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Friday, March 31, 2017

Will Washington Wake Up And See Reality?

Every day, there's more news in the media about the "threat" from Russia.  In many respects, it's part of the bogus attempt to delegitimize President Trump by talking about non-existent connections between his campaign and the Russians.  Still, there is a major disconnect between reality and the media when it comes to Russia.

Today, there is an article in the media about how Russia is creating an "arc of iron" around Europe.  The Russian military, we are told is getting a foothold in Syria, Libya and elsewhere to surround and threaten western and central Europe.  According to the article, the best way to deal with this threat is to cooperate with the Russians so as to avoid any confrontation.

Now let's get serious.  Russia is a third rate power.  It is not the Soviet Union anymore.  Basically, Russia has large numbers of nuclear weapons, but that's about it.  In 2016, the Russian economy had a GDP of about 1.26 trillion dollars.  The USA had a GDP of about 18.6 trillion dollars during that same year.  Japan, the UK, Germany and France each had an economy that was twice as big as the Russian economy.  Other countries with larger economies than Russia included India, Canada, Brazil and Italy.  China's economy was about eight times larger than Russia's.  In other words, Russia is a poor country with a limping economy.  There is no way that the Russians could finance any major arms race or massive encirclement of Europe.

On top of this, the main prop to the Russian economy is oil and gas which is exported to Europe and elsewhere.  Russia used to get very high prices for its oil and gas, but that is no longer the case, and the outlook for the Russians is bleak.  Oil prices have plunged for many years now, and there is no prospect of recovery.  Prices for natural gas in Europe are soon going to fall as major exports from the USA start arriving in bulk.  That will be a body blow for the Russian economy.  It's hard to imagine the Russians being able to finance much of a military buildup with just the profits from making vodka.

It is true that Russia has invaded and take parts of Ukraine and Georgia during the last nine years.  These are nations, however, that are even weaker than Russia.  These are also nations with no international defensive alliances like NATO that would dissuade the Russians from such actions.

Is it possible that Russia could miscalculate and attempt to move on the rest of Europe?  Sure.  It's also possible that Costa Rica may decide to invade the USA.  Anything is possible.  Absent a totally psychotic Russian leader, however, it just isn't going to happen.

How Frantic Are the Dems?

We hit a new low in Fake News spin from the AP today.  I came across an article under a headline announcing the Senator Schumer had "WARNED" Senate Republicans not to change the Senate rules.  That's truly funny since it was the Democrats with Schumer as their deputy leader who changed the same rule four years ago so that all other nominees could no longer be filibustered.  Still, the best line in the whole article is this one:

"Although such a change might seem procedural or obscure, it is known on Capitol Hill as the "nuclear option" because it would amount to a dramatic departure from Senate norms of bipartisanship and collegiality."

Bipartisanship and collegiality??????   Really???  I actually laughed out loud when I read this.

Schumer and his fellow Democrats have been opposing every move made by the GOP and President Trump and every nomination made by Trump.  It's the last day of March, and we still have cabinet officials who have not yet received even a vote in the Senate as a result of blatant partisanship from the Democrats.  And as for collegiality, how many times did we hear Schumer accuse Republicans of being "terrorists" or "hostage takers" or some other name in the last four years?  The answer is too many times to count.

The idea that the senate Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media can still push lies like the "Senate norms of bipartisanship and collegiality" is ridiculous.  The whole article is Fake News.  It's a lie.  The senators know it's a lie.  The reporters know it's a lie.  But for the Democrat/media complex, spouting Fake News is just politics as usual.


The Idiocy Spreads

In the last few days, stories have been spreading through the media about the policy the Vice President Pence follows.  Pence, it is reported, will not dine alone with any woman who is not his wife.  There are some other wrinkles to the story, but they are not even worth repeating.  The point is that the Vice President avoids any situation which might be misconstrued as improper.  He considers it part of his Christianity.

Pence's practice may seem unusual to the denizens of the media/liberal bubble, but it's certainly nothing that merits much attention.  Nevertheless, in the last two days, there have been articles in the mainstream media literally calling Pence's practice "illegal", "part of rape culture", and similarly nutty things.  All that is happening is that Pence is being faithful to his wife in the way he deems appropriate.  When Bill Clinton was faithful to Hillary in the way he deemed appropriate, none of these reporters told us it was illegal or part of rape culture.  No, when Clinton allegedly raped women, and had sex with young interns in the Oval Office, these same people told us "It's just sex."

The hypocrisy is overwhelming.  Let's forget Bill Clinton.  When Muslims women following sharia law cover themselves from head to toe with a burka, none of these people call it rape culture.  No one says it is illegal.  Indeed, were anyone to insist that burkas not be allowed in public places, they would be denounced immediately for violating religious freedom.  So what's wrong with Pence's practice?  The answer is that there's nothing wrong with it at all, except that Pence is a Republican conservative who is in the Trump administration.  For these folks, that means that anything he does is wrong.

The idiocy disease is spreading across the country among the hard left.

The Usual Nonsense

According to a report in The Hill today, President Trump met yesterday with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin for the initial planning for the tax cuts to be proposed.  The White House is quoted as stating that they and the Treasury people are meeting with many who have particular viewpoints on what should and what should not be in that bill.  President Trump will make the final decision after all of these meetings have been concluded. 

This is basically the story that has been reported for a while now.  The tax cut bill is being assembled, and all viewpoints are being considered.

I only repeated the stuff above because of another report I read this morning.  The Comptroller of New York City released a report detailing how President Trump's tax plan would affect the people of New York City.  According to the Comptroller, millionaires would get big tax breaks while middle class and poor people would see their taxes rise.  There's one big problem with this report, however.  As of now, there is nothing that could be called "President Trump's tax plan".  It hasn't been announced.  It hasn't been finalized.  It's still under discussion.

So how can the Democrat who is New York's Comptroller issue such an obviously bogus report and hope to get away with it?  It's easy, he says that his analysis is of the plans that Trump discussed during the campaign.  Of course, during the campaign, the same guy who is now giving us an analysis of Trump's supposed tax plan kept criticizing Trump for not supplying enough details of his plans so that voters would understand just how terrible those plans were.  Trump gave insufficient details, but now the genius City Comptroller can tell us to the penny how the taxes of each individual in New York City will be affected by the non-existent tax plan.

This is Fake News, and we don't need more details to understand that.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

All Spin -- All the Time

There's a New York Times report this afternoon that supposedly identifies two people who were involved in Devin Nunes seeing intelligence material that indicates that US intelligence agencies under Obama collected surveillance materials on Trump transition team members and maybe on Trump himself.  The report does not identify what the nature of the involvement of these two people was, and the Times report is very careful not to say that the two were the whistle blowers who supplied the material to Nunes.  For all we know, these two gave Nunes access to a White House SCIF (a secure location for viewing classified information) and nothing more.

None of this matters to the all-spin mainstream media.  I just read a piece from Bloomberg news that says that the Times identified two White House staffers who gave Nunes the information and briefed him.  That's not what the Times said, but the media is off to the Fake News races.  By tomorrow, no doubt, we will be told that the Times identified the two as the very people who collected the intelligence and then personally handed the documents to Nunes.

The whole story is silly.  The point here is what is in the intelligence documents.  Did the intelligence agencies under Obama actually gather intel on the president elect and his people?  If so, that is outrageous -- worse than Watergate!  The identity of the person or people who handed this intel to Congressman Nunes is not the story.  It could be anyone if it proves that Obama was spying on Trump.

The Times Goes Full Fake News

The New York Times has a front page article today proclaiming that with President Trump "retreating" from the fight against global warming, China will wrest leadership in that battle away from the USA.  Think about that for a moment and while you ponder that claim, remember these points:

1.  The USA and China entered into an agreement that the mainstream media lauded as a breakthrough when president Obama signed it.  Under that agreement, China need not take any steps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases until 2030.  The USA, however, agreed to take drastic steps immediately to meet the goals set forth by the Paris Accords.  Simply put, America complies with Paris and China ignores those agreements.  What a breakthrough!

2.  Fifteen years ago, the USA was the world's biggest source of carbon emissions.  Since then, America has cut those emissions substantially.  Much of that reduction has been the result of a switch to the use of natural gas in power generation, a change caused by the widespread use of fracking and the resultant cut in the cost of natural gas.  Today, the world's biggest source of carbon emissions is China.  China has been building new coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace.  It opens something like 50 new coal plants each year.  Smog is now extraordinarily bad in Beijing.  The Chinese completely ignore the pollution caused by the country's rapid economic growth.

So is the Times correct?  Will the mega-polluting China suddenly grab the mantle of leadership in the fight against global warming?  Will the leadership in Beijing announce that they are going to stop construction of all those coal fired power plants?  Will China decide that it no longer needs or wants economic growth when it can instead hold the title of world leader in the fight against global warming?

You really have to wonder if the authors of the Times' article believe what they wrote.  Anyone with half a brain understands that the Chinese have no desire to get involved with the "fight" against global warming.  The gave Obama his big "breakthrough" by agreeing that they didn't have any obligations in that "fight" for the next 13 years.  Obama got his photo-op and China gave nothing.  Now that America will no longer be ignoring the damage done to its economy by the "fight", China will never move forward to grab leadership.  My guess is that the Times' reporters understand this, but the chance to criticize Trump was just too good to pass up -- even if it is Fake News.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Worth Remembering The Last Six Years in Syria

We just passed the sixth anniversary of the start of the Syrian civil war.  It began when president Assad decided to stop street protests against his regime by sending snipers to roof tops to shoot random protesters.  Despite the murder unleashed on the protesters, they did not back down.  Instead, the protests quickly changed into armed resistance by the bulk of the Syria people.  The uprising was carried out by poorly armed people facing the full might of the Syrian army.  It was a one-sided battle, but the uprising continued.  The great bulk of the Syrian people opposed Assad and his troops.  Remember, Assad is an Alawaite Muslim, a Shiite related group that comprises only about an eighth of the Syrian population.  More than 75% of the Syrians are Sunni Muslim, and there is no love lost between those two groups.

It was at that point, that the USA could have made a major difference in the outcome in Syria.  Had president Obama just sent weapons to the rebels, they could have toppled Assad and established majority rule in Syria, thereby ending the civil war.  Obama first dithered and then decided to do nothing.

In the face of American and European refusals to help, the rebels turn to others.  It was their only choice (aside from being slaughtered by the Assad forces.)  That let the jihadis gain a foothold in the rebel opposition to Assad. 

Since then, more and more foreign influences have joined into the Syrian fight.  We have ISIS and affiliates of al Qaeda leading forces.  We have Iranians, Russians and Hezbollah helping the Assad forces.  We have Kurds securing their own portions of the country.  There are even American troops in the country; they were introduced to the fighting in tiny numbers after a five year delay by Obama.

And what has been the outcome?

The fighting continues.
There have been about 450,000 people killed.
There are about another 250,000 people missing and presumed dead.
There have been more than a million people wounded.
Roughly ten million people have been forced to flee their homes.
Millions of Syrians are now refugees in other countries.
Russia and Iran both now have bases in Syria.
ISIS was able to gain control of a large swath of Syria, although that is being taken back.

The best summary of the situation in Syria is that it is a disaster, a total disaster.

The truth of all this is that it shows what happens when America refuses to lead.  Obama wanted to lead from behind, but instead he chose not to lead at all.  The USA did not kill these people.  Of that there is no question.  If Obama had been competent, however, most of them could have been saved.

The next time someone tells you about how America has to accept refugees from Syria for humanitarian reasons, ask that person what he or she did to get our government to respond to the civil war in that country during the first two years of fighting when we could have made a difference.  Wait for the blank look that will surely follow.

The Ultimate Hypocrite: Nan Aron

In USA Today, leftist lawyer Nan Aron of the laughably named "Alliance For Justice" goes on a great length discussing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.  Aron has little of importance to say about soon-to-be justice Gorsuch, but she ultimately focuses on the expected senate filibuster of the nomination by the Democrats.  Here's what Aron has to say about that:

If a nominee for a lifetime job on our highest court can’t get 60 votes, don't go 'nuclear.' Change the nominee.

That seems pretty clear; Aron is a supporter of the Senate Rules that allow a filibuster on a nomination.

Those filibuster rules used to cover all nominations, but they were changed by the Democrats roughly four years ago so that people nominated for a lifetime job on the federal trial courts and appellate courts across America only need 51 votes to be confirmed.  Surely, Aron must have been against that move; she wants lifetime appointments to get 60 votes.

Here's what Aron's bio on the Alliance for Justice website has to say on that issue:

 In 2013, Alliance for Justice helped to lead a coalition of 100 organizations to reform the Senate filibuster rules.

So you see, Aron not only did not oppose the end of filibustering for federal judicial nominees who get lifetime appointments, she led the charge to do away with those filibusters. 

The only difference now from 2013 is that Republican hold the majority now while Democrats held the majority then.  Aron clearly doesn't give a damn about lifetime appointments etc.  She only cares about political power.  If Democrats get to pick a judge, then Republicans should have nothing to say about it.  If Republicans get to pick a judge, well we can't have that, can we?

If there ever is a national Hall of Fame for Hypocrisy, I nominate Nan Aron as a charter member.  She will get selected whether it takes 50% or 60% of the vote.

Making It Up As You Go Along

In the Boston Globe today, there is an article by David Leopold in which he claims that not only can't the federal government withhold funds from sanctuary cities, but also that local police cannot constitutionally cooperate with ICE detainers.  It's a ridiculous legal position; a "tour de farce" of BS in legalese.

Here's the heart of what Leopold says:

The 10th Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the federal government from coercing states into becoming immigration enforcement agents.
....ICE detainers raise very serious constitutional concerns for local jurisdictions. The federal courts have ruled that the Fourth Amendment forbids the government from locking someone up without a warrant signed by a judge or probable cause.
Now let's discuss the actual law.  The 10th Amendment (as interpreted by the Supreme Court) does place a limit on what Congress can do to force states to adopt particular policies.  The limitations, however, do not prevent minor actions by the states from being rewarded (or penalized).  Holding a prisoner after receipt of a notice from federal agents for a day or so to allow the feds to come and take custody of that prisoner is hardly a major involvement by the state.  It is, rather, exactly the type of activity for which the courts have long allowed the federal government to motivate the states through funding rewards.
As for the Fourth Amendment, Leopold's argument is even more laughable.  The people at issue here are "locked up" because they either committed or are accused of committing local crimes.  Detainers apply only to those who have been otherwise arrested by the local police.  Is someone accused of murder?  If so, he or she can be arrested with probably cause that satisfies the Fourth Amendment.  If the feds then notify the local police that the prisoner is wanted for deportation, there is no violation of that amendment if the local police hold the prisoner until the feds get their to take custody. 
If someone commits a crime in New Jersey and then goes to New York, the local police can arrest that person and hold him or her for extradition back to New Jersey.  This is the equivalent of a federal detainer.  Indeed, if the FBI puts out a notice that someone wanted for a criminal act is in a particular state and the local police find that person, the Constitution allows the locals to arrest him or her and to hold that person for the feds.  Detainers are even clearer that these examples because the initial arrest is the result of probable cause of commission of a crime under local law.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Environmentalists (not Polar Ice) Melt down

President Trump signed an executive order today which changed much of the Obama regulatory structure for "combatting climate change".  The new order does the following:

1.  It gets rid of Obama's Clean Power Plan.  The environmentalists are screaming today that this will prevent the USA from meeting the goals of the Paris Accords.  The truth, however, is quite different.  The former head of the EPA under Obama told Congress that the Clean Power Plan would have no real effect on the climate but was needed as a "symbolic gesture".  It's meaningful is some bureaucrats lose their jobs; it's symbolic if American miners lose theirs.

2.  The order reopens federal lands for coal mining.  Think how many more jobs that will create.

3.  The order also reduces the consideration of global warming issues in the issuance of permits for infrastructure projects.  That's right; next time some railroad wants to rebuild and old bridge, it won't have to do a costly study to assess the effect on the climate of a new and safe bridge. 

4.  The order covers additional items, but the ones above are the big ones.

The reporting on the executive order is predictable.  Here's a tiny excerpt from Reuters:

An overwhelming majority of scientists believe that human use of oil and coal for energy is a main driver of climate change, causing a damaging rise in sea levels, droughts and more frequent violent storms.

There is, however, some major problems with this statement that Reuters ignores.  First, there hasn't been any rise in sea levels.  Second, there haven't been more frequent violent storms.  Quite the opposite is true; there have been fewer such storms.  Third, there are no more droughts today than there have been in the past.  Last, the "overwhelming majority" referenced by Reuters is a reference to a poll done many years ago.  There is no current data on the thinking of actual climate scientists.  They are the only ones whose opinions ought to get special weight.  No one should think that a nutritionist or a geologist has any special insight into the climate.  Think of it this way:  would you go to a climate scientist for medical advice? 

The Gang of Hate

When Congressman Devin Nunes got briefed by a source on how the US intelligence agencies conducted electronic surveillance on the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team (and maybe on Trump himself), he went to the White House for that briefing.  As a result, the Democrat/Media complex (or as I call them "the gang of hate") is going ballistic.  They want Nunes to step down as committee chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Let's take a look at why the Dems want Nunes to step down and also why he likely went to the White House for the meeting.

The reason the Democrats want Nunes to step down is very clear:  Nunes now has evidence that members of the Trump campaign, Trump transition team (and possibly Trump himself) were caught on tape by American intelligence agencies which then illegally sent that intelligence on to the Obama White House without hiding the identities of the Americans involved.  Understand this:  intelligence agencies like the NSA or the CIA are allowed to conduct surveillance of foreign operatives without a warrant.  If the Chinese ambassador, the UN representative of Japan or the foreign minister of Ukraine makes a phone call, it is legal for our intelligence agencies to listen in, if they can.  The problem arises, however, if the foreigners speak to an American.  Unless the agencies have a FISA court warrant expressly authorizing surveillance of the American on the phone, the identity of that American and what he or she says cannot be divulged by those intelligence agencies or even put in the records.  We already know that the intelligence agencies during the final days of the Obama administration broke the law by giving out the identity of Americans caught on tape speaking to foreigners.  General Flynn, Trump's initial National Security Adviser, was taped while speaking to the Russian ambassador during December.  That conversation is perfectly normal; the incoming National Security Adviser has to speak to foreign representatives.  When the news of this call was leaked to the media, however, that was a crime.

We've now heard from the FBI Director who testified under oath that the FBI did not conduct surveillance of Trump Tower and that there was no FISA warrant issued to allow such surveillance.  Director Comey of the FBI, however, never said that no intelligence agency picked up the Trump personnel while the agency was tapping calls of foreigners.  Nunes now has evidence to show that Comey may well have been covering up the criminal failure by one or another intelligence agency to protect the identity and conversations of the American participants of those calls.

In short, Nunes now has proof that the Trump charge that he and his people were surveilled by the Obama administration is likely true.  This is explosive evidence.  It would shift the attention from the imaginary connection between Trump and Russia that the Democrats have been pushing to -- instead -- the illegal conduct of the Obama administration and even Obama White House personnel who got surveillance records of the Trump people and made them public.  It is enough to send people to prison.  The Democrats are trying to discredit it before the evidence becomes public.

So why did Nunes go to the White House to get briefed?  That too seems very clear.

Much of what Nunes learned is classified.  It has to be discussed in a secure location set aside for classified information.  There are such places in both the Capitol and the White House.  If Nunes used the location on Capitol Hill, however, many people there might see the person with whom Nunes was meeting.  The same is true in the White House; the staff and security people could see the person briefing Nunes.  Most likely, that means that the person passing on this critical information to Nunes is someone whose presence would not be unusual at the White House but who would stand out at the Capitol.  The intelligence agencies have people going all the time to the White House.  If the whistle blower walked down the White House corridors, there would be no reason for anyone to suspect that anything unusual was up. 

Remember, the whistle blower who told Nunes about these possible criminal actions at the end of the Obama administration is putting his career on the line.  Surely, he or she does not want to be unmasked.  As an intelligence agent, that person would understand the concept of hiding in plain sight.  He or she would want to fit in, not to stand out.  A meeting at the White House satisfies that requirement.

There is also the possibility that, as has been reported, Nunes needed to access the computer systems at the White House to see the evidence itself.  Supposedly, this computer system of the Executive branch of the government is only available at the White House, but this is not something that I have been able to verify.  If so, however, it would be another reason why Nunes would go to the White House.

The bottom line here is that Nunes seems to have started the unraveling of the entire anti-Trump activity undertaken by the Obamacrats at the end of Obama's time in office.  This is explosive stuff.  Nunes needs to hang in there.  The BS nonsense that the gang of hate is putting on the air should just be ignored for the Fake News that it is.

One final note:  if you don't buy what I said above, then ask yourself why it matters if Nunes spoke to the whistle blower at the White House rather than at the Capitol.  What's wrong with that?  The answer is clearly NOTHING.

The Crazies On The March

The mayors of the big sanctuary cities are out with defiant statements today.  One after another, the prima donnas of progressivism are denouncing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions for saying that the DOJ will follow policy (set by the Obama administration) and actually cut off certain types of funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with ICE.  These mayors are all about "protecting" the "immigrants" from the evil/racist move of the federal government to enforce the law.

What can you say about these fools?  The Trump administration is deporting illegal aliens with criminal records or who have already been before a trial judge and ordered deported.  Known gang members and drug dealers are also being deported.  That's about it for now.  And remember, when these sanctuary cities refuse to honor ICE detainers, we are only talking about illegal aliens already under arrest in these cities for criminal activity.  That means that these losers on the left are actually protecting only CRIMINALS with their sanctuary cities nonsense.

Let's check the scales of justice and common sense.  On the one side you have the ordinary residents of these cities.  These are people who are the victims of crime.  These are the prey of criminal elements within those cities.  On the other side of the scale you have the criminals who are in the country illegally.  To be clear, these are not people whose crime is being here illegally.  No, these are rapists, murderers, robbers, thieves, drug dealers, and other assorted bad actors.  These are the people who attack the ordinary residents and make their lives much less safe.

So who is it that the loco leftist mayors of these cities want to protect?  That's right:  they are defiantly protecting the criminals.  You know, those poor victims, the criminals.

It's time for ordinary Americans to rise up and tell these bozos to stop the nonsense.  These mayors and their supporters had better start caring about ordinary Americans more than about the criminals who prey on them.

Schumer Loses It

I saw a headline that said that Schumer had yelled at a Trump voter at a swanky Manhattan restaurant.  It made me wonder, what has Amy Schumer done now.  Since I was curious, I clicked on the link and found an article about senator Chuck Schumer screaming at a woman in a fancy New York restaurant for having voted for Trump.  The senator even followed her out of the restaurant which she left just to get away from him and screamed more on the sidewalk according to the article. 

This guy is supposed to be the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.  It turns out that he can't deal with people who don't view the world the way he does.

The truth is that Schumer and his misconduct make me sick.  From now on I'm going to call him "Upchuck Schumer."

Monday, March 27, 2017

Why Make Republicans go Nuclear?

The Democrats decided today to delay the vote on the Gorsuch nomination for a week.  That is their right under the rules.  The Democrats are also talking as if they are going to filibuster the nomination.  It's a strange decision.

Judge Gorsuch handled the confirmation hearings about as well as any Supreme Court nominee I've ever seen.  He never slipped up.  He never said anything that anyone could call (honestly) controversial.  He was the epitome of propriety and discretion.  He also ran rings around some of the less intelligent Democrat senators who tried to trip him up.  It was funny watching Al Franken trying to outsmart Gorsuch on a legal matter.  It was a complete mismatch.  Gorsuch will be confirmed, of that there is no doubt.

So why are the Democrats saying that they will filibuster?  It makes no sense.  After all, if the GOP has to follow what the Democrats themselves did two years ago and get rid of the filibuster for nominations, it's no big deal.  No matter what the Dems say after that change, Gorsuch will be on the Court.  But in six months or a year when Justice Breyer or Justice Ginsburg leave the Court and President Trump appoints a new conservative to replace a major liberal, there will be no filibuster available.  The Dems will be able to foam at the mouth, but they won't be able to block the nominee.

This is bizarre thinking by the Senate Democrats and Chucky Schumer.  Oh well.

In an Outrageous Move, Trump Is Going to Enforce the Law

It's hard to write this because the news is just sooooo outrageous.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that the Department of Justice is going to enforce the law and cut off federal funds currently going to sanctuary cities.  In other words, if the DOJ asks a local police department to hold an illegal alien who has been arrested until ICE can get someone to that department to take custody of the individual in question and if that local department refuses to cooperate, then federal funding for that local police department will be stopped.

Oh, the horror!  The Trump justice department actually wants local police to hold violent felons for ICE so that these murderers and rapists and gang members can be deported.  It's just wrong!

Attorney General Sessions announced the move today.  He pointed out that the funds to be cut off come through three grant programs — the COPS grants, Byrne grants and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program money — that already require sanctuary certification.  The rules requiring recipients of these grants to comply with detainer requests by ICE were set up under the Obama administration.  Strangely, the Obamacrats never bothered to enforce that policy.  Sessions says that the Department of Justice will now actually follow the law.

It's about time that the crazies who think that their cities should help protect violent felons from deportation even though that places ordinary Americans at risk understand that such stupid moves have consequences.  Some cities will surely accept the loss of funds rather than following the law.  Still, there will undoubtedly be other cities that start honoring ICE requests.  If this can save even one person from injury or death at the hands of a criminal illegal alien, then it will all be worth it.

The idea that the left finds enforcing the law as written to be wrong really tells us all we need to know about these fools.

Another Climate Change Theory Dies

One major aspect of the global warming story has always been that melting ice will cause sea levels to rise and that the drop in salinity of the North Atlantic due to ice melt in Greenland might turn off the Gulf Stream current.  Given the failure of the eco-warriors to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide around the world, we ought to be seeing real effects from this melting ice by now.  Here's what we actually got:

1.  The ice in Antarctica is measured on a daily basis by mapping satellites that can detect tiny changes across that continent.  The latest exact measurements show that the total ice sitting on the southern polar regions has been increasing steadily since the measurements began some years ago.  The trend indicates that we should see continuing ice buildup rather than ice melting.

When this news broke, the global warming crowd told us that what we were seeing was the variation in climate that global warming was causing.  We may see more ice in the Antarctic, but the ice covering Greenland was melting rapidly and catastrophically.  Also, the ice cap at the North Pole was almost gone.

2.  The polar ice cap at the North Pole has been growing for the last five years.  This is according to measurements also taken by satellites which survey that region on a constant basis.  There seems to be less ice than there was 20 years ago, but we don't have measurements that are as precise from back then, so we cannot be sure.

3.  Greenland has been the big issue for the global warmists.  We now have new data that shows that the amount of ice sitting on Greenland is the highest it has been in a great many years.  Here too, we have detailed measurements taken from space.  The snow/ice buildup of this past winter has been more than that for any year for which we have measurements.

Put all this together and we have a picture of a planet on which there is more, not less ice.  In other words, everything predicted by the "accepted" theory of climate change in this regard has turned out NOT to have happened.  In a rational universe, scientists would decide that this means their theory is wrong.  In our world, where climate change is a religion and scientists dare not speak against the accepted wisdom, we just get obfuscation.  Global warming theory, however, remains unproven.  In truth, it is not just unproven; it is also disproven.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Here We Go Again -- More Fake News

There's a big headline on the internet about what Scott Pruitt said today.  According to Yahoo News Pruitt, the head of the EPA, said that "Global Warming Curbs to be Abandoned."  That sounds ominous, doesn't it?

Now here's the actual story:  Pruitt said that President Trump is about to sign an Executive Order undoing Obama's so called Clean Power Plant regulations.  That doesn't mean that Trump wants dirty power plants.  It just means that the president sees no reason to kill the coal industry for symbolic reasons.  The actual fact is that the regulations would have no effect on global warming.  That is not what I say; rather, it is what the last Obama appointed head of the EPA said in testimony before Congress.  The EPA administrator said that these were regulations that showed America's commitment to fighting climate change even though the regulations would have essentially no effect on climate change.  It had symbolic value, just not actual value.

The problem with the symbolic action represented by these regulations is that the regs will have the effect of wiping out tens of thousands of jobs across America.  I wonder how quick the Obamacrats would have been to announce the regulations if the jobs that were being lost were their own.

The real headline should read "Obama Era Worthless Regulations To Be Abandoned".

I doubt we will ever see that truth from the mainstream media.

Oh NO!!! Iran slaps sanctions on 15 American companies

The Iranian government announced that it has placed sanctions on 15 American companies.  Most likely this is in response to the sanctions put on Iranians a while ago.  It's pretty funny; none of the firms actually do business with Teheran or any Iranian company.  That means that the sanctions are meaningless, no more than a PR gesture.  Most of the companies involved manufacture weapons systems.  The USA would not permit American arms manufacturers to sell to the Iranians, even without these sanctions.

As another threat, Iran also said that it would name the US military a "terrorist" group if the USA were to name Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.  That too is a hoot.

I wonder if the Iranians think that anyone in the USA cares about this stuff. 

The Shocking Truth About Lies

Time Magazine has a cover story this week asking "Is Truth Dead?"  It's a shocking expose by reporter Michael Scherer.  The secondary title of the piece reads, "How fact-challenged President Donald Trump delivers deliberate and strategic lies to control the national debate."  I have to say the piece is an eye-opener about this penchant for lying by the President.  Here are just a few of the most outrageous whoppers that are referenced in the article:

1.  If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.
2.  If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
3.  The attack on Benghazi was the result of a youtube video (which no one in Libya saw.)
4.  If the Assad forces in Syria start to use chemical weapons, that will be a red line for the USA.
5.  The Iranian nuclear deal will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
6.  America did not give Iran close to $2 billion in cash as a ransom for Americans being held by the Iranians.
7.  The stimulus package will result in the immediate start of hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects which are "shovel-ready" jobs.
8.  I've cut the budget deficit by two thirds.
9.  I'm enforcing the immigration laws.

Okay, those were some of the biggest lies that president Obama told.  They are by no means all of Obama's many lies however.  When it comes to turning the Oval Office into a center of dishonesty and misdirection, the perpetrator was Barack Obama.

So what are the "lies" to which Scherer actually points?  The "big" one is that Trump tweeted that president Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped.  Scherer jumps up and down about what FBI director Comey told Congress.  Of course, two days later we learned that there had in fact been surveillance of Trump's transition team (including possibly Trump himself) as part of legal operations wiretapping foreigners like ambassadors and government personnel of other countries.  After the Trump people were recorded, however, the law requires that their identities be masked.  In other words, the names of the Americans and what they said cannot be released; doing so is a crime.  And yet, we now know that such a release of the names and contents of communications is exactly what happened during the last days of the Obama administration.  In other words, Trump was loose with the words he used, but he wasn't telling a lie.

A second "lie" to which Scherer points is when Trump was talking about terror attacks in Europe and included Sweden on the list of sites.  That was a mistake; there had been no attack in Europe.  The White House later explained that Trump was referring to a news story about how Sweden was having great difficulty getting new immigrant/refugees to acclimatize themselves to that country.  Once again, Trump misspoke.  But take a look at just the nine big Obama lies listed above.  Is mistakenly including Sweden on a list of sites of terror attacks a big "lie" compared to Obama's whoppers?  Of course not.  Obama directly and repeatedly lied to the American people.  The first two on the list were repeated in speeches by Obama close to 30 times even though he knew that they were completely false.

The actual truth is that it is the Obamacrats who have raised telling lies to an art form.  They lost the election because they had no program and a terrible candidate.  As a result, they invented the "Russia hacked the election" lie.  They're still pushing it.  They had no program for entire second Obama term.  There were no proposals made on the economy; none!  To make up for that failure, they invented the lie that the Republicans were thwarting them in Congress.  It's hard to block bills that don't exist, but the Dems went with the lie anyway.  Now, as the Dems actually try to block every action to be taken by Trump or the GOP in Congress, they just continue the lie and say they are doing what the Republicans did.  It's not true, but they don't seem to care.  The Democrats care not about the truth, but rather they concern themselves only with what they think they can get away with.  As a result, they do major damage to the USA.

The Insanity and Delusion Are Still There

Let's visit the Democrat/Media bubble for a moment to see how things are today.  My focus is on Foreign Policy magazine.  It's a publication for "learned" and "insightful" members of the foreign policy establishment.  In other words, it's published inside the bubble for those who are members in good standing.

One article that caught my eye is about a "secret" US spy agency with a multi-billion dollar budget that no one has ever heard of.  According to the reporter, President Trump may turn the American intelligence agencies on American citizens.  I'm not making this up.  It's really there.  Indeed, I wonder if the reporter even realizes just how demented that description is.  It was president Obama who unleashed the intelligence agencies on American citizens.  Obama had the AP wiretapped.  Obama had Fox reporter James Rosen (and his family and parents) put under surveillance.  Obama had non-existent Russia-Trump connections investigated by the intelligence agencies who then illegally disseminated the conversations involving Trump aides (and maybe Trump himself) to the media.  Inside the bubble, however, that never happened.  Indeed, it could never be done by Saint Barack who did no wrong....EVER.

A second article reported that anarchy is the result of the impending victory over ISIS in Mosul.  That's right.  We're now being told by the denizens of the bubble that beating ISIS and throwing them out of Iraq's second largest city may be a bad thing.  They haven't gotten to the point of saying that expressly, but they're well down that road.  It's funny, of course, that during all the time that Obama was president and slowly, very slowly, moved against ISIS, none of this was said.  Now that Trump is president, however, the policy of ousting ISIS is being questioned.  It amazes me that even in the bubble where Trump hatred reigns, there could still be a question about whether the destruction of ISIS makes sense.  These are murderers and terrorists.  There is no question that ISIS needs to be demolished.

I still hope that someday the light of truth may penetrate into the bubble.  I'm not holding my breath waiting until then, however.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What A Difference an Election Makes

Can you identify who said this about President Trump?
"The one thing I do believe is that he's myopically focused on helping working men and women in this country, and bringing back economic opportunities to people who get up every morning and go to work and don't necessarily put on a suit and tie."

It's not who you think, that I promise you.  The answer is North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp who is also a Democrat.  She also said that she is a lot like Trump.

Remember, the senator is running for re-election in 2018 in a state that voted 63% for Trump.

By the way, she also indicated that she is unlikely to support a filibuster against the Gorsuch nomination. 

So What Do You Say To This Person?

The Republicans pulled their healthcare bill yesterday.  If you are one of the morons who call this a "victory" for Americans, I have a question for you:  what do you say to a single 60 year old man or woman who lives in my state of Connecticut and who earns $52,000 per year.  I pick that income because it is roughly the median national income of the USA.  That means that half of households earn more and half earn less.  If this person buys a Silver plan on the Obamacare exchange, it cost $960 per month for a plan with a $6000 deductible.  Think about that.  The person buying insurance has to pay twelve thousand dollars for premiums only to get coverage that kicks in once he or she has paid another six thousand dollars for the deductible.  That means that over one third of his or her income has to be spent before receiving meaningful health benefits.  So keeping Obamacare is a "victory" according to the Democrats?  Explain that so called victory to this person.

There are literally millions of people across the country in similar situations.  The Obamacare subsidies help some people, but there are many more who do not get that help.  Remember, even a person making 100,000 dollars would have to pay 18,000 dollars before getting meaningful coverage.  That's still a major cost.

We are moving forward with this mess still in place.  Democrats like Connecticut's senator Chris Murphy are crowing about the victory.  But it is not a victory.  It remains a loss unless and until Murphy and his party can come forward with their own plan to rescue the millions like the person described above.  Indeed, right now, Obamacare's biggest outcome is that it is destroying the middle class.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What's Coming Next In Healthcare?

The bill in the House to repeal/replace Obamacare got pulled at the last minute today because there weren't enough votes for it to pass.  Most of the GOP was voting in favor, but the Democrats were united in opposition.  I'm not interested in rehashing why the bill was pulled; I'd rather contemplate what is coming now.  Here are a few things that we know for certain will be coming over the next two years:

1.  Premiums for health insurance are going to rise.  It's as certain as night following day.  Most likely we will see the cost go up at least 20%.

2.  Deductibles in the health insurance plans will also go up.  That means that not only will people buying insurance pay more in premiums, but also that they will get no coverage until the spend a further huge amount on doctors.

3.  More insurance companies will pull out of selling insurance on the exchanges.  That means that within the next two years, we will likely see half the country with at most one choice for insurance.  There will also be a growing number of places where health insurance is unavailable.  Right now there are a few counties with no insurance available; in two years, it will be at least ten percent, if not more, of the country.

4.  Millions of people will lose their health insurance coverage.  That's the way the CBO or the Democrats would describe it.  To be clear, millions of people will just stop buying unaffordable plans.  Others will be unable to buy coverage because no insurance will be available in the places where they live.  We know that in the last year, about two million people lost insurance under Obamacare.  That's right, in the last two years, the number of those insured went DOWN not up.  Few, if any, in the media ever tell you that fact.

By 2018, there will be a clamor to fix the system which will be greater than any we have seen in the past.

Maybe The Media Can Tell Us

There are a rash of articles today reporting that talks between Israel and the USA have ended in Washington without "agreement on settlement construction by the Israelis."  Really; they didn't reach agreement.  Oh no!!!

Maybe the mainstream media can also try to tell us why it is the business of the USA to negotiate when and where Israel can build homes for its people.  If the USA wants Israel and the Palestinians to come to s peace agreement, shouldn't it be the Palestinians who negotiate about these "settlements"?

Remember, over two thirds of all so called settlements are just homes or apartment buildings in the city of Jerusalem.  That's the capital of Israel.  Only in the perverted world of diplomacy regarding Israel could these be called "settlements".  Imagine if the European Union and Russia suddenly announced that any new construction of homes for Americans in Georgetown in the District of Columbia should stop because those homes are "settlements" on land that belongs to Native Americans.

The truth is that these articles are ridiculous.

The Senate Dems are Losing It

It's rather extraordinary to watch the Democrats in the Senate melt down as they try to oppose everything that the GOP or President Trump does.  The Dems are not "working together" in any way.  Instead, they are trying as hard as possible to block or slow down everything, even if there is no reason to do so.

Here's a few good examples:

1.  The nomination of George Friedman to be US ambassador to Israel was approved by the Senate this week.  All but two Democrats voted first to filibuster the nomination, and when that lost, they then voted against the nominee.  This is not a nomination to be Secretary of State; it's just an ambassadorial position.  The nominee (now ambassador) is a well known and well regarded attorney from New York.  There is no reason to block him from taking his position.  This is just the Democrats doing exactly what they always charged the GOP with doing in the past.  Of course, the GOP did not block or attempt to block ambassadors or to stop bills from passing.  That only happened in the excuses that the senate Dems put forward to their base.  But now, the Democrats are really doing this.  It's insane.

2.  Chuck Schumer says that the Democrats are going to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.  We just finished a lengthy hearing during which judge Gorsuch showed himself to be a fine selection for SCOTUS.  As these things go, the hearings were a complete success for Gorsuch.  There is no basis on which to oppose Gorsuch.  Indeed, if the Dems want to vote against Gorsuch, it is a futile gesture.  Still, the idea that the Dems are going to filibuster his nomination is crazy and self-defeating.  The Republicans will no doubt use the so-called nuclear option and do away with the filibuster (which is what the Dems under Harry Reid did for other nominations about two years ago.)  It may even be that the GOP will do away with all filibusters.  That would mean that on things like healthcare and tax revisions, the Dems would lose the ability to filibuster.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Is there Really a Smoking Gun?

James Rosen of Fox News is reporting that the House Intelligence committee expects the NSA and the CIA to turn over to Congress proof that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team including Donald Trump himself by means of the US intelligence agencies.  This is the ultimate smoking gun.

Think about it.  Did the president of the United States use the power of the federal intelligence agencies to spy on his political opponent (and successor)?  It's hard to imagine a more inappropriate (and possibly illegal) use of the NSA, CIA and FBI.  And what does this mean for the head of the FBI who just this week assured Congress that there was no proof that president Obama had Donald Trump under surveillance.  If the documents show otherwise, it would make the FBI chief out to be a total liar.

To be fair, I hated the Obama administration's policies.  Obama did more to damage the USA than any other president I can recall.  Still, I would never have expected that even the Obamacrats would have gone so far as to spy on the opposition.  I thought that all ended with Watergate.  I guess it is true that the Obamacrats really think that they were above the law.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It Has Been Quite A Day

It's not often that we see such dueling narratives in the news as we did today.  There was more nonsense thrown out into the mix on the Russia Trump story and the Obama spied on Trump story than one could ever have imagined.

First we got a story from the AP disclosing the shocking news (gasp!) that about 15 years ago, Paul Mana fort worked for a Russian rich guy and mentioned in a memo at that time that a particular action might make the Russian government look good.  Supposedly, this is supposed to have some impact on what happened 15 years later during the last presidential campaign when Manafort was the head of the Trump campaign for three months.

Second, we got some real news.  The head of the House Intelligence committee announced that he had received information from a member of the intelligence services who gave him transcripts of surveillance which had nothing to do with Russia but which included conversations had by members of the Trump transition team and perhaps Trump himself.  The transcripts provided to the congressman by this whistle blower, if verified, mean that the testimony from the other day of the head of the FBI is now called into question.  The point of these transcripts is that they identify by name the Trump transition personnel, something which is a crime under federal law.  It is a development which strongly supports the position taken by President Trump that he was the subject of government surveillance by the Obama administration.

This second development was so surprising that it left the Democrats momentarily speechless.  Imagine, after weeks of relentless attacks by the Democrats on Trump for daring to say that Obama had him spied on, this latest news is showing that Trump was correct.  The chief Democrat on the Intelligence Committee had a press conference in which he kept saying that the release of the new evidence undermines the investigation.  It was a funny press conference, roughly the equivalent of a police chief complaining that obtaining key evidence that unmasks the killer in a murder investigation somehow was undermining that investigation.

By a few hours later, we got the third bit of news.  The same Democrat who was so confounded by the second item suddenly told the media that he understands that the FBI now has some proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Of course, Congressman Schiff wouldn't disclose what information the FBI had, what his source for the announcement was, or really anything else.  It seemed like an outrageous attempt to take back control of the narrative that had been lost when the proof that the Obamacrats had spied on Trump and his people became public.  There is, as of yet, no reason to believe any of this.

One thing is certain:  this issue is coming to a head.  We will either soon see actual proof from the FBI of collusion between Trump and the Russians or we will know that the Democrats are just making up lies about it.  My money is on the Democrats telling lies.  Remember, the investigation started last July.  We've been told by the heads fo the intelligence agencies who led the effort for the next seven months that there is absolutely no evidence of collusion.  That was repeated by the head of the FBI the other day.  I doubt something new just showed up amazingly at the point when Trump's charges against the Obamacrats are being shown to be true.

A Little Comedy From the Left

There's not a lot that's funny in the news these days.  There's a great deal that's false, but that's really not funny.  There's even more that's horrible, and that's certainly not funny.  (For example, it's hard to laugh at Syria.)  That's why I thought it really great that Real Clear Politics republished a piece by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.  The column originally appeared in the Washington Post.  Here's the headline of the piece (which is really all you need to read.)

When White House Twists The Truth, We're All Less Safe

Are you laughing yet?  You should be.  Remember, Susan Rice's most memorable moment came in September of 2012.  On that day, she represented the Obama White House on five Sunday morning news shows.  It was a few days after the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, dead.  Rice went from show to show and told the nation that there had been no terror attack; rather, there had just been a spontaneous riot as a result of a youtube video about the prophet Muhammed.  The fact that nobody in Libya had seen the video seemed to have escaped Rice's attention.  So did the fact that the supposed spontaneous rioters had been armed with heavy weapons like mortars and RPGs.  (Perhaps she thinks that people carry small artillery with them when they go out for a walk in Benghazi. -- That's Chicago, not Benghazi.)  The reality is that Rice went on every major network news show that day and lied.  Next to "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," it was the clearest example of a lie told by the Obamacrats during the Obama years.  And now Rice is warning against the Trump White House "twisting" the truth?

I used to wonder if Susan Rice had any common sense.  I guess I don't have to wonder anymore.  The answer seems clearly to be a loud NO.  For her to write this article proves she's a fool.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The GOP Meeting This Morning

President Trump is going to Capitol Hill to meet with the House Republicans this morning at their weekly conference.  Depending on the news source you follow, this is either a "last ditch attempt to save" the Obamacare repeal/replacement bill or a "move to button up the last few votes to assure passage" of the bill.  Is the bill in trouble?  I doubt it.  Most House Republicans will agree that doing nothing is not an option, and that is the other choice available if the bill is not passed.  There already is going to be an amendment that will make some important changes to the original draft bill.  The changes will bring premiums down for older Americans and it will get rid of some of the Obamacare taxes this year rather than next year, among other things.

The key to the argument for the Republicans seems to be this:  they promised for many years to get rid of Obamacare if they had power.  If the House Republicans vote against the bill, they will violate that promise.  On the other hand, if the bill passes, the only thing that will be assured is that the Senate will then take up consideration of the bill.  It is clear that the Senate is going to make changes to the basic bill.  That means that after the Senate passes the bill (if it does-- which I assume it will), the bill will go to conference where a final agreement will be made.  Everyone in both houses then gets to vote again.  Those who do not like the final bill can vote no then with the cover of having voted yes the first time. 

The media is in a full frenzy of reporting to try to make the bill look like it has no chance.  Of course, these are the same people who told us that Hillary was inevitable and that she could bring Democrat control of the House and Senate too.  Hopefully, the Republicans in DC understand this.

Monday, March 20, 2017

What Will Russia Do If The War In Syria Expands?

There's been war in Syria for the last five years.  The country is in ruins.  Half a million people have died.  Millions more are refugees both within and without Syria.  There are foreign forces fighting in Syria for Iran, Russia, the Hezbollah terrorists, Turkey, the Kurdish militias, the USA and an assortment of individuals who joined ISIS.  Right now there seem to be at least five Syrian sides to the civil war:  the Assad forces which are the remnants of the pre-war government/army; ISIS; the other Sunni terrorist groups like the al-Nusra front which grew out of al Qaeda (under an ever-changing series of names; the Sunni Arab non-terrorist forces and the Syrian Kurdish forces.  Russia, Iran and Hezbollah support Assad and target mostly the non-terrorist Sunnis as well as the Kurds.  The Turks seem to have chosen the Kurds as their main target but they also oppose ISIS and, to a lesser extent, the Assad forces.  The Kurdish militias that have come from abroad support the local Kurds.  The American forces seem focused on destroying ISIS and trying to keep the Kurds and the Turks from fighting.  Simply put, it's a mess.

The problem is that it is a mess that seems about to get worse.  The Assad forces seem to be moving towards starting a confrontation with Israel.  Assad has been strengthening his position against domestic opponents for some time.  A year and a half ago, it looked like Assad was about to be ousted.  Then the Russians and the Iranians poured in forces to support their guy and the Assad forces regrouped and rallied.  During this time, the Kurdish forces also strengthened their position, but the Kurds have not gone beyond the traditional Kurdish areas of the country which they now mostly control.  The various terrorists and the non-terrorist Sunnis, however, have been getting battered.  So Assad seems to be picking a fight with the Israelis.  In the last week, Syrian anti-aircraft weapons were fired at Israeli planes.  Nothing was hit despite Syrian claims to the contrary.  (The Assad forces always claim to have shot down Israeli planes, but somehow they never do.)  Still, just by firing on Israeli planes, Assad has upped the ante.  The Israeli defense minister said yesterday that if the Syrian anti-aircraft systems fire at Israeli planes, the Israeli Air Force would be forced to destroy them.  Imagine the reaction if Israeli planes wipe out Syria's anti-aircraft systems.  Such a move might force the hand of Iran which has substantial troops near the Syrian - Israeli border.  Would the Iranians dare to throw their troops into a battle against Israel?  Such a move could lead to major casualties and a major and embarrassing loss for the Iranians.  More likely, the Iranians would have their client terror group, Hezbollah, launch some of its 100,000 missiles that are aimed at Israel.  We that to happen, the Israelis would, no doubt, move against the Hezbollah positions in Lebanon in order to take out as many of the remaining missiles as possible.  The Israelis would suffer losses, but they could take out the Hezbollah forces as well as the Iranians. 

Let's stop here for a moment.  It may sound strange to say, but in a battle between Israel on the one side and Assad, Iran and Hezbollah on the other side, most of the Sunni Arab states would be rooting for the Israelis to win.  I doubt that we would see any active participation by countries like Saudi Arabia or Jordan in the fighting, but they are all so upset by the Iranian moves towards hegemony in the region, that they would like to see Iran defeated.

That brings us to the key question:  what would the Russians do?  Russia has naval and air bases in Syria and supports the Assad regime.  Would it stand by and watch Israeli forces pulverize its ally?  On the other hand, Russia has warm relations with the Israelis at the moment.  Indeed, the Israeli prime minister has visited with president Putin of Russia four times in the last 18 months, and there have been major efforts to coordinate the Russian and Israeli forces in the region so that there are no accidental confrontations.  Would Putin put his country's forces in harm's way when the adversary has local dominance?  What would Putin do if his forces were thrown into the battle and then defeated by Israel?  How would that look to the world?  Putin may be prepared to invade a poorly armed country like Ukraine, but a major foreign adventure against a well equipped adversary like Israel might not appeal much to the Kremlin.

Then there's the other wild card in the situation.  What would the USA do if the Russians were to join a battle against Israel?  Would President Trump sit by if the Israelis needed American help to fend off Russia?

The point of all of this is simple:  the move by Assad to try to confront the Israelis is incredibly dangerous for world peace.  Assad may be a psychotic killer who cares for nothing other than remaining in power.  Russia, however, has to make a move now.  Putin needs to "explain" to Assad that if he confronts Israel, he will be on his own.  Iran needs to join in that "explanation".  At that point, Assad will understand that he cannot hope to profit from a battle against Israel.

It's a frightening situation right now.  Fortunately, we don't have the do-nothing Obama in office anymore.  Were he still there, the Russians would understand that the USA would do nothing, no matter what happened.  The unpredictability of President Trump should keep things calmer than they otherwise would be.  Let's hope that the parties all realize that.

Making Something Out of Nothing

The FBI director testified today before a congressional committee.  If you follow the mainstream media, you would think that the hearing produced big news:  the FBI confirmed that there is an investigation into Russian interference with last fall's election and also any connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Let's stop here.  Is there any sentient being in the USA who didn't know that already?  For month after month, we have been told that the FBI has been investigating Russian attempts to influence the election.  We've also been told that there was an investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  FBI director Comey just said this before Congress today; it's not news, but rather a repetition of old stuff.

But let's take this one step further.  Three weeks ago, President Trump tweeted that his campaign had been the subject of surveillance from the government.  At that point, the media and the Democrats went crazy denying that there had been any such investigation.  "There was no wiretapping! There was no investigation!" they shouted.  Now, FBI director Comey testifies that indeed there was a government investigation since July of 2016.  That means that on that point, President Trump was correct and the media/Democrat denials were wrong. 

There has also been some important items in today's testimony that no one seems to be covering.  First, it was confirmed that there was absolutely no interference by the Russians with the votes themselves.  Second, director Comey said that Russian president Vladimir Putin absolutely hates Hillary Clinton and that Comey believes that is what motivated the Russian involvement.  Third, Comey offered no proof of any connection or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Fourth, Comey pointed out that he had been authorized by the DOJ to confirm the existence of the investigation.  That means that the Trump Justice Department had nothing to hide.

The hearing is continuing, so maybe there will be some news from it later in the day.  At this point, however, the media coverage is dishonest.  It's the rough equivalent of Comey testifying that Donald Trump won the election last November and the media making a big deal out of it as if it were real news.

What Is The Case Against Neil Gorsuch?

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch begin in Washington today.  The case for the judge is easy:  he has a brilliant mind, has a great educational and experiential background, thinks and writes clearly, and strongly supports the Constitution.  The case against him, however, seems hard to understand.  That was why I read the column by senator Elizabeth Warren from the Boston Globe in which she describes her reasons to oppose the nomination.  Senator Warren was a professor at my alma mater, Harvard Law School, prior to entering the Senate.  I figured that if these is a case to be made against judge Gorsuch, she would be the one to do it.  She fails miserably.

Here's how Warren starts her piece:

WHEN JUSTICE Antonin Scalia died last year, giant corporations and their right-wing buddies spent millions of dollars to keep the Supreme Court seat open so that Donald Trump could fill the vacancy. It was only the latest step in their campaign to tilt our courts in favor of big corporations and the wealthy. Now, the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is their reward.

Warren goes on to explain how Gorsuch is a tool of big business.

From the first word to the last, Warren's column is nonsense.  It wasn't millions of dollars from big corporations that kept Scalia's seat open.  It was a decision made by the Republican leadership of the Senate that no vote would be held until the next president was in office.  That is something that is normal in the last year of a president's term.  Senators almost never approve a new Supreme Court justice during the last few months of a president's term.  Senator McConnell, the GOP leader, announced that position almost immediately after the death of justice Scalia.  He did it with no action by giant corporations or "right-wing buddies".  He did it without so much as ten dollars being involved, and certainly not millions of dollars.  But senator Warren wants to paint Gorsuch as the result of a conspiracy by big corporations, so she just makes up new facts.  That's not an "argument"; rather, it's a lie.

And what does Warren point to in support of her claim that Gorsuch is a tool of big business?  Gorsuch sees no reason to defer to the administrative bodies of the federal government with regard to rule making.  Think about that.  Congress has given agencies like the EPA or the FDA the ability to make rules that have the force of law.  In doing so, Congress has ceded part of its legislative authority to unelected bureaucrats who often seem more interested in amassing power for their agencies than in respecting the proper limits of their roles.  Gorsuch does not believe that the judiciary has to cede any of its authority to these same people.  The opinions of these regulatory bodies need not get special authority or respect from the courts.  Senator Warren may think that administrative agencies are better than the people of the USA or the constitutional officers of the USA, but judge Gorsuch does not.  That view by the judge is not as a tool of big business; rather, it is one that would limit the vast power of the administrative state.  In short, it's a good thing for our democracy.

There is one thing that Warren's column makes clear.  There is no cogent and valid argument to be made against judge Gorsuch.  Barring some surprise at the hearings, Neil Gorsuch will soon be a justice of the Supreme Court.  He will be a fine selection for the Court.  Oh, and there is one other thing that the column makes clear:  senator Warren -- who obviously knows better -- is prepared to say anything to advance her political goals.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fake Punditry in Action -- 7

The latest installment of fake punditry in action comes from Joy Ann Reid writing in the Daily Beast.  This one is so fake that it's funny.  Reid's point is that Obamacare is working well and that it is a GOP lie to say that the system is imploding.  Here are a few of her more hilarious points:

1.  The system is not collapsing because about 12 million people signed up for insurance on the exchanges in 2016.  Even Reid had to admit that this number was millions lower than what had been projected by the government.  She says, however, that the system cannot be collapsing if people are signing up.  What a hoot!  Reid ignores the fact (that's right the FACT) that the law requires each American to have health insurance.  There's a substantial fine for those who don't buy insurance.  The real point is not that 12 million people obeyed the law, but that tens of millions chose NOT to obey the law and to go without insurance.  It is a testament to how Obamacare is failing.

2.  There is no lack of insurance providers in the system because a judge ruled that Aetna may have left a few exchanges because the government did not approve its merger with Humana.  It's another howler.  Here are some facts Reid ignores:  First, there were 22 coop companies set up under Obamacare to offer insurance.  At least 20 have closed because they could not survive in the market.  There are many insurance companies that have withdrawn from the exchanges and more will depart at the end of 2017 if nothing is changed.  Nearly a quarter of the counties in the USA have only one insurance company offering plans to residents, and a growing number of counties have NO insurance companies selling plans.  This is a lot more than just Aetna withdrawing from a few states.  Even a moron like Reid must understand that.

3.  The rise in premiums is unimportant because the subsidies go up with the premiums.  This one is so dumb that you can tell that Reid gets her health insurance from her employer.  She obviously doesn't buy it herself.  For 2017, insurance premiums went up across the country by double digit percentages.  In some states, the rise was over 100%.  And guess what; not all those who bought plans qualified for subsidies.  I just looked on the Connecticut exchange for what it would cost today to buy a Silver plan for a single person age 60 with an annual income of $55,000.  The lowest cost Silver plan with a $4000 deductible is over $950 per month or over $11,500 per year.  That's over 20% of this person's total income, and it provides no coverage until another $4000 is spent.  That person making $55,000 gets no subsidies.  But what if the person makes $10,000 less; he or she has an annual income of $45,000.  For that person, the cost for the same health plan is about $6000 less.  That person still pays roughly $5000 for a plan that provides no benefit until $4000 is spent.  Neither of these two people is rich; in Connecticut, the median household income was over $66,000 last year.  The point is that those who get no subsidies (which is about a quarter of those who buy on the exchanges) are getting hit with enormous premiums, and those who get subsidies are also being hit with enormous premiums.  Literally, millions of people are being priced out of the market even with the subsidies.


Rampant Dishonesty Continues But The Left/Media Don't Seem To Care

The annual celebration of Cinco de Mayo in Philadelphia was just cancelled.  It's one less parade in a major city, so it's not exactly a big deal.  But here's the problem:  the cancellation came, according to the report in The Hill, due to fears of the "immigration crackdown".  The organizers of the event pointed to a recent news release by ICE that announced that in a two week period, it had arrested 248 people for immigration violations and processing for deportation.

Let's take a look at this ICE press release to see what happened. 

1.  Half of those arrested had criminal records.  These are people who committed crimes such as attempted murder, drug trafficking, sexual assault, and the like.  They are the people who President Trump calls the "bad dudes".

2.  About another quarter of those arrested were people who had previously been deported by the USA.  Re-entry into the USA after deportation is a felony.

3.  Another large batch of those arrested consisted of people who had been ordered deported by a court but who then failed to show up on the date set for deportation.

4.  Only about 15% of those arrested did not fit into the three categories above.  ICE did not break down the reasons for these arrests but did say that they were illegal aliens who would be processed through the court system to determine if they should be deported.

So we have criminals, previous deportees (by definition, also criminals) and fugitives from deportation orders.  These are exactly the people that President Trump said would be targeted.  The funny thing is, however, that these are also exactly the people that president Obama said would be targeted by ICE.  The difference is that Trump actually is doing what he said he would, while Obama mostly just talked.  Obama always thought that saying something was enough, while Trump realizes that it is only actions that matter.

So why are the organizers of the Cinco de Mayo parade so upset by all this that they are cancelling their celebration?  Are we to believe that the organizers of the parade want to keep criminals on the streets of America?  I don't believe that.  Are we to believe that the organizers want America's laws to be ignored?  That's possible, but it just won't happen with Donald Trump in the White House.  Are we to believe that the organizers don't realize that over two weeks in three states there were about 35 people arrested who might or might not be deported and that this is a major "immigration crackdown"?  That is what appears to be the case.  There are about fifteen million people in those three states, and there are a lot more than 35 illegal immigrants included in those numbers.  Estimates are that there are over 50,000 illegal immigrants in the city of Philadelphia alone and that city holds just about 10% of the total population of the three states.  There are no mass arrests of illegals.  There is no crackdown except on criminals, gang members and people already adjudicated to be deported. 

So if there is no crackdown to fear for those attending the now-cancelled parade, why was the event called off?  It is because the media/left complex wants people to be afraid.  They describe the arrests of criminals in apocalyptic terms.  That spreads fear, and it does a major disservice to the public.

Here's what ICE said in its press release:

Reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible. These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Little Honesty Breaks Through

Bloomberg News is reporting/lamenting that the meeting of the finance ministers of the G-20 nations ended today with a communique that calls for the nations to "work to strengthen the contribution of trade to [their] economies."  Last year, the final communique pledged each G-20 country "to avoid all forms of protectionism."  Bloomberg says that this change is the result of the new view of trade being pushed by the Trump administration.  The French ambassador is quoted by Bloomberg as stating that the meeting did not end in a satisfactory way; he did not want to see the pledge to avoid protectionism deleted.  Even worse, the communique says nothing about climate change, unlike the messages of previous years.

Okay, that's the take of the mainstream media/globalist cabal.  They are just soooo upset that the words used by the G-20 finance ministers do not conform to the left's political narrative.  But let's take a look at reality for a moment.  The second biggest economy in the G-20 is that of China.  The Chinese engage heavily in protectionism.  If you want to sell cars in China, you have to make them in China.  If you want to import a whole host of items into China, you just cannot.  Similarly, the third largest economy in the G-20 is Japan.  It too uses many methods to discourage imports; in other words, it engages in protectionism.  Other G-20 members like Russia, Argentina, India and Indonesia have similar protectionist rules in place to stop imports into their countries.  Even the EU (of which France is a member) has protectionist rules in place.  What has really changed is that the USA is no longer happy with phony statements how the G-20 will fight protectionism.  Words may have satisfied the Obamacrats.  President Trump wants actions not words.  Trump wants fair trade where everyone plays by the same rules.  That means that everyone actually follows the same rules; it's not enough to just say that you will.

A little bit of honesty is breaking through at the g-20 meeting.  That is a good thing.  It may upset Bloomberg News and the rest of the leftist media, but it will greatly benefit the American people.

So Who Do You Think Put That In????

The legislature of the state of Arkansas just voted to separate the holiday in that state honoring both Robert E. Lee (the confederate general) and Martin Luther King (the civil rights leader.)  Arkansas is one of three states that combine the commemoration for both of these men.  Under the new legislation, the January holiday will now just honor Dr. King.  There will be a separate day in October to commemorate Robert E. Lee, but it will not be a state holiday.  The bill was passed by the Republican controlled legislature and will be signed into law on Monday by the Republican governor.

So who do you think it was that combined the holiday for the Confederate general and the civil rights leader in the first place?  What racially insensitive person led the move to put the man who fought to retain slavery with the man who fought for rights for the descendants  of those slaves?

The combined holiday was put in place in 1985 in Arkansas.  The law to establish the combined holiday was passed by a Democrat controlled legislature and signed into law by the Democrat who was governor of Arkansas at the time:  Bill Clinton.

Keep this in mind the next time someone tells you that Republicans are racists. 

Another Big Mess Left From Obama and Hillary - EGYPT

Reuters is reporting that there are now Russian troops in Egypt along the border with Libya.  It's only supposed to be a few hundred Russian special ops troops, but even that small number is indicative of a major looming problem.  In his eight years in office, president Obama managed to destroy the close alliance between the USA and Egypt to a point where the Egyptians now let Russian troops into the country.

Let's back up to 2009.  When Obama took office, Egypt was one of America's closest allies in the Middle East.  President Mubarak of Egypt could be counted on as a friend who would help us as needed.  Then came the Arab Spring.  There were protests in Cairo -- as across the Arab world.  The Obama/Clinton foreign policy was not to let things in Egypt develop according to the wishes of the Egyptian people.  No, president Obama decided to step in and call for the ouster of president Mubarak of Egypt.  Almost immediately, Mubarak wash pushed out and arrested.  Elections were held and the Moslem Brotherhood won.  That was followed by a presidential election.  Prior to the election, at the point when the new government was being selected, the head of the Moslem Brotherhood promised that he would not run for president.  Of course, he never honored his promise and in a very close election, the head of the Moslem Brotherhood, Morsi, was chosen president.  Here too, the Obamacrats supported the Moslem Brotherhood leader.  It did not matter that the Moslem Brotherhood supported the terrorists of Hamas.  It did not matter that the Brotherhood itself was branded a terrorist organization in Egypt.  Obama supported president Morsi.  At that point, conditions in Egypt began to change.  The ten million Coptic Christians became a target of hatred and discrimination under the rule of the Moslem Brotherhood.  There was escalating violence among Muslims and much worse violence against the Copts.  Huge demonstrations against the government broke out; these were even bigger than those of a year earlier against Mubarak.  This time, however, Obama decided that the USA should support the Moslem Brotherhood leader. 

Despite Obama's support for president Morsi, he was ousted in a coup as the violence rose to a new level and chaos reigned in the streets.  The new leader was General al Sisi, and he subsequently won an election to be president.  The Obamacrats, however, continued to support Morsi and would not engage in regular relations with the new leader of Egypt.  That idiotic policy continued until the end of the Obama administration.  Imagine:  the USA would not deal with a pro-Western, anti Islamic terrorism, elected president; Obama held out support for the former president whose rule led to chaos, support for terrorism and discrimination against Christians.

President Sisi of Egypt has now done what many other leaders in the Middle East have done; he has befriended the Russians.  The end result is that we now see Russian troops in Egypt, a position from which they can make major mischief. 

President Trump said not long ago that he inherited a mess from Obama.  That doesn't even begin to tell the whole story.  It's worse than a mess.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Secret Service Computer Theft

According to news reports, a Secret Service agent was the victim of a robbery last night in Queens, New York.  The laptop computer of the agent and some related items were stolen from the agent's car at 3 am by a man.  The laptop had some extremely sensitive material on it including floor plans for Trump Tower and details of security plans for various Secret Service operations.  The New York Daily News is reporting that the Secret Service is frantically looking to recover the stolen items.

This story is outrageous.  Why in the world was a computer with highly sensitive information on it left in the car of a Secret Service agent?  The car was parked on the driveway outside the agent's home.  What security protocol allows an agent to leave confidential material like this in a car parked outside overnight?  The answer must be NONE.

The agent involved has to be fired.  More important, that agent has to be investigated to see whether this was a planned theft in which the agent passed sensitive info on to the thief on purpose.  I refuse to believe that a trained Secret Service agent just decided to leave her laptop computer in her car overnight on the streets of New York City.  That is a move that is beyond stupid.  It even may go beyond unforgiveable.


The Snakes and Gators Are Upset

The reaction to the budget outline proposed by President Trump is interesting to watch.  The Trump proposal is to reorient federal spending towards public safety and to do so by cutting programs that have not worked while reducing waste and fraud in the rest.  In Washington DC terms, it is an "earthquake".  Imagine the idea of getting rid of programs that do not work!  Oh, the horror!  What will happen to the bureaucrats who work in those useless programs?  How can America move ahead without those bureaucrats continuing in their jobs?

When Donald Trump ran for office, he promised to drain the swamp.  Today, all of the swamp critters are having a panic attack.  The snakes and alligators across DC don't know what to do. 

Look at some of what the President wants to do.  First, he wants to increase defense spending.  His proposed increase would restore about 20% of the cuts in defense made during the Obama years.  The increase is not really all that much.  After years of neglect, the military needs the extra funds just to start to bring our readiness level back towards where it needs to be.  All you need to understand is that the Air Force is still flying planes that are now 50 years old, and you can see why modernization is needed.  If that is not enough, however, consider that in many squadrons of newer planes, half or more are not flight ready because of a lack of spare parts.  Then there are the frequent deployments for our troops who ought to have more down time in between action.  We need more soldiers and more and newer equipment.  Sure, some of the funds that Obama spent on social engineering in the military could be cut back, but that will not produce enough to keep us safe. 

Then there's the increase called for in the Homeland Security budget.  Under President Trump, Homeland is actually going to enforce the law, not just ignore it like under Obama.  That cost money.  It will also make us all a lot safer.

The big losers in spending are the State Department and the EPA, but nearly every department is cut somewhat.  The EPA has run amok in the last few years.  For example, consider the big effort put into the Clean Power Plant initiative and regulations  developed at great expense by the EPA.  This rule was pushed by hordes of bureaucrats in the EPA as a way to fight climate change.  Basically, the rule ends the ability of utilities to use coal as a power source and sets many other restrictions on the other possible fuels for power generation.  It would cost many tens of billions of dollars each year in higher utility bills across America.  And what would it do in the fight against climate change?  Let's remember what the last administrator of the EPA under Obama told Congress:  this initiative would have no measureable effect on climate change, but it is necessary to show America's commitment to the fight.  That's right, these bureaucrats who the left consider essential actually concluded that it was a good idea to stunt economic growth, to raise utility bills for all American substantially and to do so even though there would be no positive impact in the fight against climate change.  Is there anyone with even half a brain who thinks we need to keep these bozos on the job?  I doubt it.

At State, the biggest loser is likely to be foreign aid.  How much have we borrowed to give out overseas to countries that take the money and then denounce the USA?  In the last two decades, we actually gave something like five billion dollars to the North Koreans.  That's right, the NORTH KOREANS!!!  Must that continue?  Why?

And how about all the waste and fraud in government activities.  I've written before about the more than 100 different job training programs that the federal government runs.  There is no reason to spend hundreds of millions or billions of dollars for 100 plus headquarters, administrators, deputy administrators and staff when the programs could be amalgamated and run at a tiny fraction of the cost.  And how many people across the country are receiving food stamps even though they are not entitled to benefits?  It's not even worth listing all the ways that America could save money.  It's just nice that we finally have a president who wants to pay attention to how well and at what cost the government carries out its obligations.  We just finished eight years under a president who thought that the only thing of importance was what was said by the government.  Now we have a president who understands that what is actually important is what the government does.

It will be great watching the swamp denizens in DC melt down as their precious swamp is drained.