Times, Washington Post, NPR and the BBC reported this story, not one of them mentioned the meeting between Tillerson and the Chinese.  It just kills them to think that maybe President Trump got something moving where president Obama was totally ineffective.

Is This Real?

I just saw an article discussing how students at the University of California, San Diego are protesting the upcoming visit and speech of the Dalai Lama.  According to the students, the Dalai Lama is a divisive figure who undermines the university values of respect and tolerance.  His visit would upset Chinese students as well, so it should be canceled. 

Given what the Dalai Lama's philosophy is, I was rather surprised to read the article.  I tried to verify if it was just Fake News, but I haven't gotten a clear answer yet.  It seems to be real.

What will the crazies on campus do next?  Here are a few ideas:

1.  Since Ivory soap advertises that it is 99.41% pure, maybe it should be banned for its lack of diversity.

2.  Concerts by the Rolling Stones should also be banned due to lack of Respect.  Of course, they could also be banned because the Stones are just so old.

3.  Maybe men's and women's sports should be protested as too divisive.  Why can't college sports be unisex.

4.  The bans on pets in the dorms have to go as well.  Similarly, the hiring of exterminators to rid buildings of insect or rat infestations must stop.  It is way too divisive and disrespectful.  Why should humans be worth more than animals?


The First Amendment And The Free Press

At his press conference earlier this week, President Trump lambasted much of the media.  His particular target was CNN which he called "very fake news".  Later the President sent a tweet in which he called some of the media the "enemies of America".  In response, a whole batch of media commentators and reporters had a massive meltdown.  Some of what they had to say includes these:  The President was attacking the First Amendment.  Freedom of the press is guaranteed.  It's un-American to call the media "enemies".  Trump has gone over the edge.

But is any of the media response valid?  Is any of it fair?  Let's take a look.

Let's start with the First Amendment.  Here is what that amendment says:

'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Nothing in the First Amendment guarantees that the media is free from criticism.  All it really says is that the federal government cannot pass a law curtailing the freedom of the press.  Even for some of the morons in the media, it should not be too difficult to realize that when President Trump called them dishonest or even "enemies" of America, those words do not rise to the level of a law.  All that happened is that the President expressed his opinion (one with which many people strongly agree.)  So, the argument that Trump was attacking the First Amendment is completely ridiculous.

So is it un-American to call the media a bunch of enemies of Americ a?  Do the media reporters and pundits have some sort of immunity to criticism?  And, if they do have that immunity, what is the source of that special right?  There's a simple answer here, but first let's remember a few salient points.  Many in the media have called the President some of these things:  1) a Nazi; 2) a fascist; 3)crazy; 4) stupid; 5) a narcissist; 6) dangerous; and many more nasty things.  The truth is that the First Amendment guarantee all Americans the right to respond to criticism of that sort.  President Trump has the absolute right to call the media dishonest, hate-filled, and the like.  That sort of debate is not un-American; it is the essence of what makes America free.

The media and its people enjoy no special immunity from criticism by the President or any other American.  The only thing that is new here is that President Trump, unlike some previous Republican presidents, is actually taking the media on and calling them out as the dishonest Democrat support group that they truly are.  The American people are the ones who get to decide who is right.  The media cannot continually slam Trump with BS stories which have little relation to the truth without themselves being called out as liars and cheats.  They can puff themselves up in their self-importance, but most people recognize that pomposity as nothing more than upset at being told the truth and, even worse, having the American people being told the truth about them.